Friday, October 31, 2008

Message to Georgia Residents: Forgo Fad Dieting and Join the Campaign for Healthy Weight

PRNewswire/ -- The last decade can be defined by the ups and downs of different fad diets -- which seem to go in and out of fashion like shoulder pads and hemlines. Yet, long-term success has been slim. Two out of three Americans -- including 56 percent of Georgia residents -- remain overweight or obese.

A new campaign crossing the country, the Campaign for Healthy Weight, is rallying Americans behind the healthy weight cause, not just the political candidates, and urging people to think more about their "health" instead of simply a number on the scale. Studies indicate that small, specific changes in physical activity and calorie intake can make a big difference. And, people who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to be at risk for weight-related health conditions, such as heart disease. The Campaign will make its stop in Atlanta on November 1, 2008, to urge local residents to change their "diet" mindset and elect a new attitude.

"Health management is really starting to become a bigger part of weight management," said Maria Galarza, R.D. "The key is to make small, sustainable changes that can last a lifetime. Drinking lowfat or fat free milk as a part of a healthy daily eating plan and walking more every day are two easy adjustments that can go a long way in supporting a healthy weight."

Weighing in on the American Diet

A new report called "Weighing in on the American Diet," found that the number of adults who say they are on a diet has steadily decreased over the past decade. The study, conducted by The NPD Group in collaboration with the Milk Processor Education Program, found the majority of Americans say they are on a diet for their health and their weight; 68 percent say "feeling healthier" is why they're dieting.

People who are watching their weight, however, are making less than optimal beverage choices. Coffee, soft drinks, teas and juices are most likely filling their glasses and cups with milk being the fifth most frequently consumed beverage -- only 14 percent of all beverage occasions. Including milk on the menu appears to make a positive difference, though. The report found that adult dieters who made drinking lowfat or fat free milk a daily habit were more likely to have a healthy body mass index (BMI) with better quality diets richer in essential nutrients and were less likely to feel deprived compared to dieters who didn't -- findings which are in line with previous scientific studies.

Milk supplies two nutrients that along with physical activity are especially important when cutting calories -- calcium to prevent bone loss and protein to help build muscle mass. Studies suggest that drinking the recommended three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk a day along with a healthy diet can help maintain a healthy weight. Researchers also have found that people with higher intakes of milk tend to be leaner and are less likely to gain excess weight than those who drink little to no milk.

Milk -- The Beverage with Your Health Interests at Heart

People who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to be at risk for weight-related health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. In addition, some studies have linked meeting the recommendations for lowfat and fat free milk along with eating fruits and vegetables to a lower risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, as part of a heart-healthy diet. The American Heart Association 2007 Guidelines for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Women emphasize eating fresh fruits, vegetables and lowfat milk and milk products.

"I always encourage people to include three servings of lowfat or fat free milk as part of a heart-healthy diet and to walk everyday," said Maria Galarza, R.D. "With nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, protein and potassium, milk is a great way to get a nutrient boost."

Atlanta Residents Pledge to Maintain a Healthy Weight

As part of milk's proud support for the American Heart Association's Start! Heart Walks in cities across the country, the Campaign for Healthy Weight will set up headquarters at walk events nationwide to rally Americans to eat right, walk more and milk their diets. Participants at the Atlanta Start! Heart Walk on November 1, 2008, who will already be taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle, will be able to join thousands of other Americans who have taken a healthy weight pledge and voted for milk with their upper lips.

While at the Start! Heart Walk, visitors can:
-- Join the Campaign and take the pledge to maintain a healthy weight in a
healthy way with milk
-- Sample heart-healthy lowfat or fat free milk from local dairies
-- Speak with a local registered dietitian who can explain how simple,
lifelong steps can help maintain a healthy weight and a healthy heart
-- Take the Campaign for Healthy Weight Quiz to see how their weight
management habits compare to those of their fellow Americans
-- Take a souvenir Milk Mustache photo
-- Enter for a chance to win a FREE trip to the 2009 AHA Start! Heart Walk
in Hilo, Hawaii

To learn more about the Campaign for Healthy Weight and the findings from the Weighing in on the American Diet report, log onto http://www.whymilk.com/. Here visitors can take the healthy weight pledge, get tips on how to maintain a healthy weight and prevent unhealthy weight gain and find out if their beverage choices may be derailing their efforts.

The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The MilkPEP Board runs the national Milk Mustache "got milk?" Campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the health benefits of milk. For more information, go to http://www.whymilk.com/. The tagline "got milk?"(R) was created for the California Milk Processor Board by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and is licensed by the national milk processor and dairy producer groups.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taking Steps Against Restless Legs Syndrome

(NAPSI)-Despite years of research, restless legs syndrome (RLS) is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, but a new educational initiative aims to change that.

What Is RLS?

RLS is a serious condition that has affected people for many years, but it has not always been taken seriously, and is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Approximately 10 percent of American adults suffer from this neurological sensorimotor disorder, which causes uncomfortable and sometimes painful creeping, crawling and tugging sensations in the legs.

People with RLS often feel as though they have to move their legs, by walking or stretching, in order to make the uncomfortable feelings go away. These sensations tend to get worse with inactivity, sitting for a long time or even just relaxing, like when watching television or taking a long car ride. Because the symptoms usually intensify in the evening and at night, they often interfere with the ability to sleep.

What's Being Done

The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation (RLS Foundation) and National Sleep Foundation (NSF) have partnered on an educational initiative in an effort to increase awareness of RLS and help people better understand that they are not alone and that there are ways to successfully manage their symptoms. The initiative, which is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., features the stories of people living with RLS as well as a unique educational Web site.

One Woman's Story

Among those featured on the Web site is Lynne, who is living with RLS, and explained: "I would be up pacing at night while my family was sleeping. By the time my symptoms subsided and I could fall asleep, it was time for my family to get up. I felt like I lived alone, living on the sidelines of my own life."

To help people living with RLS like Lynne, the Web site features a search tool for finding health care professionals who specialize in RLS and related conditions, a symptom diary, and tips to help start a conversation about RLS with a health care professional. Everyone experiences RLS differently, so it is important for a health care professional to diagnose and determine the best way to control RLS symptoms.

Learn More

For more information, visit WhatisRLS.org.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Right Nutrition is Vital when Living with Cancer

(ARA) – Good nutrition is always important, especially when you’re undergoing treatment for cancer. Proper nutrition supports your immune system and supplies you with the energy to do the things you enjoy.

So why do between 45 and 80 percent of all cancer patients develop some form of clinical malnutrition during the course of treatment? Frankly, it’s tough to get the right nutrients when you can’t keep food down or when things just don’t taste good anymore. Also, the tumor itself may affect the way your body processes nutrients.

One school of thought has been if you’re living with cancer, eat whatever you want - whether it’s nutrient dense or not. The reality is there has never been a more important time to get the right balance of nutrients. Foods high in fat and empty calories (calories present in high-energy foods with poor nutritional profiles) alone won’t give you the energy you need to keep you strong.

Why Nutrition Matters for Cancer Patients

Here are some facts cancer patients and their caregivers should know about how nutrition affects the way the body reacts to cancer treatment:

* Cancer treatment increases your need for protein and calories to help repair and heal your body.

* Radiation and chemotherapy may interfere with normal eating habits by causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and a sore, dry mouth.

* Some cancer patients -- especially those undergoing high doses of chemotherapy, or those with head, neck and lung cancers -- may develop swallowing difficulties, known as dysphagia. Dysphagia is a condition that leaves patients extremely vulnerable to malnutrition, as it impairs the ability to consume adequate amounts of nutrients and often goes undiagnosed in the general population more than 75 percent of the time.

“Getting the right nutrition is vital during cancer treatment,” says Mary Miranowski, a registered dietitian with Nestle HealthCare Nutrition. “Whether you’re preparing for surgery or going through chemo or radiation therapy, there’s never been a more important time to make sure your body is getting the nutrition it needs to defend against infections, help fight fatigue, and maintain lean muscle mass as part of maintaining a healthy weight.”

Specifically, here’s what the National Cancer Institute says good nutrition can do for you when living with cancer and undergoing treatment:

* Calories supply energy and help maintain a healthy weight.

* Protein helps support healing and is essential to protect, maintain and build muscle.

* Vitamins and minerals help reduce tissue damage and promote immune function.

