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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma City area

Moore, Oklahoma (CNN) — Amid downed power lines, hissing gas pipes and immense devastation, rescuers searched “board by board” Tuesday for survivors and victims of a massive tornado that pulverized a vast swath of the Oklahoma City suburbs.
It was a daunting task. The Monday afternoon storm carved a trail through the area as much as two miles wide and 17 miles long, officials said. Hardest hit was Moore, Oklahoma — a suburban town of about 56,000 and the site of eerily similar twisters in 1999 and again four years later.
At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said the storm was one of the “most horrific storms and disasters that this state has ever faced.”
All that remained in some places, she said, were “sticks and bricks.”
The state medical examiner’s office said 24 people were confirmed dead, including nine children.
Earlier reports of at least 51 deaths were erroneous, said Amy Elliot, chief administrative officer for the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
But Fallin said the death toll could still rise. She said some bodies might have been taken to funeral homes without the government’s knowledge.
More than 230 people were injured.
At least 100 people have been pulled alive from the rubble by rescuers.
Terri Watkins, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman who described Tuesday’s search as “board by board,” said it was far too soon to account for the devastation of the storm.
“This is a massive tornado and it’s a large area that has been struck,” she said.
The scene — block after block of flattened homes and businesses, the gutted remains of a hospital and hits on two elementary schools — left even seasoned veterans of Oklahoma’s infamous tornadoes reeling.
The devastation was so […]

Need Childhood Vaccine Info? Find It Here

Need Childhood Vaccine Info? Find It Here

As a parent – whether you have a newborn baby or a college-bound freshman – you do everything you can to keep your child safe and healthy. From securing a baby gate, to providing nutritious meals, to getting the brakes checked on your teen’s car, their well-being is your top priority.
Vaccination is another important way you can protect your child. Vaccinating your child according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from 16 serious diseases. To learn more about these diseases and the vaccines that prevent them, talk to your child’s doctor or visit CDC’s website for parents.
Childhood Vaccination Fast Facts and In-depth Information
The vaccine website for parents was designed for parents with input from parents. You’ll find age-specific information about all recommended infant, child and teen vaccines. In short, you’ll have access to a wealth of easy-to-find, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-use information to guide you as you make immunization decisions for your child.
At the site, you can find vaccine information based on your child’s age. The information is so you can find quick answers to basic questions, or you can dig deeper for additional details including supporting research, data and statistics. Visit the site.
Adults Need Immunizations Too!
Your need for immunizations doesn’t end when you reach adulthood. And, if you are pregnant, there are vaccines you should receive before, during and after pregnancy. Protect your health and your family’s health by staying up-to-date with your own vaccines. Learn what vaccines you need.
As you look through the site, you’ll see

Vaccine information for your child at every age

Easy-to-read immunization schedules

Information about the 16 vaccine-preventable diseases

Vaccine safety information, including possible side effects and how safety […]

Top 5 Tips to Staying Cool During Your Summer Workout

You’ve been exercising regularly, but now it’s summer — and hot. Sometimes even dangerously hot, and seemingly too hot to go work out.
But don’t decide this is the time for a little summer break from fitness, experts say, because you may be hurting yourself in the longer term.
 “It’s important to continue exercising over the summer because the effects of exercise training are rapidly lost once training stops — use it or lose it,” said Barry Franklin, Ph.D., director of the William Beaumont Hospital Cardiac Rehab and Exercise Laboratories in Royal Oak, Mich. “Most studies suggest many of the key benefits are lost in four to six weeks of inactivity.”
Be smarter than the heat
Still, you can’t just ignore the heat because you could wind up with heat stress, heat stroke or other problems. So to keep the heat from melting your workouts, Franklin recommends you:

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Maintain salt-water balance by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) before, during and after physical activity.  Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.

Exercise smarter, not harder. Work out during the cooler parts of the day, preferably when the sun’s radiation is minimal — early in the morning or early in the evening. Decrease exercise intensity and duration at high temperatures or relative humidity.  And don’t hesitate to take your exercise inside, to the gym, the mall or anyplace else where you can get in regular physical activity.

Ease in to summer. Allow your body to adapt partially to heat through repeated gradual daily exposures. “An increase in the body’s circulatory and cooling efficiency, called acclimatization, generally occurs in only four to 14 days,” Franklin said.

Dress the part. Wear minimal amounts of clothing to facilitate cooling by evaporation. “Remember, it’s not sweating that cools the […]

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    Waiter, there’s a bug in my dish: Restaurants are serving up bug-based dishes to promote health.

Waiter, there’s a bug in my dish: Restaurants are serving up bug-based dishes to promote health.

