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Lush Cosmetics North America

Insomniacs Are Swearing By This "Sleepy" Body Lotion

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Lush Cosmetics North America

Insomnia can take a huge toll on the body. It's the most commonly reported sleep disorder—an estimated 10 percent of the U.S. population has it—and causes lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability, among other effects. And severe insomnia is usually chronic.

So it's understandable that people who have trouble sleeping are always on the lookout for a new treatment. Some people say they've found it in a lotion made by Lush. According to the Independent, insomniacs are calling Lush's Sleepy body lotion "magic."

Is it really a magic potion? No. Will it help you sleep? It's hard to say, but there's some research to suggest it could. It certainly isn't a panacea for insomnia, and people with severe insomnia probably won't see much effect from a lotion.

Lavender has long served as an herbal remedy to relax and soothe. A 2012 review of studies on lavender and sleep advised, "Early results appear promising, but they should be viewed with caution," since most of these studies are very small, and noted the results "suggested lavender oil may be of small to moderate benefit." For instance, a 2017 study on ICU patients found that inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 days increased sleep quality and reduced anxiety levels. A 2015 study on college students found lavender to be an effective sleep aid, particularly in conjunction with good sleep hygiene.

Making lotioning up a part of your nighttime routine could mean that you're placing more focus on sleep hygiene, which is a proven way to enhance your sleep quality. According to a report from India's National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, poor sleep hygiene can perpetuate insomnia. To get better sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends establishing a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, like taking a bath or reading a book. Applying lotion would count, too.

Plus, recent studies have found that even placebos can help insomniacs sleep a bit better. In a review of 13 published studies, participants who received placebos in sleep studies reported sleep improvements compared to people who took part in the studies but didn't receive any kind of treatment. So even if the lavender doesn't help—most studies on lavender have analyzed inhaling the essential oil, not rubbing a lotion on your skin—having a ton of faith in Lush's ability to cure an affliction that plagues millions of people might. At least a little.

[h/t Independent]

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Health
New Test Can Differentiate Between Tick-borne Illnesses
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Time is of the essence in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Fortunately, one new test may be able to help. A report on the test was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Ticks and the diseases they carry are on the rise. One 2016 study found deer ticks—the species that carries Lyme disease—in more than half of the counties in the United States.

The two most common tick-borne illnesses in the U.S. are Lyme disease and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). Although their initial symptoms can be the same, they’re caused by different pathogens; Lyme disease comes from infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. We don’t know what causes STARI.

"It is extremely important to be able to tell a patient they have Lyme disease as early as possible so they can be treated as quickly as possible," microbiologist and first author Claudia Molins of the CDC said in a statement. "Most Lyme disease infections are successfully treated with a two- to three-week course of oral antibiotics." Infections that aren't treated can lead to fevers, facial paralysis, heart palpitations, nerve pain, arthritis, short-term memory loss, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

But to date, scientists have yet to create an accurate, consistent early test for Lyme disease, which means people must often wait until they’re very ill. And it’s hard to test for the STARI pathogen when we don’t know what it is.

One team of researchers led by experts at Colorado State University was determined to find a better way. They realized that, rather than looking for pathogens, they could look at the way a person’s body responded to the pathogens.

They analyzed blood samples from patients with both early-stage Lyme disease and STARI. Their results showed that while all patients’ immune systems had mounted a response, the nature of that response was different.

"We have found that all of these infections and diseases are associated with an inflammatory response, but the alteration of the immune response, and the metabolic profiles aren't all the same," senior author John Belisle of CSU said.

Two distinct profiles emerged. The team had found physical evidence, or biomarkers, for each illness: a way to tell one disease from another.

Belisle notes that there’s still plenty of work to do.

"The focus of our efforts is to develop a test that has a much greater sensitivity, and maintains that same level of specificity," Belisle said. "We don't want people to receive unnecessary treatment if they don't have Lyme disease, but we want to identify those who have the disease as quickly as possible."

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Google Can Warn You When Your Allergies Are About to Go Haywire
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How much allergy medication are you going to need today? Google can tell you. Well, it can give you a forecast, at least, as The Verge reports.

Google announced on August 16 that the search engine will now auto-populate search results for pollen and allergy information with allergy forecasts from The Weather Channel. The integration will include the most recent pollen index and allergy forecast data, showing a 5-day forecast detailing whether you’re likely to feel seasonal allergy symptoms throughout the week.

An animation shows a scroll of Google’s search results for pollen with allergy forecasts.
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If you have the Google app, you can set it to send push notifications when the pollen count is notably high that day, so you know to sequester yourself safely indoors. Hopefully you don't live in a city like Jackson, Mississippi, which in 2016 was named the worst city in the U.S. for allergy sufferers. There, your phone may be pinging every day.

While you can already find this information on sites like Pollen.com, having it show up immediately in search results saves you a few extra clicks, and frankly, it’s far more readable than most allergy and weather forecast sites.

Too bad a search engine can't cure our sneezes and watery eyes, though. Time to stock up on Kleenex, get a jumbo bottle of allergy meds, and maybe buy yourself a robot vacuum.

[h/t The Verge]

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