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Monthly Archives: May 2013

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    “Obamacare” Wellness Rules Released: It’s Time to Pay More for Your Bad Habits

“Obamacare” Wellness Rules Released: It’s Time to Pay More for Your Bad Habits

Beginning Jan. 1, many Americans will become more proactive about their health because their bad habits could hit them in the pocketbook.
On Wednesday the Obama administration released a new set of guidelines for employers hoping to provide employees with incentives to get healthy under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The guidelines allow employers to charge employees up to 30 percent more to cover the cost of group healthcare plans. On the flip side, it increases the maximum permissible reward for things like smoking cessation to 50 percent.
While employers are allowed to charge employees with unhealthy lifestyles more, they are obligated to make reasonable concessions in an effort to not punish people with less than perfect health, so long as they are making strides to improve their wellness.
“The final rules support workplace health promotion and prevention as a means to reduce the burden of chronic illness, improve health, and limit the growth of health care costs, while ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair underwriting practices that could otherwise reduce benefits based on health status” according to a release from the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
The government also released a study from the RAND Corporation that examined companies with pre-existing wellness programs. It found that participation incentives, like those offered under the ACA, are effective in getting employees to comply, though the healthcare cost savings will take time to materialize.
“Consistent with prior research, we find that lifestyle management programs as part of workplace wellness can reduce risk factors, such as smoking, and increase healthy behaviors, such as exercise,” the study concluded. “We find that these effects are sustainable over time and clinically meaningful.”
The New Guidelines for Employee Health
The guidelines focus on helping American employees be more active and […]

Want Whiter Teeth? Use a banana peel.

Don’t throw your banana peels away, use them to whiten your teeth.
The versatility of banana itself and its peel goes a long way. Aside from the fact that banana is full of vitamins and minerals, and is used in beauty regimen, its peel is also utilized in so many ways; from skin care regimen, to fertilizer and now to whiten teeth. Using banana peel as  teeth whitening is considered extremely safe and healthy because it is not only the flesh of the banana that contains vitamins and minerals but the peel as well. Banana peel has no coarseness that other natural whiteners have and most of all they are not costly.
Tip #1: Unpeel the Banana from Bottom End

Brush your teeth that way you do regularly with natural toothpaste or you can utilize the banana peel initially and subsequently brush your teeth again using your regular toothpaste.
It is important that you utilize ripe banana because it has the most potassium content.
Unpeel the banana from the bottom end just like the way the monkey do it so that it will save you from having all those slack threads.
Tip #2: Tenderly Massage Banana Peel on Teeth
Get a piece of the interior part of the banana peel and tenderly massage all aroun your teeth for approximately two minutes. The remarkable minerals within the peel such as potassium, magnesium and manganese will be soaked up into your teeth and whiten them.
Tip #3: Whiten Teeth with Banana Peel
Do the similar process again at night or before going to bed to whiten your teeth. Letting the banana peel remain longer is not obligatory, but if you have discolorations that require a more thorough way of treatment, you can try leaving the banana […]

Baby rescued from toilet pipe in China

(CNN) — A newborn baby boy who was found alive inside a toilet pipe in Jinhua, China, has been released from a hospital and taken home by his maternal grandparents, police said Thursday.
The child’s mother is still being treated at the hospital, but has been cooperating with the investigation, said Xiang Jiangsong, a police official.
The police are labeling the case an “accident” at this time, and no charges have been filed against the mother.
Dramatic video of the infant’s rescue made global headlines and sparked reactions worldwide.
Unable to pull the infant out, rescuers went to the floor below and sawed away a section of pipe.
But the baby was still stuck, so both the section of pipe and the infant were taken to a hospital.
Working together, rescuers and doctors began removing the pipe, piece by piece.
CCTV video showed the exact moment hands in white gloves gingerly pulled away a part of the pipe, revealing the tiny face of a newborn.
The infant, a boy referred to as “Baby 59,” is drinking formula, doctors said.
Police said firefighters and other rescuers involved visited the baby at the hospital and sent clothes, formula powder and diapers.
The mother’s account
The mother of the infant is not being identified, but police say she is 22.
Local police say that, so far, they believe her account of how the baby ended up in the pipe.
“That day she felt stomachaches,” said Jiang Song, the vice director of police. “So she went to the toilet. It was actually close to her due date and the baby just slid out.”
Police questioned the woman, who told them that she did not intend for the child to fall into the toilet, according to a local TV channel that was posted […]

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    Pee-on-a-stick Prostate Cancer Test in the Works at UC Irvine

