Exclusive 75% Off VPN Black Friday Coupon Codes

Trying to find the best VPN can be a struggle on its own, but when you then mix in trying to find the best VPN deal you find yourself down a whole new rabbit hole. You’ve probably heard a lot about VPNs recently and are already aware of the reasons that you need one, but now you need to find the best price, right? We’ve looked through hundreds of Black Friday Deals – VPN that are out there to bring you only the top options that are actually worth considering.

  • Mask your online activity from government surveillance
  • Access and download with torrents and P2P anonymously
  • Avoid speed throttling by local ISPs
  • Watch geo-blocked programming and sports in other countries on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and BBC iPlayer, and in the US


HideMyAss! has been around for a long time and is an excellent all-arounder VPN service. Their real claim to fame, though, is their global coverage. With servers in 217 countries, nobody does locations better. All those servers don’t mean bad performance either. As HMA’s speed test results confirm, they hum along very nicely.

I do have a few concerns with this HideMyAss’s logging policy. It’s more than enough for the average user, but if you like your privacy bulletproof, you should look at CyberGhost or NordVPN. Everywhere else, though, HMA’s offering is on par with other VPN providers.

From November 19 through November 30, you can get a 3-year HMA subscription for 48% off. That’s a dollar per month less than any other sale I have seen from them this year.


A VPN allows you to use the internet anonymously and securely, hiding your activity from third-party surveillance and helping to protect you from data thieves.

Leading VPN provider PureVPN allows you to:

  • Stream content without worrying about the region or country blocks.
  • Conduct online transactions without worrying about your data (or money) getting stolen
  • Keep your IP address hidden
  • Connect to your business network securely
  • Avoid government surveillance


ExpressVPN’s exclusive 15-month plan is available here! This special deal gives you 12 months of unlimited access to high-speed ultra-secure VPN servers plus an extra 3 months totally free. That’s a 49% discount off the regular monthly price! No other website has a lower offer for ExpressVPN.


Trust.Zone is a Seychelles based VPN. It comprises 183 P2P-friendly servers in more than 90 locations across 38 countries and can provide good service using its server network. This VPN company offers a well-designed Windows client and also an official Android app on Google Play. Trust. Zone supports five simultaneous devices, but it is not compatible with routers.

This VPN provides a free 3-day trial with a restriction of 1GB of data, but within that, you can check connections, test websites, or web services unblocking, and run a few speed tests. Also, you don’t have to provide payment details to sign a free trial, email address is enough.

The most significant advantage of using this VPN is that it can unblock BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and other big streaming services efficiently compared to top VPN service providers. It has an AES-256 bit encryption, kill-switch, OpenVPN, and L2TP over IPSec so it ensures your security and your anonymity when you are on the internet. It does not have 24/7 live chat support, which is a drawback because most of the top VPN services offer excellent customer services. – 192.168.l.254 IP Router Default Admin and Password

A considerable lot of the general population are depending for the most part on the web with a specific end goal to get any data that they need. Truth be told, it has turned into the basic thing in the everybody’s life. The web can be gotten to by means of switches, modems, and web association links. Individuals who are utilizing switches may confront a few issues with the IP address. All things considered, the default IP address will assist the general population with accessing the switch.

Continuously make a point to get to the switch with the gave username and secret key and that secret word ought to be maintained secure in control to evade the undesirable associations with your switch. On the off chance that on the off chance that, you can’t get to the web through the switch IP address, you can utilize the default IP deliver to ready to utilize the web. A large portion of the switches accompany the two basic IP address access online, for example, or The main contrast between these IP locations and default IP address is the distinction in last three digits.

There are numerous organizations, associations and systems utilize this default IP address on their gigantic number of links, remote information links, modems and considerably more. The cutting edge switches that utilization IP address generally are as per the following: login administrator

As we said, the IP address is the private location that has its own code. This IP address works just the perfect IPv4 address and it won’t good with IPv6 address.

