Foods for Good Health

1. Whole Grain bread – Eat the bread during breakfast, ahead of any protein rich food. Chew well for teeth exercise. Its amino acids are benefial for brain.
2. Sprouted Pulses – Whole pulses like moong, gram, etc. should be sprouted by soaking in water and may be taken during breakfast by dressing it with salt, black-pepper powder and lemon juice for taste. It is nutritious food with vitamins.
3. Plenty of water during the day – relieves fatique and is a cure for constipation. A glass of water if taken immediately after getting up from sleep early in the morning, cools and cleans the internal system. Lemon juice in a cup of water in the morning removes acidity.
4. Use of ginger for indigestion – Take a small piece of ginger and add a little salt to it. Chew well before lunch and dinner and throw away the solid part after sucking its juice. It removes indigestion and mouth germs.
5. Raw salads of carrot, cabbage leaves, tomatoes, coriander leaves, etc. are good. Some boiled vegetables may be added while taking this raw salas. Proper chewing is essential. Salad is beneficial for the health of teeth and skin.
6. Other fruits and vegetables according to the season may be added to the di

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that troubles more than half of all Americans

Not getting enough sleep or not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep long enough to get the benefits of sleep is called insomnia. Insomnia is the most common sleeping disorder in the U.S. The most serious form of insomnia is known as fatal familial insomnia (FFI). The ‘familial’ in the phrase indicates that this is a genetic disease. FFI is rare: 400 cases worldwide are known. In FFI, a person in their 50s begins to lose the ability to sleep. After losing the ability to nap, their hours of sleep decrease, and soon they don’t sleep at all, or only approach a state of drowsiness that never results in deep sleep. Their prognosis is death within a year. Studies of this form of sleeping disorder may one day lead us to an understanding of the need for sleep, but right now, we understand very little of the need for sleep, although we all know we need it.

Insomnia is the most common sleeping disorder among Americans. Most people sleep from six to nine hours a night – about a third of our lives. That gives us from 15 to 17 hours of wakefulness. Insomnia can mean having difficulty falling asleep, but finally being able to do so, or it can mean something as severe as FFI. Most people experience some insomnia in their lives. Light insomnia that does not persist night after night usually results in our feeling dull and foggy the next day. With non-persistent insomnia, we’re sure to fall asleep the next night and even sleep deeply, for a full 7 to 9 hours. Such insomnia is less a sleeping disorder than it is a part of what we can normally expect in our lives.

Persistent insomnia occurs night after night. If we didn’t have to be at work or school, or be awake at a certain time to care for our families the next day, this sleeping disorder would have little impact on our lives. We could just sleep in. Because most of us do have to wake up at a certain time, we end up sleeping for shorter periods of time. Day after day we feel tired and groggy, perhaps in a bad mood, dull and inattentive. This can have serious consequences for our family and work life. If we drive or operate heavy equipment, the consequences can be dire. When insomnia becomes persistent, it’s time to see your doctor.

The cause of persistent insomnia can be either psychophysical or only physical. Psycho-physical insomnia, also called true or classical insomnia, is what most insomniacs experience. In the U.S., about 30 million people have this condition. It is characterized by an inability to blur the focus of our consciousness on thoughts, images, emotions or sensations long enough to allow the brain to slip into sleeping unconsciousness. Meditation and acupuncture may help. Some have found they can pray themselves to sleep, but short of sleeping pills, reading a book, avoiding exciting television shows, and sleeping in a darkened, quiet space, little else can be done. For most, however, these techniques seem to work.

The purely physical cause of insomnia, sleep apnea, is also a more dangerous sleep disorder. People with sleep apnea have a greater risk of stroke and heart attack. With sleep apnea, a person doesn’t have trouble falling asleep, but staying asleep. Their sleep is interrupted when the throat and esophagus muscles relax to such a degree that the relaxed muscles close the air passage. The brain, recognizing the closure, wakes the person. This can happen more than a 100 times in a single night. Sleep apnea is the most common of sleeping disorders. Treatment involves inserting a device into the person’s throat to keep the air passage open. It works, although it may take some time to get used to it.

