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Monthly Archives: July 2010

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Why Your Office May Not Be Good for Your Health

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If you are one of those people who feel guilty about being sluggish and lousy at work – particularly in the mid-afternoon – do not fret. It may not be about you being lazy; your office building may have something to do with it.

officeWe found this interesting feature on Cracked.com, which talked about how the state of offices may be affecting the health of the people working in it. Having led that kind of lifestyle once upon a time – where one spent the better part of 12 hours in a cubicle in an air-conditioned and carpeted office building, with laser printers and photocopiers buzzing every so often, this writer could not help but agree.

Starting off with the building itself, one may actually be surprised to find out that in some cases, the air inside the office building may be even dirtier than the air outside. How come? The thrust towards energy conservation that began in the 1970s resulted in air tight buildings that kept indoor temperature stable – but unable to do a good job at recycling air. Pollutants are inhaled by buildings’ air-conditioning systems, but there is no way to let these undesirables out.

So what exactly are these undesirables? A number of possibilities were discussed, including carbon monoxide that may have made its way into the building from the parking lot through the ventilation duct, or black mold in buildings that are more than ten years old.

There are, in addition, pollutants coming from office gadgets, such as ozone from photocopiers and toner particles from the laser printers.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Lindsay Keeps Her Hair Extensions in Jail

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Lindsay Lohan gets to keep her hair extensions, despite jail rules that specifically say that no inmate is allowed to have such inside prison premises. Is Lohan an exception to the rule? Probably not as L.A. County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore explains to E!Online:  “They are sewn into her scalp and are bonded by glue so anybody like that — and there are women who come in with those type of hair extensions — we don’t remove them.” He further said that they only remove those types which are detachable or those kinds that work as wigs.

lindsay lohanMeanwhile, Jason Dottley who starred with Lohan in the film Inferno, went to visit the place where LL is staying and all he could say is that the place is just “heartbreaking” and that he is “petrified to be there inside the facility.” While he did not see Lohan personally when he visited, he tells E! that hopefully, the place will help Lindsay become a stronger person, and when she comes out, she would somehow prove to the world that her talent is still her asset, and return to Hollywood with a new look in life.

Shawn Chapman Holley who still represents Lohan has had the opportunity to visit her client in three straight days. When entertainment press asked her for her evaluation on Lindsay’s stay in prison, she only had good information to give. Holley says that after Lindsay started serving her prison sentence due to drug-related violations, she is actually doing well despite her situation.

The lawyer adds that Lindsay is eating, writing a lot, and surprisingly looks better than her pre-prison days. Although she has no particular plans as of this day, she continues to write, and who knows, she might come out with a memorabilia from her jail stint. Lindsay’s stay is said to end on Sunday, but a confirmation from her rep is yet to be received.

Early Disease Detection

Wireless Sensor for Blood Sugar Monitoring Tested

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A report published in the journal Science Translational Medicine shared what is considered as a milestone in diabetes treatment.

A feature on Reuters shares information regarding an implantable device that can measure blood sugar continuously, and has the ability to transmit information wirelessly. The wireless sensor was tested in one pig for a year, and in another for ten months; the researchers reported that they did not experience any trouble with the device.

diabetes testingLead researcher David Gough, professor of bioengineering at the University of California San Diego, shared: “You can run the device for a year or more with it constantly working, and recording glucose quite satisfactorily.” In a telephone interview, Gough shared further that they hope to start human trials in a few months; the device has been tested for 31 years in pigs, according to Gough.

The wireless sensor used in the pig trials measures about 1.5 inches in diameter and is 5/8 inches thick, but Gough said that they intend to make it even smaller in the future. It uses a sensor to detect oxygen in the tissue, where it is implanted to measure glucose. It has the ability to transmit 10 to 12 feet.

The research team said that the device will come in handy for diabetes patients who need to check their blood sugar on a daily basis, particularly patients who are suffering from type 2 diabetes. Eventually, Gough predicts that ways will be developed to enable the device to send its signals to cell phones.

Early Disease Detection

Congress to Reduce Penalties for Crack Cocaine

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Congress is about to pass a new bill that would narrow the gap between crack and powder cocaine sentencing. While the legislative body does not equalize the amount of each substance to trigger the minimum prison sentence, the bill was still supported by the Congressional Black Caucus and was considered to be a step in the right path.

crack cocaineThe bill will replace the guidelines for the minimum prison sentence for a simple possession of crack cocaine, which is the only drug that leads to a prison stint by just having it. It would give an 18-to-1 ratio for crack and powder cocaine as far as sentencing is concerned.