It is considered as one of the square tends to that can be utilized for the private systems as it were. That implies a gadget can’t be gotten to specifically from the web which is inside this private system notwithstanding utilizing the private IP address.

In any case, it empowers the alternative that any gadget on the neighborhood system can associate with different gadgets that are utilizing this IP address. On the off chance that a switch got to with the private IP address, it can dole out the distinctive private IP address.

Make a point to have a one of a kind location for all the IP addresses inside the system with a specific end goal to maintain a strategic distance from the IP address clashes. The most normally utilized IP address by the switches is either or

How to Access Router Admin Panel?

The switch accompanies the default IP address and secret key. You can change the subtle elements at whatever point you need by utilizing the managerial interface. By entering the in the pursuit bar of your program, you can without much of a stretch access the switch’s comfort page.

Through this, you can change the IP address and furthermore change the settings on the off chance that you need. Know the switch IP address with the accompanying basic advances

Press Windows and X on your PC to open the Power Username.

Presently click direction incite.

Next, enter iconfig in the order immediate and by a rundown will be shown about the PC associations.

In the Local Area Connection Section, discover the Default Gateway.

The IP address present in that area is your switch IP address.

The switches like 2Wire, Aztech, Billion, Motorola, Netopia, SparkLAN and significantly more utilize most basic default username and passwords. The usernames given by the switches will resemble clear, administrator, “administrator”, “client”, or clear, “administrator” or “administrator”, “administrator” or clear and so on.

The passwords that are utilized by the switches are, for example, clear, administrator”, “client”, “secret word”, or clear and considerably more.


So folks, this is the entire data with respect to Purpose of IP Address Router. We trust you got enough insights around IP address. In the event that you have any inquiries, simply drop them in the remark box beneath.

Download Showbox for Mac to Free Stream Movies/TV Shows

Showbox, a standout amongst the most-introduced applications for Android gadgets, includes a gigantic library of films and TV appears and additionally gushing capacity. In spite of the fact that the authority Showbox adaptation is accessible for Android, a few clients are considering in the event that it very well may be kept running on PC for watching most loved motion pictures on a greater screen. In this article, we will show some simple strategies to download Showbox for Mac PCs/PCs with the motivation behind playing and gushing free HD films and TV appears on Mac OS X (MacOS High Sierra included).

Android emulator, a virtual cell phone that can open, run and test Android applications on PC, is the fundamental program to deal with Showbox for Mac download undertaking. Contingent upon various necessities, you can settle on introducing Android emulator for work area or for programs.

Trap 1. Download Showbox for Mac with Android Emulators for Desktop

The most refreshing Android Emulators for Mac are Bluestacks and Genymotion. Bluestacks can be kept running on Mac without outsider virtual work area application and work in a web index empowering you to discover and introduce Install Showbox Apk inside it, while Genymotion needs a record and Oracle Virtual Box for establishment. In spite of the fact that Bluestacks is apparently substantially less demanding and advantageous to utilize, a few voices report that Genymotion is very quicker than the previous. Here, we will demonstrate instructional exercises of Showbox for Mac download with the two projects. You can pick anybody you like.

Introduce Showbox on Mac with Bluestacks

1. Download Bluestacks AppPlayer for your Mac PC which is perfect with Mac OS X free thinkers or later.

2. Open it subsequent to finishing establishment and scan for Showbox with web crawler.

3. Snap to download and introduce the discovered Showbox apk record on Mac.

Introduce Showbox on Mac with Genymotion

1. Make a record to download Genymotion and introduce Mac variant.

2. Download and introduce Oracle Virtual Box.

3. Dispatch Genymotion. Hit “Include” to pick a gadget (for instance Galaxy S6) as virtual gadget. Double tap the gadget to run it.

4. Download Showbox apk record on Mac and drag it to the virtual gadget. At that point, it will be consequently introduced.