Unless you have FFI, you’ve got a pretty good chance of overcoming your sleeping disorder. Be active enough to be tired in the evening, eat what your body needs, and go to sleep at a regular time. See your doctor if your insomnia persists. Now, have a good night, have a good sleep.

Sleep Disorders and Aging Overview

Are you one of millions of seniors in the US who think life would be pretty good….if you could just get some sleep?

Sleep disturbances are very common in older people. Changes in sleep patterns may be a normal part of aging, but many other factors common in older people contribute to sleep problems. These include physical illness or symptoms, medication side effects, changes in activity or social life, and death of a spouse or loved one. Sleep disorders decrease quality of life in older people by causing daytime sleepiness, tiredness, and lack of energy. Poor quality of sleep also can lead to confusion, difficulty concentrating, and poor performance on tasks. Sleep disorders also are linked with premature death.

The biggest sleep problem in older people is a feeling of not getting enough sleep (insomnia) or not being rested.

* Many take longer to fall asleep than they did when younger.

* Elderly people actually get the same amount of sleep or only slightly less sleep than they got when younger, but they have to spend more time in bed to get that amount of sleep.

* The sensation of insomnia often is due to frequent nighttime awakening. For example, older people tend to be more easily wakened by noises than younger people.

* Daytime napping is another cause of nighttime wakefulness. Older people are more likely to be sleepy during the day than younger people, but too much sleepiness during the day is not part of normal aging.

Normal sleep has different stages that cycle throughout the night. Sleep specialists classify these as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep.

* REM sleep is the stage in which muscles relax most completely. Dreaming occurs during REM sleep.

* Non-REM sleep is subdivided into 4 stages. Stages 1 and 2 constitute light sleep; stages 3 and 4 are called deep sleep. Deeper sleep generally is more refreshing.

Sleep changes with age. Older people are less efficient sleepers and have different patterns of sleep than younger people.

* The duration of REM sleep decreases somewhat with aging.

* The duration of stage 1 sleep increases, as does the number of shifts into stage 1 sleep. Stages 3 and 4 decrease markedly with age in most people, especially men. In people aged 90 years or more, stages 3 and 4 may disappear completely.

In the United States, insomnia is the third most common reason for a medical visit, behind only headaches and the common cold. Approximately 15% of adults have insomnia severe enough to seek medical attention. About 1.7% of Americans receive a prescription for a sleeping medicine annually, and another 0.8% purchase nonprescription sleep aids. Fifty million Americans occasionally take some form of sleep medication.

Among older people, women are more likely to have insomnia than men. More than half of people older than 64 years have a sleep disorder. The rate is higher among long-term care facility residents.

Internet Explorer 9 rated best at blocking socially engineered malware

Internet Explorer 9 really is a massive upgrade from its aging predecessor, but there’s a whole lot more to it than just speed. The IE9 team also put a lot of effort into designing more modern security into the browser, making it capable of defending users against threats that older browsers simply don’t know how to deal with.

Drive-by attacks have been utilized by cybercriminals for a long time. Since average computer users are often very lax when it comes to keeping things like browser plug-ins up to date, Flash, Java, and PDF exploits became very common. Recently, however, browsers have become better about coercing users into updating plug-ins, so the bad guys started using tactics similar to the ones they employ when phishing via email. This newer socially engineered malware can be a bit trickier for browsers to block, which is why NSS Labs set out to see how six of the top browsers fare against such attacks.

The chart above certainly looks clear enough: Internet Explorer kicks butt at blocking this kind of threat. By combining the URL Reputation feature (which first arrived in IE7) and the new App Rep service, Internet Explorer 9 posted a practically perfect score. That’s not necessarily a surprise, considering the numbers reported by Microsoft back in May. 95% of IE9 users choose not to run malicious apps after receiving an App Rep warning.