In the present system, the law states that a person in possession of five grams of crack will have the same prison sentence as a person found carrying 500 grams of powder. In drug-trafficking offenses, there must be at least a hundred times amount of powder cocaine as crack to gain the mandatory prison sentence. This has affected the majority of the African-Americans, which have strongly rallied for this bill.

The difference between crack and powder cocaine was last tackled in the 1986 Congress, when members of the House concluded that crack is more addictive than powder cocaine. It was only revised when Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va. emphasized to the legislative body that there really isn’t any pharmacological difference between the two forms of cocaine. Why is there a need then to have different guidelines for sentencing a person in possession of the said substances?

It has been months of talks led by Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and the bill’s sponsor, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill before the new measures have reached this point in the House.

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Longevity Linked to Avoiding Cigarettes and Healthy Friendships

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Longevity is always a million-dollar question. Apart from finding the Fountain of Youth, what can one realistically do in order to live a long and happy life?

A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have an answer, and it is a whole lot simpler than what some may think. The “recipe for longevity,” as shared in a feature on Time.com, consists of staying away from cigarettes and having “lots of friends.”

friendshipsThe study involved the gathering and analysis of data from 148 studies regarding health outcomes and social relationships. This translated to data from more than 300,000 men and women who participated in those studies.

An analysis of this data showed that people with poor social connections had higher odds of death – 50 percent, on average – in the follow-up period of the study, when compared with those who had healthy social ties. According to the researchers, this rate is about as significant as the mortality difference that is noticeable between those who have taken a liking to lighting up cigarettes and those who do not smoke.

Lead author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, was quoted by Time: “This is not just a few studies here and there. I’m hoping there will be recognition from the medical community, the public health community and even the general public about the importance of this.”

The research review was released on Tuesday by the Journal PLoS Medicine.

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Wife Beaten for Cocaine Use Murders Husband

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Erick Shepheard could not have thought that it would be his last day on earth, ironically on the first day of the year 2008. He was shot twice, on the chest and on his head. He died instantly and the sole witness — and shooter — is no less than his wife, Cindy.

cocaineLast Monday, Cindy Shepheard’s trial began at the St. Clair County Circuit Court with Assistant State’s Attorney Judy Dalan and defense attorney Rick Roustio. The defense pointed out that what Cindy did on January 1, 2008 was an act of self defense. They said that Erick was so angry with his wife because of her cocaine addiction and was about to be violent. It was not the first time Erick would hurt her for the same reason, and so she had no choice but to shoot him before he can get to her.

Dalan later told the jury that after Cindy shot her husband twice, she left their house together with her kids and stayed the night at her in-laws without telling them what had happened. In an attempt to cover up the scene, she went back to their house next day and burned it down, with the body of Erick still inside. When autopsy results were revealed, there was no soot in Erick’s lungs which allowed prosecutors to conclude he did not die in the fire. Erick Shepheard was dead before the incident happened, and his wife is now trying to get-away with first-degree murder.

Under the Illinois’ state laws, first-degree murder need not have any primary motive to be proven, yet in this particular case, there is a $100,000 at stake for Erick’s beneficiary, if ever he died a violent death. The beneficiary is Cindy Shepheard, and it looks like it’s going to help nail the case on her. Her defense lawyers’ job just got a little more complicated, and proving it was all for self-defense might be harder than they first thought.

Early Disease Detection

Woman Who Faked Breast Cancer Sentenced to Jail

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A woman from Chattanooga, Tennessee was sentenced to 42 months in prison on Monday, after faking breast cancer, according to a feature by The Associated Press.

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole also sentenced 39-year-old Keele Maynor to 10 years of probation, and ordered her to start monthly restitution payments of $300 once she is released.

breast cancerPoole was quoted as having given the following comment: “It seems like to me some confinement is necessary… I have problems with somebody who shaves their head and says they have cancer.” He also reportedly told Maynor that he found her offenses “reprehensible”.

Maynor is accused of accepting donations of sick leave and money, as well as cancer patient support services, over a period of five years. During this time, Maynor had claimed that she was suffering from breast cancer. Maynor, however, said that she had felt unloved and had kept up the act of having terminal cancer in order to get attention. She shared that she had been emotionally abused by her mother as a teenager, and was sexually abused by a stepbrother.