Cancer Patients: It’s Time for Smart Nutrition

There are many ways to get the specialized nutrition you need during cancer treatment. As a world leader in health, wellness and nutrition, Nestle HealthCare Nutrition offers a comprehensive array of products to help support cancer patients stay strong through the cancer journey. It’s never been easier or more important to understand the role specialized nutritional support plays during cancer treatment.

To learn more about how nutrition helps cancer patients stay strong, check out www.nutrition4strength.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stroke: Save Yourself by Knowing the Five Signs and Acting Quickly

(ARA) - When a stroke strikes, every minute counts in saving the person's life. Speedy treatment depends on the person afflicted or someone near them recognizing the five signs that a stroke is occurring and getting emergency help fast. You can remember the five signs of stroke with these five words: walk, talk, reach, see, and feel.

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. About 5.3 million Americans suffer from strokes annually, which means you or someone you care about could be affected.

Dr. Diana Fite, an emergency physician from Houston, experienced a stroke in 2006 while driving her car. She was 53 at the time. Thanks to her quick reaction and prompt medical attention, she made a full recovery.

"Because I am an emergency physician, I knew to call 9-1-1 to get help immediately, which is why I recovered quickly," Fite says. "But I know from my experience as a doctor that too many people ignore stroke symptoms or wait for them to go away, with tragic results."

Fite is the spokesperson for "Give Me 5 for Stroke: Walk, Talk, Reach, See, Feel," a campaign aimed at educating Americans about the five warning signs of a stroke. The campaign is made up of three organizations: the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Stroke Association. The group came up with five words to help people remember the warning symptoms of stroke more easily: walk, talk, reach, see and feel. By paying attention to how a person walks, talks, reaches, sees and feels, individuals and family members can recognize when a stroke is happening and react immediately.

"Walk" is to recognize if a person's balance is off-kilter, "talk" identifies if a person's speech is slurred or their face is droopy, "reach" points out if the person feels numb on one side, "see" pin points if the person has partially or completely lost their vision and "feel" discovers if the person has a severe headache. If any of these stroke symptoms occur suddenly, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Actress Morgan Fairchild, who recently played Sophia Blakely in “Fashion House” and is remembered as Jordan Roberts in the ‘80s TV drama “Falcon Crest,” has teamed up with the organizations in promoting "Give Me 5 for Stroke." They are also recognizing World Stroke Day on Oct. 29, highlighting the importance of identifying, treating and preventing strokes.

"I witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of stroke on my mother," says Fairchild, the primary caregiver for her mother, who suffered a series of debilitating strokes until her death in 1999. "Stroke is a killer, but for too many people, it doesn't need to be. If you know the warning signs and get medical help right away, you have an excellent chance of making a good recovery.

“Women especially need to know the warning signs, because they account for over 60 percent of the deaths from stroke,” Fairchild adds. “We are also the health information keepers for our families and must spread the word to our siblings, spouses, parents and friends about how to recognize a stroke."

For additional information about "Give Me 5 for Stroke: Walk, Talk, Reach, See, Feel" and resources about strokes, visit www.giveme5forstroke.org or call the toll free number (888) 4STROKE.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, October 27, 2008

How Well Do You Know Your Pharmacist?

(NAPSI)-Have you ever had a question about cold, sinus or allergy medicines in front of or behind the pharmacy counter, but weren't sure if you should ask your pharmacist? Or, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the pharmacy counter? According to a recent survey, when it comes to their pharmacist, consumers are definitely not "in the know."

Unlocking The Mystery Of Behind-the-Counter

The truth is that pharmacists are trusted advisors on your healthcare team who have the expertise and training to help people who have questions access the medicine that is right for them. Many times, pharmacists can be the first point-of-contact for patients with health inquiries and they work hard every day to help people with their healthcare questions.

"Especially with cold and flu season rapidly approaching, it's important for people to know that, if they have questions, pharmacists can provide helpful information about medicines located in front of or behind-the-counter that are available without a prescription," says Kristen Binaso, RPh, CCP, FASCP, of the American Pharmacists Association.

To help highlight the importance of pharmacists, the APhA is teaming with comedian Brad Sherwood, best-known as a cast member of the Emmy-nominated TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?",* to launch the Behind-the-Counter Encounters campaign. This educational campaign aims to raise awareness about the role of your local pharmacist.

Sherwood stars with pharmacists in a series of online videos that portray a "day in the life" of a pharmacist. The APhA and Sherwood encourage people to visit www.BTCcenter.com to view the videos and to learn more about the campaign. The campaign was created with support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc.

*Property of the following: Warner Brothers, Television and ABC Family.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Enjoy The Sounds Of The Holidays

(NAPSI)-For many people, the holiday season is a time to celebrate and relax with family and friends.

However, for those living with hearing loss, it can also be a difficult and frustrating time. Large gatherings, music and the rapid pace of holiday activities all contribute to isolating those who have difficulty hearing.

In fact, the National Council on Aging found that adults who had untreated hearing loss were more likely to report feelings of depression and anxiety than those whose hearing loss had been treated.

"The holidays are often the only time of year that we get to see some of our long-distance family members," said Dr. Craig Kasper, chief audiology officer for Audio Help Associates of Manhattan. "That is why family and friends should use the opportunity to discuss the issue of hearing loss with loved ones who may be at risk."

If a loved one consistently asks you to repeat what you've said or is constantly turning up the volume on the television or radio, he or she may be experiencing hearing loss.

"Hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse," said Dr. Kasper. "If you notice any signs of hearing loss in a family member, you should speak to that person about making an appointment with a local audiologist."

Hearing loss is the third-most common health issue in the United States, affecting more than 31 million Americans. Most people wait seven to 10 years before seeking help for hearing-related issues.

Hear the World, a global initiative to raise awareness about the importance of hearing by hearing device manufacturer Phonak, suggests a few tips to cope with hearing loss during the holidays:

• Start new holiday traditions that are visually oriented, such as creating holiday lighting displays.

• Stay away from noisy venues when holding/throwing a holiday party.

• Avoid playing loud music, which can interfere with conversation, at gatherings.

• Arrange strategic seating assignments: Seat loved ones with hearing loss away from the bustling kitchen and far from any music speakers.

• Make a family New Year's resolution to visit an audiologist for a hearing checkup.

For more information, visit www.hear-the-world.com. Visitors can participate in a free online hearing screening.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Taking the First Steps toward Better Health

(ARA) – Taking the first step toward a healthier lifestyle can seem overwhelming. The American Medical Association (AMA) suggests that one way to start might be with small changes that can lead to big health benefits.

“Improving eating habits, increasing exercise and reducing or eliminating unhealthy behaviors can seem like daunting tasks if you try to tackle everything at once,” says Dr. J. James Rohack, president-elect of the AMA. “By incorporating small changes into your daily life, the process of getting healthier can be more manageable.”

Every little step counts when you are trying to live a healthier life. Here are some easy tips to do right now to begin living a healthier lifestyle.

To improve eating habits:

* Order your sandwich on whole wheat bread instead of white bread, and opt for low fat meats, cheeses and sauces.

* Drink water or unsweetened iced tea instead of high sugar sodas.

* Feed your sweet tooth with naturally sweet fruit instead of candy bars or cookies.

* Pack lunch at home at least one day a week instead of ordering out.

To increase physical activity:

* Take a walk during your lunch break.

* Park at the far end of the parking lot, and use the stairs instead of the elevator.

* Get off the bus a stop or two farther than usual and walk the rest of the way.

* Stand up while talking on the phone.

* Take a 15-minute break in the afternoon to walk around and stretch.

To reduce or eliminate unhealthy behaviors like excessive drinking or smoking:

* Ask your physician for help quitting smoking. No amount of smoking is safe and medications are available to help smokers quit for good.

* Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in the home and car and ask family, friends and co-workers for support.

* Pay attention to how much you are drinking and sip slowly. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderation as just one drink per day for women and two for men.

* Never drink on an empty stomach. Food will help your body absorb the alcohol more slowly.

* If you need help to reduce or stop drinking, talk to your physician.

“Making strides towards a healthier lifestyle is not an all-or-nothing process,” says Dr. Rohack. “Taking even small steps every day, like choosing a healthier lunch option or walking a few flights of stairs a day, can add up to big changes in your health. The important thing is to just keep going. Believe it or not, one healthy change often leads to another.”

