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It’s not surprising that the many people are up in arms about how much food we waste, and potatoes are part of the problem: about half of all potatoes bought by UK households are thrown away. That’s nearly 6m spuds a day, at a yearly cost of £230m.

My mum always made the best chips: skin-on, hand-cut, cooked once, and served doused in malt vinegar and ketchup. The skin adds flavour, colour and crispness. The same goes for roast potatoes: why peel them? It takes more time, plus the skin (and just below it) is where most of the nutrients are stored – in this case, bags of vitamin C, potassium and iron.

I make roasties by parboiling them whole, skin and all (scrub off any mud first, if need be), then crushing them a little so they break open and reveal their fluffy insides, before tossing in olive oil, plenty of salt and perhaps a herb or spice, and finishing in the oven for an hour at 190C/375F/gas 5. This gives you the best of both worlds: a crisp, floury crunch and earthy, flavourful skin.

But if you must peel spuds, perhaps because you like chips white and roasties golden yellow, then, for your wallet’s sake, cook them up – those peelings make the most marvellous crisps.

Potato peel crisps

Heat 3cm oil in a deep saucepan on a medium-high flame. Check the temperature by dropping in a ribbon of peel: it’s hot enough if it starts to bubble and rises to the surface. Drop in the peelings – in batches, if need be – give them a gentle stir and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Sprinkle with salt while hot, and serve with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of chilli.

Tom Hunt is a chef, sustainability campaigner and founder of Poco Tapas Bar in Bristol

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My sister is a big Zumba fan: the way she tells it, the instructors are all really hot. There’s one who looks exactly like Benicio del Toro in the Usual Suspects, and his classes are so full that on a Friday night all the bars are empty because everyone’s in a municipal gym trying to twerk. Every instructor has a favourite musical bent, either salsa, soca (soul of calypso), Latin or dancehall wine, and all are equally good in their own unique fashions. One of the women in her class recruited her to Momentum. I couldn’t recreate a scene like this in my own postcode; but nor could I turn up at her Zumba class. For some reason relational intimacy doesn’t belong in a fitness environment. It would be like the time my friend met his brother in an underwear-only bar.

So let’s just accept that hers (trendy south-east London) was cool and mine (not trendy south London) wasn’t (there is nothing to stop you going to hers). I would still recommend this activity.

There is major two-streaming in the fitness economy: fashionable classes will skin you alive, hot yoga and reformer pilates happily relieving you of £20 for an hour, which I balk at even when I’m not paying; meanwhile, age-old activities such as pump, step and Zumba are still a much more reasonable seven or eight quid. Plus, novelty is all very well, but you can’t beat an activity that really knows what it’s doing: the pace of Zumba, its crescendoes of effort, is expertly pitched. You get sucked into physical exertion by the irresistible vortex of your own enthusiasm, rather than the exhortations of a lady yelling at you through a headset.

The footwork isn’t hugely complicated, but a natural twerker is born not made: some of us could live a lifetime and not get any good at it. There’s always a topnote of competition in a class environment, but there is a bold-faced mutual appraisal in Zumba based pretty much entirely on who is best at shaking that ass. Never has anything so closely resembled the function of the squat thrust, while being so much more fun. The day after, everything hurts roughly as much as if I’d ridden a horse across a beach, when I didn’t know how to ride and the horse was going too fast.

If you measure fitness benefits by how much time you spend out of breath, it’s about the same as aerobics, less tiring than step, not as painful as spin and more demanding than the music video backing dancer classes I got into at the start of the year (where there was a fair amount of standing around, puzzling over moves).

Even though I was as foxed by the routines as I am the first 20 times I do anything, the sheer easy grace of the old hands suggests to me that it’s like riding a bike. While it feels quite fun in a diffuse, riotous way, it has actually resolved itself into a fitness discipline: you won’t wake up with one tricep aching and not the other, put it that way.

It’s not a new sport and nor is it an extreme one. But I’m arriving at the view that “new” and “extreme” are where the trouble starts.

Give it a go

Go to zumba.com to find a class near you, on almost every day of the week.

Leggings: mygymwardrobe.com. Shoes : Saucony courtesy of Brandnation. Hair and makeup: Sarah Cherry

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Deciding where to make your next dinner reservation may have just gotten a little easier.

