New Study Says Google Searches Can Predict Heroin Overdoses

Google Search
Opioid overdoses have become a national crisis, killing more than 72,000 Americans in 2017 alone, up from 33,000 in 2015. Response to the crisis is hampered by a lack of accurate and timely data but one study may have a solution.

Researchers have found that Google searchers may be an accurate source of data to predict clusters of overdoses in cities and neighborhoods. This information may help interventions in communities that can save lives.

The study began with the hypothesis that some people who search online for information on opioids like heroin are at risk of overdosing in the near future. Researchers at the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology created statistical models to predict overdoses based on keyword searches related to opioids, total ER visits, and income inequality in the region.

The team found regional differences in how people searched for opioid information. Increased searches of specific keywords was associated with a higher number of overdoses in the area. For example, terms like “China white” and “methadone” were the strongest predictors for opioid-related ER visits. The researchers did point out some limitations with the model, such as an inability to determine context. The keyword “brown sugar” was very popular for opioid searches in many cities but the model could not differentiate the term from the food ingredient.

To develop the model, the team used search data for 12 different illicit and prescription opioids between 2005 and 2011 in nine metropolitan areas. This information was compared with records of heroin-related emergency room visits during the same time frame.

Opioid refers to many drugs made to replicate the pain-stopping effects of opium. Opioids can include legal prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine as well as illicit drugs like heroin and illegally sourced fentanyl. Opioids work by binding to brain receptors to disrupt pain signals and activating the reward centers of the brain by prompting the release of dopamine.

Every day, over 1,000 people are treated in an ER for misuse of prescription opioids and 11 die from an opioid overdose. It’s estimated that more than 11 million people abuse prescription opioids in any given year.

A drug called naloxone is capable of reversing or stopping the effects of opioids and it’s used to treat opioid overdoses. Naloxone can save someone who is overdosing and very quickly restore normal breathing. This safe medication is widely used by first responders but many states have also set up naloxone distribution programs for opioid users, friends, and family members.

If more timely opioid data is available, this new study may be used to help first responders and local governments develop effective programs to target opioid users and distribute naloxone as effectively as possible.

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CLEAR is Your New Travel BFF

Man In Airport
“CLEAR” is a simple and very appropriate name for a quicker and smoother process by biometric scanning technology that has helped more than 2.5 million individuals breeze through the lengthy security and check-in lines at airports, car rentals, and sports arenas. Clear allows identification in seconds with the scan of an eye iris, a face, or a fingerprint together with a boarding pass to confirm identity.

At the Airport

Dedicated Clear Lanes and a Clear Ambassador will help with the procedure. Users will go straight to the bag scanners and the front of the security screening line with no waiting. Clear is also busy developing biometric boarding passes to replace scanning regular boarding passes.

Clear Cost at an Airport

A Clear membership at airports is $179 a year, which equals $15 a month. Travelers can add up to three family members for $50 per year, and those under age 18 are free with a member. Delta SkyMiles members get discounted rates. Diamond Medallion members receive a complimentary membership. Gold, Platinum, and Silver Medallion members pay only $79 a year, and General SkyMiles members pay $99. Basic Gold members will get a free trial for one month, Five Star members will get two months of a free trial, and President Circle members will get four months free.

Car Rentals

Hertz will be the first major car rental company to let its Gold Plus Rewards members use their face scan and fingerprint via a Clear Hertz Fast lane to rent a car in less than 30 seconds and get through the exit gate. Now available at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), it will be at 40 Hertz locations in U.S. airports by 2019.

At a Stadium

A partnership between Clear and Major League Baseball allows biometric ticketing and a dedicated Clear lane for entry without needing a physical or mobile ticket. CenturyLink and SafeCo Fields in Seattle are also using Clear to replace credit card usage and ID age validation to get concessions and alcohol. Membership for Clear Sports is free and even includes access for one guest.

How to Enroll

Travelers can become members in just five minutes and begin using the lanes immediately. A Clear Ambassador validates the traveler’s U.S. ID, which can be a driver’s license, a state issued ID, a passport, a passport card, a permanent resident card, or a military ID. Then an eye scan, a fingerprint, and a photo of the traveler’s face are taken to create a profile. Answer a few questions to verify identity and provide a method of payment. Travelers have to be 18 years or older to apply.

Clear and TSA PreCheck

They can both be used with Clear avoiding the long security lines and the PreCheck screening lane avoiding the necessity to remove a belt, shoes, and liquids from carry-on baggage.

Future Plans?

Clear is contemplating replacing the necessity for cash, credit cards, and physical ID forms for hotel check-ins and in retail businesses.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac’s Travel Blog http://bit.ly/2IioVgL
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What Is Telemedicine Today?