Trap 2. Download Showbox for Mac with Android Emulator for Browser

On the off chance that you are unwilling to introduce work area programming, little expansions uniquely intended for programs can likewise enable you to download and run Showbox on Mac. Circular segment Welder is a high-appraised module for Chrome which enables you to test and run any Android applications on PC. Next, how about we figure out how to download Showbox for Mac with this Chrome expansion.

1. On the off chance that you have gotten Google Chrome program on your Mac, open it and inquiry ARC Welder from chrome web store.

2. Snap “ADD TO CHROME” catch to download and introduce this instrument to your program.

3. Open another tab. Hit Apps catch to discover and open introduced ARC Welder. It will expect you to choose a registry for information putting away. Snap Choose to set one.

4. Download Showbox apk record. At that point, hit “Include your APK” catch in ARC Welder to import Showbox application.

5. When Showbox is stacked, a setup interface will be given. Redo the settings and snap Launch App catch. Presently, you can peruse, watch and gushing wanted motion pictures, TV appears on Mac utilizing Showbox.

Need A Showbox Alternative to Get HD Movies/TV Shows on Mac?

Showbox is for sure a wonderful answer for watch and stream motion pictures/TV appears on Mac yet a considerable measure of protestations make sense of that Showbox not working, stacking, refreshing blunders are often happened. At some point, Showbox on PC faces blocked and down inconvenience caused by security or copyright issue. In this manner, a Showbox elective is very important for film download steadily.

Life-Jacket Laws Spur Use, Could Prevent Drownings

By Ronnie Cohen

NEW YORK Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:55am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Dr. Linda Quan lost count of the number of children she watched slowly die from drowning. But she will never forget the pain on the faces of her patients’ parents when she broke the news to them.

That pain spurred the Seattle emergency room pediatrician to advocate for a Washington state law that now requires children 12 years and younger to wear life vests aboard small recreational boats.

In a new study published in the journal Injury Prevention, Quan and her colleagues find that boaters mandated to wear life jackets were the most likely to wear them. She calls on policymakers to extend the law to children between 13 and 17 years old.

“It’s just as bad to lose a 17-year-old as it is to lose a three-year-old,” she told Reuters Health. “So why aren’t we trying to protect them?”

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths of U.S. children ages one to 14, second only to motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2012, U.S. Coast Guard statistics show 459 boaters drowned. More than 82 percent of them were not wearing life jackets.

“This is a preventable injury,” said Quan, from Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Life jackets make sense. They save lives.”

Her team’s study included 5,157 Washington boaters on 33 waterways throughout the state over two summer weekends in 2010. Observers viewed boaters through high-powered binoculars and recorded their gender, their estimated age, type and length of boat, weather and water conditions and life-jacket use.

Washington law requires life jackets to be worn by water skiers and others being towed and by boaters on personal watercraft, or jet skis, as well as by children 12 and under in small vessels.

Federal law mandates that boats carry life jackets for all passengers, but it does not require that they be worn. A patchwork of state laws governs life-jacket wear.

Quan’s study found the average rate of life-jacket use overall was only 31 percent and just 21 percent in motorboats.

When legally mandated, however, boaters were two to three times more likely to wear life jackets, the study found. Life vest use was 80 percent among children six to 12 years old, 89 percent among children five and younger and nearly 97 percent among jet skiers.

“In other words, they listen to the law,” Quan said.

The study also found that teenagers were more likely to put on life jackets if an adult on the boat wore one. Adolescents were twice as likely to wear life jackets as adult boaters – a finding Quan attributes to the teens having to wear life jackets when they were younger.

Quan believes her study shows that efforts to educate boaters – when not accompanied by legal mandates – may largely fall on deaf ears. National life-jacket use rates have hovered between 21 and 23 percent since the late 1990s, despite a concerted effort to convince boaters of the importance of personal flotation devices, the study says.

All states except Virginia and Wisconsin require child boaters to wear life jackets, with the cutoff age varying from six to 12 years old, Thomas Mangione told Reuters Health. Mangione, who works for the nonprofit JSI Research and Training Institute in Boston, was not involved in the current research but has studied the issue for the Coast Guard.