If you need more proof that App Rep actually works, just check with Ed Bott. Recently, he wrote about a download from Microsoft’s own servers that was being flagged by IE9 — proof positive that nothing gets a free ride when it comes to reputation checking in the browser.


World’s 7 billionth person to be born on Halloween?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 6,959,000,772 people in the world right now. That means we’re very close to reaching the 7 billion mark, and according to The Hindu, that person will most likely be born in China or India – two countries with more than a billion people.

The birth date of the 7 billionth inhabitant of Earth, according to the United Nations population division, has been set for October 31. Yes, this lucky baby will be born on Halloween. Let’s pray it’s not some sort of demon child. Also, the end of October is only 12 years since we crossed over the 6 billion person mark.

By the year 2050, the world’s population is estimated to be 9.3 billion. That means that between now and 2050, the global population will add the same amount of people that populated the entire planet in 1950. By the year 2100, the Earth’s population is estimated to be at 10.1 billion people.

India, which has a population of 1.2 billion, is set to take the lead as the world’s most populous country from China at 1.3 billion. And although the number of people in China and India is massive, the U.N. is attributing this explosion in world population to the rapid growth in Africa which is happening faster than anyone had thought. The continent’s population could triple in the next 90 years.

The birth rate is apparently not declining as fast as expected in some poor countries. As for the U.S.’s population, it’s supposed to rise from 311 million to 478 million by 2100 largely due to high immigration and higher birth rates among Hispanic immigrants. But one of the most amazing growths will happen in Nigeria, which is currently Africa’s most populous country at 162 million people. By the year 2100, Nigeria is set to have a population of 730 million people.

Of course, this brings up questions of: Will there be enough food and water for 10 billion people? How will politics change with the increase and decrease of certain countries and continents’ populations? And should we be doing anything to try to stall the rise in population, like fertility programs across the world to help against unwanted pregnancies?

These are all topics of ongoing debates. However, what we do know is whoever turns out to be the 7 billionth person born on Earth should at least get some kind of commemorative plaque.


Windows 7 passes 400 million licenses sold, Office 2010 hits 100 million

It’s fair to say that Windows 7 continues to sell like hotcakes all over the world. The previously announced pace of 7 copies per second back in June of 2010 shows no signs of slowing, with Microsoft now trumpeting another significant milestone. More than 400 million Windows 7 licenses have have been sold to date, which works out to roughly 250 million in the past year.

Figures like that are almost hard to believe, what with all the reports of tablet sales killing the Windows netbook market. In addition to rolling on towards half a billion Windows 7 licenses sold, Microsoft says the OS is also now running on nearly 30% of all PCs worldwide.

Also released last summer was Office 2010, and while it’s understandably not selling at the same pace as Windows 7 it’s still doing quite well. CEO Steve Ballmer announced that over 100 million Office 2010 licenses have been sold to date. Ballmer didn’t provide specifics, but that number is probably padded slightly by Office Starter installations — for which OEMs must buy licenses in order to pre-install it on their desktops and laptops. Still, 100 million licenses is nothing to sneeze at, though whether Office can maintain retail momentum now remains to be seen. Sales could slow significantly once more consumers become aware of the free-to-use Office Web Apps on Windows Live.

There’s also good news on the browser front, where Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc reports that Internet Explorer 9 is starting to gain traction and is now installed on about 17% of Windows 7 machines. Not too shabby considering it was only released about four months ago.

More at Windows Team Blog


Majority Of Nurses' And Doctors' Hospital Uniforms Carry Dangerous Bacteria

According to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology), over 60 percent of hospital nurses' and doctors' uniforms tested positive for potentially dangerous bacteria.