To better help patients adopt a healthier lifestyle, the AMA recently launched the AMA Healthier Life Steps program. At www.ama-assn.org/go/healthierlifesteps, you’ll find free tools and tip sheets to help you partner with your physician to improve the key health behaviors that have been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other conditions. The program also includes resources for physicians so they can easily incorporate healthy lifestyle counseling into patient visits.

The program tool kit includes a patient self-assessment questionnaire, action plans and tips to get started and progress tracking calendars. The site also provides links to additional resources, and offers other helpful information, like healthy recipe options, a BMI calculator and a frequently asked question section where you can read answers to the most commonly asked questions about diet, exercise and unhealthy behaviors.

“Living a healthier lifestyle not only greatly reduces the risk for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, but it makes you feel better so you have more energy to go out and enjoy life with your loved ones,” Rohack says. “It’s never too late to start living a healthier lifestyle.”

To learn more about the AMA Healthier Life Steps program and to begin using the program’s free tools to help improve your health, visit www.ama-assn.org/go/healthierlifesteps.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Staying Healthy At Work

(NAPSI)-Eating lunch at your desk might make you feel more productive at work, but could it also cost you more sick days?

It might, according to a University of Arizona study by microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba. It showed that more bacteria and viruses are found on the average desk than in the office restroom.

So how can you avoid these office bugs and the sickness they might cause? Try these tips:

Stay Clean

Washing your hands more often, using hand sanitizer and wiping down your keyboard and phone receiver with disinfectant wipes are some basic ways to protect yourself.

Learn More

You can also visit an educational and entertaining Web site called germville.com. It teaches visitors about various types of germs, where they live, how they spread and how to deal with them. The site features colorful yet somewhat disturbing characters such as Sal Monella and Missy Coli, who inhabit the "bustling town of Germville nestled in the grimy nooks and crannies of offices, schools, fitness centers and other locales."

Speak Up

You might ask your employer or facilities manager to find a cleaning service that uses science-based cleaning methods to eliminate and remove dangerous germs that cause disease.

A traditional cleaning crew might be doing little more than pushing germs around, or worse, cross-contaminating by using the same cloth to clean multiple areas or slinging dirty, contaminated water with a mop. In contrast, the Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System is comprised of innovative, science-based methodologies. It uses hospital-grade disinfectants, color-coded microfiber cleaning cloths and flat-mop technology to eradicate and remove harmful germs and reduce cross-contamination.

"It's important that we're educated about the steps we can take as individuals to protect ourselves from infectious germs that can make us sick," says Dr. Gerba. "For people who want to do more, health-based cleaning is scientifically proven to improve infection control and create a healthier environment."

To learn more, visit the Web site www.germville.com.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Diabetic Eye Disease Month Underscores Need for Annual Eye Exams

November is both American Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month. More Americans than ever have diabetes. In fact, 8 percent of the population has diabetes - 23.6 million children and adults. Of those individuals, only about 18 million have been diagnosed. Additionally, some 57 million Americans are pre-diabetic.

Many Americans do not know that untreated diabetes can lead to complete vision loss. Emory Eye Center ophthalmologists routinely treat patients who have the particular complications of diabetes that affect their vision.

All people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, are at risk. Those who have had diabetes for 15 years or more are at strong risk of developing this sight-stealing disease called diabetic retinopathy. It affects between 12,000 and 24,000 people with diabetes each year in this country, and is the leading cause of blindness in people ages 20 to 74, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40 percent to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.

"At Emory, we treat a significant number of patients who have diabetic eye disease, says Baker Hubbard, MD, director of Emory Eye Center's Retina service and associate professor of ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine. "It is important for diabetics to be diagnosed early, and to begin treatment early to avoid vision loss. Past studies have shown that intensive therapy at diagnosis reduces the risk for developing retinopathy by 76 percent. It is much easier to prevent vision loss with intensive control of blood sugar than it is to restore vision after it has already been lost."

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, which can weaken the retina and block, distort or blur vision. Diabetes sometimes causes abnormal blood vessels to form in the back of the eye. With diabetic retinopathy these new vessels can leak fluid into the retina or vitreous humor (the jelly that fills the eye) and contract, distort or detach the retina.

The early stage of diabetic retinopathy is nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), which occurs when tiny blood vessels within the retina leak blood or fluid. The leaking fluid causes the retina to swell or to form deposits called exudates. Many with diabetes have mild NPDR, which does not typically affect their vision. When vision is affected, it is the result of macular edema (swelling of the macula) and/or macular ischemia (when small blood vessels close).

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is present when abnormal, new vessels (neovascularization) begin growing on the surface of the retina or optic nerve. Adequate blood supply is prevented, causing the retina to respond by growing these new vessels. Unfortunately, the new vessels do not resupply the retina with normal blood flow, and these new vessels are often accompanied by scar tissue that may cause wrinkling or detachment of the retina.

PDR causes more severe vision loss when the new vessels bleed into the vitreous, the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the eye. A very large hemorrhage might block all vision. Smaller ones cause dark floaters in one's vision. With time, this new blood in the vitreous may clear or it may be necessary to perform a surgery to do so.

"A dilated eye exam is the only way to find these changes inside one's eye," says Hubbard. "We can often diagnose and treat a patient's retinopathy before that patient is aware of any problems."

During the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, no treatment is needed, unless the patient has macular edema. Proliferative retinopathy has been treated with laser surgery for the past few years. On occasion, more than one laser treatment is required.

Today, physicians have also added anti-VEGF injections, similar to those used for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), to their arsenal of treatment options. These compounds inhibit the formation and leakage of new blood vessels, just as they do in the treatment of AMD.

If the bleeding is severe, a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy is used. During a vitrectomy, blood is removed from the center of the eye.

During Diabetic Eye Disease Month, eye MDs at Emory Eye Center urge all those at risk for or who already have diabetes to have an annual eye exam. Prevention is key in order to save sight that might be lost due to late diagnosis.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Medicare Open Enrollment Begins November 15th

(NAPSI)-Each year, plans adjust what they cost and what they cover. Now is the time for people with Medicare to review the changes being made by their current plan and compare it to others to make sure it still meets their needs. Those who don't have prescription drug coverage can also enroll in a drug plan during open enrollment.

Some beneficiaries may see significant premium increases or changes-such as reduced coverage in the gap-if they stay in the same prescription drug plan in 2009. Medicare encourages individual beneficiaries to review how their plans are changing and what other options are available.

There are four ways to review and compare plans:

1. Call (800) MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227, TTY 1-877-486-2048). Twenty-four-hour help is available from trained Medicare representatives.

2. Visit www.medicare.gov. Compare costs, coverage and more. Get an estimate of your out-of-pocket costs for the year.

3. See the listing of plans in your "Medicare & You" handbook and information sent to you by your plan.

4. Talk with local Medicare experts at your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

People with Medicare should also be aware of Medicare fraud and identity theft. To help protect Medicare beneficiaries when speaking with plans and others about their Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare urges them to protect their Medicare number as they would their credit card information. People with Medicare should not give their information to anyone who comes to their home (or calls them) uninvited selling Medicare-related products. If you or someone you love is not sure if a provider is approved by Medicare, simply call (800) MEDICARE.

Important Medicare Enrollment Dates:

Nov. 15-Open Enrollment Begins

Enroll as soon as possible-the sooner the better-to avoid any inconvenience at the pharmacy counter in January.

Dec. 31-Open Enrollment Ends

Jan. 1-Coverage Begins

This message brought to you by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Drinking Too Much May Shrink Your Brain

(SPM Wire) Hangovers and liver disease may be not be your only worries if you drink too much. New medical research reveals that alcohol consumption is directly related to a reduction in brain volume.

Simply put, the more you drink, the less intellectual real-estate you own. So says a report on excessive alcohol consumption, recently released in the medical journal, "Archives of Neurology."

From 1999 to 2001, 1,839 adults took part in a study exploring the relationship between alcohol consumption and brain capacity. Led by Carol Ann Paul of Wellesley College, researchers gathered data from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI's) and standard health examinations. They then cross-referenced this data with information gleaned from participants about their weekly alcohol consumption and basic demographic makeup - such as age, sex, height, body-mass-index, and other indicators.

"There was a significant negative linear relationship between alcohol consumption and total cerebral brain volume," writes Paul and colleagues. "The public health effect of this study gives a clear message about the possible dangers of drinking alcohol."

This is not to say, however, that moderate drinking of alcohol is entirely bad for the human body, with medical experts noting benefits for the heart and a reduction in cardiovascular disease, among other advantages.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the brain.

