Weird Ebay Sales: What Are People Trying to Sell Each Other?

Recently I wrote an article entitled, “Future Internet: Collaboration without loss of individuality: Example 1: Ebay”. Since then it has come to my attention that like all other areas of life the comedians and jokers have invaded and put their mark on this incredible new phenomenon. I am by no means against humour as I am a firm believer in the idea that laughter is the greatest medicine of all. If humanity just learned to laugh at ourselves a little bit more instead of taking everything in life so seriously, I think we could achieve both individual and social harmony much more quickly.


Certain eccentric as well as just plainly silly people have tried to sell anything from their own virginity (had to be a hoax) to the now infamous ‘ghost in a jar’. The ‘ghost in a jar’ sale was so popular that a whole slew of copycats have followed suit ranging from ‘ghost droppings’ to a ‘ghost in a bra’. The ‘What the heck’ site seems to have the most comprehensive list with items being categorised into: Fan favourites, People, Body parts and fluids, Animal Kingdom, Metaphysical Stuff, Face it you’re addicted to Ebay, Technology and accessories, Health and Beauty, Dirt, Water etc, Just plain evil, Gross, Weird inventions, and Stuff we’ve yet to categorise. One of my favourites is for the sale of Snow. Here’s what the seller had to say about the product:

“So far, we’ve got over a foot, and it’s still coming down. We really don’t need more than a few inches here, so we’re making the rest available to the highest bidder. Due to the perishable nature of snow, and because not even 4WD vehicles are having much luck on our local roads, the winning bidder must make arrangements for pickup. This snow doesn’t pack very well, so you’ll have to make your own packing arrangements as well. Note that I’m only offering the excess snow from our own property. If you need it, I may be able to arrange for you to get more. I’ll accept cash or money order for payment. If you clear a path from Interstate 40 to my house, I’ll discount your winning bid, charging only an amount equivalent to the eBay fee for the closing bid. Take our snow, please…”

I also laughed when I saw that drug-free urine, raccoon’s penis bones, the Internet (someone bid 1 billion dollars-it’s real worth would be priceless), nine used toothbrushes, dirt from the US civil War, a UFO Finder, a Russian sub (a real one!) and Absolutely Nothing were on sale. Here’s what the seller said about the latter:

“ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for sale, zero, zilch, nada. NO RESERVE on this vastly under appreciated commodity. Why suffer the disappointment of shelling out big bucks on junk you don’t want, can’t afford, and don’t need, when, for a small fee, you can completely bypass the disappointment! You expect nothing, and that’s precisely what you will get. I’m hoping I can build up a regular clientele for absolutely nothing, because finding nothing is much easier to acquire than most of the other items I sell. And shipping costs are minimal, because, well, nothing weighs nothing. And it’s very cheap for me to buy, as it costs me nothing. So forget about those Beamers, those houses in the suburbs, those electronic gadgets, those fashionable clothes that are outdated before you leave the store; THEY won’t bring you happiness, NOTHING will! The ancient Chinese Sage advised us that less is more. Therefore, NOTHING is most. Here is your chance to FINALLY get exactly what you’ve always deserved! Bid with confidence, because I guarantee NOTHING! Aren’t you weary of everyone whining that they can’t find NOTHING to buy? Well, here it is, ladies and gentlemen, step right up and mail me your dollars, I have an unlimited supply of what you really need most in your life, but were never quite sure how to acquire it. You could pay hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars for the same thing from any one of a hundred political organizations, religious groups, or federally mandated taxing organizations, and not get one single thing that I’m not providing for a nominal fee of a $1.00 bid. And don’t despair if you get sniped out at the last minute this week, I’ll have a fresh supply available next week as well. Item is guaranteed to be exactly as described. California residents please add 8.25% sales tax.”

So, with every great step forward for humanity we have our tricksters helping us along with their great powers of humour. With eBay a new way of collaborative consumerism has entered the so-called ‘first world’ psyche. The question is: Where do we draw the line between supply and demand for what we need to have a sustainable existence, and buying for the sake of addiction to shopping? I recently heard of a new term coined Affluenza. It is the disease of always wanting more money and material objects even if it means having a lesser quality of life. Hey, someone has even sold the ‘Meaning of life’ on eBay for a mere $3.26!


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16 Little Things You Can Do For Someone With Anxiety

Be a person who someone with anxiety knows they can count on when they’re having problems.

1. Don’t put off responding to a message.

Don't put off responding to a message.

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Nobody is saying that you have to be available all the time, but leaving an anxious person waiting for hours can create way more discomfort for them than just leaving a quick message.

