Archive | January 2013

2013 Miracle Winter Walk

On February 4, 203, The Family Affair Foundation’s founder, Bonnie Levin, is taking on a new challenge to raise money for the foundation. Bonnie will be walking fromFox Lake,ILtoSpringfield,ILALONE in the winter! This walk will be 245 miles one way fromFoxLaketoSpringfieldon the roads and highways. There will be no entourage of people walking with her; only a few volunteers that will be following her from county to county behind her watching out for her safety.

This walk is for the wounded U.S. Service Members and all the children fighting a debilitating/life threatening illness who cannot walk and are fighting their own battle alone.

The Family Affair Foundation needs everyone’s help and ask all Americans to help.

Please donate at: www.thefaf.org

The FAF is on Twitter and Facebook to follow Bonnie on this 2013 Miracle Winter Walk.

Strip Teas: The Naked Truth About Tea

The Naked Truth about Tea by Bonnie Taub-Dix on January 24, 2013

You’ll find teas that profess to calm your mood, lull you to sleep, ease constipation, boost energy, improve immunity, and help you speak with an English accent (just kidding about that one). Although these health claims are not clearly labeled on the box, their benefits are implied in their names, like Smooth Move, Sleepytime, or Tummy Tamer. The options for tea-lovers seem limitless, and these tasty brews bring lots of good reasons to get into hot water with their surprising health benefits.

 • Boost bone strength

• Favorable flavonoids

• Heart helpers.

• Happily hydrate.

• Curb colds.

• Cut cravings.

It is with certain-tea—sorry, couldn’t help it!—that tea has its benefits, but not all teas are harmless. Proceed with caution around those that add vitamins, minerals, and herbs that could interfere with other medications or supplements you’re already taking. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about “dieter’s teas,” which contain laxatives like senna, aloe, and buckthorn, perhaps leading to looser pants because of loose stools. The FDA also recommends proceeding with caution if you’re considering supplemented tea like Comfrey (could cause liver damage), Woodruff (acts as an anticoagulant), Ephedra (could affect heart rhythm), Lobelia (may cause breathing problems), and even chamomile (may cause allergic reactions.) And don’t assume that herbal tea doesn’t contain caffeine. If caffeine keeps you up at night, make sure your box of tea explicitly says “caffeine-free” or “decaffeinated.”

 The benefits of tea have been enjoyed for centuries, so perhaps the next time you walk into Starbucks … give teas a chance.

Read more at: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/01/24/strip-teas-the-naked-truth-about-tea

Death Risk for Female Smokers is Increasing

From:

Health Buzz: Death Risk for Female Smokers is Increasing

By Laura McMullen on January 24, 2013

Study: Smoking-Related Deaths Among Women Continue to Rise

Among women, the risk of dying from smoking cigarettes is increasing, to the point where it’s nearly identical to men’s risk, according to a study published today [ see article here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1211127]  in the New England Journal of Medicine. Current female smokers are more likely to die of lung cancer than their counterparts from years ago, partly because they’re picking up the habit earlier and smoking more, according to CBS News. Researchers compared men and women’s relative risks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ischemic heart disease, and any type of stroke. For these causes of death combined, the risk for current male smokers was 2.8, and 2.76 for current female smokers. This unsettling uptick among women is “a massive failure in prevention,” Michael Thun, study leader and vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, told CBS.

In October, a study in The Lancet journal suggested that women who quit smoking [see article at: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/10/29/for-women-quitting-smoking-in-30s-and-40s-could-add-years-of-life] before age 40 may avoid more than 90 percent of the added risk of dying early. Women who quit before 30 could avoid 97 percent of that risk.

Read rest of article here: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2013/01/24/death-risk-for-female-smokers-is-increasing

Abortions Are Safe When Performed by Nurses Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Certified Nurse Midwives, Study Suggests

This comes from Science Daily News:

Jan. 18, 2013 — First trimester abortions are just as safe when performed by trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse midwives as when conducted by physicians, according to a new six-year study led by UCSF.

Read the rest of the story at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118104126.htm

Cancer Symptoms You Are Most Likely to Ignore

Routine tests and checkups, like pap smears and colonoscopies, are important — but don’t rely on tests alone to protect you from cancer. It’s just as important to listen to your body and notice anything that’s different, odd, or unexplainable. Although many of these symptoms could be caused by less serious conditions, they’re worth getting checked out if they persist. You don’t want to join the ranks of cancer patients who realize too late that symptoms they’d noticed for a long time could have sounded the alarm earlier, when cancer was easier to cure.