Yonit Wiener-Well, MD, from the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel and his colleagues conducted a study in which they collected swab samples from three different locations on 75 registered nurses (RNs) and 60 medical doctors (MDs) uniforms. The swabs were obtained by pressing standard blood agar plates onto the uniform's abdominal zone, sleeves ends and pockets.

Researchers at this 550-bed university-affiliated hospital discovered that over half of all cultures obtained, i.e. 65 % of the RN uniforms and 60 % percent of the MD uniforms harbored pathogens, with 21 cultures from RN uniforms and six cultures taken from MD uniforms containing multi-drug resistant pathogens, including eight cultures that grew methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

These findings reveal a widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistant strains in close proximity to hospitalized patients, even though the uniforms themselves may not present a direct risk of transmitting disease.

APIC 2011 President Russell Olmsted, MPH, CIC, explained:

"It is important to put these study results into perspective. Any clothing that is worn by humans will become contaminated with microorganisms. The cornerstone of infection prevention remains the use of hand hygiene to prevent the movement of microbes from these surfaces to patients.

New evidence such as this study by Dr. Wiener-Well is helpful to improve the understanding of potential sources of contamination but, as is true for many studies, it raises additional questions that need to be investigated."

The risk of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) in some developing countries is almost 20 times greater than in developed countries, according to the World Health Organization, but even in hospitals in developed countries, such as Israel where the investigation was carried out and in the United States, the potentially deadly and expensive to treat HAIs occur too often.

The best approach for patient safety is HAI prevention, which can be achieved by applying proven prevention practices as part of a comprehensive infection prevention and control program developed by Infection preventionists working in cooperation with direct care providers.

Written By Petra Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today



Ingredients 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 leeks, thinly sliced 6 large carrots, sliced 2 tablespoons curry powder 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind 1 cup/250mL / 8 fl oz orange juice 1 ½ cups / 375ml / 12 fl oz coconut milk 2 cups / 500 ml / 16 fl oz vegetable stock freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup / 60 g / 2 oz natural yoghurt 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint 100 g / 3 ½ oz cashew nuts roasted and chopped

Method: I. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add leeks and cook over a medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. 2. Add carrots, curry powder, lemon rind and orange juice to pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are soft. 3. Stir in coconut milk and stock and simmer for 10 minutes longer. 4. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Place soup mixture, in batches, in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. 5 Return soup to a clean saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until hot. Season to taste with black pepper. Serve soup topped with yoghurt, cashew nuts and mint. Note: If commercially made coconut milk is unavailable, you can make it using desiccated coconut and water. To make coconut milk, place 500g/ Lb. desiccated coconut in a bowl and pour over 3 cups/750ml / 1¼ pt of boiling water. Leave to stand for 30 minutes, then strain, squeezing the coconut to extract as much liquid as possible. This will make a thick coconut milk. The coconut can be used again to make a weaker coconut milk. Serve 4

TV Watching That Exceeds Six Hours A Day Can Reduce Life By Up To 5 Years

Research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests, watching television for approximately six hours daily could shorten the viewers life expectancy by almost five years. Competing with other well known behavioral risk factors, such as smoking and not enough exercise, the investigation indicates.

Sedentary behavior (as distinct from too little exercise) is linked with a increased risk of death, especially from heart attack or stroke. Watching TV makes up for a huge amount of sedentary activity, but its impact on life expectancy has not been evaluated, say the researchers.

To assemble a lifetime risk framework, researchers used previously published information on the connection between TV viewing time and death from analyses of the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab), together with Australian national population and mortality figures for 2008.

Including over 11,000 adults aged 25 or older, and beginning in 1999-2000, AusDiab is a national survey of a representative sample of the population.

The researchers then created a risk framework for the Australian population in 2008, based upon answers those participating in the survey had provided, when questioned about the total time they spent in the previous week watching TV or videos.

In 2008 it was estimated that Australian adults (25 years and over) watched 9.8 billion hours of TV, which led them to calculate that each hour of TV watched after the age of 25 reduced the life expectancy of the viewer by just under 22 minutes.