2. Ask how you can help during an anxiety attack.

Ask how you can help during an anxiety attack.

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Some people might just need a hug, and others may prefer you give them breathing room. You know how it is: Every person has their own ways, and that’s why there’s no magic formula and why it’s necessary to talk about it. Having that conversation before an anxiety attack is even better.

3. Understand that situations that appear simple and easy in your daily life may be tough for someone with anxiety.

Understand that situations that appear simple and easy in your daily life may be tough for someone with anxiety.

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Speaking in public, answering the phone, being introduced to someone — even though theses might be a piece of cake for you, they can still be tough for someone else.

4. Make concrete plans whenever possible.

Make concrete plans whenever possible.

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Messages like “Let’s get together soon!” or “Be there around 8ish” can be especially annoying for someone with anxiety, because things are uncertain or open to interpretation. Making an actual plan and sticking to it is super helpful.

5. Help them remember positive memories and entertaining thoughts.

Help them remember positive memories and entertaining thoughts.

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When someone with anxiety is in the eye of the storm, that person is unable to stop thinking about things that make them anxious. Talking about interesting, calming stuff — like childhood memories and funny stories — can help to break that cycle.

6. Learn to notice their signs of an oncoming anxiety attack.

Learn to notice their signs of an oncoming anxiety attack.

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Before it gets bad, some people might experience things like difficulty speaking, hearing, or breathing. Watching out for these signs can make you more effective at helping a loved one.

7. Suggest activities that will make them feel better.

Suggest activities that will make them feel better.

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You don’t always need to offer a solution — just a helpful way to take their mind off of things.

8. Don’t say things like “You weren’t always this anxious” and “Why are you so complicated?”

Don't say things like "You weren't always this anxious" and "Why are you so complicated?"

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Seriously, this doesn’t help anyone.

9. Help them understand that they’re not abnormal.

Help them understand that they're not abnormal.

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They might feel frustrated and defeated and forget that it’s actually pretty normal to have difficulty in stressful situations. Remind them that they’re not alone.

10. Talk with them about what makes them feel anxious.

Talk with them about what makes them feel anxious.

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Don’t be afraid to bring it up. Sometimes talking it out can actually help someone better understand what they’re going through.

11. Don’t create unnecessary suspense.

Don't create unnecessary suspense.

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Phrases like “I need to talk to you later” can make all of us nervous, so just imagine how that feels for someone with anxiety.

12. Invite them to spend some time doing “nothing” with you.

Invite them to spend some time doing "nothing" with you.

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Chat outside, people-watch, and just relax as the day goes by. These are some uncomplicated ways to help someone with anxiety disconnect from their busy mind.

13. Show that you care.

Show that you care.

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Call or text just to see if everything’s OK. It’s comforting to know that people care.

14. Be someone who an anxious person knows they can count on when things are bad.

Be someone who an anxious person knows they can count on when things are bad.

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Just having this safety net will help them feel more comfortable and secure.

15. Understand that someone with anxiety may also need space.

Understand that someone with anxiety may also need space.

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Whether that’s just taking a few steps back to give them some breathing room, or respecting the time they need to get their energy back, it’s nice to show that you’re not gone — you’re just respecting their boundaries.

16. Listen.


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12 Less Obvious Books That Can Help You Deal With Anxiety

Navigating a list of self-help books aimed at diminishing your anxiety can be, well, anxiety-inducing. Reading a tome, under the assumption that said tome will help quell any lingering sense of panic, is a gamble. What if the panic is still there when you flip the last page? What if the advice contained within just doesn’t click, ever? Was it all for naught?

Probably not.

Studies have shown that reading in itself — even just six minutes worth of SSR — can help slow heart rates and ease muscle tension, thereby alleviating stress. For those of us who suffer from anxiety on a regular basis, this is good news. It’s also enough reason for us to reach for fiction, and less conventional nonfiction, to help tackle feelings of worry, panic and restlessness. Perhaps you don’t need a book that’s explicitly meant to teach you about the intricacies of anxiety disorders; instead, you could use a story that lets you investigate the complexities of emotion, empathize with characters you can relate to, or even just escape the difficulties of everyday life for a moment.

Behold, 12 less obvious books that can help you deal with anxiety, according to five editors and writers who deal with it themselves.