 By Melanie Haiken, Caring.com on Mon, Jan 14, 2013

To read the rest of the story, go to: http://health.yahoo.net/articles/cancer/symptoms-you-are-most-likely-ignore

 

Poll: Youth Attitudes on 40th Anniversary of Roe V. Wade

On the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, more young people — all of whom were born at least 20 years after the decision — identify as “pro-choice” rather than “pro-life,” according to a national poll of more than 4,000 high school and college students conducted by Jennifer L. Lawless, professor and director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University and Richard L. Fox (Loyola Marymount University.)

 These labels, however, might obscure a deeper divide in youth political attitudes. Fifty percent of young people believe that abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, and 50 percent believe it should be illegal in all circumstances or except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. “The poll results suggest that the ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ labels might obscure our understanding of young people’s attitudes toward abortion,” says Lawless. “Nearly one-third of high school students, for example, do not identify with either label. Yet their attitudes about the circumstances under which abortion should be legal are clear.”

The overwhelming majority of high school (88 percent) and college (78 percent) students, however, are not “very worried” about the outlawing of abortion rights. In fact, respondents report being far more worried about war (55%), a terrorist attack (52%), global warming (44%), gun violence (36%), and illegal immigration (28%) than they are the outlawing of abortion rights.

“What emerges as striking from these poll results is the fact that the overwhelming majority of young people are not worried about the outlawing of abortion rights. Despite a presidential campaign that emphasized women’s rights and reproductive freedom, more than 80 percent of high school and college students do not feel threatened. Even if we focus only on Democrats in the sample, they are more concerned about war, a terrorist attack, the environment, immigration, and gun violence,” observed Lawless.

Read the entire story here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118145251.htm

The U.S.Gets Left Behind When It Comes to Working Women

by Bryce Covert, Contributor, Forbes Magazine

January 16, 2013

The U.S. has lost its edge. A new paper from researchers Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn finds that while women made huge gains into the labor force since the 1970s, that growth has actually all but flatlined since the 1990s. Meanwhile, other countries have kept growing the number of women in their workforce, leaving us in the dust. In 1990, women’s participation rate in the labor force was 74 percent, ranking us at number six among 22 developed countries. But in the two intervening decades, we’ve only managed to bump that up to 75.2, while the other countries shot up from about 67 percent to nearly 80 percent. We now rank at 17 on the list. On top of all of this, the gap between the rate for men and women has only come down a few percentage points in theU.S., while it plummeted from nearly 30 points for the other countries to just 13. We have just not kept up in helping more women to enter the workforce.

 This is a problem of our own making. The paper’s authors decided to examine what policy choices other countries had made over those 20 years to see if they might have had an impact, and oh did they. They looked at parental leave, the protection of part-time work, and public spending on child care. It will come as no surprise to any American working mom that we fall far behind on all three. TheU.S.passed the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993, mandating up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for those who had been at a company for a year that has over 50 employees. In contrast, other countries have generally mandated paid leave that is longer and have expanded it since the 90s. Five countries also took that time period to enact laws that give workers the right to demand a change to part-time, and 12 now have legislation forbidding discrimination against part-time workers. None of this exists for American workers. And last but not least, other countries increased their spending on child care faster than theU.S.over the past two decades, from .35 percent of GDP to .47 percent, while we spent .03 percent and have only brought that up to .11.

What’s the takeaway? The rest of the world has stayed dynamic and adapted to the increasingly female face of the workforce. TheU.S., on the other hand, has stayed stuck. Our barely adequate policies of the 1990s have failed to keep up with women’s continuing desire to enter the workforce, which means we’re shooting ourselves in the female foot. Other countries took note of the fact that policies can no longer be modeled on June Cleaver greeting her husband and children at the end of the day with a meal and a smile. TheU.S.still pretends that there is someone at home to care for the kids, even though wives stay home in less than a quarter of married-couple families.

Go to this site to read the entire story:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/brycecovert/2013/01/16/the-u-s-gets-left-behind-when-it-comes-to-working-women/

Strawberries, blueberries may reduce heart attack risk in women

[ This comes from an online article at CBS News written by Ryan Jaslow  January 14, 2013. See website below to read entire article]

Heart attacks may have met their match in the form of a bowl of berries.

 A new study found that women who ate three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries every week for almost 20 years dramatically reduced their risks for having a heart attack.

 “Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week,” study author Eric Rimm, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass., said in a written statement. “This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in theU.S., the culprit behind 1 in every 4 female deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blueberries and strawberries, which are rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, may help reduce risk, according to the new study, published Jan. 14 in the AHA’s journal, Circulation.

For more info, go to: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57563926/strawberries-blueberries-may-reduce-heart-attack-risk-in-women/

 

Monday Morning News Bytes

U.S.Health Worse Than Nearly All Other Industrialised Countries

WASHINGTON, Jan 9 2013 (IPS) – U.S. citizens suffer from poorer health than nearly all other industrialised countries, according to the first comprehensive government analysis on the subject, released Wednesday.