Boston magazine released its annual Best of Boston list on Friday, highlighting the city’s cream of the crop in categories including arts and entertainment, home design, shopping, wellness, and restaurants and food.

Pammy’s, dubbed a New American trattoria by the owners, nabbed the Best New Restaurant award. Boston magazine staffers applauded the Cambridge restaurant for both its food (namely, the mussels with squid ink arancini and lime leaf aioli), and atmosphere (noting the communal table, fresh flowers, and greetings by Pammy herself at the hostess stand).

Live scallop crudo served at Bar Mezzana. —Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Over in the South End, Colin Lynch’s Bar Mezzana earned the award for Best Restaurant, General Excellence. Boston magazine’s staffers declared that diners should “go for the house-made pastas and crudos, stay for the…well, everything else.” They commended the coastal Italian spot for rising to an array of occasions, whether it be a celebration, casual bite, or stop at the bar.

All of the snacks, sips, and chefs that made it onto Best of Boston 2018 are listed on Boston magazine’s website.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — An 800-pound, nearly 11-foot-long steel sculpture of a bent and burned drug spoon was placed Friday in front of the Connecticut headquarters of drugmaker Purdue Pharma as part of an art protest against the opioid crisis.

Artist Domenic Esposito and art gallery owner Fernando Alvarez dropped the sculpture at the company’s Stamford headquarters. Police arrested Alvarez on a minor charge of obstructing free passage. A city worker removed the spoon with a payloader and it was hauled to a police evidence holding area.

Several state and local governments are suing Purdue Pharma for allegedly using deceptive marketing to boost sales of its opioid painkiller OxyContin, deceiving patients and doctors about the risks of opioids. The company has been blamed for helping fuel addiction and opioid overdose deaths.

Purdue Pharma denies the allegations in the lawsuits.

“We share the protesters’ concern about the opioid crisis, and respect their right to peacefully express themselves,” the company said in a statement Friday in response to the sculpture. “Purdue is committed to working collaboratively with those affected by this public health crisis on meaningful solutions to help stem the tide of opioid-related overdose deaths.”

Opioid overdose deaths rose to about 46,000 in the U.S. for the 12-month period that ended in October 2017, up about 15 percent from October 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Esposito, of Westwood, Massachusetts, and his family have struggled with his brother’s 14-year opioid addiction. He said his brother, Danny, who has been clean for the past four months, has nearly died and has been in and out of jail.

He said the idea for the 4-foot-high sculpture, which includes a depiction of burned heroin on the spoon, came from his mother screaming several years ago that she found another bent spoon used by his brother. Spoons are used to “cook” the drugs into liquid form before putting them into syringes.

“The spoon has always been an albatross for my family,” Esposito said. “It’s kind of an emotional symbol, a dark symbol for me.

“This is just a movement for accountability,” he said. “Percocet and OxyContin are still all over the streets. Nothing’s changed. People are still dying. … It’s also a calling for the federal government to step in and do something.”

The placement of the giant spoon at Purdue Pharma kicked off an exhibit on the opioid crisis that opened Friday at Alvarez’s gallery in Stamford.

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Last summer, 11-year-old Gus was beyond excited to attend his first Boy Scout campout without his parents.

“Me and my husband believed he’d be fine on the trip because he’s super independent, but I remember telling my husband I was worried about ticks because how often does an 11-year-old reapply spray?” Gus’s mom, Lesley, explained.

 

Nevertheless, she and her husband let their son venture off from Illinois to upper Wisconsin for a week away over the Fourth of July holiday.

When Gus returned, Lesley said they did a “tick check from head to toe” but found nothing and figured he was “in the clear.”

However, near the end of July, Gus came down with a high fever and a migraine that wouldn’t go away. After checking in with his pediatrician, Lesley chalked it up to a virus. But when his headache persisted after a week and a half, they went back to the doctor, who suggested giving it another day before sending Gus for an MRI to rule out a tumor.

To Lesley’s relief, her son’s headache was gone the next day. Since the family was heading to Michigan for vacation, Gus’s pediatrician suggested he get the MRI when they return. Yet, as soon as the family arrived in Michigan, things took a turn for the worse.

“I looked across the table at Gus and I noticed he tried to take a drink and he couldn’t get his mouth to work. It was hanging low. He said one side of his face felt weird,” Lesley said.