Telemedicine
At its most basic, telemedicine is a way to practice medicine and care for patients remotely. New technology allows doctors to consult with and treat patients with HIPAA-compliant tools while not physically present with the patient. Telemedicine is considered a modern concept but it actually began more than five decades ago when hospitals experimented with ways to reach patients in remote areas.

How Telemedicine Works
Telemedicine can involve many techniques but the most basic is a video call using HIPAA-compliant video conferencing technology. This is known as interactive medicine. More advanced telemedicine can even involve portable medical devices like vital sign monitors, ECGs, ultrasound machines, and high-resolution cameras. Telemedicine can also include “store and forward” which allows medical providers to share patient information with other practitioners in another location such as MRI scans and other test results.

Applications for Telemedicine
Telemedicine isn’t able to replace traditional medicine in all forms of care but it does have many uses including follow-up care, chronic condition management like diabetes and high blood pressure, specialist consultations, and medication management. It can be used by primary care physicians to check on a patient after a stay in the hospital, allow a child with the flu to see a doctor without leaving home, or help seniors with limited mobility see a doctor, refill prescriptions, and manage their care.

Telemedicine offers immediate care for a wide variety of minor to moderate conditions that may be urgent, such as allergies, illness, UTIs, and chronic disease management. While originally used to treat remote patients, today telemedicine offers convenient care that usually gives patients 24/7 access to an on-call doctor. It has the potential to not only improve health outcomes for patients and increase physician accessibility but also reduce healthcare costs. As the popularity of telemedicine continues to grow, its applications have also increased. It’s used not only by primary care physicians but also specialists like cardiologists and dermatologists to improve quality and access of care.

Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine has introduced many benefits to traditional medicine for patients and providers. Patients can see a doctor without time away from work, there is no travel necessary, and no exposure to contagious patients. Telemedicine has also been shown to reduce missed appointments and improve health outcomes and medication compliance. For patients with reduced mobility and those living in rural areas, telemedicine can make medical care more accessible and more affordable.

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How to Book a Cruise for Cheap

Cruise Ship

Many people avoid taking vacations because they feel as if they can’t afford it. Though the luxury cruises can be expensive, you don’t have to break the bank when it comes to getting on a cruise of your choice. You can get more bang for your buck by knowing where to look and finding the right deals. We’ve got some tips for you that will help you find an affordable cruise that will help you get away from it all.

Positioning Cruises

People use the term “positioning cruises” in the cruise industry to describe ships that relocate from region to region. The itineraries for these cruises are considerably less because they are a one-way trip to a specific destination. They also occur during the offseason when people are not looking to get on a cruise.

Luxury Rooms on Budget Ships

The last thing you’re probably thinking of before getting a room on a cruise is to get the most expensive suite possible. However, you’d be surprised by what kind of deals you can get. Luxury rooms on lower-priced ships are generally affordable and can be an incredible experience for you. You will get full access to all the highest tier of services regardless of the type of ship that you are cruising on.

Cruise During The Off-Season

One of the most popular times to go on a cruise is during spring break and the summertime. You will be paying top dollar to get on a cruise during this time and fighting to secure a room. However, you can save a lot of money by booking a cruise during the off-season. The off-seasons are considered fall and winter. People oftentimes do not like to cruise during these times because they think it is too cold in the waters. On the contrary, destinations like Jamaica is warm year round since it is so close to the equator. You can get a discount cruise and get to experience the magic of being on the waters if you choose to sail during the off-season.

Traveling Doesn’t Have to Be Impossible

Everyone deserves to travel at some point or another in their lives. Taking advantage of the latest deals and small tricks of the industry will help you land a cruise of your dreams to rejuvenate yourself from the daily grind.

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The Best Travel Bags

Traveling

Tote or travel bags are handy to have whether needing them for daily excursions or a weekend getaway. Unlike the single, open compartment of the bags from yesteryear, the travel bags available today provide are more versatile and help keep items more organized. There are a number of totes considered to be the top of the market.

Dagne Dover Signature Legend Coated Canvas Tote

Whether looking for the ideal tote for business travel or a bag to take to school, the Dagne Dover fits the bill. A separate padded pocket is just the right size for a writing tablet or a 14-inch laptop. Other pockets readily accommodate a smartphone, a wallet, sunglasses and a water bottle. Loops in the compartment are a great way to keep track of writing utensils. A built-in key leash means you will never again have to dig to find your keys.

