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Heroes

Scientists may have found a painkiller that you can't overdose on.

A new candidate drug could help manage pain without harmful side effects.

A few years ago, I got my wisdom teeth out. Ironically, one of the worst parts of the experience was the painkillers.

I was prescribed oxycodone, an opioid painkiller, after the procedure. And though it helped with the recovery, I felt like taking those pills was a bigger deal than, you know, having part of my body surgically removed.


I disliked taking them because I ended up with killer nausea (I actually had to get another prescription to deal with that), but I also knew (and had a stern warning from the pharmacist) that opioids can sometimes be dangerous.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad we have opioid painkillers.

Opioids are a class of drugs named after the opium poppy. They include medicines like oxycodone and morphine as well as medicines-turned-illicit drugs like heroin. They're an indispensable part of modern medicine. Few other drugs approach their ability to reduce pain.

But there are big drawbacks to using them.

They can be incredibly addictive. In fact, the U.S. currently has an epidemic of people addicted to either prescription or illicit opioids.

They also come with some serious side effects, including halting your respiration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates than more than 70 people a day die from an opioid overdose.

Overdose kits can save lives but only if they get there in time. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

So that begs the question: What if we could make an opioid without all those drawbacks?

Scientists might have just created an overdose-proof opioid. Oh, and early tests hint that it might not be addictive, either.

A new study published online Aug. 17, 2016, in Nature explained that a team of scientists just developed a candidate drug that kills pain without interfering with our ability to breathe.

They also think the drug might circumvent the brain's addiction circuit, although they need to do more work to see if this holds up.

One of the coolest things about this is how they created the drug.

Instead of tweaking an existing medicine, they started from scratch.

Opioids work by locking on to molecules in our cells known as receptors, especially one called the mu opioid receptor. For a long time this was a black box, but we recently figured out the mu opioid receptor's atomic structure.

It might look like a tie-die Rorschach test, but to a scientist, this could be a treasure map. Image from Protein Data Bank/Wikimedia Commons.

Why is this a big deal? It's like the difference between trying random keys in a door and being given the lock's specific blueprint. So rather than having to try chemicals one by one, the scientists were able to create a custom design on a computer.  Over a few weeks, they ran four trillion virtual experiments, looking for the perfect key — one that'd hit only the mu opioid receptor while avoiding the ones that influenced breathing.

After a while, they ended up with about two dozen candidates, which they then synthesized and tested in mice. Those experiments led to the new drug.

There's a long, long way to go with this new drug. But if this works, it could help a lot of people someday.

Kim Sullivan's son died of an opioid overdose. She's since become a public health education advocate. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

"Morphine transformed medicine," said one of the scientists, professor Brian Shoichet, in a press release. "There are so many medical procedures we can do now because we know we can control the pain afterwards. But it's obviously dangerous too. People have been searching for a safer replacement for standard opioids for decades."

It's premature to say whether this drug'll hit the shelves. But who knows — one day someone might be able to walk into a pharmacy after getting their wisdom teeth out, secure in the knowledge that their painkiller is not only effective but safer than ever before.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Education

All-female flight crews known as 'Night Witches' bombed the crap out of Nazi targets in WWII

The Germans were terrified of these pilots whose silent planes swooped in like ghosts.

The Night Witches were feared by the Germans for their stealth bombing runs.

If you like stories of amazing women, buckle up, because this one is a wild ride.

During WWII, the Soviet Air Force's 588th Night Bomber Regiment flew incredibly harrowing missions, bombing Germans with rudimentary biplanes in the dead of night. The Germans called them Nachthexen—"Night Witches"—because the only warning they had before the bombs hit was an ominous whooshing sound akin to a witch's broom.

The "whoosh" sound was due to the fact that the women would cut the planes' engines as they approached, gliding in stealthily before dropping their bombs. And the Night Witches moniker was fitting, considering the fact that the 588th was an all-female regiment.

Their missions were incredibly dangerous, especially considering how the women were equipped. Most of the recruits were in their late teens to mid-20s, and crew members had to learn how to pilot, navigate and maintain the aircraft so they could serve the regiment in any capacity. They underwent an intensive year of training to learn what usually took several years to master.

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This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019


Sadly, a lot of men go out of their way to avoid learning anything about a woman's period.

(That could be why throughout most of the United States — where the majority of lawmakers are men — feminine hygiene products are subject to sales tax.)

So we should give some love to the guys who make an effort to learn a bit about the menstrual cycle so they can help their family members when they're in desperate need of feminine hygiene products.

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