Want to Take Better Care of Your Contacts? The CDC Is Hosting a Facebook Live Discussion with Tips

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iStock

Contact lenses provide wearers the opportunity to see clearly and comfortably. At the same time, they create a risk of eye infection if not handled properly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants contact wearers to start practicing better hygiene, and they'll be hosting an event on the subject through Facebook Live on Monday, August 20.

The Facebook Live talk kicks off Contact Lens Health Week, a collaboration between the CDC and the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Optometry. This year's theme is "Healthy Habits Mean Healthy Eyes," and the online panel discussion will focus on the practices contact wearers should follow on a daily basis to protect their eyes—as well as which behaviors to avoid.

Allowing harmful microbes to enter your eyes through your contacts can lead to inflammation and infection, which is uncomfortable at best and threatening to your vision at worst. According to the CDC, you should always make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your eyes or lenses. Never expose your contacts to any fluids other than your cleaning solution, including water from a shower, pool, or hot tub. And, yes, falling asleep in your contacts really is as bad as your optometrist says it is: At night, your eyes become a more hospitable environment for bacteria, and a contact lens can basically act like a Petri dish.

For more eye hygiene tips, you can tune in to the CDC's Facebook Live event on their page on August 20 at 1 p.m. EDT. Check out our list of deadly sins for contact lens wearers in the meantime.

Chronic Pain Happens Differently in Men and Women

iStock.com/PeopleImages
iStock.com/PeopleImages

Women often feel colder than men due to physical differences. Now, a new study shows that the two sexes have different biological processes underlying a specific kind of pain, too. As WIRED reports, research published in the journal Brain revealed that different cells and proteins were activated in men and women with neuropathic pain—a condition that is often chronic, with symptoms including a burning or shooting sensation. While scientists say further research is needed, these findings could potentially change the way we treat conditions involving chronic pain.

A team of Texas-based neurologists and neuroscientists looked for RNA expressions in the sensory neurons of spinal tumors that had been removed from eight women and 18 men. Some of the patients had pain as a result of nerve compression, while others had not experienced any chronic pain. While studying the neurons of women with pain, researchers noticed that protein-like molecules called neuropeptides, which modulate neurons, were highly activated. For the men, immune system cells called macrophages were most active.

"This represents the first direct human evidence that pain seems to be as sex-dependent in its underlying biology in humans as we have been suggesting for a while now, based on experiments in mice," Jeffrey Mogil, a professor of pain studies at Montreal's McGill University, who was not involved in the Brain study, tells WIRED.

So what exactly do these new findings mean for sufferers of chronic pain? Considering that clinical trials and drug manufacturers have traditionally failed to distinguish between the sexes when it comes to developing pain medication, the study could potentially form a foundation for sex-specific pain therapies that could prove more effective. This might be especially promising for women, who are more likely to have some condition that cause persistent pain, such as migraines or fibromyalgia.

"I think that 10 years from now, when I look back at how papers I've published have had an impact, this one will stick out," Dr. Ted Price, a neuroscience professor and one of the paper's authors, said in a statement. "I hope by then that we are designing clinical trials better considering sex as a biological variable, and that we understand how chronic pain is driven differently in men and women."

[h/t WIRED]

McDonald’s Is Testing Out Vegan McNuggets in Norway

McDonald's has never been an especially welcoming place for vegans (until 1990, even the fries contained meat). But now, the chain's Norwegian locations are working to change that. As Today reports, McDonald's restaurants in Norway have launched a vegan nugget alternative to the classic chicken McNugget.

The new vegan McNuggets are prepared to look like the menu item customers are familiar with. They're coated with a layer of breadcrumbs and fried until they're golden-brown and crispy. Instead of chicken meat, the nugget is filled with plant-based ingredients, including mashed potatoes, chickpeas, onions, corn, and carrots.

The vegan McNuggets are only available to customers in Norway for now, but if they're popular, they may spread to McDonald's in other parts of the world. Norway's McDonald's locations also include a Vegetarian McFeast burger on its menu.

McDonald's is famous for tailoring its menus to international markets, and vegetarian options are much easier to find in restaurants some parts of the world compared to others. In India, where one fifth of the population is vegetarian, customers can order the McAloo Tikki Burger, made from potatoes and peas, or a McVeggie sandwich.

[h/t Today]

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