Self-Help by Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore’s Self-Help is anxiety-reducing in the way a Bloody Mary eases a hangover. Sometimes the only way to deal with angst is to crawl deeper into the rabbit hole, only to see you’re not alone. The hilarious short story collection is a dark and dirty take on the classic self-help book, with stories entitled “How to Talk to Your Mother (Notes)” and “How to Become a Writer.” But instead of trite and sunny advice, Moore delivers brutal tales of modern women being their own worst enemies, making their way through work, love and family hurdles though potentially moving backward. The bitter and beautiful prose will make you want to savor your personal rough patches, if only to one day turn them into a story of your own. — Priscilla Frank


Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz

I read this book in the years of wandering right after college. In this memoir, the author is also wandering, but she doesn’t get caught up in a quarter-life crisis. I laughed out loud so many times following Julia, who is hilarious, self-deprecating and genuine in this autobiographical story about her move to Brooklyn from San Francisco. Her detailed accounts of post-grad life with all the crappy apartments (including an illegal basement studio which was actually the best option) and even crappier jobs (such as a restaurant delivery person via bike, even when snowing) eased my own anxiety about not knowing what I wanted to do with my life and helped me to not take it all too seriously. — Tricia Tongco


The Waves by Virginia Woolf

If you don’t want to be cheered up or encouraged — and sometimes those approaches only antagonize the truly stressed — you might just want to be understood. No one understood soul-crushing angst like Woolf, and The Waves, one of her more avant-garde books, captures that horror of the world in a contradictorily soothing form. The Waves, a prose poem following six characters from childhood to adulthood in looping, geometric sections, lulls you with a submerged refrain of “I know, I know, I know, I know.” The Waves knows it’s hard, that the world is terrifying and that you might feel scattered, afraid, lonely, anxious, depressed, ready to give up, but it also caresses you with poetic rises and falls, a rhythmic structure that leads you into a state of almost content mindfulness. — Claire Fallon


Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

In Parable of the Sower, an American tale that toes the line of utopia-dystopia, Lauren Olamina suffers from a genetic condition called “hyperempathy” — caused by a mother’s contact with a toxic prescription drug during pregnancy — which causes her to experience the pain of others as intensely as her own. In the course of the story (and the second book in the series, Parable of the Talents), Lauren founds a spiritual community called Earthseed and her curious ability to feel like few others can turns darker. If you’re partial to speculative fiction and its knack for tackling real emotions and scenarios under the guise of imagination, Butler’s work provides an opportunity for you to explore your own feelings alongside Lauren and the characters of her universe. — Katherine Brooks


Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

It’s a slim novel about romance, marriage, family, infidelity, and the prospect of separation — all of which is to say it doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary. But Offill manages to write a book that deftly explores deep, universal emotions, while gracing them with tenderness and quirky observations. She weaves together scientific theories and quiet moments, fusing big ideas with small, personal details. Waffling between the two creates a feeling of peace and centeredness while reading, even if the plot is at times tragic. — Maddie Crum


The World of Blandings by P.G. Wodehouse

It’s hard to write a truly LOL-inducing novel. On the page, so many of the subtle cues that go into sparking laughter are absent or easily misinterpreted, such as a deadpan delivery, withering sarcasm, or broad slapstick. But if you like British drollery, Wodehouse will do it. He has the gift. And it’s more than the laughs that’ll soothe the savage beast of anxiety: His eternally sunny, pre- or post- or between-war upper-class idylls lie so far outside the realm of reality they’re basically fantasy. His lovably dimwitted noblemen and his lovably enterprising secretaries all end up just as happy as they deserve to be, even the most absurd escapades end in tea and biscuits, and best of all, if you’ve already enjoyed the more well-known Jeeves and Wooster chronicles, these three Blandings Castle novels will be (ahem) Something Fresh. — Claire Fallon


Women in Clothes by Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton, Sheila Heti

Oftentimes anxiety can be all the more crippling as anxious thoughts are coupled with the self-hating voice whispering how trivial and petty your myriad worries are.Women in Clothes, a stunning compilation about the complex relationship between women and what they wear, shows that what can appear to the outside as superficial can be deeply significant, profound and transformative. Over 600 women contribute their heartfelt words, exploring the relationships between clothing and memory, love, identity and tradition. Reading it feels like talking in a circle with your most badass, brilliant friends, on those endless nights when gossip and chatter leads to life changing revelations. — Priscilla Frank


Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Sugar, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, is like the cool, kind older sister I never had. She’s been through a lot and just “gets it.” Her insights and advice to readers have eased my own anxiety about all the things in life no one thinks to teach you: how to be creative, how to be vulnerable in relationships, how to not be ravaged by inevitable loss and so much more. Her approach of “radical empathy” can help ease any kind of conflict with other people, whether it’s a friend, lover or family member. I’m sure I’ll reread parts of this book for years and years to come and thrust it upon friends and family, too. — Tricia Tongco