I ate bugs for lunch. This time it was on purpose.
 By some experts’ estimates, the average person inadvertently downs about one pound of insect parts a year, in foods as varied as chocolate (which can contain 60 insect components per 100 grams by law in the United States), peanut butter (30 insect parts per 100 grams) and fruit juice (up to five fruitfly eggs and one to two larvae for every 250 milliliters).
 In light of the United Nations’ recent plea for increased insect consumption, I decided to take the insects by the antennae and join the 2 billion people worldwide who deliberately make creepy, crawly creatures a part of their regular or special occasion diet.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s report released Monday at a press conference in Rome, the planet would be a lot better off environmentally speaking, not to mention more cheaply, safely and sustainably fed if more people incorporated locusts, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, worms, grubs and the like into their meal routines.
The big problem as the researchers see it: the ick factor. As Americans, many of us are geographically separated from the source of our food. It’s often much easier to accept lab-created, industrially-formed X-Treem Cheez-O Blasters or highly-preserved, artificially flavored, over-salted microwaveable entrees as viable snack and meal solutions, over creatures we’re conditioned to swat away, zap with garden pesticides or crush with our shoes. Frankly, I wasn’t entirely sure I could do it.
I’m an adventurous eater. I down cow heads, bull balls, and squirrel stew with great relish. But I can’t pretend I didn’t have a visceral, emotional resistance to the notion of consuming creatures I’d been conditioned to think of as dirty pests and would be unhappy […]

A Bang to the Brain: What We Know About Concussions

Your brain is your body’s command center. Its soft, sensitive tissues float in a cushioning fluid within the hard and sturdy skull. But a swift blow to the head or violent shaking can override these protections and lead to a mild type of brain injury known as a concussion.
More than 1 million mild traumatic brain injuries occur nationwide each year. These injuries can be caused by falls, car crashes or recreational activities like bike riding, skateboarding, skiing or even playing at the playground. More than half of concussions occur in children—often when playing organized sports such as football and soccer.
“Although concussions are considered to be a mild brain injury, they need to be taken seriously. They should not be treated as minor injuries that quickly resolve,” says Dr. Beth Ansel, an expert on rehabilitation research at NIH. With proper care, most people recover fully from a concussion. “But in some cases, a concussion can have a lasting effect on thinking, attention, learning and memory,” Ansel adds.
A single concussion is also known to raise your risk for having another concussion—and a second concussion may be more severe. It’s important to learn to recognize the causes and symptoms of concussion so you can take steps to prevent or treat these head injuries.
“The skull is designed to prevent most traumas to the brain, but it doesn’t really prevent the brain from moving around inside the skull,” says Dr. Frederick Rivara, a specialist in pediatric injuries and prevention at the University of Washington in Seattle. “A concussion can arise from the brain moving either rapidly back and forth or banging against the side of the skull.” This sudden movement can stretch and damage brain tissue and trigger a […]

Myriad Genetics Holds Patent on Angelina Jolie’s Genes

Actress Angelina Jolie announced yesterday in the New York Times that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy after learning she carried a genetic mutation that greatly increased her risk of developing breast cancer.
The test Jolie’s doctor used to assess her risk, however, isn’t feasible for most women. It is extremely costly because both the test and the individual genes that indicate a greater risk of breast and ovarian cancer—BRCA1 and BRCA2—are patented by the Utah-based biotech company Myriad Genetics.
In 2009, the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and patient advocacy groups brought a lawsuit against Myriad, saying that by giving a single company the exclusive right to test for mutations on the BRCA genes, the test has been made prohibitively expensive. They say patents discourage other companies and research labs from developing a faster, cheaper, and more sensitive test for these breast cancer gene mutations.
The case has been appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard arguments from both sides on April 15.
Myriad says that about seven percent of breast cancer cases and 15 percent of ovarian cancer cases are caused by mutations on the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. According to Myriad, patients with BRCA mutations have “risks of up to 87 percent for breast cancer and up to 44 percent for ovarian cancer by age 70.” Jolie’s doctors put her risk at 87 percent for breast cancer and 50 percent for ovarian cancer.
Women whose close relatives were diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer before age 50 are often urged to undergo genetic testing for these mutations. Jolie’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of breast cancer at age 56.
“It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women […]

Sex and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure could hurt your sex life.
Many people know that high blood pressure contributes to cardiovascular problems and can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. But it also can impact your sex life.
About 78 million Americans have high blood pressure (hypertension), which is sometimes called the “silent killer.” High blood pressure overworks your body’s heart and other organs and can damage the lining of blood vessels, causing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
It also affects blood flow, and blockages can prevent adequate flow to the pelvis and affect the sex lives of both men and women, said Dr. Gina Lundberg, an American Heart Association volunteer.
“In a man, it’s a little more obvious,” Dr. Lundberg said, explaining that high blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Effective blood flow through the arteries and veins is needed for an erection. Even in his mid-30s, a man can have high blood pressure that causes problems with sex, she said. That can be a sign for a doctor to check for high blood pressure and other problems.
Sometimes erectile dysfunction “can be the only indicator of underlying heart disease risk, ” Dr. Lundberg said. She said all of these patients should be evaluated for risk factors.
Women Feel Effects, Too
Women with high blood pressure may have lower libido and less interest in sex, according to Dr. Lundberg, a preventive cardiologist and clinical director for Emory Women’s CardiovascularHealthCenter in Atlanta.
“What woman wants to have sex if she feels tired and wiped out all the time?” she said.
Primary care physicians, gynecologists and endocrinologists treat high blood pressure. Your primary care physician may refer you to a cardiologist based on risk factors and symptoms.
Stress, Medicine Also Factors
Stress and anxiety can […]