The researchers calculated based on these figures, that in comparison to someone who does not watch TV, those who spend a lifetime average of over six hours daily watching television can expect to live just under 5 years less.

These figures compare with additional well known lifestyle risk factors of death from cardiovascular disease after the age of 50, including physical activity and obesity.

According to the researchers risk framework other investigations, for example, have shown the lifelong smoking is connected with the shortening of life expectancy by over 4 years after the age of 50, with the average loss of life from each cigarette calculated to be 11 minutes - the same as half an hour of watching TV.

The researchers say their findings indicate that substantial loss of life may be linked with prolonged TV viewing. Also adding,

"While we used Australian data, the effects in other industrialized and developing countries are likely to be comparable, given the typically large amounts of time spent watching TV and similarities in disease patterns."

They conclude,

"If these [figures] are confirmed and shown to reflect a causal association, TV viewing is a public health problem comparable in size to established behavioral risk factors."

Written by Grace Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today


Smoking After Menopause May Increase Sex Hormone Levels

A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) found that postmenopausal women who smoke have higher androgen and estrogen levels than non-smoking women, with sex hormone levels being highest in heavy smokers.

Previous studies have shown that high levels of estrogens and androgens are potential risk factors for breast and endometrial cancer as well as type 2 diabetes. Cigarette smoking is a well established risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but earlier studies examining the relationship between smoking and sex hormone levels have yielded inconsistent results. This new cross-sectional study in a population-based sample of postmenopausal women suggests that sex hormones may provide one plausible mechanism through which cigarette smoking influences chronic disease risk.

"The observed increase in sex hormone levels with cigarette use suggests that tobacco smoke, apart from its direct toxic and carcinogenic effects, may also influence chronic disease risk through hormonal mechanisms," said Judith Brand, MSc, of University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands and lead author of the study. "The good news is that the effect of cigarette smoking appears reversible, as an almost immediate reduction in sex hormone levels was seen in women who quit using cigarettes."

In this study, researchers examined blood samples from 2,030 postmenopausal women aged 55-81 years. Study participants were categorized as 'current', 'former' or 'never' smokers based on their responses to questions regarding cigarette use. Researchers found that study participants who were 'current' smokers had higher circulating levels of androgens and estrogens, while 'former' smokers who had quit within 1-2 years had sex hormone levels the same as 'never' smokers.

"Obviously, quitting smoking has major health benefits such as prevention of cancer, respiratory and heart diseases," said Brand. "Our research suggests that smoking cessation may have additional effects by modifying hormone-related disease risks, but this was not the subject of the present study and requires further investigation."

Other researchers working on the study include Mei-Fen Chan, Robert Luben and Kay-Tee Khaw of the University of Cambridge (UK); Mitch Dowsett and Elizabeth Folkerd of Royal Marsden Hospital in London, UK; Nicholas Wareham of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK; and Yvonne van der Schouw of University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands.

The article, "Cigarette smoking and endogenous sex hormones in postmenopausal women," appears in the October 2011 issue of JCEM.



Is vaccination mandatory?

Virtually allU.S. states require proof of vaccination before children begin school.

Today's children require 16 to 24 doses of vaccines by age 2 to protect them from 10 diseases. Vaccines are given to children during their first two years of life so that they can be protected during their most vulnerable period.

This is especially important because many children attend daycare and other group care settings, where they are at higher risk of being exposed to infectious diseases.

Why does my child have to have vaccines?

Immunizations provide protection against many childhood diseases. The viruses and bacterial illnesses that cause vaccine-preventable disease and sometimes kill are still around. They have not been eradicated.

Moreover, with international travel widespread and common, it is easier than ever to spread these diseases from one population to another.

Most diseases that vaccines prevent are most easily transmitted when people gather in groups, as in schools. State laws requiring immunization prevent serious outbreaks of certain infectious diseases among school-aged children, and through them, to the rest of the population.