"This study suggests that, unlike the associations with cardiovascular disease, alcohol consumption does not have any protective effect on brain volume," writes Paul and colleagues.

The newly released research also indicates that while men are generally more likely to drink alcohol in excess, women may receive the most ill-effects when it comes to drinking and brain size. Researchers behind the study hypothesized that this probably relates to basic biology, such as the average woman's lower tolerance to alcohol on account of smaller stature when compared with the average man.

A normal brain's volume dwindles at an expected rate of 1.9 percent per decade, according to the researchers, but drinking to excess hastens the natural degradation of brain matter.

All of this leads to the question, should one endorse Benjamin Franklin's assertion that "beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to prosper," or is it more desirable to leave alcohol alone entirely?

It is up to each of us to answer this question individually -- hopefully with the help of our doctors.


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Monday, October 20, 2008

Heartier Seasonal Meals Can Help Prevent Cancer

(StatePoint) The way to most men's hearts is still through their stomachs. So what better way to broach the topic of prostate cancer with your loved one than by preparing a delicious meal designed to keep him healthy while grabbing his attention?

Many people -- especially men -- think that eating healthy means giving up the foods they love. That just doesn't have to be the case.

"Home cooks are often surprised that they can still enjoy many of their favorite dishes while maintaining a healthier diet," says Beth Ginsberg, a chef long regarded for her use of natural ingredients.

Indeed, Ginsberg has created a free, easy-to-prepare menu geared toward prostate health -- featuring such seasonal favorites as cream of tomato soup, meatloaf, corn pudding and apple cobbler. All the recipes may be downloaded for free at prostatecancerfoundation.org/menu.

Of course, the recipes all have a healthful twist. Turkey and chicken are combined to replace beef in meatloaf, vanilla soy milk is blended into corn pudding, and soybeans are added to a tasty side dish of peas and wild mushrooms.

"Creating a diet to help prevent prostate cancer not only requires taking things out, such as fat, it also means building in new ingredients such as antioxidants and soy protein," explains Ginsberg.

And it's not just what you cook; it's how you cook it. While eating right for the prostate means adding such ingredients as broccoli and tomatoes -- both of which have been proven beneficial -- it is also important to prepare food the right way.

Charring meats at high temperatures, for instance, can create cancer-causing carcinogens that lodge in the prostate. These may cause errors in reading and replicating DNA, resulting in mutations that can contribute to prostate cancer formation. According to experts, eating an eight-ounce charred steak is the rough equivalent of having your prostate smoke a pack-and-a-half of cigarettes.

But cooking right is only part of the battle.

While prostate cancer strikes one out of every six American men (one out of three with a family history) and is the second most prevalent form of cancer, it is perhaps the least discussed. Put simply: men don't like talking about diseases below the belt.

"Sitting down to eat a prostate-healthy meal is a great time to talk to your husband or partner about the importance of annual screenings and early detection for prostate cancer," adds Ginsberg. "They need to take control of their prostate health, striking at cancer before it strikes them."

Early detection and treatment remain the best weapons against prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that men over the age of 50 get checked annually for prostate cancer and those with a family history begin testing at 45. All men over 40 should speak with their doctors to develop a proactive prostate health plan right for them.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), more than 28,000 American men are projected to die from prostate cancer this year. With the aging of the baby boomers, it's estimated that the number of new cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. will increase by 60 percent to more than 300,000 in 2015. By then more than three million American men may be battling prostate cancer.

For more healthy recipes, read Beth Ginsberg's two popular cookbooks, "The Taste for Living Cookbook" and "The Taste for Living World Cookbook," which can each be ordered on the PCF Web site at www.pcf.org.

Information on prostate cancer prevention, detection and treatment also can be found on the PCF site.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

‘Tell a Gal P.A.L.’ to Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence

(ARA) - Three out of four Americans know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence according to the Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence. While it impacts many, few discuss the issue.

With October designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Allstate Foundation and television star Ana Ortiz encourage Americans to “Tell a Gal P.A.L.” and start a dialogue with friends and family about domestic violence.

“Knowing first-hand the devastating impact domestic violence has on families has motivated me to help others in abusive situations,” Ortiz says. “We need to remove the stigma associated with this highly sensitive subject by encouraging people to talk openly about domestic violence and economic empowerment.”

As part of the campaign, Ortiz will open up her heart and her closet by giving one lucky winner a designer purse from her personal collection. Throughout October, those who visit ClickToEmpower.org can enter to win an Onna Ehrlich purse. Additional entries will be awarded to those who “Tell a Gal P.A.L.” about domestic violence through an online message to friends and family.

Through “Pass It On, Act and Learn,” the “Tell a Gal P.A.L.” campaign creates awareness and starts an open dialogue about domestic violence and how economic empowerment can provide a path to a safe future.

* Pass It On -- Spread the word to your gal pals that domestic violence touches all of us and it can happen to anyone. Let your gal pals know that financial abuse is part of domestic violence. Talk freely about domestic violence to break down the taboo.

* Act -- Small acts make a big difference. Encourage your gal pals to actively plan for a secure financial future. Start a savings plan for emergencies or get a copy of your credit report.

* Learn -- Learn about the resources available to help yourself, or someone you know, out of an abusive situation. Take steps to protect your personal and financial safety whether you’re in an abusive relationship or not, and empower yourself.

Research from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shows that women with financial skills are more likely to leave abusive situations and sustain themselves and their families on a long-term basis. “Tell a Gal P.A.L.” aims to communicate that economic empowerment is critical to both personal and financial safety.

“Economic empowerment is vital to ending the cycle of abuse,” says Jennifer Kuhn, program manager for The Allstate Foundation. “Financial control is one of the most common ways an abuser keeps a victim from leaving a dangerous relationship, often by limiting access to money and other economic resources."

The Allstate Foundation Domestic Violence Program focuses on providing knowledge, skills and support to women and survivors of domestic violence in building financial safety and security.

More information on “Tell a Gal P.A.L.” is available at www.ClickToEmpower.org. Domestic violence survivors in need of immediate assistance are encouraged to call The National Domestic Violence Hotline, (800) 799-SAFE (800-799-7233).

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Spread Cheer, Not Germs, This Holiday Season

(ARA) - Stopping by the nursing home or hospital to spend time with loved ones is a holiday ritual for thousands of Americans -- but are you sharing more than gifts and goodies when you visit?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention video “Hand Hygiene Saves Lives,” patients in the United States develop more than one million infections each year in hospitals while they are there being treated for something else. Bloodstream, urinary tract and surgical wound infections, as well as pneumonia, are examples of the infections patients can develop while under hospital care. These infections can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact, by contaminated objects or through the air.

“Your hands are the main transmitters of health care-acquired infections,” says Alecia Cooper, a registered nurse and senior vice president of clinical services for Medline Industries, Inc. “This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since your hands are constantly in contact with your surroundings -- opening doors or dialing the phone, for example.”

Infection prevention is in your hands
Two simple things can go a long way toward ensuring that you’re not sharing bacteria along with your cookies and fudge -- keeping your hands clean and making sure you are cleaning them correctly.

“Washing your hands often is the number one thing you can do to fight the spread of infection, particularly after coughing or sneezing into your hands,” says Cooper. “Evidence supports the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels, but if sanitizer isn’t available, use soap and water.”

Just as important is making sure you are covering the areas of your hands that are likely to have the greatest density of germs. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, these include the area under your fingernails, your palms, the backs of your hands and the “webbing” in between your fingers.

“Put a squirt of gel or soap in the palm of one hand and dip the fingertips of the opposite hand into the pools before spreading over other areas, then repeat with the other hand and fingertips,” says Cooper. “It only takes a few seconds and you will be getting at where the majority of germs are.”

Speak up ... about washing up
Proper hand hygiene is one of the cornerstones in preventing the spread of infection in a health care setting. Studies have shown, however, that despite being a proven effective practice, hand hygiene compliance among health care workers is poor, with the World Health Organization reporting an average compliance rate of 40 percent.

As part of its Prevention Above All campaign, Medline earlier this year launched a comprehensive Hand Hygiene Compliance Program to educate health care providers on the importance of hand hygiene and using the proper technique. The CDC also encourages patients and their families to ask doctors and nurses to wash their hands, especially when they are about to deliver care. Even if the caregiver says they washed their hands right before coming into the room, don’t feel embarrassed to ask them to do it again in front of you.