He said Quan’s findings mirror his.

“Basically, Americans are law-abiding,” he said. “When there are regulations, people comply.”

Quan said she would look for a Washington state legislator to write a law to extend life jacket regulations up to age 17.

“We really are very interested in not just protecting the toddler but the adolescent and young adult because they have the next highest risk of dying,” she said.

Chris Edmonston, president of the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, told Reuters Health he could not comment on legislation that has not yet been drafted. But his group, based in Annapolis, Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia, has lobbied against life-jacket laws and promotes education over regulation.

“My opinion is that not many children are dying in boating accidents because they weren’t wearing a life jacket in Washington,” he said.

“Some people say that if you save one life, it’s worth having a new law,” Edmonston said. “But looking at the statistics for the past decade, some would say it’s hard to make an argument that a new law is needed.”

Efforts to educate boaters about the importance of wearing life jackets are working, Edmonston said.

But Quan’s investigation and another recent study suggest otherwise, researchers said.

In a study published last month in the Journal of Public Health Policy, Mangione compared the results of a California campaign to educate boaters to wear life jackets with the results of a Mississippi demonstration project mandating life jackets on some lakes.

Adult life-jacket use skyrocketed from less than 14 percent to nearly 76 percent during the first year of the Mississippi law requiring the vests, Mangione’s study found. At the same time, the California educational program showed only a modest gain, from 8.5 percent to 12 percent in the first year.

“We think the best situation is where there would be mandatory regulations and education to support these regulations,” Mangione said.

“Education’s really important,” Quan said. “But there’s no question it has limited effectiveness.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/1nzLsjH Injury Prevention, online February 10, 2014.

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E-cig industry on tenterhooks ahead of U.S. regulation

By Toni Clarke

WASHINGTON Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:32am EST

Various e-cigarette products for sale are seen at the Henley Vaporium in New York City December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Various e-cigarette products for sale are seen at the Henley Vaporium in New York City December 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lobbyists for electronic cigarette companies have been beating a path to the White House, hoping to prevent the administration from imposing strict, and possibly costly, rules on the burgeoning $2 billion industry.

In November and December, more than 35 organizations including e-cigarette companies, cigar and tobacco makers, trade associations, physician groups, lawyers, lobbyists and public health advocates trooped through the doors of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

OMB has been reviewing a rule proposed by the Food and Drug Administration that would bring e-cigarettes under its jurisdiction and could potentially require companies to register and pay fees, list the ingredients in their products, obtain prior approval for new products and restrict online sales and marketing to children.

The OMB, which reviews proposed regulations to assess, among other things, their economic impact, has not given a date for when it will be finished with its review, but officials have not had a meeting with outsiders since January 17 according to public records, suggesting they have heard all they need, or are willing, to hear.

At stake is the future of an industry that some analysts believe will eventually overtake the $80 billion-a-year tobacco business. Advocates of e-cigarettes, which are battery-powered cartridges filled with nicotine liquid that when heated creates an inhalable vapor, say they are less dangerous than tobacco products and can help smokers quit. Public health experts fear they may act as a gateway to smoking for the uninitiated.

Mitch Zeller, head of the FDA’s tobacco division, said in an interview that there is a “continuum of risk” among nicotine products currently on the market, with cigarettes on one end and medicinal nicotine on the other. He declined to say where on the spectrum he expects e-cigarettes to fall or what is contained in the FDA’s proposals. In general, he said, people smoke for the nicotine and die from the tar.

“I’m not saying nicotine is benign, but when compared to the risk associated with regular tobacco, it pales,” he said.

Some, therefore, expect the FDA to exercise flexibility in regulating e-cigarettes.

“It’s not just a matter of a blanket dropping in of the current regulations over additional products,” said Diane Canova, vice president of government affairs at the anti-tobacco American Legacy Foundation, “Some of the current restrictions may not fit.”