Friendship by Emily Gould

If you’ve ever worried about the state of your friendships — whether you come off to your best friends as attentive or selfish, compassionate or unsympathetic, altruistic or a little conniving — you’re not alone. Many of us pore over the platonic relationships in our lives, anxiously calculating our perceptions, wondering if we are the protagonists or the antagonists in the yet-to-be-written stories of our lives. While Gould’s book is not going to assuage your worries, it will help illuminate why the “good and evil” binary just doesn’t explain the complexities of friendship. Philia can be as messy as Eros, and it’s comforting to know that’s true. — Katherine Brooks


I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin

The plot of Shin’s novel isn’t a calming one by any means; set in South Korea amid violent political uprisings, the story follows three students, each trying to heal from his or her own version of loss. They confide in each other, eat hearty meals, keep diaries, and take long, therapeutic walks around Seoul. As they explore their city, they discuss their own unique vantage points, and work together to understand it better. It’s a quiet reflection on the power of intimate relationships, and the process of recovering from grief. — Maddie Crum


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

The titular charcacter of Díaz’s book derives his college-era nickname from the Spanglish pronunciation of Oscar Wilde. He is the cornerstone of the coming-of-age tale that weaves its way through The Brief Wondrous Life; a boy obsessed with science fiction and finding a girlfriend, who at first glance might seem like a YA trope but throughout Díaz’s plot transforms into a stereotype-busting character who tackles gender expectations and the intricacies of growing up in an American immigrant family. Oscar’s story runs parallel to the chapters outlining his mother and sister’s lives, filled with allusions to punk culture and feminism. Sometimes, when your own life seems chaotic and incomprehensible, it’s reassuring to read another person’s tale, filled with seemingly insurmountable obstacles that, in the end, give depth to personal history. — Katherine Brooks


Beloved Dog by Maira Kalman

Cat books are all the rage, and rightly so. But dog lovers, or animal lovers in general, will delight in Maira Kalman’s short reflection on her own experience of pet-ownership, and on dogs as the recurring subjects of her work. She illustrates artists with their dogs — E.B. White and Kafka, to name a few — and sketches her own (late) pooch with heart. Her writing, like her sketches, is spare, expressive, honest and fun. — Maddie Crum

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New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function

Of the mice that received the treatment, 75 percent got their memory function back.

Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.

If a person has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions – amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaquessit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques.

Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they’re caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube.

As we don’t have any kind of vaccine or preventative measure for Alzheimer’s – a disease that affects 343,000 people in Australia, and 50 million worldwide – it’s been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient’s brain. Now a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have come up with a pretty promising solution for removing the former.

Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks – a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.

“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” one of the team, Jürgen Götz, said in a press release. “The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.”

The team says they’re planning on starting trials with higher animal models, such as sheep, and hope to get their human trials underway in 2017.

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12 Habits of People With Concealed Depression

There will be two main types of people reading this blog: those finding themselves better equipped to understand some of the people they love and those who see their own reflections in these habits.

Depression often goes unseen, unrecognized, and undiagnosed. A person with concealed depression is someone who is conditioned to deal with their inner demons in a way that doesn’t make them clearly visible. They may or may not be diagnosed, and this may or may not be something they’ve shared with even their closest of companions. The problem is that the world becomes darkest when we all stop being able to understand each other. We tend to believe that hardship is worn openly upon one’s chest like a battle scar, but many of these wounds do not easily reveal themselves to those that do not take the time to look.

1. They may intentionally make efforts to appear OK and maybe even seem exponentially happy and upbeat.
The idea that those with depression all have one similarly dreary personality is false. Depression is more than just a mood. Those who live with depression have learned to alter their apparent moods, and may even be some of the most seemingly “happy” people that you know. Personalities can vary. Often those with depression try to stick with the positive and public parts of their demeanor regardless of what they’re going through on the inside. No one wants to bring others down, even if that means hiding how he or she is truly feeling.

2. They may have habitual remedies.
There are serious ways to treat depression, including therapy and medication. However, in addition to these remedies, there are lifestyle habits that those with depression use to treat their everyday state-of-mind. This can be in the form of music, exercise, driving, walks, or basically anything they know can get themselves out of a sinking set of emotions. Concealed depression has a lot to do with the ways people try to personally conquer their own demons.