“You should never be afraid of speaking up and asking caregivers to sanitize their hands,” says Cooper. “They want to prevent infections just as much as you do.”

To learn more about Medline’s Hand Hygiene Compliance Program or the Prevention Above All campaign, visit www.medline.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Schools Can Do To Keep Kids Healthier

(NAPSI)-Many schools have reduced or eliminated the junk food they used to offer students. That's good news, since about a third of American children are overweight, a rate three times greater than a generation ago.

Now, experts say, it's time for schools to take the next step by offering more nutritious foods.

"It is great that many schools are pulling junk food from vending machines, cafeteria lines and school stores," says Rob Bisceglie, executive director of Action for Healthy Kids, a nonprofit organization that works to improve school health practices. "But switching from fried to baked chips is only part of the solution. Schools need to offer more nutritious foods."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), just 2 percent of children consume the minimum recommended amount from all food groups. Youths need to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat and low-fat dairy products. Action for Healthy Kids emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach:

• School food service must provide nutritious, tasty meals that students will find appealing enough to choose over "competitive" foods.

• Parents need to reinforce healthy eating at home and pack nutritious lunches that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

• Teachers need to find opportunities to provide nutritious foods, such as adding cut fruit and vegetables and low-fat milk to a class pizza party.

• Superintendents and principals need to hold staff accountable for implementing healthy practices that have been established.

• Student leaders need to stand behind healthy improvements and share enthusiasm with other students.

• Parent organizations operating school concession stands or sponsoring fundraisers should provide healthful options.

A recent national survey showed that 96 percent of parents feel that they play a critical role in improving school health practices, yet only 24 percent have ever contacted a teacher or principal to suggest improvements to students' nutrition or opportunities for physical activity.

"Parents often act as a catalyst for change in schools, so their involvement in creating healthier schools is critical," says Bisceglie. Now is the time to take action."

To learn more, visit www.ActionForHealthyKids.org.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turkey Trot at Spring Hill Set for November 8

Spring Hill Elementary will host the 5th annual 5K/ 1mile Turkey Trot on November 8th, 2008. The one mile will begin at 8 a.m., and the 5K will begin at 8:30.

Registration is $20 per runner until Oct. 24th, and $25 thereafter. The race is part of the Elementary Grand Prix Series with 17 age group categories, and great door prizes!

Race profits support both Spring Hill and the Fayette Youth Protection Home. For a printable application visit the school website @ www.springhillsuns.org . For question email coordinator at getfitnow@bellsouth.net.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Eat Breakfast and Lose Weight

(ARA) – Whether you’re skipping breakfast to save on calories or running out the door in a rush with only a cup of coffee in hand, you’re not doing yourself or your health any favors. Numerous studies have shown that eating breakfast can help people lose weight while promoting heart health, cognitive performance and increased energy.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, women who ate breakfast regularly tended to eat fewer calories overall during the day. A healthy breakfast fuels the body and replenishes blood sugar levels to rev up metabolism for maximum calorie burn from morning until night.

Skipping breakfast deprives the body of the fuel it needs and often leads to impulsive snacking later in the morning. According to a study conducted by the Weight Watchers Smart Ones brand in 2008, two-thirds of Americans believe eating breakfast will help them maintain their weight. Surprisingly, 25 percent of those same men and women admit skipping breakfast as their worst breakfast habit! For such breakfast offenders, the 10:30 a.m. run to the office vending machine can be all too common and may mean unhealthy choices.

To break bad habits, food lovers can actually focus on the most appealing part of their morning meal -- great taste. In the same Smart Ones brand survey, eight in 10 people ranked good taste as most important when considering what to eat for breakfast.

Devin Alexander, television host and author of “The Most Decadent Diet Ever,” offers simple solutions for maintaining a healthy eating regimen in the morning without sacrificing taste or resorting to the same old boring routine. “There are a variety of low-fat, flavorful foods that help you start the day the right way, even if you’re too time crunched to cook,” says Alexander.

She recommends new choices from the Weight Watchers Smart Ones Morning Express breakfast line as a nutritious way to sneak breakfast in each day. The line boasts four convenient and delicious varieties, including the savory Breakfast Quesadilla and a Stuffed Breakfast Sandwich, which can be ready in the microwave in three minutes or less, contain 240 calories or less, and are made with lean proteins, low-fat cheeses, vegetables and egg whites for a healthy start to the day.

Alexander offers a few other tips for quick, delicious morning meals:

* Make a large container of oatmeal to last for the week and store it in the refrigerator. Each morning, reheat the oatmeal and flavor it with your favorite fresh fruit or fruit spread for a finished breakfast in minutes.

* Always leave a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter, so you never walk out the door hungry even if you’re in a rush.

* You can never buy too much yogurt. Try a variety of flavors for a quick, calcium-pick me-up.

Now, Devin brings her tips and advice to the masses on The Morning Express Breakfast Club (eatyourbest.com/breakfastclub), an online destination for healthy breakfast recipes, tips and advice to fuel the day with ideas that appeal to everyone from breakfast connoisseurs to women on the go.

The secret to eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to make smart choices that are good for you, but also taste good, too. So listen to the advice your mother gave you and don’t skip the most important meal of the day.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Cholesterol Matters to Your Heart

(ARA) - Everyone knows they should watch their cholesterol, but do you know why? If you have high cholesterol, you may have twice the risk for heart disease -- the number one health problem for both women and men in the United States.

High levels of cholesterol can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Bad cholesterol, known as LDL, floats through your bloodstream, occasionally catching on the inside walls of the blood vessels. If enough cholesterol accumulates in one spot, the buildup -- known as a plaque -- can block the passage of blood. The resulting restriction of blood flow to the heart can cause a heart attack, while restriction of blood to the brain can lead to a stroke.

Luckily, you may be able to reduce your risk of suffering one of these life-threatening events by lowering your bad cholesterol levels. You can check your cholesterol level through a simple blood test. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends LDL cholesterol levels below 130 mg/dL for people without heart disease but at moderate risk for developing heart disease. For those people with heart disease or a disease that puts them at high risk (such as diabetes), the recommended LDL cholesterol levels are below 100 mg/dL. Further reductions to 70 mg/dL are optimal and may be beneficial for those at particularly high risk.

To control your cholesterol levels, you should limit your intake of foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as fatty meats and whole milk. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and other high-fiber foods, and be sure to exercise as recommended by your doctor.

In some cases, however, lifestyle changes alone are not enough. In those instances, medications including statins might be prescribed to lower cholesterol levels further. Thanks in part to the availability of these medications, the average patient today is considerably more likely to reach their LDL cholesterol goals than they were just 10 years ago.

Because high cholesterol doesn’t cause day-to-day symptoms, it can easily go undetected. Many people don’t know they have high cholesterol until they develop symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain. As a result, it is important to monitor your cholesterol levels regularly. And if your doctor has prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug, be sure to stay on your medication.

If you have high cholesterol, or if you do not know your cholesterol levels, here are some important questions to ask your doctor:

* Why should I keep track of my cholesterol levels?

* Am I at risk for a heart attack or stroke?

* What puts me at risk?

* What are my current cholesterol levels?

* What are my cholesterol goals?

* How often should I check my cholesterol?

* How can I lower my cholesterol through diet? Exercise? Medication?

* What are the possible side effects of cholesterol-lowering medications?

* How should I take my medication?

Talk to your doctor to see if you should be doing more to lower your cholesterol levels. Not all cholesterol-lowering medications are the same, so be sure you and your doctor choose the one that’s best for you.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is It A Cold Or Something Else?

(NAPSI)-Parents gearing up for fall and winter need to know that sometimes seasonal sniffles mean more than just a cold. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common virus that usually causes coldlike symptoms in adults and older children, can have serious consequences for high-risk infants.

Most babies exposed are able to fight the virus off, but up to 125,000 infants go to the hospital each year in the United States because of RSV. RSV may also contribute to long-term problems such as asthma. In extreme cases, it can be life threatening.

What Can You Do To Help Protect Your Child?

Like cold germs and flu viruses, RSV spreads easily through touching, kissing, sneezing and coughing and can live for several hours on countertops and in used tissues. Even though RSV is transmitted easily, you can take a number of simple steps to minimize your child's exposure:

• Always wash your hands before touching your baby and make sure others do, too.

• Wash toys and bedding frequently.

