Forced To Face The Calorie Count

 - by Jake Kuchero

Did you know that, on average, one-third of the calories we consume are consumed outside of the home? For every dollar spent on food, fifty cents is spent on eating out, whether it is at a restaurant, a quick grab from a vending machine, or an indulgent coffee shop novelty. It’s something millions are trying to cut back on, but even Igor Cornelsen finds himself indulging here and there. We do this out of convenience. Sometimes we are just in a hurry and need to grab something on-the-go. We also do this for pleasure. Why not take a well-deserved break mid-afternoon for a mint-chocolate mocha and a mixed berry scone? Other than being expensive, however, this habit may be costing us our waist-lines.

When we prepare our own meals or snacks at home, we know exactly what we are eating. We also pay more attention to how many calories we are consuming. It is very easy to remain naïve when it comes to these things when eating outside of the home and studies have shown that we tend to consume a high number of extra calories. The FDA is now requiring chain restaurants, vending machine companies, and convenience stores to clearly display the number of calories on all food products they are selling. This came wrapped into the Affordable Care Act as an initiative to help fight obesity. Maybe we will start to make better food choices when we are forced to acknowledge the calorie content. My waist-line hopes so, at least.

People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome May Soon Have Answers

 - by Jake Kuchero

People diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome may soon receive answers as to what causes the disorder, according to a recent study published by the journal Radiology.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder that is characterized by extreme fatigue, concentration and memory difficulties, persistent muscle pain, and headaches. Because the symptoms are similar to those of other disorders, it can be difficult to diagnose and there are few treatment options available.

Two recent studies, however, have shed some light on the disorder. One was done by investigators at Stanford, and the other by a Japanese research team.

The study looked at the brain scans of 15 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and compared them with brain scans from 14 healthy patients. The scans revealed differences in both the white matter and the gray matter in the brain. Those with the disorder had an abnormally shaped neural tract in the white matter of the right hemisphere. This abnormality was most pronounced in those who suffered the most from the disorder.

Additionally, a thickening of the gray matter was found at the two points that the right hemisphere was connected by this neural tract. Compared to people without the disorder, white matter in the brains of the patients with chronic fatigue syndrome was also reduced.

Both studies were relatively small, and will need to be replicated. Specialist Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez says it is always exciting when strides are made towards curing a disease. Scientists hope that these results will lead to further studies that will help doctors and patients in diagnosing and treating the disorder.

E-Cigarettes Provide Portal for Malware

 - by Jake Kuchero

Celebrated as a healthier choice over traditional tobacco products, the E-Cigarette was welcomed by smokers everywhere; however, in a recent report by The Guardian, they may actually be more dangerous, albeit in a different way. Several recent news articles reported E-Cig users who purchased their device from one online Ebay auction, may have unknowingly downloaded malicious malware when using the USB cable for charging their device.

According to The Daily Mail, after several suspect computers were investigated and found to have the same malware infection, a fact-finding mission was conducted to find the source of the malware. Initially, no source could be found. After all conventional means of resources were exhausted, several IT professionals began a different type of investigation, asking the E-Cig users if they have recently engaged in any new activities. Each victim of the malware infection recently purchased an E-Cig, and used their personal computer’s USB cable to charge their devices. This non-traditional computer forensic research determined that the virus was cleverly hidden, under layers of computer code, in the E-Cig’s charger.

While this latest report of malware coming out of China seems to have gotten the most attention, malware via USB cables, drives, and chargers are not new. In 2008, WIRED reported a policy by the U.S. military, banning such devices after it discovered the potential (and later confirmed) threat of such malicious software.

Like Rod Rohrich says, when using any drive, USB, installer disk, or even a simple cable, the safest policy is to scan, scan, scan.