A law passed in 2009 gave the FDA the authority to regulate cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco. It also gave the agency the power to deem other tobacco products to be within its jurisdiction but it must first issue a rule to that effect. E-cigarette companies believe they should be exempt from the full spectrum of regulations, saying they would stifle innovation, damage small business and hurt consumers trying to quit smoking.

Tobacco company Lorillard Inc, owner of the blu e-cigarette brand, is the dominant player in the field, followed by privately-held NJOY and LOGIC Technology. The three account for an estimated 80 percent of the market.

In a November 7 presentation to OMB, representatives for NJOY said that while the company supports product registration and minimum age requirements, it opposes restrictions on TV advertising and sponsorship and any regulation that would subject e-cigarettes to the pre-market approval requirements that traditional tobacco products face.

“The concern is that a product that is constantly changing could be tied up in a very time-consuming process before the products could be legally marketed,” said Bryan Haynes, a lawyer for the Electronic Cigarette Industry Group (ECIG).

The FDA is already working its way through a backlog of nearly 4,000 applications for new or modified tobacco products.

E-cigarettes are sold online and at a variety of retail locations including some gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores and drug stores.

“We think the proposals will include a potential ban on internet sales because you can’t age verify,” said Vivien Azer, an analyst at Citigroup. The FDA is expected to place age restrictions on who can buy e-cigarettes.

Restricting internet sales would be “devastating to the companies that have built successful businesses online,” said Cynthia Cabrera, executive director of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA). “About quarter of the revenue from e-cigarettes come from online sales,” she added.

Another contested area is the use of flavorings. Banned in traditional cigarettes they are used widely in e-cigarettes to produce tastes ranging from pear and passion fruit to butterscotch and banana cream.

Public health advocates say flavorings attract children and threaten to create a new generation of nicotine addicts even the government is trying to create a generation that is tobacco free.

Adult smoking rates have fallen to 18 percent from 43 percent in 1965. Even so, more than 3,200 young people a day under the age of 18 try their first cigarette, a recent government report found. The use of e-cigarettes by young people doubled between 2011 to 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Once the proposed rule is announced there will be a period for public comment, after which the FDA will develop final regulation. The process could take a year or more. In the meantime, critics say e-cigarette companies are using the same promotional techniques that were used for decades by cigarette manufacturers to attract teenagers to their products.

On February 12, two Democratic U.S. representatives, Henry Waxman and Peter Welch, and one senator, Tom Harkin, wrote to the attorneys general in their states to bring electronic cigarettes under the terms of a settlement reached in 1998 with top tobacco companies that prohibited any advertising targeting youth.

“Youth use of these products is particularly troubling since the full extent of e-cigarette harms is not yet understood,” they wrote.

Some e-cigarette companies are already positioning themselves for a more restrictive environment. LOGIC Technology, for one, expects advertising, flavors and online sales to be banned or severely restricted.

“I think what is important is retail locations,” Miguel Martin, LOGIC’s president, said in an interview. “In retail locations, there is age verification. I believe that is where the industry is going and where regulation is going. If you are relying on the internet and TV, I think those vehicles are going to be taken away from you.”

LOGIC’s products taste either of tobacco or menthol only, the flavors allowed with traditional cigarettes.

But Martin, like other e-cigarette companies, wants his industry to be exempt from the requirement that new or modified products be reviewed by the FDA before hitting the market.

In the meantime, OMB officials have mostly kept their thoughts to themselves.

“I’ve been in some of these meetings,” said Eric Criss, president of ECIG. “It’s mostly a one-way conversation.”

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Marguerita Choy)

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Raptor says Huntington's disease drug slows loss of muscle control

Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:46am EST

(Reuters) – Raptor Pharmaceutical Corp said its experimental brain disorder drug slowed the loss of muscle control in patients with Huntington’s disease after 18 months of treatment.

Raptor’s shares were up 9 percent at $16.24 in premarket trading on Thursday.

The drug slowed the progression of muscle spasms, eye and hand movements and loss of balance compared to a placebo.