• Shield your baby from tobacco smoke, people with colds and unnecessary exposure to crowds.

• Don't share personal items such as pacifiers, utensils, toothbrushes, or towels with other children.

"All the strategies for preventing RSV should already be familiar to parents who deal with ordinary coughs and colds," says Jon Roberts, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. "Being diligent about these simple steps, especially washing hands, can be the best way to help protect your baby."

How Can You Tell If Your Baby Has RSV?

"RSV usually causes symptoms that mimic a cold, like a runny nose or a low fever," Dr. Roberts says. "Parents can protect their children from potentially serious consequences by knowing the symptoms of RSV and the steps they can take to prevent infection."

Parents should be aware of the following symptoms of severe RSV disease and call the baby's health care provider if any develop:

• Persistent coughing or wheezing

• Rapid, difficult or gasping breaths

• Blue color of the lips, around the mouth or under the fingernails

• A temperature of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Puts Babies At Risk For Severe RSV Disease?

Premature birth, those born with lung or heart disease or low birth weight can all increase your child's risk of severe RSV infection. Contact with other kids- either at day care or in a home with older siblings-can also increase risk for some premature infants.

Tobacco smoke and other air pollutants can irritate your baby's lungs and make it harder to fight off the virus.

Although the RSV season usually runs from fall to spring, there is significant variability based on geography. To best understand the length of the RSV season where you live and steps you can take to avoid RSV, ask your baby's doctor. You can also learn more online at www.rsvprotection.com.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Survey Reveals Heartburn Sufferers Experience More Heartburn During The Holidays

(NAPSI)-For more than 60 million Americans, heartburn is a daily challenge. Finally, through expert tips and simple lifestyle modifications, sufferers can find relief.

A recent survey conducted on behalf of the National Heartburn Alliance (NHBA) shows nearly 40 percent of people experience an increase in heartburn symptoms during the holiday season. Additionally, 53 percent of respondents said they would enjoy the holidays more if they didn't have to worry about heartburn.

"People tend to overindulge in holiday meals," explains Pat Baird, registered dietitian and NHBA Board member.

"By incorporating lifestyle changes into their diets, heartburn sufferers can learn to alleviate symptoms so they can enjoy the holidays." Baird offers these tips for a "heartburn friendly" holiday season:

• Don't overindulge. Let yourself eat your favorite holiday foods, but try smaller portions.

Keep in mind that too much of a good thing can lead to heartburn.

• Avoid heartburn triggers. Red wine, foods with high fat content and spices are just a few common heartburn triggers.

• Control late-night munchies. Try not to eat late at night or right before going to bed to decrease your chances of suffering from nighttime heartburn.

• Keep your cool. Stress levels may increase during the holidays. Relax by taking a few moments for yourself each day. Consider taking a 10-minute walk after a holiday dinner for some stress-free quiet time.

• Moderation is the key. From Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve and beyond, holiday celebrations and alcoholic beverages are plentiful. If you're going to drink, choose cocktails that are easier on the tummy, such as a wine spritzer (white wine and club soda).

The NHBA is an organization of health care professionals dedicated to improving the lives of heartburn sufferers through education, information and support. As part of its outreach, the NHBA encourages people to ask for a heartburn screening from their health care professional and to get the information they need to eliminate symptoms. The NHBA also offers free brochures that are available in both English and Spanish and offers heartburn friendly recipes and cooking techniques at www.HeartburnAlliance.org.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Tips For Getting Into Marathon Season

(NAPSI)-Millions of Americans run daily, but whether it's a few laps to get in shape or training for a marathon, each run starts with a single step. Having a basic routine to follow will help you reach your goals and stay healthy. Here are a few basic tips to help you go the distance:

• Stay committed. Running a marathon is more than building muscle; it is a test of your physical and mental stamina. You need to find ways to get motivated and stay motivated because running a marathon is an ongoing battle.

• Set reasonable goals. Increase your goals incrementally so you feel a sense of accomplishment and don't get discouraged by what you can't accomplish. Build up your endurance slowly, alternating running with plenty of rest. You should be able to run at least 30 minutes without having to stop before you can consider running in a marathon.

• Dress the part. Invest in the right exercise shoes and make sure you have tested your running gear before race day. Runners should be focused on their performance, not discomfort from skin that is chafed or irritated or blisters from uncomfortable shoes. I recommend Aquaphor to athletes. It's a must-have item that prevents and even helps heal everything from chafed skin to blisters.

• Eat healthy. Food is needed for muscle growth and repair; that includes plenty of carbohydrates-especially complex carbohydrates-protein and unsaturated fat.

• Stay hydrated. Drink enough water to stay hydrated, at least six ounces every 20 minutes.

For more information on Aquaphor, visit www.EucerinUS.com.

by Chris Carmichael

Chris Carmichael is the founder, CEO and president of Carmichael Training Systems, a team of coaches for endurance athletes, and personal coach to seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Make No Bones About It

(NAPSI)-What you don't know about osteoporosis could hurt you.

That's because osteoporosis- a disease that makes bones fragile and more likely to break-is a serious health threat to both women and men. And because early bone loss often has no symptoms, people may not realize they have osteoporosis until they've suffered a fracture. While low bone mass and osteoporosis are a potential danger to 44 million Americans, there are things patients can do to protect their bones.

The American College of Physicians (ACP)-a professional organization comprised of more than 126,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students-developed two guidelines on osteoporosis. One guideline addresses diagnosis and the other addresses management of osteoporosis. The guidelines were recently published in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Know Your Risk

Older men and women-especially those 65 or older-should have a DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan to measure bone density. They should also be assessed for risk factors including:

• Low body weight or weight loss in recent years

• Physical inactivity

• Fractures without substantial trauma

• Family history of osteoporosis

• Smoking

• Long-term use of certain drugs, such as corticosteroids or drugs that are used to treat certain types of cancer

• Having a low calcium or vitamin D intake

• Excessive alcohol consumption.

Talk to Your Doctor

About Treatment

According to the most recent ACP guideline, physicians should offer drug treatment to men and women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or had a previous fracture not caused by significant trauma. The guideline also recommends that doctors consider drug treatment to prevent fracture for those who are at risk of developing osteoporosis.

There is reliable information that bisphosphonates (the most commonly prescribed medications for osteoporosis) are reasonable options for beginning drug treatment, as some of them decrease the risk of spinal, nonspinal and hip fractures. However, the choice of drug treatment should be based on the risks, benefits and adverse effects of various medications.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Repairing America's Health Care System

(NAPSI)-Most Americans agree that the nation's health care system is in desperate need of repair, and some innovative suggestions for fixing what ails the system are being offered by leaders in nursing.

While nurses' contributions to health care are often overlooked, say these leaders, nurses can serve as a critical and indispensable part of solving the health care crisis.

The American Academy of Nursing has documented some powerful examples of research-based solutions developed by nursing leaders.

One innovative care model, developed by two nurse practitioners, serves people who have long-term or advanced illness, are older or have disabilities.

The health care model has been so successful in overcoming fragmentation in health services, improving access to medical and nonmedical services, reducing emergency treatments and hospitalizations and lowering costs to Medicare and Medicaid that it has expanded to serving more than 120,000 people in 35 states.

A second example is a nurse-led program that has also been adopted in 23 states. It is a nurse home visitation program that provides care, via a registered nurse, to first-time mothers for the first two years of a child's life.

The program improves pregnancy outcomes, child health and development, and the economic self-sufficiency of the family, all while returning an estimated $2.88 per dollar invested in the program.

"While others continue to debate how to solve today's health care challenges, such as the uninsured and disparities in health delivery, nurse researchers and experts are finding solutions, piece by piece, from the ground up," said Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. "The promise of these techniques is enormous and needs to be shared with the American people."

For more information, visit the American Academy of Nursing at www.aannet.org.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Healthy Snack and Fitness Information Site iNutrition.com Gives Away Fourth Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- iNutrition, a healthy snack, fat loss, fitness tips, and all natural nutritional supplement provider, announced today the fourth winner of the "Summer of Fit" sweepstakes, featuring a free Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit system. The Winner of the fourth drawing is Barbara Kane of Flowery Branch, Georgia.

iNutrition will be giving away a free Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit system on the first and fifteenth of the month in August, September, and October of 2008. iNutrition sweepstakes winner Barbara Kane said, "I've wanted a Wii five-ever! (longer than forever)" For your chance at winning a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit System, just go to www.iNutrition.com and sign up now. If a healthy alternative for snacking is what you're looking for, and we all are, check out our new site www.fissionbars.com.

