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Features Health & Wellness

Experts agree that adolescence marks a critical period for brain development. New research shows that binge-drinking teens risk lasting brain changes that could affect their lives as adults.

Adolescents represent the majority of people who binge drink. This may come as a surprise to some, but recent surveys indicate that episodes of heavy alcohol drinking within the previous two weeks are reported by 12 percent of 8th graders, 22 percent of 10th graders, 28 percent of 12th grade seniors and 44 percent of college students.

Human adolescence, roughly between 12 to 20 years of age, marks a critical period for brain development. This is when the growth of the cortex, our gray matter, reaches a peak and is coupled with major rearrangements of neurons. Some guess that such brain remodeling during development help us adapt to life’s demands as we mature toward adulthood.

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MedWest Health System will open its newest Urgent Care Center on Aug. 15 in Sylva.

Located at 176 Walmart Plaza, MedWest Urgent Care Center-Sylva will provide walk-in examinations six days a week to patients with non-emergency illnesses or injuries. The new Center includes space for eight patient exam rooms, X-ray and full lab services in 3,770 square feet.

The public can get a preview of the new facility during an open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 11.

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Commissioner gives testimony at Medical Facilities public hearing in Asheville

Last week, Macon County received an extension granting it extra time to complete a petition seeking special needs consideration from the state for a dialysis center. Many residents of Macon County who require dialysis for kidney disease must travel across Cowee Mountain into Jackson County to access the nearest facility offering such treatment.

In recent months, citizens and local officials have mounted an effort to seek special consideration to establish a center in the county. The State Health Coordinating Committee, the body charged with making determinations of need for healthcare facilities throughout the state, publishes its findings in the twice annual State Medical Facilities Plan.

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America has one of the safest and most abundant food supplies in the world; but even in this country, too many people get sick from the food they eat.

This year, one in six Americans will get food poisoning – that’s 48 million people. 128,000 will end up in the hospital, and 3,000 will die. These aren’t just statistics. These are real people, real families, impacted by the food they put on the table.

We can do better. The U.S. Department of Agriculture are more committed and united more than ever before to reduce the rates of food-related illnesses. We are doing that, first of all, by making sure the food industry provides the safest products possible.

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