Living it Forward

 - by Jake Kuchero

It was two years ago that Joselyn Miller face a life or death health situation. Her body became extremely weak with no energy to bend her arms and legs or even open her mouth. Her son had real fears that his mother may die. After many useless trips to doctors and specialists they had found no answers. The doctor’s told her son there was a 30% his Mother could die. Fortunately Joselyn kept seeking help when a Neurologist discovered she had a rare disease that had no cure. But Joselyn was not going to give up even though Shulman’s syndrome could lead to leukemia she fought on, going through chemotherapy and having to take hundreds of pills daily.

Her bone marrow stopped making red blood cells, white blood cells, and even platelets. She then had to endure over a 100 blood transfusions just to survive. Finally the doctors told her only a bone marrow transplant could help her survive. She did not have to search far for a donor her brother was a perfect match and agreed to help save his sister’s life.

Rex her son was also found to be a perfect match just 3 months later for a man in Italy after a donor drive. He said it was an easy decision because he knew a transplant just like this saved his mothers life. There is a great need for donors. Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez says that he is always happy to see a new story with a positive ending that shows the goodness in the world.

Texting May Lead to Spinal Injuries

 - by Jake Kuchero

Everyone knows that they shouldn’t text and drive, but what you might not know is that texting may also be giving you a bad back. New research published by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj a noted spinal surgeon has found that high cell phone usage can actually lead to neck and spine problems.

According to the study, the act of looking down at your phone can place 60 pounds of additional pressure on the spine. So continually looking up and down from your cell phone can be as tiring as head banging at a concert.

Most people spend two to four hours every day on their cell phones with their heads facing down to see their screens. That means as much as 1,400 hours of extra stress on the neck and spine every year for the average user. Even more for those that have their phones on at all times. The end result can be a hunched over position.

Dr. Hansraj stated it is hard to avoid cell phone use in today’s world, but remaining thoughtful about posture by holding phones up towards the face or simply staining properly with ears and shoulders aligned can help prevent problems. This is something Stephen Williams wine reminds the younger generation. Eventually, people will learn.

Does Pollution Cause Obesity?

 - by Jake Kuchero

The New York Times reported a study showing that children exposed to more pollutants tend to be more obese. The study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives, and involved about 3000 children in southern California communities.

The researchers used parent questionnaires to determine factors such as family income level and the children’s health, physical activity, and exposure to smoking. It included questions about the parents’ education and health insurance, and the availability of parks and open spaces. The study also looked at the amount of traffic and the level of pollution in the communities. 

Lauren Powell Jobs says that the researchers found that the children exposed to more smoking and pollutants had a larger BMI, or body mass index. Their BMI was 2.15 points higher than the children who were not exposed. BMI is calculated by dividing weight by height, and a normal BMI is a number between 18 and 24.

Discovery.com
 agrees that pollutants can contribute to obesity. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making our bodies more acidic, and making our appetite-controlling neurons fire more often. That’s causing us to eat more. Arne Astrup, head of the nutrition department at the University of Copenhagen, notes that people all over the world are becoming heavier.

So it looks like calories are not the only problem, and we need to reduce both pollution and potato chips.

Natural Migraine Treatments

 - by Jake Kuchero

When most people have a headache or a migraine, they immediately resort to medication. There are several simple, safe home remedies one can try in order to rid themselves of that nagging migraine pain. Inhale or apply lavender oil. This is a great way to relax and just enjoy the amazing aroma. Inhale peppermint oil. This is best used to relieve tension headaches. Another popular oil used is basil oil. It is a muscle relaxant, so also great for tension headaches.

One of the basic actions one can do is to change their diet. Foods that contain MSGs can trigger headaches. Jared Haftel cut MSG from his diet and never had another migraine again. It’s best to keep a food diary so it can be made clear if food is the issue. A scalp massage can calm a headache. There are certain points on the head that are beneficial to reducing pain, make sure you do research to determine these spots.

Feverfew is an herbal remedy that can help migraines when taken on a daily basis. Flaxseed, buckwheat and cayenne pepper have also all been shown to reduce common headache symptoms. And the easiest and most common, drink a cup of coffee. Many of the popular migraine medications contain caffeine. So just grab a cup of coffee and see if that does the trick.