Sean Connolly, the Business Development Officer for iNutrition, said, "We have nearly ten thousand entries to the contest to date, and in case you haven't registered, do it now by visiting www.iNutrition.com, www.fissionbars.com, or www.metaboleanweightloss.com. Christmas is around the corner and the Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit make ideal gift ideas for people of all ages."

About iNutrition, InterACTIVE Nutrition, and Natural Nutrition Inc.

iNutrition.com and InterACTIVE Nutrition International Inc. (www.interactivenutrition.com) are wholly owned subsidiaries of Natural Nutrition, Inc. (OTC:NTNI) (BULLETIN BOARD: NTNI) and were previously minority owned by Corporate Strategies Merchant Bankers. InterACTIVE Nutrition is a manufacturer and international leader in sports and nutritional supplements backed by over 12 years of research, development and sales of sports nutrition products in over twenty countries throughout the world.

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties or other factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from the results, performance or other expectations implied by these forward-looking statements. Natural Nutrition's expectations regarding future sales and profitability assume, among other things, stability in the economy and reasonable growth in the demand for its products, the continued availability of raw materials at affordable prices, retention of its key management and operating personnel, as well as other factors detailed in Natural Nutrition's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements, assumptions and factors stated or referred to in this press release are based on information available to Natural Nutrition today.

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New Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Adults gain substantial health benefits from two and a half hours a week
of moderate aerobic physical activity, and children benefit from an hour
or more of physical activity a day, according to the new Physical
Activity Guidelines for Americans. The comprehensive set of
recommendations for people of all ages and physical conditions was
released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The guidelines are designed so people can easily fit physical activity
into their daily plan and incorporate activities they enjoy.

Physical activity benefits children and adolescents, young and
middle-aged adults, older adults, and those in every studied racial and
ethnic group, the report said.

"It's important for all Americans to be active, and the guidelines are a
roadmap to include physical activity in their daily routine," HHS
Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "The evidence is clear -- regular physical
activity over months and years produces long-term health benefits and
reduces the risk of many diseases. The more physically active you are,
the more health benefits you gain."

Regular physical activity reduces the risk in adults of early death;
coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes,
colon and breast cancer, and depression. It can improve thinking ability
in older adults and the ability to engage in activities needed for daily
living. The recommended amount of physical activity in children and
adolescents improves cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness as well as
bone health, and contributes to favorable body composition.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are the most
comprehensive of their kind. They are based on the first thorough review
of scientific research about physical activity and health in more than a
decade. A 13-member advisory committee appointed in April 2007 by
Secretary Leavitt reviewed research and produced an extensive report.

Key guidelines by group are:

Children and Adolescents -- One hour or more of moderate or vigorous
aerobic physical activity a day, including vigorous intensity physical
activity at least three days a week. Examples of moderate intensity
aerobic activities include hiking, skateboarding, bicycle riding and
brisk walking. Vigorous intensity aerobic activities include bicycle
riding, jumping rope, running and sports such as soccer, basketball and
ice or field hockey. Children and adolescents should incorporate
muscle-strengthening activities, such as rope climbing, sit-ups, and
tug-of war, three days a week. Bone-strengthening activities, such as
jumping rope, running and skipping, are recommended three days a week.


Adults -- Adults gain substantial health benefits from two and one half
hours a week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, or one
hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity. Walking briskly,
water aerobics, ballroom dancing and general gardening are examples of
moderate intensity aerobic activities. Vigorous intensity aerobic
activities include racewalking, jogging or running, swimming laps,
jumping rope and hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack. Aerobic
activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes. For
more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic
physical activity to five hours a week moderate-intensity or two and one
half hours a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.
Adults should incorporate muscle strengthening activities, such as
weight training, push-ups, sit-ups and carrying heavy loads or heavy
gardening, at least two days a week.

Older adults -- Older adults should follow the guidelines for other
adults when it is within their physical capacity. If a chronic condition
prohibits their ability to follow those guidelines, they should be as
physically active as their abilities and conditions allow. If they are
at risk of falling, they should also do exercises that maintain or
improve balance.

Women during pregnancy -- Healthy women should get at least two and one
half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week during
pregnancy and the time after delivery, preferably spread through the
week. Pregnant women who habitually engage in vigorous aerobic activity
or who are highly active can continue during pregnancy and the time
after delivery, provided they remain healthy and discuss with their
health care provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time.

Adults with disabilities -- Those who are able should get at least two
and one half hours of moderate aerobic activity a week, or one hour and
15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. They should incorporate
muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups two or
more days a week. When they are not able to meet the guidelines, they
should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities
and should avoid inactivity.

People with chronic medical conditions -- Adults with chronic conditions
get important health benefits from regular physical activity. They
should do so with the guidance of a health care provider.

For more information about the "Physical Activity Guidelines for
Americans," visit www.hhs.gov or www.health.gov/paguidelines.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Curious About Cancer Treatments? Talk To Your Doctor First

(NAPSI)-If you or someone you love has cancer, chances are you're sorting through mountains of information and facing many decisions about various treatment options. And you may be curious about supposed miraculous cancer-fighting products--pills, powders, herbs, and more--that you've either seen advertised or heard about from family and friends. Be skeptical: Lots of these are scams, and when you're battling cancer, the last thing you need is a scam.

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, says it's a good idea to talk to the doctor treating your cancer about any products you'd like to try. In many cases, the product can have serious repercussions: it won't treat the cancer, and it could even harm you. Asking questions is the best way to satisfy your curiosity, and manage your treatment wisely.

Curious About a Product?

Ask your doctor before you try it--or buy it. The doctor treating you can tell you about the risks of a product, as well as how it might affect your current treatment or any medications you might be taking.

In your research, you may come across references to complementary and alternative medicine. Complementary therapies are meant to enhance standard medical treatment like surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Your treatment team can tell you whether there's any proof that a complementary therapy may help reduce your discomfort or other symptoms.

On the other hand, alternative therapies are meant to replace conventional cancer treatment. Reputable medical and cancer experts generally do not recommend alternative products and practices because there's no proof that they are effective treatments for cancer. Many can even be harmful. Remember that stopping or delaying conventional treatment may have serious consequences.

Are products claiming to treat or cure cancer the hot new thing, old-fashioned snake oil, or something in between?

All cancers are different, and no one treatment works for every cancer or every body. Even two people with the same diagnosis may need different treatments. That's one reason it's best to be skeptical of websites with ads for products that claim to treat cancer.

Scammers take advantage of the feelings that can accompany a diagnosis of cancer. They promote unproven--and potentially dangerous--remedies like black salve, essiac tea, or laetrile with claims that the products are both "natural" and effective. But "natural" doesn't mean either safe or effective when it comes to using these treatments for cancer. In fact, a product that is labeled "natural" can be more than ineffective: it can be downright harmful.

Are the ads and websites that promote alternative or "natural" treatments and cures for cancer on the up-and-up?

Bogus marketers often use trickery and vague language to take advantage of people. For example, testimonials in ads can seem honest and heart-felt, but they can be completely fake: in fact, they may not disclose that actors or models have been paid to endorse the product. Even when testimonials come from people who have taken the product, personal stories aren't reliable evidence of effectiveness. And lots of technical jargon may sound impressive, but by itself, doesn't prove effectiveness. Big words from a medical dictionary are no substitute for the plain facts from your doctor.

A money-back guarantee doesn't prove that a product works, either. Even if the guarantee that you're promised is legitimate, a money-back guarantee definitely is not a reliable substitute for scientific evidence that a treatment is safe or effective.

For more information from the federal government about cancer treatments in general, visit www.cancer.gov/Cancerinformation and http://nccam.nih.gov/health. For more information from the FTC about cancer treatment scams, visit www.ftc.gov/curious.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Get The Facts About Your Risk For Women's Cancers

(NAPSI)-New findings of an independent survey conducted by Woman's Day magazine showed that too few women know their risk for women's cancers has sparked a call to action for women to learn about reducing cancer risks.

"What You Do Matters" is a call to action from sanofi-aventis to urge women to get the facts about cancer, share their feelings and experiences and prepare for the future learning about how to lower their cancer risks today.