The Laptop Lugger: Knomo Mayfair Nylon Curzon Shoulder Bag

The Knomo bag is lightweight yet stylish and functional. The interior is spacious enough to accommodate a 15-inch laptop. The liner also has RFID blocking ability to prevent your personal documents from succumbing to wireless identity theft. The top of the bag features a zipper. There are also two zippered side pockets for accommodating smaller items such as a wallet and smartphone. The straps are designed to enable the bag to be carried over the shoulder.

The Flight Chaser: Lo & Sons Catalina Tote

The Lo & Sons tote nearly doubles as a piece of handy luggage. The back of the canvas bag features a convenient sleeve that enables you to slip the tote over a rolling suitcase handle. In this way, you have one hand free and the haul is less cumbersome. The interior of the tote features a zippered compartment and an open compartment for smaller essentials. A rolled up canvas curtain and straps enable you to separate and secure items as needed. The very bottom of the bag is lined and opens to reveal a compartment large enough to accommodate a spare pair of shoes, books or other items. The key leash keeps your keys within reach at all times. Carry the bag like a purse or use the shoulder strap. Velcro sleeves slip over the handles for added width and comfort.

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6 Best Apps for Traveling

Apps
From creating an itinerary to booking flights, hotels, and rental cars, traveling can be stressful. Fortunately, there is no shortage of apps available to make trip planning what it should be: fun and easy. The following are the best travel apps for getting around, finding places to visit, and overcoming language barriers.
Packpoint
This simple app has one purpose: making packing for an upcoming trip as easy as possible. Packpoint considers the weather forecast for the location and date of the trip and asks about activities during the trip such as business meetings, hiking, or swimming. It then suggests items that should be packed plus general items travelers will need.

TripCase
This indispensable app makes it easy to stay on top of all of the details of a trip. Most bookings can be linked with TripCase like attractions, flights, car rentals, and hotels with all details in one place. It also comes with notifications about delays and gate changes, allows users to save receipts, and more.

WiFi Map
WiFi Map makes it easy to stay connected, even in an unfamiliar city. This free app uses crowdsourcing to create a large map of free and protected WiFi services across a city plus tips and passports shared by users.

Kayak
Kayak is one of the most popular trip planning apps thanks to its versatility and user-friendly interface. Kayak searches across many travel sites to find the best deals on flights, cars, and accommodations. It also includes a price alert feature and Price Forecast to estimate how prices will change in the future to determine when to book. Once the tickets are purchased, Kayak works as a convenient trip planner with easy access to the trip itinerary and important details.

Roadtrippers
This app is designed to make every road trip an adventure. After plotting a route in the app, Roadtrippers crawls a huge database of scenic spots, small diners, fun attractions, and other interesting points along the way with side-trip suggestions based on the uploaded itinerary.

Google Translate
Traveling through an unfamiliar area where you don’t speak the language can be intimidating. Google Translate makes it easier with instant text translations and offline translation capabilities for more than 100 languages. The app even translates text from photos and images and can speak translated text aloud when communicating with someone in a different language is necessary.

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3 Ways To Beat The Effects Of Jet Lag

Jetlag

Overcoming jet lag after flying through multiple time zones is never easy. Most people are used to doing things based on a 24-hour clock cycle. When that’s drastically changed by flying halfway around the world, it helps to have a few ways to help a person’s body feel more normal for those first few days of their trip. Starting the trip well-rested, skipping the in-flight movie and staying awake after arrival will help make the transition easier.

Start The Trip Well-Rested 

Leaving for a trip without taking time to rest beforehand is probably going to make a person not feel as well as they could during the first part of their trip. It’s best to rest for at least a 48-hour period before it’s time to travel. This gives a person a couple of peaceful, orderly days where they can make sure that they are fully energized for the adventure that’s quickly coming their way.

Skip The In-Flight Movie

While watching an in-flight movie may be tempting if it’s an exciting action flick or funny comedy that a person hasn’t seen, it’s usually best to grab a pillow and sleep for a few hours during a transatlantic flight. This should help a great deal as it gives the body a good chance to rest and be refreshed by the time that the plane lands. When the current time is announced by the pilot, it’s a good time to make sure that a person’s wristwatch is reset as well.

Stay Awake After Arrival 

It will help if the transition to the new local time is done as quickly as possible. It’s best to try and stay awake until it’s about early bedtime. Depending on the time when a person arrived, plans should be made to take one or more good walks until early in the evening. Exercise, daylight and fresh air are enemies of jet lag. The body will probably beg for sleep — it must be resisted.

The next morning may come early and trying to sleep a little more may be futile. At this point, getting out and enjoying the new sights and sounds as a new date starts to slowly come to life may give a person a chance to see their first sunrise in a foreign land.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac’s Travel Blog http://bit.ly/2EHWVl3
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