She rushed him to the nearest emergency room. By the time they arrived, Gus couldn’t blink or close his left eye. His condition was diagnosed as Bell’s palsy.

Over the course of the week, he continued to deteriorate.

“By the time we got home from Michigan, he almost couldn’t walk. His hips, knees, ankles, and lower back were in so much pain that he said it felt like someone had a vice on all his joints,” Lesley said.

On their first night back home, Gus couldn’t sleep and woke his mom, so she took him downstairs to watch TV.

That’s when Lesley noticed her son’s legs, chest, and back were covered with a bull’s-eye rash — a common symptom of Lyme disease that can occur from 3 to 30 days after an infected tick bite and usually doesn’t itch or cause pain.

In the morning, Lesley took Gus back to his doctor. By the time they arrived, the rash was gone. Thankfully, Lesley thought to take pictures of the rash the night before and the images prompted Gus’s pediatrician to test him for Lyme disease right away.

Complex journey to diagnosis and treatment

Gus’s pediatrician gave him two tests: the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, which is commonly used to detect Lyme disease, and the Western blot test, which is often given to confirm Lyme if the ELISA test is positive.

A few days later, Gus received a diagnosis of Lyme disease. Lesley said the family was happy to finally have identified the problem, and she believed her son would soon be on the road to recovery.

Gus’s pediatrician collaborated with a children’s hospital in Chicago to determine he needed 30 days of doxycycline, an antibiotic commonly prescribed to treat Lyme.

“He started feeling better immediately but did have some lingering pain in his hip and he wasn’t totally himself. He tossed and turned all night long and his energy was pretty low,” Lesley said. “I told myself these were all happening because he was growing. I just wanted to [believe] we beat the Lyme.”

However, when Gus’s symptoms persisted after he finished the antibiotics, Lesley started to advocate and research for her son. A friend who had been given a Lyme diagnosis referred her to a Lyme Literate doctor (LLMD) who specializes in the disease.

“From that point on, I got hungry for knowledge. I trusted our doctors but wanted to make sure we were doing the best we could for Gus,” said Lesley.

She learned that the Lyme bacteria replicates in the body every 14 days, which is why many doctors prescribe 30 days of antibiotics. However, she also learned that for some people that’s not enough.

Dr. Daniel Cameron, an expert in Lyme disease, says that many people with Lyme only need 30 days of antibiotics, but 1 out of 3 people treated early for the disease will still have complications.

“I’m most concerned about that one out of three who remains ill,” Cameron told Healthline. “For some, it can last up to 10 years and when you’re at school, it can mess up your ability to concentrate in the classroom or participate in sports or have a life with friends.”

Those were the fears Lesley had for Gus. Since he became ill over summer break, he didn’t miss school, but as an active child, he missed out on sports and hanging out with his friends.

“Sports are his life, but he lost 12 pounds and we had to cancel sports camps last summer. He [started wondering if] he’d ever [get to] play again,” Lesley said. “I’d constantly remind him that’d I’d do everything I could to keep it from stopping him.”

Approximately one month after Gus finished his 30-day supply of antibiotics, he was still struggling with symptoms and Lesley took him to see the LLMD. Because ticks that carry Lyme can also carry other infectious organisms through the same bite, the doctor tested Gus for coinfections. Turns out, Gus was positive for two types of Bartonella bacteria.

“I had never heard of coinfections and learned so much from this doctor,” Lesley said. “She confirmed that 30 days of antibiotics wasn’t enough for Gus. She was optimistic that we caught it early, but she made it clear that everyone’s body fights it differently.”

It’s because of this difference that Cameron says screening for coinfections is so important. “Many patients aren’t aware that coinfections exist. Many doctors are and will order tests for them, but often the tests aren’t reliable. That’s why carefully monitoring patients over time is important.”

Gus’s doctor began a regimen of three antibiotics, as well as probiotics, herbs, and supplements last November.

Advocating to calm controversy

Today, Gus is still taking antibiotics but Lesley said his health has greatly improved and he should be done soon.

“He just competed in track on the state level which is amazing. As I watched him run, I looked like a racoon because I was blubbering,” she said. “He’s overcome a lot since July. As a parent, those first few months were the darkest days. We didn’t know what he had and then we didn’t know if he’d be alright.”

Over the past year, Lesley says she’s grown a lot as well and hopes sharing her family’s struggle will help others who find themselves in the same situation.

