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Florida mayor witnesses fentanyl overdose during ride-along

Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 6:06 PM

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic narcotic that is estimated to be 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to state officials.

The mayor in Jacksonville Beach Florida is speaking out after he witnessed a victim of the opioid crisis first-hand.

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Mayor Charlie Latham was doing a ride-along with first responders Saturday when they got a call about an overdose.

“The Jacksonville Beach units responded and found a young man who was very clearly in respiratory distress,” Latham said.

The man had overdosed on fentanyl, Latham said.

“(He was) very purple. Lips were purple. For all intents and purposes, he was dead -- didn't have a pulse," he said.

Latham said he watched first responders bring the man back to life.

It took two injections of Narcan, a chemical that helps reverse the effects of opiates, to bring the 23-year-old man back on the way to the hospital, Latham said.

“I was in the hospital right when he came around. He acted like it was another day at the office,” Latham said. “Shortly after that, his parents came in, and it looked like, of course, they were facing the worst possible, (worst) imaginable scenario.”

Latham said overdose deaths have increased 51 percent in Duval County since the beginning of 2017.

“I asked the JFRD gentleman how often this happens in Jacksonville Beach,” Latham said. “He told me three to five times a month that they have to use Narcan to bring someone back from overdose.”

Latham said the opioid crisis doesn't discriminate.

“It's all races. It's all economic levels,” Latham said. “There's no boundaries. It's a nationwide problem."

Traces of weedkiller found in 10 Ben & Jerry's flavors

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 10:59 AM

Traces Of Weedkiller Found In 10 Ben & Jerry's Flavors

Traces of a chemical used in weedkillers has been found in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products, according to a report.

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The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) reported the finding, claiming to have found glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, in at least 10 of the popular ice cream companies flavors.

Herbicides, commonly known as weedkillers, are chemical substances toxic to plants used to control vegetation and destroy unwanted plants.

>> Related: Ben & Jerry’s celebrate Bob Marley with One Love flavor

The association found the herbicide in the following flavors: Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Butter Cookie, Vanilla (two versions), Phish Food, The Tonight Dough, Half Baked, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Americone Dream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. 

Cherry Garcia, the 11th flavor sampled, tested negative for glyphosate.

>> Related: Police group boycotts Ben & Jerry's after company announces support for Black Lives Matter

But according to scientists, the amount is small and well below the legal limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the government agency in charge of setting a ceiling on the amount of glyphosate allowed in food.

One calculation, found by John Fagan, the chief executive of the Health Research Institute Laboratories, which did the testing for the OCA, found that “a 75-pound child would have to consume 145,000 eight-ounce servings a day of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream to hit the limit set by the EPA,” the New York Times reported.

Fagan said an adult would have to eat 290,000 servings to hit the agency’s limit.

“Based on these government thresholds, the levels found in Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream would seem totally irrelevant,” Fagon told the Times.

But the OCA is advising Ben & Jerry’s, whose brand is known for environmental advocacy, to transition to using only organic ingredients, including milk, in its products. The organization is urging natural and organic food stores to halt sales of Ben & Jerry’s products until the brand does so.

>> Related: Ben & Jerry's co-founders arrested during protests at U.S. Capitol

Read more at the New York Times.

This is what a solar eclipse looks like from space

Published: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 @ 7:21 PM

Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse Stirs Fears of Apocalypse

We are just under one month away from the first total solar eclipse to cross the country coast to coast in nearly 100 years.

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On Aug. 21, people everywhere will gaze up toward the moon to view a monumental celestial spectacle.

But what if we could see the eclipse from above instead?

This five-second, time-lapsed video, produced, shows just that -- what a total solar eclipse looks like from space.

During the afternoon of March 9, 2016, a total solar eclipse passed over Indonesia. A partial eclipse was visible in parts of Alaska, Hawaii and Guam.

A Japanese weather satellite known as Himawari-8 captured it all high above the Pacific Ocean. 

Japan's H-2A rocket, which carries the Himawari-8 weather satellite, leaves the launching pad at the Tanegashima Space Center, Kagoshima prefecture. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

An eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun. When the moon's shadow falls on Earth, observers within that shadow see the moon block a portion of the sun's light.