Of 17 high-income countries looked at by a committee of experts sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the United States is at or near the bottom in at least nine indicators.

These include infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, and adolescent pregnancies, as well as more systemic issues such as injuries, homicides, and rates of disability.

Together, such issues place U.S. males at the very bottom of the list, among those countries, for life expectancy; on average, a U.S. male can be expected to live almost four fewer years than those in the top-ranked country, Switzerland. U.S. females fare little better, ranked 16th out of the 17 high-income countries under review.

[For more info, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/01/u-s-health-worse-than-nearly-all-other-industrialised-countries/]

 

 New Push for U.S. to Ratify Major Women’s Treaty

The treaty is a practical blueprint for countries to achieve equal rights for women and girls. Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 8 2013 (IPS) – The United States continues to be in the dubious company of six countries that have either refused or are reluctant to ratify the landmark U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Now a coalition of more than 100 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), human rights groups and women’s organisations is renewing a longstanding demand for U.S. ratification of the treaty.

The reason for the renewed demand? A record number of 20 women senators, including existing and newly-elected, who took the oath of office last week.

So far, 187 out of 194 countries have ratified CEDAW, but the non-ratifiers include Iran, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Palau, Tonga and the United States.

[For more info, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/01/new-push-for-u-s-to-ratify-major-womens-treaty/]

Empowering women to live healthier lives!

From: Womenshealth.gov

Marriage Might Lengthen Life

 FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) — Here’s yet another reason to get hitched and stay hitched: New research suggests that being single during midlife appears to raise the risk for premature death.

 The finding applies specifically to American men and women who’ve already entered their 40s, when the likelihood for continuing to live to a ripe old age is high. However, investigators say, marital status appears to significantly affect the odds, with those entering midlife single facing more than twice the risk of dying early than those who are part of a permanent partnership.

 Study author Ilene Siegler, a professor of medical psychology with the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, reports her team’s research online Jan. 10 in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

The authors noted that Americans who reach the age of 40 can look forward to an average overall life expectancy of roughly 83 years.

 That said, the team set out to assess how marital status might impact this figure by analyzing data collected by the UNC Alumni Heart Study, which included more than 4,800 men and women (82 percent men, and all white), all of whom had been born during the 1940s.

The study had been designed to look at how personality traits evident during one’s college years (in this case between 1964 and 1966) might ultimately affect the risk for developing coronary heart disease down the road. Such traits included optimism, pessimism, depression, sociability and hostility.

The influence of other behavioral factors (such as educational and professional attainments, smoking and alcohol histories and exercise habits) were also weighed, alongside changing marital status and death incidence.

 The results: compared with currently married men and women, individuals who entered midlife without ever having been married were found to face more than double the risk for death during midlife.

 Similarly, those who had previously been married but were no longer married when entering midlife were also found to face a relatively elevated risk for death (1.64 times the risk of married individuals).

The researchers said the findings held constant even after accounting for all the personality, behavioral and health-related risk factors that might theoretically affect death risk.

 They suggested that “chronic loneliness” could be one key element, among others, driving the mortality boost, a phenomenon they said it will be increasingly important to get a handle on as the population ages.

While Markie Blumer, an assistant professor with the marriage and family therapy program at theUniversityofNevada,Las Vegas, said the research is “solid,” she cautioned against “putting all our eggs in the basket of marriage.”

“As a clinician, this helps me realize that when I’m working with baby boomers, as couples or as individuals, I need to make sure they have good social support,” she noted. “At the same time, this study has many limitations, some of which the authors acknowledge, and all of which are important to consider when you are sending out the message that you need to rely on your spouse for your health, or that that’s where your health comes from. Because for people who are single or had a partner who’s since died I think that message can be very dangerous.”

 Blumer pointed to the lack of ethnic and socioeconomic diversity in the study sample; the lack of consideration given to parental history in terms of marriage; the insufficient discussion of the role of cohabitation outside of marriage; or the critical role played by friends and children in terms of providing non-spousal social support. And she described the study’s male-centric focus as particularly “problematic,” given that “other studies show that while married men live longer and are happier, married women do not. So, women need to read about this research with a mindful eye.”

 On that point, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, chair of medicine and a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research atOhioStateUniversity, confirmed that gender differences when it comes to marriage’s effect on health are “sizeable.”

 “The reasons appear to be related to women’s larger social networks,” she said. “Women are more likely than men to have a large and diverse group of friends and relatives with whom they share and feel close to. For men, the wife is typically the primary person who serves as a confidant, so that it is often true that a man without a partner has no confidant.”

The association seen between marriage and survival in this study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Resources: [http://www.womenshealth.gov/news/HealthDay/EN/2013/Jan/11/672419.html]

 For more on life expectancy, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.