“Not much is known about this disease, so as a parent you have to keep asking questions and finding information and advocating for your child,” she said, noting the frustrations they encountered while trying to treat Gus.

Part of the frustrations Lesley felt were due to a divide within the medical community.

“Some doctors don’t believe that children have chronic issues from Lyme, no matter what the published literature says,” Cameron explained. “Some physicians disagree on what to call [complications]. I use the term chronic Lyme disease, whether there’s a coinfection or not. Some people use other terms.”

Cameron also points out that while early leaders in Lyme disease were thorough in their understanding and managing early Lyme, they lacked knowledge of the chronic complications that can accompany the disease.

“Today, the published literature is very descriptive on all the problems that happen. It’s just that doctors are divided and it’s not clear why there’s disagreement on something that’s so common,” he said. He added that the understanding of what infections ticks carry is another barrier. “There are so many strains of Lyme and other infections in a tick. Some infections like Babesia can’t be treated with doxycycline and need to be treated with a parasite medicine. So much of the complexity and difficulty is knowing what’s in the tick without even looking at the child that was bit,” he explained.

 

Another complication of Lyme disease treatment is the worry many in the medical community have surrounding antibiotic overuse. Doctors can lose their license for overprescribing antibiotics and it’s a fear that can contribute to less-effective treatment for patients.

“We understand that we’re trying to cut back on antibiotic use, but if you have a child that’s sick, and with so many complexities of infection in a tick and plenty of published literature that supports how complicated this disease is, you’d like to have the freedom as a doctor to treat your patients and not be limited,” Cameron said. “If doctors who treat Lyme had more freedom, we wouldn’t have so much frustration in the medical community.”

Lesley is doing her part to help change this.

“I know this is a big issue and that I’m just one mom. But my kid’s in a good place, and I felt a calling to spread the word about this disease. I’m ready to say I knew nothing about Lyme. It’s not something I wanted to know about but if sharing Gus’s story can help even one other person, it’s worth it,” she said.

Most of all, she hopes other parents learn that they can seek out doctors who specialize in Lyme disease.

“It can be an isolating disease if your child isn’t getting the treatment they need and if your doctors don’t know enough about it,” Lesley said.

While Cameron says that a pediatrician can effectively treat many children with Lyme, he points out that for the one out of three kids who are still ill after initial treatment, it’s a good idea to see a doctor who is familiar with complications of the disease.

Additional defense

What else can parents do to protect their children?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of preventive measures to avoid a tick bite but nothing is foolproof.

Cameron says the most important thing is to perform a tick check after your child is outdoors, and to remove a tick as soon as you see one.

“Kids still get bit and get the infection even with these recommendations,” Cameron said.

He notes Lesley did the smartest thing she could for Gus: become familiar with Lyme disease.

He encourages other parents whose children get a Lyme disease diagnosis to do the same. “[Learn everything you can] so if your child doesn’t do well, you know about other complications and symptoms of Lyme to look out for so you can be the advocate for your child.”

This article first appeared on HealthLine.com.

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LINDSAY, Okla. (AP) – Danny Daniels, an evangelical Christian in the rural Oklahoma town of Lindsay, is reliably conservative on just about every political issue.

The 45-year-old church pastor is anti-abortion, voted for President Donald Trump and is a member of the National Rifle Association who owns an AR-15 rifle. He also came of age during the 1980s and believed in the anti-drug mantra that labeled marijuana as a dangerous gateway drug.

But his view on marijuana changed as his pastoral work extended into hospice care and he saw patients at the end of their lives benefiting from the use of cannabis.

“Some people said I couldn’t be a pastor and support medical marijuana, but I would say most of the people I know, including the Christians I pastor, are in favor of it,” said Daniels, pastor of Better Life Community Church in downtown Lindsay, a rural agricultural and energy industry town about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City.

Daniels is among a growing group of traditionally conservative Republican voters in Oklahoma who have shifted their position on the topic. Their support for a medical marijuana measure on Tuesday’s ballot could ensure Oklahoma joins the growing list of states that have legalized some form of pot.

It’s the first medical marijuana state question on a ballot in 2018, and Oklahoma’s vote precedes elections on marijuana legalization later this year in Michigan and Utah. Michigan voters will decide whether to legalize recreational pot while Utah is considering medical marijuana.