NASA explains what you see on the video:

The Sun rises to the right and sets to the left, illuminating the half of Earth that is most directly below. A reflected image of the Sun -- a Sun glint -- is visible as a bright spot that moves from right to left.

More unusual, though, is the dark spot that moves from the lower left to upper right That is the shadow of the Moon, and it can only appear when the Moon goes directly between the Earth and the Sun.

Last year, on the day these images were taken, the most deeply shadowed region experiencedtotal eclipse of the Sun. Next month a similarly dark shadow will sweep right across the country. 

Fake doctor ran clinics in Georgia and across U.S. for 15 years

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 7:25 PM

Mugshot of Isabel Gervais
Shelby County Sheriff's Office
Mugshot of Isabel Gervais(Shelby County Sheriff's Office)

A woman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to pretending to be a doctor while running clinics throughout the country during the last 15 years.

Prosecutors said Isabel Kesari Gervais, 60, used multiple aliases while offering naturopathic medicine, which the federal government says uses homeopathic and detoxification methods, among other things, to help patients heal themselves.

She entered her plea in an Alabama federal court and admitted to running clinics in Arkansas and Kansas as well as Georgia. Gervais had “no legitimate medical degrees or training,” according to a news release from federal prosecutors.

The American Medical Association recently said 18 states offer naturopathic medical licences. Georgia is not one of them.

The prosecutors said Gervais — often using variations on the names “Dr. Rose Starr” or “Debra Lynn Goodman” — ran the Chiron Clinic on Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta.

Georgia business records show a “Debrah L. Goodman” registered The Chiron Clinic Atlanta LLC to an office inside Northside Hospital during April 2004. The business dissolved in May 2008.

“At all the clinics, Gervais falsely represented herself as a licensed doctor with extensive experience and various degrees who used naturopathic medicine to cure people of various illnesses, including cancer,” the release said.

To stay out of trouble, authorities said, she abandoned rental properties and changed locations all while adopting new aliases.

According to the indictment, she made charges on the credit cards of Alabama patients totaling about $9,000. She operated that clinic in Hoover out of an herb shop.

“She promised patients, including cancer sufferers, at the Hoover clinic that she could provide various medical services, including DNA tests that she did not have the technology to conduct,” prosecutors said.

She had “Dr. Rose Starr” business cards and advertised with that name online and on the radio in Alabama, the indictment said.

Gervais pleaded guilty to one charge each of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, aggravated identity theft and making false statements.

She faces a maximum of 37 years and fines up to $1.25 million.

She already agreed to forfeit $108,146 she gained from the illegal activity.

Gervais has been in Alabama’s Shelby County Jail since March 24, according to the jail’s online database. Prosecutors said she is set to be sentenced in November.

Want to improve your memory? Have a drink after studying

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 6:19 PM

(Getty File Photo)
PeopleImages/Getty Images
(Getty File Photo)(PeopleImages/Getty Images)

If you suffer from a bad memory, there could be a simple solution to help improve it. Just grab a drink after studying something new, because scientists say booze could boost your ability to retain information. 

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A group of scientists from the University of Exeter conducted a study to determine how alcohol consumption can affect the brain. To do so, they randomly split a group of 88 social drinkers into two groups and told them to either drink as much as they wanted or not at all. Then they were each given a word-learning task. 

After analyzing the data, they determined that those who drank alcohol could remember more of what they learned than those who did not. 

“Our research not only showed that those who drank alcohol did better when repeating the word-learning task, but that this effect was stronger among those who drank more,” Celia Morgan, study researcher, said in a release.

While researchers aren’t sure of the cause, they believe alcohol consumption may influence long-term memory. 

“Alcohol blocks the learning of new information and therefore the brain has more resources available to lay down other recently learned information into long-term memory,” Morgan said. “The theory is that the hippocampus -- the brain area really important in memory -- switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory.”

Despite the results, scientists noted that the negative effects of heavy alcohol consumption should be considered.