3.They may have trouble with abandonment.
Anyone who has experienced depression understands the burden it can be. It can also be a burden for those closest to them. Sometimes when you let someone in enough to see the struggles you have, they walk the other way. Though it’s hard to blame these people for leaving, it creates a serious feeling of abandonment for those with depression. It forges a need for secrecy, out of fear of the recession of those they love. There is nothing more heartbreaking than finding out your ugliest layer of self is too ugly for someone you love to handle.

4. They can be pros at “cover-up” stories.
This can be for anything from the cuts on their arms to the reason they skipped dinner. People who live with different forms of depression experience various hardships that can at times impede the normalcy of their daily lives. In these low instances, they know what to say to avoid attention from others to those displays of pain. Often they don’t want to recognize that they are hitting a low point either, so they know how to hide it.

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5 Things You Need to Know About Cuba’s Lung Cancer Vaccine


A vaccine developed in Cuba that has the power to extend life in lung cancer sufferers is now making its way to the United States for further trials and research. Here’s what you need to know about this important advance in both medicine and Cuban relations.

1. What Does the Lung Cancer Vaccine Actually Do?

The vaccine, known as CimaVax EGF, is for small cell lung cancer and it works by targeting a protein known as epidermal growth factor or EGF. That’s the naturally occurring signal that tells cells in the body to grow and divide. Some cancers make the body produce large amounts of EGF, which then leads to cells dividing and growing uncontrollably. CimaVax introduces EGF into the body and then prompts the body to begin binding EGF, which in turn stops it from reaching the receptors on cancer cells. This effectively interrupts the signal that would have told the cancer cells to keep growing and dividing. For people who already have small cell lung cancer, there is evidence that it can slow the progress of the cancer which in turn could mean the difference between early stage localized cancer and a cancer that has spread.

2. What Stage is Research of the Lung Cancer Vaccine At?

Twenty-five years of research supports the vaccine, and a number of small trials with cancer patients have shown that vaccine has some modest but still significant results.

A trial published in 2008, for instance, showed that among 80 people, some of whom were given chemotherapy and then the vaccine and some who were just given chemotherapy, those who had the vaccine tended to live about four to six months longer. Perhaps even more important, they reported a better over-all quality of life, with reductions in symptoms like coughing and breathlessness.

There were some side-effects but these were mostly very mild, from sweating to chills, and feeling sick, though interestingly the trial seemed to show that the vaccine offered the most benefit to people under the age of 60.

So confident is Cuba about this vaccine, that it’s actually been available to cancer patients–for free–since 2011 and USA Today reports the vaccine has been used to treat some 5,000 patients across the world.

So that’s where the research is now, but what about in the future? It is hoped that the “groundbreaking” study at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., which comes about by way of a historic deal that was signed by Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology last month, will investigate not just the benefits that have already been established, but will be able to draw on new resources and insights to see if researchers can boost the affects and make this vaccine even more of a promising tool in the fight against lung cancer.

In particular, the researchers say they are interested in two key things: if the vaccine can be used to prevent lung cancer returning in those who have had cancerous masses removed, and if it may offer a preventative effect for those who are at high risk of developing lung cancer, for instance people who have lung cancer in the family and those who have a history of smoking.

This all begs the question though:

3. Why Haven’t We Been Able to Access the Vaccine Until Now?

Put simply, this is down to the U.S.’s decades long economic blockade on Cuba and the resulting lack of civil relations between the two countries.

When President Obama announced that those restrictions would be eased, much to the dismay of a segment of Republicans and a handful of Democratic lawmakers too, he opened the door for the U.S. to access Cuba’s medical innovations which, despite the challenges that Cuba might face, has been a priority for the country and has become somewhat of a national pride (and for good reason). This specific deal, though, is the result of a trade mission which was led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. In case you are wondering, as a trade-off Cuba will receive new medical technologies to update their own systems and machinery, which in turn will help them pursue new medical innovations.

4. Does This Mean the Vaccine Will Soon Be Available to Everyone in the U.S.?

The vaccine is being researched alongside two other vaccines that were developed within the United States, however the CimaVax vaccine has a considerable head-start on those other vaccines in terms of research supporting its safety and effectiveness. There will need to be trials to confirm those aspects of the vaccine, but it is hoped that roll out for patients can happen relatively quickly. The researchers will need to first win approval from the FDA for a phase 1 trial, but this seems like a formality rather than any kind of potential barrier.

5. Why is This Vaccine So Exciting?

Cuba, in terms of world economies at least, doesn’t have a lot of resources and so when it comes to its medical advances it has had to be creative, and the CimaVax vaccine is an example of that. By essentially starving the tumor of the EGF it needs to grow, this vaccine is innovative in a way that other cancer vaccines have not been, and there is hope that U.S. scientists might be able to use a similar approach to essentially starve other cancers that rely on EGF to proliferate, including some kinds of breast cancer.