The trial enrolled 96 patients with Huntington’s disease, a genetic disorder caused by the degeneration of nerve cells in parts of the brain, resulting in the loss of executive function and uncontrollable movements.

The company said seven patients discontinued treatment during the study. Six of them were treated with the drug, codenamed RP103.

Raptor is also testing the drug in a mid-stage study for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children.

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First biomarker could help boys at risk of major depression

By Kate Kelland

LONDON Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:06pm EST

LONDON (Reuters) – British brain scientists have identified the first biomarker, or biological signpost, for clinical depression and say it could help find boys in particular who are at risk of developing the debilitating mental illness.

In a study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) journal, the team found that teenage boys who have a combination of depressive symptoms and raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol are up to 14 times more likely to develop major depression than those who show neither trait.

The findings suggest teenagers could in future be screened for such signals, and those at highest risk could be helped to develop the kind of coping strategies and “brain fitness” to help them avoid becoming depressive.

“We’re very bad about looking after our mental health, and yet the problems of mental health are extremely common,” said Barbara Sahakian, a Cambridge University professor of Clinical neuropsychology who worked on the study.

“Depression is one of the greatest global burdens of disease – it’s a much bigger problem than heart disease or cancer and it’s much more expensive.”

Depression affects around 350 million people worldwide and at its worst can blight patients’ lives for decades, affecting their relationships, work and ability to function. It can also lead to suicide, which alone leads to a million deaths a year.

“Depression is a terrible illness,” said Ian Goodyer, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who led the research team. “(And) we now have a very real way of identifying those teenage boys most likely to develop clinical depression.”

He said armed with such knowledge, doctors and other carers could target prevention strategies at depression-vulnerable boys and “hopefully help reduce their risk of serious episodes of depression and their consequences in adult life”.

According to the World Health Organisation, prevention programs – including boosting cognitive, problem-solving and social skills in children – have been shown to reduce depression, and earlier intervention is more effective.


Different factors are thought to influence the development of depression, including genetics, brain chemistry, lifestyle and upbringing. Key triggers for the condition can include stressful life events, medical illness and alcohol abuse.

For their study, Goodyear’s team measured levels of cortisol in saliva from two large separate groups of teenagers. The first group of 660 provided samples on four school mornings within a week and then again 12 months later. A second group of 1,198 teenagers gave samples over three school mornings.

Using self-reports, collected over 12 months, of any symptoms of depression – such as feeling sad or anxious – and combining them with the cortisol results, the researchers then divided the teenagers into four sub-groups ranging from those with normal levels of cortisol and low symptoms of depression in Group 1 through to those teenagers with more cortisol and high symptoms of depression in Group 4.

Tracking the teenagers for three years, the team found that those in Group 4 were on average seven times more likely than those in Group 1, and two to three times more likely than in the other two groups, to develop clinical depression.

Further analysis showed that boys in Group 4 were 14 times more likely to develop clinical depression than those in Group 1, and two to four times more likely to develop it than either of the other two groups.

Commenting on the findings, John Williams, head of neuroscience and mental at the Wellcome Trust charity which helped fund the study, noted that depression is “incredibly costly to society” and cited a 2011 European College of Neuropsychopharmacology report that said mood disorders cost Europe alone more than 110 billion euros ($150 billion) a year.

“We desperately need ways to identify people at high risk of depression early so we can potentially prevent its onset and treat it early to reduce its burden. In this context, (this) study… is a landmark in the field,” he said.

(Editing by Jon Boyle)

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Kids who use snus before age 16 more likely to become smokers

By Shereen Jegtvig

NEW YORK Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:35pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Norwegians who started using snus before age 16 were more likely to become cigarette smokers than those who started using snus later in life, according to a new study.

Snus is moist smokeless tobacco developed in Sweden. It’s contained in a small pouch, and unlike regular chewing tobacco, it doesn’t make the user spit.

Research suggests snus has lower levels of chemicals called nitrosamines than cigarettes and may be less harmful.