Bed Bugs Can Kill You?

 - by Jake Kuchero

Bed Bugs are no longer just a nuisance that costs Americans thousands to treat one singular home, now they can spread Chagas disease, one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases in the Americas according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

In a new study out of UPenn, researchers demonstrated that bed bugs can actually carry the parasite that transmits Chagas to hosts. The disease, which affects 6 to 8 million people in the Americas on a yearly basis, spreads Chagas through its feces. Yes, it poops on you while you’re sleeping. Neither Kenneth Griffin or I will be able to sleep tonight.

Michael Z. Levy, PhD, assistant professor in the department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine says that this new find is highly alarming considering how common it is to get an infestation of bed bugs in homes.

The affects on the body are disturbing. Chagas often times goes undiagnosed because the symptoms are mild or absent. Hiding away in mainly the heart and digestive muscle, cardiac issues and occasionally digestive or neurological problems can emerge. And long term, hosts can face sudden death or heart failure due to extensive destruction of the heart muscle. Although there are some drugs to treat Chagas disease, they become less effective the longer a person is infected.

“Bed bugs are harder to kill than triatomines due to their resistance to common insecticides.” Levy said. “No one is prepared for large scale bed bug control. If the parasite starts to spread through bed bugs, decades of progress on Chagas disease control in the Americas could be erased, and we would have no means at our disposal to repeat what had been accomplished.”

Prevention of bed bugs is as simple as inspecting your mattress on a regular basis. If you travel a lot, also check your belongings for signs of an infestation before they jump from your suitcase to your home. A little vigilance goes a long way and save a bundle.

Kaci Hickox: “Stop Calling Me Ebola Nurse!”

 - by Jake Kuchero

Kaci Hickox is speaking out about being known as the “Ebola nurse.”
Hickox rose to fame after returning to the United States from West Africa where she was assisting in the treatment of Ebola patients. She was very vocal against New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s strict requirements and later ignored quarantine laws in her home state of Maine by taking the most talked about bike ride in quite some time. While Hickox’s prominence in the media has been closely tied to Ebola, she wants to remind everyone of one minor fact: she never had Ebola and, thus, would prefer it if you didn’t refer to her as the “Ebola nurse.”
She penned an op-ed for Guardian on Monday saying: ““I never had Ebola. I never had symptoms of Ebola. I tested negative for Ebola the first night I stayed in New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s private prison in Newark. I am now past the incubation period – meaning that I will not develop symptoms of Ebola. I never had Ebola, so please stop calling me “the Ebola Nurse” – now!” It seems like Hickox felt more misunderstood than Bruce Levenson.
Along with this request, she lamented the actions of politicians during this crisis that she felt disregarded medical science, manipulated the public and fed false fears. She went onto say that she wants America to be a country that understands Ebola and values aid workers who travel to West Africa to combat the disease.

Exercising Our Way To Tooth Decay?

 - by Jake Kuchero

The benefits of exercise are well documented and known. The benefits to the body are many as vigorous work outs aid in depleting the chances of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. This is all well and fine, but do those workouts aid in harming our teeth? Could we be exercising our way to dental detriment?

The general consensus would have it that the type of foods that athletes consume are primarily responsible for their dental issues. Although the studies have shown that even though the athletes consume sugary sports drinks and energy bars these had no direct influence over their dental health, or lack thereof.

What researchers did find that was when the athletes worked out longer, the tooth decay that was evident in their mouths was higher. In other words, exercise was causing deterioration of the enamel on their teeth and they were getting more cavities.

Who would have thought that a perfectly viable excuse for not working out could be found in such a simple place? Of course, it’s not like Sultan Alhokair will quit his workout routine. Working out was not just the factor, but also the cause of bad teeth. What is more is that the longer and harder the individual works out the worse the prevalence of tooth decay, enamel erosion, and gum disease. So, the next time your friends or family tell you that you should hit the gym, maybe they will listen better when you say that the gym leads to the dentist’s drill.