This vaccine represents just one of the ways in which the Obama administration hopes to profit from good relations with Cuba, an exchange that will benefit both countries moving forward.

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Only Man Cured Of HIV Shares Details Of His Shocking Story

Only Man Cured Of HIV Shares Details Of His Shocking Story

Timothy Ray Brown was the first man cured of HIV. But he initially opted against the stem cell transplant that would later make history, he reveals in a new essay. (Digital Art/Corbis)

The first man cured of HIV, formerly known only as the “Berlin Patient,” released a first-person account Tuesday of his breakthrough stem cell transplant. Timothy Ray Brown’s essay, which was published in the journal Aids Research and Human Retroviruses, gives an in-depth look at the events surrounding his widely reported 2007 transplant.

Brown was first diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while attending college in Berlin. In 2006, he was so tired during a bike ride that he had to stop midway; the extreme exhaustion prompted him to go to the doctor’s office, where he was diagnosed with leukemia.


Now healthy and HIV-free, Timothy Ray Brown advocates for HIV research and heads the Timothy Ray Foundation. (Photo: Patsy Lynch)

Pairing up with the doctor who would later cure him of HIV was pure luck.

“[My boyfriend and I] chose one of the Berlin university hospitals near my apartment,” Brown writes in the article. His partner called the hospital and reached Dr. Gero Huetter, who said, “Send him in.”

Dr. Huetter treated Brown with three rounds of chemotherapy. The physician also looked for matches for a stem-cell transplant, in case Brown needed one. “Many patients do not have any matches; I had many matches, 267,” Brown writes. Since there were so many options, Dr. Huetter looked for a match with a specific cell mutation called CCR5 Delta 32, which was known to make a person with it virtually immune to HIV infection.

After going through 60 potential donors, Dr. Huetter finally found a match with the mutation.

One revelation Brown offers: Neither he nor Dr. Huetter had any idea that they were onto a possible HIV breakthrough. In fact, Brown opted against the stem-cell transplant at first. “I talked with friends, family, and a transplant professor in Dresden,” he says. “I said ‘no’ to the transplant, thinking that it would not be necessary were the leukemia to remain in remission because I could continue to take my antiretroviral medication indefinitely. I did not need to be a guinea pig and risk my life receiving a transplant that might kill me. The survival rate for stem-cell transplants is not great; normally it is about 50/50.”

But after a short remission, the leukemia came back in 2007, and the transplant was necessary to save Brown’s life. He stopped taking his antiretroviral medication, and after three months, blood tests revealed that he no longer had HIV in his blood. “I thrived until the end of the year,” he says. “I was able to go back to work and return to the gym.” A second stem-cell transplant resulted in a much longer and harsher recovery, but he remained HIV-free.

In 2013, researchers attempted to replicate Brown’s results in a baby from Minnesota. The boy, known as “Patient 2,” received a cord blood transplant with the same mutation as Brown’s donor. In July 2014, however, scientists discovered significant levels of HIV in the boy’s blood, so researchers are still searching to develop a functional cure.

Now, 20 years after he was first diagnosed with the virus, Brown has dedicated his life to that search. He founded the Timothy Ray Foundation, which is part of the World AIDS Institute, in 2012, and he continues to work with scientists and institutions researching the disease. Brown concludes, “I will not stop until HIV is cured!”

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All He Wanted Was to Drive: An Epilepsy Success Story

“All I really wanted was to be able to drive,” Mike Hickey reflects when asked why he went in for Epilepsy Surgery.  He had gotten his drivers license at 16 just like all his friends, “so I knew what it was like,” says Mike.  All that was lost, however when an unexpected seizure caused him to crash his brother’s car that same year.

Mike actually had his first seizure earlier that year in his fourth period English Class. Lucky for him, his friend Rob stopped him from crashing to the floor.  Mike says, “They said it was a black out, no one even thought of epilepsy at that time.”

The year after that, he had a couple more seizures but when he started college the following year he began to average 4-5 seizures a month.  Mike says he never knew when a seizure was coming.  He would usually just wake up a couple of hours later and the people around him would tell him what happened.  Fortunately for him, he never got seriously injured during one of his seizures.  He once had a seizure while doing a presentation in American Studies and failed the class.