Beyond Breast Cancer

"What You Do Matters" aims to inspire women to learn all they can about early detection, prevention and treatment of women's cancers. In addition to breast cancer, five other types of cancers affecting primarily women are ovarian, uterine, cervical, vulva, and vaginal. In 2008, it is estimated that 260,950 women will be diagnosed with one of these cancers. Just this year, it is estimated that 40,000 American women will die of breast cancer alone.

Olympian Shawn Johnson Speaks Out

"What You Do Matters" speaks to the importance for all women, regardless of age, to get the facts about their risks for cancer.

The company is joined in this effort by Shawn Johnson, 2008 Olympic Champion and a spokesperson for "What You Do Matters." "This cause means a lot to me and my family because when my grandma battled breast cancer 11 years ago, I believe "what we did mattered" to help her get through it," said Shawn. My grandmother and my parents asked a million questions to help her make choices about treatment. She came to live with us, and I did whatever a little girl could to help out. Now as a young adult, I feel I can help make a difference by urging women of all ages to get the facts on their personal cancer history, share their concerns with their doctors and act now to prepare for the future. Because what you do now really does matter."

Survey Results Surprising

In 2008, it is estimated that 260,950 women will be diagnosed, and an estimated 68,970 will die from one of the cancers affecting primarily women. Yet, a recent independent survey conducted by Woman's Day magazine of 7,361 women readers found that too few women have all the information they need about women's cancers. Only one out of two women talked to their doctor about cancer risks. Yet, half of respondents wished they knew where to find credible and reliable information about cancer, and just one fifth feel very knowledgeable about risk factors for women's cancers. The six cancers affecting mostly women are breast, ovarian, uterine, cervical, vulvar and vaginal.

Dedicated to making a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families, sanofi-aventis urges women to get the facts, share the feelings and look to the future. To learn more about women's cancer risk, visit www.cancerinfo.net. For details on the Woman's Day survey, visit womansday.com.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Caregiver Community

(NAPSI)-Tens of millions of Americans currently serve as caregivers, and many are thrust into this role unexpectedly without knowing where to begin or how to go about protecting the health of an aging or ailing relative.

It is important to connect with other caregivers who understand the unique challenges you face every day-you're not in this all alone. One way to find support is by becoming part of an online community for caregivers, such as ConnectingForCare.com, which was developed by Intel Corporation in collaboration with the National Family Caregivers Association to connect professional and family caregivers.

"There are currently very few ways for caregivers to interact with each other to share information and emotional support, especially between family and professional caregivers," says Ian Ziering of "Beverly Hills: 90210" and "Dancing with the Stars," whose most important role was as a caregiver to his father, Paul, who until his recent passing suffered from kidney failure. "ConnectingForCare.com fills this void by promoting better communication and resource sharing between all caregivers and serving as an invaluable network of support."

It also helps to remember you can't properly care for someone when you're overwhelmed yourself. That's why it's wise to accept offers of help and even suggest specific things others can do. Learn more at www.ConnectingForCare.com.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

New Poll Shows American's Stress Levels Rising

PRNewswire/ -- Americans are feeling more stress today than they did six months ago, according to a new national stress study. The survey of 1,000 men and women, ages 18 and older, revealed that 47 percent of respondents currently feel more stress than they did six months ago. And no surprise, the #1 source of stress reported is personal finance concerns, the top response for almost half (49%) of those surveyed. Surprisingly, international unrest, the war and the presidential election were reported significantly lower as primary causes of stress, registering only 2 percent each.

The stress survey, conducted by Booth Research and sponsored by The Ester-C Company, focused primarily on American's self-reported sources of stress and methods for coping with stress. Additionally, the study sheds light on the effects of stress, and the correlation between stress and physical health. 85 percent of respondents reported that they believe stress weakens their body's immune system. According to the survey, females are more likely than men to be aware of the connection that stress can have on immune health.

"Recognition of where stress originates and how it manifests, with regard to health, is an important first step that individuals can take to develop strategies for coping," says noted immune health expert Mark Moyad, M.D., University of Michigan. "Stress can take a serious toll on the human body if unmanaged, and is a contributing factor to the cold and flu season, which takes place in the United States during the months where extreme weather conditions provide an additional layer of stress to manage."

Young and Stressed, Older and Mellower

Young people report higher levels of stress than their older counterparts. Nearly six in ten respondents, in the 35-44 years of age category, reported high or very high levels of stress (58%), while less than one quarter (23%) of respondents in the 55 plus age group reported experiencing the same upper levels of stress. The youngest age group surveyed, those 18-24 years of age, registered the highest response (64%) indicating they are more stressed now than 6 months ago.

Stress Leads to Lack of Z-Z-Z-Z's

The majority (55%) of survey respondents asked about stress effects cited "ability to get a good night's sleep" as the top response. Another one-third reported that stress is impacting their physical health, and nearly as many reported that stress affects their personal relationships (32%).

Americans Adapt New Age Approaches for Handling Stress

When asked about stress coping strategies, more respondents cited "meditation and breathing techniques" (28%) than the more traditional approach of "taking a vacation" (25%), which may also point to economic factors -- that can turn vacationing into as much a source of stress as a stress reliever. On a healthy note, "exercise" tops the list of reported methods for tackling stress.

Survey Background

Booth Research conducted the online survey among 1,000 adults (ages 18 and older) in the continental United States. The questionnaire consisted of 10 questions, and Booth Research obtained a nationally representative sample of online panel respondents to complete this study.

The overall sample of 1,000 consumers yields a sample reliability of plus or minus 3.1%, which is the maximum difference explainable through random chance in 95% of all samples of this size.

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Facing Women's No.1 Health Fear

(NAPSI)-A recent survey found that breast cancer is the disease women worry about most, more than heart attack, diabetes or lung cancer. The survey also showed that women who are unhappy with their physical appearance are less likely to get lifesaving preventive screenings such as mammograms.

"Our new breast cancer campaign entitled 'Learn. Love. Commit.' seeks to not only give women the information they need on breast cancer risk factors, screening and treatment, but also encourages them to feel self-confident and worthy enough to take preventive steps to keep themselves healthy," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director of the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC), the nonprofit organization for which the study was conducted.

Another interesting finding of the survey is that many women do not realize that age is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer. In the survey, NWHRC discovered that 64 percent of the women incorrectly believed that family history is the single greatest risk factor. This was true regardless of the respondent's age.

On a positive note, 74 percent of respondents report having had a mammogram in the last year, and 61 percent state they have performed a breast self-exam in the last month.

A key factor for women not having a mammogram was cost. Twenty-one percent say they can not afford to get a mammogram.

"With screening technologies becoming more accurate and advanced, coupled with the number of local programs offering free mammograms, women need to know these options are available in their communities," said Lydia Komarnicky, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Drexel University College of Medicine and medical adviser for the NWHRC's "Learn.Love.Commit." campaign. "We need to make access to mammography as simple and cost effective as possible."

To empower women with the latest information and the confidence to translate that knowledge into action, the National Women's Health Resource Center has launched a new Breast Health Center on its award-winning Web site, www.healthywomen.org.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Stay Flu-Free This Holiday Season

(NAPSI)-The flu is nothing to sneeze at, so it's a good idea this flu season to protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated.

"Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated," says Jeanne Santoli, deputy director of immunization services at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "especially those considered to be at higher risk. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by getting your annual flu vaccine."

Flu Facts

Many Americans are not aware of the true dangers of the flu. On average, every year, influenza:

• Infects 60 million people

• Hospitalizes 200,000 people

• Kills more Americans than breast cancer

• Kills two to three times more Americans than HIV/AIDS.

The influenza activity report recently released by the CDC found that 92 percent of the pediatric deaths resulting from influenza were in children who weren't vaccinated. Each year, the influenza strains change, but fortunately, vaccinations against influenza are also updated each year to protect against the current strains.

Find Help

This holiday season, whether you want a flu vaccination for an elderly parent, a child or yourself, you can turn to a free online resource created by Maxim Health Systems, www.FindaFluShot.com/clinic. There, you can find the nearest flu clinic and the dates and times that vaccinations are available. You can also sign up to receive e-mail notifications reminding you to get your flu shot. The newly designed site is even accessible from mobile devices.

Further Steps

In addition, the CDC says you can reduce your risk of catching the flu by:

• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

• Washing your hands often

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth

• Getting plenty of sleep

• Being physically active

• Drinking plenty of fluids

• Eating nutritious food.

Learn More

To learn more, call (866) 534-7330 or visit www.FindaFluShot.com/clinic.

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