Among the reddest states in the country, Oklahoma has for decades embraced a tough-on-crime philosophy that includes harsh penalties for drug crimes that has contributed to the state now leading the nation in the percentage of its population behind bars.

But voters’ attitudes are changing. Two years ago Oklahomans voted to make all drug possession crimes misdemeanors over the objection of law enforcement and prosecutors. When one GOP senator discussed adding exceptions after the public vote, he faced an angry mob at a town-hall meeting.

Oklahoma’s State Question 788, the result of an activist-led signature drive, would allow physicians to approve medical marijuana licenses for people to legally grow, keep and use cannabis. The proposal outlines no qualifying medical conditions to obtain a license, and an opposition group that includes law enforcement, business, political and faith leaders launched a late, half-million-dollar campaign to defeat it, saying it’s too loosely written.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who typically defers from commenting on pending state questions, recently expressed reservations about the question, saying it’s so broadly worded it would essentially allow recreational use of marijuana. If approved, Fallin said she intends to call the Legislature back to a special session so that a statutory framework could be approved to further regulate sale and use.

Bill Shapard, a pollster, said support for medical marijuana has been consistently strong during the five years he’s surveyed likely Oklahoma voters. Not surprisingly, Shapard said young people, Democrats and independents overwhelmingly support it.

But he said about half of self-identified evangelicals, churchgoers and those over 65 also endorse medical cannabis.

“When you can get a large majority of the Democrats and independents and a third to a half of Republicans to support you, you can get anything passed in Oklahoma,” Shapard said.

Joanna Francisco, a longtime Republican voter and self-described evangelical, said the issue of medical cannabis “should appeal to everyone who calls themselves a pro-life conservative.”

“If you’re a conservative, you should also be opposed to the state spending exorbitant amounts of money on prosecutors and law enforcement to keep this medicine out of the hands of people who might need it,” said Francisco, 49, who holds regular Bible studies in her Tulsa home.

At Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 382 in El Reno, a conservative suburb 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, many of the regulars don’t like the idea of legalizing marijuana, even for medical reasons. But attitudes are changing, said 73-year-old Bill Elkins, a disabled Vietnam veteran who volunteers at the post.

“I’ve got mixed thoughts on that,” said Elkins, a Republican who said his daughter benefited from taking cannabidiol oil, a non-intoxicating form of cannabis, for nerve pain. “Right now I’m on the fence.”

Jack Hodgkinson, 71, a Vietnam veteran and supporter of Trump, said he doesn’t have a problem with the medical use of marijuana and plans to vote for it.

“I’ve never messed with any drugs, marijuana or anything like that,” Hodgkinson said. “But if it helps people who need it, I’m all for it.”

___

Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.



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PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Thirty-three pregnant Cambodian women who were carrying babies on behalf of Chinese clients have been discovered during a raid on an illegal commercial surrogacy operation, police said on Saturday.

Five people, including a Chinese manager, were arrested following raids at two apartments in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, police said.

Cambodia had been a popular international destination for infertile couples looking to have babies through commercial surrogacy even though it is was made illegal in 2016.

Keo Thea, director of Phnom Penh’s anti-trafficking office, told Reuters on Saturday that five people, including four Cambodian women and the male Chinese manager, had been detained during a police raid on Thursday.

“Our authorities have charged them with human trafficking and being intermediaries in surrogacy,” Keo Thea said.

The pregnant women would not face charges at the moment, he said.

“They are carrying babies for Chinese nationals,” he said, adding that each woman was promised $10,000 for the service.

Once a woman becomes pregnant she receives $500. When the baby is delivered the terms of her agreement are that she will be paid $300 a month until the full $10,000 is paid off, Keo Thea said.

Keo Thea said the surrogacy operation had already provided about 20 babies to clients in China.

“Some were born in China and some were born in Cambodia,” Keo Thea said.

Clinics based in Asia are increasingly eyeing China, where health officials estimate that 90 million couples have become eligible to have a second child after a decades-old one-child policy was relaxed in 2015.

There are no official estimates of the number of Chinese babies delivered by surrogates, but media say it exceeds 10,000 every year.

Thailand and India have blocked foreigners from using commercial surrogacy services following a series of cases that raised concern about exploitation.

Thailand banned the practice in 2015 and subsequently several Thai clinics move across the border into Cambodia until commercial surrogacy was banned there the following year.

Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Robert Birsel

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While drinking the occasional glass of carbonated or sparkling water is fine, tap water remains the number-one healthy liquid of choice. Consuming the majority of your water intake as sparkling could well be doing some degree of damage, though it affects different areas of your body in different ways. Here’s how:

Your teeth

Sparkling water is made by combining carbon dioxide (CO²) with water under pressure. The resulting carbonated water contains a weak acid known as carbonic acid which lowers the overall pH. Plain water is pH neutral at 7 whereas the average sparkling water is slightly acidic at around pH 5-6. Anything below the critical level of pH 5.5 can cause enamel demineralisation and the risk of tooth decay. Drinking it with a straw will help to preserve your tooth enamel.

Your bones

The theory is that phosphates or phosphoric acid contained in some carbonated drinks might interfere with calcium absorption, but studies so far have failed to show a strong link between excess phosphates in the diet and osteoporosis. Again, further studies are needed before we can make a health claim. The good news is that plain sparkling water is phosphate-free, unlike cola, diet cola soft drinks and bottled iced teas, which contain high levels of phosphoric acid.

Your stomach

While more research needs to be done to determine the long-term outcomes of drinking plain sparkling water, at this stage the effect on the stomach lining appears to be minimal, if at all.

Sweetened carbonated drinks, however, have been shown to increase the production of stomach acid, which may lead to inflammation of the lining and possibly the development of a stomach ulcer. If you have a pre-existing condition such as gastritis or reflux, it’s best to minimise any irritants including carbonated drinks, especially as they make you burp, causing acid to regurgitate into your oesophagus.

Always read the label

Many sparkling waters claim to be ‘healthy’ but contain sweeteners to give them a hint of flavour. Anything more than zero for energy, sugars or carbohydrates on the label indicates the addition of sugar. While the sodium content of plain sparkling water is quite low (5mg/250ml) a negligible contribution towards the recommended adequate sodium intake (460-920mg per day) – it’s best to make still water your preference.

Got a question for Kate? Email us at feedback@bodyandsoul.com.au.

While we’re on the topic of water, is it true that you can drink too much of it? Also, the health drink that is about to replace your coconut water.

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California health officials reported Friday that 374 terminally ill people took drugs to end their lives in 2017, the first full year after a law made the option legal.

The California Department of Public Health said 577 people received aid-in-dying drugs last year, but not everyone used them. The law allows adults to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs if a doctor has determined they have six months or less to live. They can self-administer the drugs.

Of the 374 who died, about 90 percent were more than 60 years old, about 95 percent were insured and about 83 percent were receiving hospice or similar care. The median age was 74.

The figures are more than double those from the first six months after the law went into effect June 9, 2016. In those early months 191 people received life-ending drugs, while 111 people took them and died.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia ruled in May that the law is unconstitutional because it was adopted illegally when lawmakers passed it during a special Legislative session called to address health issues. An appeals court last week reinstated the End of Life Option Act, but gave opponents until July 2 to file objections.

The law passed in California after 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who was dying from brain cancer, had to move to Oregon in 2014 so she could end her life. Doctor-assisted deaths are also legal in Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, D.C.

Critics argue the law can prompt hasty decisions and misdiagnoses and less use of palliative care, in which dying people can be sedated to relieve suffering. Supporters say it gives people the choice to ease what otherwise might be a lingering and painful death.

“The worst case scenarios predicted by opponents to the Act have not come to fruition,” Democratic Sen. Bill Monning of Carmel, who carried the original legislation, said in a statement. “To me, this indicates that physicians are talking to their patients and that their patients are being thoughtful in considering the use of the Act.”

Most of the recipients were college educated and receiving hospice or similar care, which “helps to refute some of the claims that were made by those opposed to the process” that those taking the drugs were uneducated or lacking in other options, said Ashley Cardenas, policy and programs director for the advocacy organization Compassion & Choices.

Patients Rights Action Fund, which opposes laws allowing people to take their lives, did not immediately comment.

State health officials reported Friday that 632 people, the majority of them with cancer, started to use the law last year by making two verbal requests to their physicians at least 15 days apart.

The 374 people who died include 11 people who were prescribed drugs in 2016 but died last year.

Another 86 people were prescribed the lethal drugs but died without taking them, while the fate of the remaining 128 people wasn’t reported.

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