A couple of years into college, Mike went to see a neurologist, Dr. Nordli at Helen Hayes Hospital.  That is when he was finally diagnosed with Epilepsy. For several years, he and Dr. Nordli varied the type and dosage of the medications he took, but never got his seizures under control.  Finally  the Epilepsy Center team, including neurosurgeon, Dr. Robert Goodman , recommended that Mike consider epilepsy surgery here at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Goodman worked closely with Dr. Nordli to map Mike’s seizures.  They were finally able to find the exact location in his brain called the seizure focus.  (This is the part of the brain where the seizures were originating).

In Mike’s case, this was found to be an area in the back part of his temporal lobe.  Fortunately this is an area of the brain that surgeons have had great success in treating.

During a more than six hour surgery, Dr. Goodman performed a temporal lobectomy.  The procedure began with careful mapping of the brain using computers, imaging technology and sophisticated software.  When the exact surgical location was targeted, Dr. Goodman removed a section of the skull over the area. (In Mike’s case, on the side, near the back of his head).  Then carefully, the section of his brain that was known to be the cause of the seizures was removed.

During the surgery, Dr. Goodman had to make an important decision.  He knew that the section he had to remove would affect Mike’s vision but it was a worthwhile sacrifice to enable Mike to be seizure free and live a normal life.

After the surgery, Mike’s seizures stopped completely.  As, Dr. Goodman had predicted, he did have some problems with his vision.  He couldn’t see things that were to his right, but Dr. Goodman knew that Mike could eventually compensate for that.

After being seizure free for a year, Mike was able to get his drivers license and his new life and independence kicked into high gear.  He got a part time job and because he could now drive, he enrolled in a paralegal program.  “I always liked the law.  I saw it as a way I could help people,” Mike says. He learned to compensate very well for the vision loss, by turning his head or looking to the right

In 2000, exactly seven years after surgery, Mike told Dr. Goodman, “I am celebrating by going to work.”  Today, Mike has been working as a paralegal for AT&T for ten years.  He drives 35 miles to work every day and he just got back from a trip to Maine where he had to drive for eight hours straight both ways.

When asked what he would say to anyone with Epilepsy who is considering the surgery, his answer is simple,  “Go see Dr. Goodman.”

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What you need to know about fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a mysterious disorder, the underlying causes of which are not very clearly understood. Unfortunately, it is quite common, especially among women aged 20 to 50. Individuals affected by the disease experience long-term, widespread pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.

The condition has been extensively studied by experts across the globe for decades – many theories have been formulated, only to be refuted years later. Diagnosis is a result of exclusion, rather than defining pathophysiological characteristics.


Several hypotheses exist that link fibromyalgia to three underlying conditions:

Oxidative stress is the stress placed on the body from exposure to radiation and other substances that cause the formation of free radicals. Oxidative stress may be reduced by increasing your antioxidant status. Free radical scavengers may be squelched with adequate intake and supplementation of vitamins A, D and E, as well glutathione and co-enzyme Q10. In fact, a 2011 study showed significant improvement of fibromyalgia symptoms with increased levels of vitamin D – in excess of 50ng/mL.

Inflammation is the one condition that is classically blamed for the intense pain associated with fibromyalgia. Cytokines are proteins that serve as messengers between cells. Cytokines regulate various inflammatory responses and in some cases, like fibromyalgia, it is believed that certain cytokines are overproduced. This leads to increased pain signals, achiness and fatigue.

Mitochondrial dysfunction is often observed in patients with fibromyalgia. The mitochondria are the power house of cells, specifically, muscle cells. In the mitochondria, glucose is converted to ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is used by the muscles for energy. In many patients with fibromyalgia, the mitochondria of many cells in the body have been shown to be impaired.

Treatment options exist to address these underlying conditions, however it is often a slow process to uncover the most ideal treatment for each individual suffering from fibromyalgia:

Mitochondrial function and the integrity of the cell membranes allow for adequate energy production as long as proper nutrients are available to the body. Simple blood tests can detect mitochondrial breakdown, while an in-depth analysis may be necessary to determine what nutrient deficiencies may be the source of impairment. Identifying these areas will allow the practitioner to make recommendations to replace the appropriate nutrients and improve energy production within the cells. Maximizing energy production remains a critical step in relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia, as speculation runs high that fibromyalgia is heavily linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. Many basic supplements available on the market today have been utilized, successfully in the treatment of mitochondrial dysfunction, including deoxyribose, L-carnitine, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10.