Police, city council hope new AEDs mean more lives saved

With less than 10 minutes to save a victim from cardiac arrest, the Logansport Police Department is working to beat the clock and save lives.

The Logansport Police Department will be equipping six squad cars with new automated external defibrillators after operating with fewer, out-of-date machines for several months. With the machines, used to shock the heart and revive normal heart function, the police department hopes to have officers quickly on scene and helping the victims.
The police department originally received four AED machines in the early 2000s from the Logansport Memorial Hospital, according to Assistant Chief Carl Swan. However, one machine broke down last year and another stopped working a few months ago.
“We’ve always wanted to get more,” Swan said.
The AED machines are critical for patrolmen, Swan said, because police are often the first people on the scene in emergency situations.
“We’re mostly going to be there before the ambulance or fire truck can be there,” Swan said.
Time is essential in situations like a heart attack because the victim’s chances of survival decrease every minute without aid from a defibrillator or CPR.
“Ten minutes go by, chances are slim to none that they’ll survive,” Swan said.
In a training with officers, Swan explained that the shock from the AED actually stops the heart so that the heart is able to regain a normal rhythm or so that the police can start administering CPR.
The machines at the police department are intended for use on adults or older children, but not for young children, Swan said.
The police department received the six new AED machines, which cost a total of $12,000, after a vote by city council.
The police department routinely has six cars on the road, so they’ll have a machine […]

Healthy Substitute Food Choices

You can make many of your favorite recipes healthier by using lower-fat or no-fat ingredients.  These healthy substitutions can help you cut down on saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol, while noticing little, if any, difference in taste.

 Smart Substitutions for Recipes

When recipe calls for  . . .

Use this instead  …

Whole milk (1 cup)

1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk, plus one tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil

Heavy cream (1 cup)

1 cup evaporated skim milk or 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese

Sour cream

Low-fat unsalted cottage cheese plus low-fat or fat-free yogurt; or just use fat-free sour cream

Cream cheese

4 tablespoons soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) blended with 1 cup dry, unsalted low-fat cottage cheese; add a small amount of fat-free milk if needed

Butter (1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) or 3/4 tablespoon liquid vegetable oil

Egg (1)

2 egg whites; or choose a commercially made, cholesterol-free egg substitute (1/4 cup)

Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce)

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or soft margarine; since carob is sweeter than cocoa, reduce the sugar in the recipe by 25%

Smart Substitutions for Snacks

You can snack healthier by substituting snacks that are high in
saturated fats and/or trans fats with these sensible snacks:

Instead of  . . .

Enjoy …

Fried tortilla chips

Baked tortilla chips (reduced sodium version)

Regular potato or corn chips

Pretzels or low-fat potato chips (reduced sodium version)

High-fat cookies and crackers

Fat-free or low-fat cookies, crackers (such as graham crackers, rice cakes, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps and molasses cookies)

Regular baked goods

Baked goods, such as cookies, cakes and pies, and pie crusts made with unsaturated oil or soft margarines, egg whites […]

Why Quit Smoking?

 
You can reduce your risks.
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries —which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke. Controlling or reversing atherosclerosis is an important part of preventing future heart attack or stroke.
You can modify or control six major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease:

Cigarette and tobacco smoke

High blood cholesterol

High blood pressure

Physical inactivity

Overweight or obesity

Diabetes

Smoking by itself increases the risk of coronary heart disease.
When it acts with the other factors, it greatly increases your risk from those factors, too. Smoking decreases your tolerance for physical activity and increases the tendency for blood to clot. It decreases HDL (good) cholesterol. Your risks increase greatly if you smoke and have a family history of heart disease. Smoking also creates a higher risk for peripheral artery disease and aortic aneurysm. It increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery, too.
Smoking is also an important risk factor for stroke. Inhaling cigarette smoke produces several effects that damage the cerebrovascular system. Women who take oral contraceptives and smoke increase their risk of stroke many times. Cigars and pipes aren’t a “safer” alternative to cigarettes. People who smoke cigars or pipes seem to have a higher risk of death from coronary heart disease (and possibly stroke), even though their risk isn’t as great as that of cigarette smokers.
Breathe clean air
It’s also important to avoid other people’s smoke. The link between secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke) and disease is well known, and the connection to cardiovascular-related disability and death is also […]