In Norway, snus has become a smoking cessation aid and most older snus users are former smokers.

But snus is also becoming increasingly popular among young Norwegian adults, many of whom have not smoked cigarettes. And although research is divided, the current thinking is that snus use reduces the likelihood of taking up smoking.

The authors of the new study wanted to know more about when people start using snus, to see if that ties into whether they also begin smoking cigarettes.

“I already knew about the research investigating associations between snus use and later smoking, but discovered that snus debut age had not been mentioned in that research,” Ingeborg Lund told Reuters Health in an email.

Lund is a researcher with the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research – SIRUS, in Oslo. She and her colleague Janne Scheffels published their study in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The researchers analyzed surveys of Norwegian teenagers and adults conducted from 2005 to 2011.

Out of 8,313 people, 409 were long-term snus users who had started using snus before cigarettes or never used cigarettes. Of the snus users, 30 percent were long-term smokers.

Just over one third of the snus users started using snus before age 16. The researchers discovered those participants had two to three times the odds of becoming lifetime smokers, compared to people who began using snus after age 16.

They also found that early snus users had about the same rate of cigarette smoking as non-snus users. About 23 percent of early snus users were current smokers at the time of the survey, compared to only six percent of people who started using snus when they were older.

“Snus use seems to protect against smoking if the snus debut does not happen too early during adolescence,” Lund said.

She said it’s particularly important to keep teenagers tobacco-free until they are at least 16 years old.

“At younger ages, even if they start with a low risk product such as snus, there is a high risk that they will switch to – or add – other high-risk products, such as cigarettes,” she said. “This risk is reduced when they grow older.”

Since snus use is much less common in other countries, Lund said she doesn’t know if these results can be generalized outside of Norway and Sweden.

Lucy Popova, from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, told Reuters Health the new study was “interesting.” She was not involved in the research.

“Earlier initiation of snus basically makes it a gateway to tobacco use, to cigarette use in the future,” she said.

Popova explained that traditional Swedish snus is less dangerous than cigarettes.

“But it’s not harm-free, and (what) is really bad is when people start using both products because of increased rates of cardiovascular disease, pancreatic cancers and other problems,” she said.

Snus is fairly new to the U.S., and Popova said the version made in the U.S. isn’t like the traditional Swedish product.

“A research study found that it’s different from the traditional low-nitrosamine snus in Sweden – it’s not necessarily going to be as low-harm,” she said.

Popova is concerned with heavy promotion for smokeless tobacco products like snus.

“There’s been a lot of studies showing that more advertisement for tobacco products makes it more likely that children will use tobacco products,” she said, “and it’s important to keep youth tobacco-free as long as possible.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/1dP5O2Q Nicotine and Tobacco Research, online February 5, 2014.

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FDA warns about Medisca's L-citrulline supplement

WASHINGTON Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:51pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday certain lots of the supplement L-citrulline, used to treat genetic disorders found mostly in children, sold by compounding firm Medisca Inc were found to contain none of the drug, and warned doctors and patients not to use it.

The FDA said the company is voluntarily recalling eight lots of the supplement. The agency said it has received “several adverse event reports associated with Medisca’s L-citrulline product.”

“Health care professionals should discontinue dispensing from these lots, contact patients, and return all unused product to Medisca Inc. Patients and caregivers should stop using any product with these lot numbers,” the FDA said.

The FDA said testing by Medisca indicated that those lots at issue did not contain L-citrulline. The agency said L-citrulline is used to treat certain urea cycle disorders, rare genetic conditions primarily diagnosed in children.

The company said in a statement that its investigation of the lots found that they did not contain L-citrulline “and therefore represent a potential health hazard. These lots should not be used for any purpose.”

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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Digital media could work as tool to improve health

By Ronnie Cohen

NEW YORK Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:28pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – After a desperate mother in South Wales, UK, posted a video of her baby having a seizure on Facebook, one of her friends provided the diagnosis that had eluded the boy’s doctor.