Pee-on-a-stick Prostate Cancer Test in the Works at UC Irvine

A cheap and accurate way to detect early-stage prostate cancer is here at last, and it should be as easy as taking an at-home pregnancy test.
University of California, Irvine chemists have found an inexpensive, discreet way for men to test themselves for prostate cancer in their own bathrooms. They hope that through early detection their new test will improve the lives of the estimated 240,000 American men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.
After more than a decade of research, UC Irvine scientists have found a way to clearly identify usable cancer markers in urine. They are now working to develop a faster, cheaper, and far more accurate test for prostate cancer to be sold over the counter.
“Our goal is a device the size of a home pregnancy test priced around $10. You would buy it at the drugstore or the grocery store and test yourself,” the study’s corresponding author, Reginald Penner, UC Irvine Chancellor’s Professor of chemistry, said in a press release. “We’re on the verge of a very important breakthrough in a new era of personal health management.”
The prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test is the current standard for prostate cancer screening. However, the test is controversial, to say the least. Up to 60 percent of patients face misdiagnosis, over-treatment, or a delayed diagnosis. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends against PSA testing.
“A big problem is that the approach used now does not catch cancer soon enough,” study co-author Gregory Weiss, a UC Irvine biochemist, said in a press release. “We want this to be a disruptive technology that will change how we save lives and that will bring down healthcare costs drastically.”
Using Viruses to Outwit Cancer
The research […]

Heart Attack Risk Factors: Women vs. Men

Health and Quality of Life are Bigger Heart Attack Risk Factors for Women
Women ages 18-55 years old tend to be less healthy and have a poorer quality of life than similar-aged men before suffering a heart attack, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2013.
“Compared with young men, women under 55 years are less likely to have heart attacks. But, when they do occur, women are more likely to have medical problems, poorer physical and mental functioning, more chest pain and a poorer quality of life in the month leading up to their heart attack,” says Rachel Dreyer, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and a research fellow in cardiovascular medicine at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT.
Heart Attack Risk Factors for Women: Why Women Suffer More
Researchers surveyed 2,990 women and men from an international study of heart attack patients 18-55 years old. They used general health measures and a disease-specific questionnaire that assessed patients’ chest pain and quality of life prior to their heart attacks. They found:

Women had a poorer physical and mental health with more physical limitations prior to their heart attacks than similar-aged men with heart attacks.

The women were also more likely than men to have other conditions associated with heart disease:

diabetes (40 percent vs. 27 percent)

obesity (55 percent vs. 48 percent)

history of stroke (6 percent vs. 3 percent)

heart failure (6 percent vs. 2 percent)

renal failure (13 percent vs. 9 percent)

depression (49 percent vs. 24 percent)

“These data suggest that young women were suffering more from their heart disease than young men prior to their heart attack,” Dreyer says.
Ask Your Healthcare Provider for an Assessment
“We need to develop better methods for […]

Heart Healthy BBQ Tips

Summertime means grilling time – time with family and friends and time to enjoy delicious foods.  There are all kinds of tasty foods to grill up, plus those sides, desserts and drinks that round out the meal.  The American Heart Association wants you to keep these important tips in mind to help you grill “fat-sensibly” through the summer season.
Meat, Poultry, and Fish

Go for grilled fish more often.  The healthiest types include salmon, trout and herring, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Buy chicken breasts – and remember to remove the skin before eating – instead of the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs).  Or try grilling up chicken or turkey burgers using breast meat, and add diced onions for another layer of flavor.

What cut of meat to buy?  Choose “loin” and “round” cuts of red meat and pork.  And buy “choice” or “select” grades of beef instead of “prime.”  While these have the least amount of fat, don’t forget to trim the fat when you get home.

Use a rack so the fat drips away from the food.

Side Dishes, Drinks, and Desserts

Go green… and red, orange, yellow, purple and more.  Serve green leafy salads or fruit salads (or a combination of both, like baby spinach with strawberries or mixed greens with orange slices) instead of mayonnaise-based salads.  Add some crunch – and healthier fats – with some toasted walnuts or almonds instead of croutons.

Instead of potato chips, which can be high in saturated and trans fats, serve raw veggies like cucumber, carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes and broccoli and cauliflower florets with a low-fat dip.

Drink water or diet soda.  Regular sodas are loaded with sugars and calories.

Cut back on commercially baked foods, like cookies, pies […]

Chocolate Raspberry Shortcake

No one will know this decadent dessert recipe-rich chocolate shortcake filled with a fresh raspberry sauce-has less than 150 calories per serving. It’s romantic, delicious and low calorie.


2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 Tbsp cold reduced-calorie, trans fat free margarine, cut into bits

1/4 cup skim evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups raspberries

1 tsp granulated sugar

3 Tbsp low-fat vanilla yogurt

1/4 tsp confectioners sugar

Mint sprigs, for garnish


Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Into a bowl, sift together cocoa powder, flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add margarine, and blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.

Add evaporated milk and stir mixture with a fork until it forms a dough.

Divide the dough in half, arrange each half in a mound on baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centers comes out with crumbs clinging to it.

Transfer the shortcakes to a rack and let them cool.

In a bowl, mash 3/4 cup of the raspberries with a fork. Add sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup raspberries. Cut the shortcakes in half horizontally. Top each bottom half with half the raspberry mixture and 1 1/2 tablespoons yogurt.