According to Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston, the sentence fitted Maynor’s offenses, which included deceiving friends and co-workers, as well as support groups. The report mentioned the Breast Cancer Network of Strength. Maynor was made the beneficiary of a “black and pink” benefit, which conducted a silent auction in her behalf. She received $4,000 from the event, which she said she used to buy Christmas presents for her children.

Maynor said during her testimony: “I will spend the rest of my life trying to make my wrong right.”

Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Real Housewives Star Danielle Staub Owes Ex-Con $100K

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Things are definitely getting worse for “Real Housewives” star Danielle Staub. After the sex tape scandal featuring her and her ex, she’s now in a drug-related mess involving an ex-con asking her to pay up $100,000 for the time he spent in jail because of her.

Danielle StaubStaub’s past continue to haunt her, this time putting her in a very dangerous situation. Reports say that a certain Danny Aguilar bailed Danielle out in a drug deal that went bad in the 80’s. According to Danny, he paid the drug dealers so that they wouldn’t kill Staub. Aguilar and Staub were involved in a kidnapping case due to a drug deal gone bad.

When authorities finally caught up with the duo, Staub was charged with cocaine possession and extortion. She went into a plea bargain with the prosecutors to testify against Aguilar. As a result, Aguilar served 15 years in jail, and Danielle was just given 5 years probation and drug testing. All the other characters in their story got convicted too, and Staub was the only one who ran free.

When Aguilar called Staub on Sunday, he asked for her to pay up for the money he used to save her life from drug dealers, which she didn’t take in good-naturedly and instead called him a stalker. She contacted the police and 15 minutes after he placed the call to Staub, an officer called him up informing him that stalking is a crime in New Jersey, and that Staub can press charges against him.

The reality star is in various awful situations. Last week, her ex, seen opposite her in the sex tapes, slammed her with a defamation of character and harassment case when she denied knowing that their sexcapades were taped. She is also taking legal action against her co-stars in the show for physically attacking her in a previous episode.

Health & Wellness

Too Much Couch Time Linked to Increased Death Risk

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The results of a study published in the online edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that the time people spend sitting down can be associated to increased mortality risk, according to a feature on msnbc.com.

sitting on couchThis risk, according to the study, seems to be unaffected by the amount of physical activity done by the individual – which means that the effect of the length of time one spends sitting down will be the same even if one hits the gym regularly.

The term “sitting down” was qualified to mean as time spent sitting outside of work, though the amount of couch time within work (in number of hours) was not defined in the feature.

Researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS) conducted an analysis of survey responses of more than 123,000 men and women who were enrolled in the 1992 Cancer Prevention II study of the ACS. The test population consisted of individuals who had no history of heart attack, cancer, stroke or emphysema.

The study looked into the amount of time that the participants spent sitting down as well as the level of physical activity that they were engaged in, and related this with mortality. The period considered by the study covered 13 years, from 1993 until 2006.

Researcher Alpa Patel shared: “Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.”

Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Celebrity Rehab Finally Gets Their Act Together!

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After taping and shooting schedules were shelved early this year for the lack of A-listers in their roster of celebrities, Celebrity Rehab is finally on all systems go for their upcoming season. Expected to be in the show are reality stars, former teen heartthrobs and naughty party girls that will surely make it interesting for a lot of viewers and can hopefully boost the ratings of the program.

Celebrity RehabJeremy London from “Party of Five” heads the list. Also included are former “Hills” star Jason Wahler, former supermodel Janice Dickinson, 70’s heartthrob Leif Garret, socialite Frankie Lons and Jason Davis,  and alleged Tiger Woods’ mistress, Rachel Uchitel.

Dr. Drew Pinsky hosts the show which will feature the celebrities in a 21-day program to battle out their addictions. The Pasadena Recovery Center, where majority of the show takes place, has become popular among stars who want to save their tarnished reputations. No fixed date has been set on when shooting will start but it will have its airtime this year.

One celebrity who has sparked the interest of both Celebrity Rehab and “Celebrity Apprentice” was Rachel Uchitel. Celebrity Rehab in particular eyed her for the show as reports surfaced about her affair with Tiger Woods which had the element of drugs as fuel. Her decision to appear on Rehab has cost her a stint in Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and that Trump is no longer interested to get her to jump ship.

As far as all the other casts are concerned, all of them have publicly battled their drug addictions that led them to the program. London recently made headlines when he confessed that he was kidnapped by two men and was ordered to do drugs. Wahler and Garrett have been in DUI cases and Dickinson has openly discussed her addictions to the public.