Hormone and neurotransmitter balance is vitally important in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, including fibromyalgia. Neurotransmitters allow the brain to communicate to the body necessary functions within the endocrine system. Hormones act as cell regulators and allow cell to cell communication. Hormones have a direct influence on genetic cellular communication. This mechanism allows the brain to influence the body in repair, regeneration, and the maintenance of optimal health. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has been utilized with success to optimize communication allowing the body’s natural healing process to occur.

Supplementation is also important in the management of fibromyalgia and inflammation. Intravenous nutrient therapy has often been reported to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. The most common deficiencies observed in fibromyalgia patients include magnesium, 5-HTP (the precursor to the neurotransmitter, serotonin) and vitamin D. D-ribose and acetyl-L-carnitine play major roles in mitochondrial function. Therefore, supplementation of each of these is useful in the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a complicated disease state, however, through careful assessment and use of functional testing as discussed above and appropriate protocols, treatment programs may be initiated with greater success. This disease is often chronic and becomes very frustrating to affected individuals. Taking measures to supply the body with proper nutrition and enhancing the body’s communication through both hormonal and neurotransmitter balance will result in optimal outcomes in the management of fibromyalgia.

Dr. Jennifer Landa is Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD, the nation’s largest franchise of physicians specializing in bioidentical hormone therapy. Dr. Jen spent 10 years as a traditional OB-GYN, and then became board-certified in regenerative medicine, with an emphasis on bio-identical hormones, preventative medicine and nutrition. She is the author of “The Sex Drive Solution for Women.”  Learn more about her programs at 

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These 24 Satisfying Yet Surprisingly Low-Carb Dinners Are A Must Try

One of the major problems when it comes to dinner is what and how much to cook. When you are hungry, you just want to eat everything that catches your eye.

You’ve probably heard how you should skip dinner, or never eat after 6 p.m. because it will make you fat.

What are you supposed to do after that? – Of course, you will eat.

The food you digest is some snack that has “zero” calories. Or you think that it has zero calories. After this, you are still hungry and end up eating more snacks. After the snacks, you can’t resist the hunger and eat the dinner that has been on your mind all the time.

And look what you’ve done. You ate everything.

I’ve set a goal for myself that I will try and help you change that habit. Remember, the magic is in eating healthy.

There was a stage in my life when I was eating 5 – 6 times a day. Yes, 6 meals in 17 hours. The other 7 hours I was sleeping.

And still, I managed to keep my body fit and lose excess fat.

I’ve cooked some of these dinner recipes here. They are really great to beat your hunger.

Check out the recipes I thought were worth sharing.

Prepare for something delicious, fast, and really simple! Plus, you don’t have to worry about the calorie intake because all these recipes are really low in calories.

1. Scallops with Quinoa and Pomegranate Gastrique

Scallops with Qunioa and Pomegranate Gastrique

Recipe via

2. Fish and Oven Roasted Potatoes

Fish and Oven Roasted Potatoes

Recipe via

3. Bruschetta Salad With Grilled Chicken


Recipe via

4. Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

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5. One Pot Steak Dinner


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6. Quick Paleo Ground Beef Stir-Fry

Quick Paleo Ground Beef Stir-Fry

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7. Healthy Grilled Honey Chili Shrimp & Peach Skewers

Healthy Grilled Honey Chili Shrimp & Peach Skewers

8. Flank Steak With Creamy Chimichurri


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9. Spinach And Ricotta Dumplings


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10. Stuffed Zucchini Boats: Baked with Summer Flavors


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11. Turkey Koftas With Roasted Red Chili Sauce and Tahini Yogurt

Turkey Koftas With Roasted Red Chili Sauce and Tahini Yogurt

Recipe via

12. Chicken And Butter Beans In Lobster Bisque


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13. Healthy Beefy Tacos


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14. Easy One Pot Mexican Quinoa

Easy One Pot Mexican Quinoa

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15. Coconut Curried Cauliflower Soup


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16. Carrot Noodles With Thai Peanut Sauce


17. Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata With Walnut Spinach Pesto


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18.  Beef and Ale Stew

Beef and Ale Stew

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19. Tuna Avocado Salad

tuna avocado salad

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20. Quinoa, Black Bean, and Sausage Stuffed Tomatoes

Quinoa, Black Bean and Sausage Stuffed Tomatoes

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21. Easy Lobster Bisque

Easy Lobster Bisque

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22. Sweet Potato Spaghetti Casserole {Grain Free}

Sweet Potato Spaghetti Casserole {Grain Free}

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23. Cauliflower Pizza Base


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24. Shredded Pork Tacos


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I already made the Flank Steak With Creamy Chimichurri. What’s your pick?

Share this with your friends who are worried about what to eat for dinner. They will appreciate it!

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