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Quantum Lung

Here at the _floss, we don't usually do product reviews or promote many items other than the goodies we sell in our store. It's just never been part of our brand. And that's a good thing. However, every now and then something comes along that inspires this blogger, at least, to break with our philosophy. Quantum Herbal Product's Lung Formula is just such a product. Ever have a cough you just can't get rid of no matter how many different formulas you try? One of those nagging, unremitting, half-a-year coughs? I tend to get one about every other year. I'd tried everything you can get your hands on over-the-counter, and nothing worked. I even tried alternative, gentle herbal stuff - nothing doing. Then someone suggested this really foul tasting Lung Formula by Quantum - I mean it couldn't taste any worse if they'd made it with asphalt.

But guess what? IT WORKS! (at least for me)

And not only does it work, it works pretty much the first time you use it. I'm not entirely sure how it works, since the only stuff in it is Mullein leaf, Chickweed, Lobelia herb and seed, Marshmallow root, Aloe Vera, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, and a big bowl of gag-me-with-a-spoon-flavoring, but holy smokes does the formula make your cough take a powder. On the bottle, they suggest putting some drops in a little glass of water or juice, but I've found that squirting it directly under the tongue works more effectively, if you can withstand the taste undiluted. If you're going to try this, be sure to have a piece of chocolate or something ready to chase it down. Also be prepared for the little buzz you get from the grain alcohol that keeps the formula together.

A couple other words of wisdom: It doesn't work for everyone. I've given bottles of this stuff as gifts over the last couple years and people have reported mix results. For some, it works wonders as it does for me. For others, not so much. Still, there's nothing worse than a cough you can't shake - so I thought it important to get the word out. Lastly, please know that I have no connection to Quantum, nor did they approach me to write this post.

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A New Law Could Require Hospitals to Post Their Standard Prices Online
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Try shopping around for affordable hospital care like you would for a car or a house, and you'll surely hit a wall. Hospital bills are a huge expense in America, but the prices for specific services are often obscure until patients check out. Now, PBS reports that Medicare may soon require hospitals to post their standard prices and share medical records online.

Hospitals are already required to disclose their prices to the public, but actually tracking down a number can suck up more time and effort than customers have to invest. While making a video for Vox, it took reporter Johnny Harris two weeks and 30 phone calls to get an estimate for how much his wife's delivery of their child would cost. Under the new rules, such prices would be made clearly available on the internet so that third-party app developers could access them.

The change wouldn't automatically make shopping for hospitals as easy as comparing airfare prices. Patients would still be responsible for getting in touch with their health insurance provider to see how much of a hospital's listed price is covered and how much of it falls on them. Even then, the numbers patients get will likely be more of an estimate than a hard figure.

In additional to making pricing more transparent to customers, the proposed rule aims to make personal medical records more accessible as well. The hospitals that make the effort to present this information clearly, possibly by organizing bills from multiple providers into a single app, would receive benefits from Medicare.

The U.S. has some of the most expensive healthcare in the world: In 2016, Americans collectively spent $3.4 trillion on medical costs. For many people, high medical bills are unavoidable, but if the proposed rule goes in to effect (most likely in 2019), it could at least make them less of a surprise.

[h/t PBS]

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Women Suffer Worse Migraines Than Men. Now Scientists Think They Know Why
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Migraines are one of medicine's most frustrating mysteries, both causes and treatments. Now researchers believe they've solved one part of the puzzle: a protein affected by fluctuating estrogen levels may explain why more women suffer from migraines than men.

Migraines are the third most common illness in the world, affecting more than 1 in 10 people. Some 75 percent of sufferers are women, who also experience them more frequently and more intensely, and don't respond as well to drug treatments as men do.

At this year's Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, researcher Emily Galloway presented new findings on the connection between the protein NHE1 and the development of migraine headaches. NHE1 regulates the transfer of protons and sodium ions across cell membranes, including the membranes that separate incoming blood flow from the brain.

When NHE1 levels are low or the molecule isn't working as it's supposed to, migraine-level head pain can ensue. And because irregular NHE1 disrupts the flow of protons and sodium ions to the brain, medications like pain killers have trouble crossing the blood-brain barrier as well. This may explain why the condition is so hard to treat.

When the researchers analyzed NHE1 levels in the brains of male and female lab rats, the researchers found them to be four times higher in the males than in the females. Additionally, when estrogen levels were highest in the female specimens, NHE1 levels in the blood vessels of their brains were at their lowest.

Previous research had implicated fluctuating estrogen levels in migraines, but the mechanism behind it has remained elusive. The new finding could change the way migraines are studied and treated in the future, which is especially important considering that most migraine studies have focused on male animal subjects.

"Conducting research on the molecular mechanisms behind migraine is the first step in creating more targeted drugs to treat this condition, for men and women," Galloway said in a press statement. "Knowledge gained from this work could lead to relief for millions of those who suffer from migraines and identify individuals who may have better responses to specific therapies."

The new research is part of a broader effort to build a molecular map of the relationship between sex hormones and NHE1 expression. The next step is testing drugs that regulate these hormones to see how they affect NHE1 levels in the brain.

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