The discovery that Evan Owens suffers from reflex anoxic seizures, a rare but treatable disease, provided a happy ending and is just one example of the public health benefits of digital media, says a new perspective in the Journal of Public Health.

Evan’s story, published in the UK’s Daily Mail, illustrates how people are turning to the Internet for healthcare advice and how important it is for healthcare professionals to participate in the discussion, the perspective’s lead author, Amelia Burke-Garcia, told Reuters Health. (The Daily Mail story is online here: dailym.ai/1eWaEl6.)

“There’s always the risk of misinformation or false information floating around on these channels,” Burke-Garcia said. “The fact that people are using them demonstrates the need for healthcare professionals to be active and share information in these environments.”

Public health professionals are beginning to use digital media as a research tool and to deliver messages about everything from obesity to AIDS, the study says. “But there are many other opportunities that can be explored especially because existing platforms will evolve and new ones will emerge,” Burke-Garcia said.

She runs the Center for Digital Strategy and Research at Westat, a research corporation in Rockville, Maryland. She and Dr. Gabriel Scally, from the University of the West of England in Bristol, analyzed academic and online literature to identify future directions for digital media in public health research and communications.

“Digital media is set to revolutionize the way in which health information is communicated and gathered,” the researchers write in their perspective. But, they say, despite numerous studies, there has been little “effective and meaningful evaluation.”

Digital media is being used to track disease spread and mobilize responses. Healthcare organizations have used it to frame debates and communicate with wide segments of the population.

One future trend the authors identify is what they call “buzz monitoring,” listening in on public online conversations about health issues, like smoking or obesity, in an effort to tailor future public health announcements.

Another use of digital media connects healthcare providers and consumers in online meeting places that bring people together for a variety of purposes. As an example, Burke-Garcia said, public health workers might talk to “Mommy and Me” groups about vaccinations.

Recent research found specially created Facebook groups worked to encourage gay men to reach out for information about home HIV/AIDS testing (see Reuters Health story of September 2, 2013 here: reut.rs/1b2pANv.)

Oyinlola Oyebode, a public health researcher at University College London, told Reuters Health in an email that she has seen firsthand the power of digital media in health research. Reports of vomiting on Facebook helped her team identify an additional 80 cases in one disease outbreak, she said.

In addition, she recently ran a study examining text-message reminders and breast cancer screening. Women reminded by text were more likely to attend screening appointments, she said.

Oyebode wrote a commentary published with Burke-Garcia and Scally’s perspective.

Social scientist Peter John Aspinall also was not involved in the current study but wrote his own commentary. He told Reuters Health in an email that “the more routine adoption of these technologies may represent something of a slow march given the substantial pressures on already stretched public health resources.”

Aspinall, from the UK’s University of Kent, warned that web-based disease surveillance “can get the trends wrong because of the lack of contextual information.” For example, he said, Google Flu Trends overestimated the number of Americans stricken with flu last year.

“This has led international experts in disease surveillance to conclude that flu-tracking techniques based on the mining of web data should be seen to complement rather than substitute for traditional epidemiological surveillance networks,” he said.

Asked about digital media’s propensity for fear mongering, Burke-Garcia said new media is no different than old when it comes to whipping up panic.

“I don’t think digital media creates fear where other channels don’t,” she said.

“There are downsides to the speed and the ubiquity of messages in digital. You can say that the channel creates fear. The channel also creates opportunities to combat that fear.”

Though Oyebode has embraced digital media, she sees potential drawbacks, particularly if public health announcements keep people in their chairs or on their couches in front of screens.

“It might be an effective way to encourage people to make healthy lifestyle changes or to help them connect and find social support during a difficult time,” she said. “And there are some particular instances, for example relating to sexual health, where it might be easier for people to seek information . . . online than face to face,” Oyebode added.

“However, those developing online interventions should think about how much sedentary time their intervention will encourage.”

SOURCES: bit.ly/1hggf7q, bit.ly/1gzHvcn and bit.ly/1kF3VOz Journal of Public Health, January 2014.

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