Top with the top half of a shortcake. Sprinkle shortcakes with confectioners sugar and garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 149

Total Fat 7g

Saturated Fat 2g

Cholesterol 1mg

Sodium 562 mg

Total Carbohydrate 54g

Dietary Fiber 10g


Protein 7g

Recipe from Scripps Health

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    Teens Exposed to a Classmate’s Suicide Are at Higher Risk Themselves

Teens Exposed to a Classmate’s Suicide Are at Higher Risk Themselves

Teens who have had a classmate die by suicide—whether they were close friends or not—have an increased risk of contemplating or attempting suicide for up to two years after the event, according to new research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
“We found that exposure to suicide predicts suicidality,” senior author Dr. Ian Colman of the University of Ottawa said in a press release. “This was true for all age groups, although exposure to suicide increased the risk most dramatically in the youngest age group.”
The Aftereffects of Student Suicides
Analyzing data from more than 22,000 children ages 12 to 17 who took part in the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, researchers found that a schoolmate’s suicide had the most profound impact on younger students.
Researchers learned that students ages 12 and 13 were five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts if a schoolmate committed suicide. Students ages 14 and 15 were three times more likely to think of their own suicide, while students ages 16 and 17 were twice as likely.
In the U.S., suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens after accidents and homicide. In this Canadian study, 24 percent of the teens surveyed had had a schoolmate commit suicide, and 20 percent personally knew someone who had died by his or her own hand.
“The idea that suicide is contagious has always been controversial for various reasons; however, this important study should put many, if not all, doubts to rest,” India Bohanna, a mental health research fellow at James Cook University in Australia, wrote in a commentary on the research. “A unified and concerted effort now needs to be directed toward developing evidence-based postvention strategies. We need to know what […]

Eating Fast Food

Fast food can be heart-healthy food if you know what to look for and order, and have the will power to follow through.  With a little bit of effort, you can ensure that the fast-food meals you choose fall within a healthy dietary pattern.

Follow these fat-sensible tips when making your fast-food choices:

Find out the nutritional content of fast-food items by visiting the chain’s Web site to help identify the healthiest choices.  Some restaurants post this information near the counter or provide it in pamphlet form.

Pass on “value-size” servings that enable you to choose greater portions of food for a slightly greater price.  “Super-sizing” a food item inevitably increases the amount of fat, added sugars, sodium and calories you consume.

Skip the sides, which are usually deep-fried.  For a healthier side dish, order a side salad or fruit cup.

Choose a baked potato over French fries, but have it with vegetables or fat-free or low-fat sour cream or margarine instead of butter, full-fat sour cream or cheese.

Choose grilled chicken sandwiches often – they’re a much healthier option than breaded, fried-chicken sandwiches and usually significantly leaner than the meats used in most burgers.

Avoid ordering sandwiches with double meat.  A single serving of meat is 2–3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) and a single meat patty is usually well over a single serving.

Avoid adding bacon to sandwiches, because it’s high in fat and calories and has very few nutrients.  Order pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard and ketchup instead to add flavor without fat.

Steer clear of fried fish sandwiches.  Choose fish sandwiches where the fish is baked, broiled or grilled.

Try asking for a wheat or whole-grain bun, as some places do offer them.

Hold the mayonnaise and other calorie-laden […]

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    Boxers verse Brief—Can your underwear lower your sperm count?

Boxers verse Brief—Can your underwear lower your sperm count?

The wish to establish a family is a primal desire; however for 10-15 percent of couples in the United States this may not be possible. Every year over 1.2 million patients seek help in the arena of conception, often frustrated and confused.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive following 12 months of regular intercourse without the use of contraception. This period of time is shortened to 6 months for women 35 and older, as fertility gradually declines with age. Although, most assume that fertility is a female health problem, 50% of couples are actually affected by male factor infertility.
Male infertility is most commonly due to problems with sperm; either quantity, motility, or size and shape can impacts one’s ability to conceive. One of the most common cause of male infertility is a varicocele, which is found in 40% of infertile men. A varicocele is a group of dilated veins in the scrotum. For most men they don’t cause any issues and thus require no intervention. Some, however, can experience pain or impaired fertility. The dilated vessels increase the temperature of the scrotum, resulting in testicular damage and impaired sperm production. For that reason, when a couple is having difficulty conceiving and all other causes of an abnormal sperm analysis have been ruled out repair of the varicocele is recommended.
Many chronic conditions can also impact ones fertility. For instances, diabetes, which affects over 25 million Americans, can result in abnormal ejaculation. Poor sugar regulation can result in nerve damage including those which are responsible for coordinating ejaculation. Liver cirrhosis can also impact fertility, as the condition is often associated with hormonal imbalances that can interfere with sperm production.
Additionally, drugs and environmental exposures can interfere […]