The availability of vaccines has drastically reduced the number of people who get infectious diseases along with the complications that these diseases can produce. Without vaccination, epidemics of vaccine-preventable diseases would return.

What if I don't want my child to be vaccinated?

All states permit exemption of children from vaccination for specific medical reasons. For example, children with compromised immune systems from illnesses such as cancer or AIDS may not be able to receive immunizations.

Since they cannot be vaccinated, these children remain vulnerable to diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, pertussis and diphtheria. They are dependent on their community to protect them against disease through vaccination of all medically eligible people.

Some states exempt children from vaccination due to the religious or philosophical beliefs of their parents. Since these children do not receive vaccines, they are not at risk from possible adverse reactions to vaccines. Unfortunately, they are also at risk for contracting the diseases that vaccines normally prevent.

Within the United States, communities with large numbers of people who do not accept vaccination have outbreaks of polio, measles, pertussis and congenital rubella. These diseases and their devastating effects are virtually unknown among vaccinated communities.

I don't want to give anything to my child that isn't completely safe. How safe are vaccines?

Vaccines are considered very safe and effective for children who do not have certain medical disorders that preclude immunization. Your doctor can clarify this for you and provide literature explaining what these disorders are.

Despite their safety and value in preventing disease, no vaccine can be 100 percent safe and effective for everyone who gets it. Vaccines can and often do cause mild and temporary reactions, including slight swelling or soreness at the injection site. They may cause a low-grade fever and rash.

Vaccines can cause serious reactions, although these are very rare. Serious reactions include seizures, swelling of the brain and severe allergic reactions. However, the risk of contracting a serious and potentially devastating childhood disease is many times greater than the risk of having a serious reaction to any of the childhood vaccines.

What do you mean that no vaccine can be 100 percent effective?

Very few things in life are perfect. Although vaccines are extremely effective for most people who get them, no vaccine guarantees immunity to everyone vaccinated. A small fraction of people may be vaccinated without developing immunity to the disease. However, since the vaccine works in most cases, as more and more people in the community are immunized, the chance of the nonimmune person contracting the disease decreases.

How do immunizations work?

Immunizations are a weakened form of a disease-causing germ that is introduced into the body either orally or by injection. By getting immunized, you are "tricking" your body into believing that the actual disease is present. This causes your body to react by producing antibodies. The antibodies stay in your system and protect you from getting the actual disease in case you are ever exposed to it.

Some immunizations need to be repeated throughout your life to make sure the level of antibodies in your body remains high enough to prevent the disease.

Where can I have my child vaccinated or get vaccinated myself?

Vaccines can be administered by your pediatrician, your personal doctor or your local health clinic. Some employers provide vaccinations on-site, and they are sometimes offered by communities at certain convenient times and places.

Your county health department can also provide you or your child with access to vaccinations at low cost or for free. Also, the Vaccines for Children Program offers free vaccines to needy children, including all those on Medicare, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.

My child is healthy, but I still want to be careful about vaccines. What precautions should I take?

Your physician should do an overall medical assessment, including a physical examination and past medical history, on your child to find out if there are any contraindications to receiving a certain vaccine. Insist that this be done, and be sure to provide a complete medical history for your child.

You should also make sure you know the possible risks associated with a particular vaccine before it is given to your child. Keep the literature your child's physician gives you and read it over. Discuss any concerns about a particular vaccine with the doctor.

Be aware of the signs of both mild and serious reactions to vaccines. Know how to reach your doctor or a covering doctor after office hours. If your child appears ill after receiving a vaccine, call the doctor immediately.

And remember, in most cases, it is still far more risky for a child to remain unprotected against potentially deadly childhood diseases than to receive vaccines.

What if my child has a serious vaccine reaction?

Call your doctor, and make sure you make it clear that you believe your child is experiencing a severe or persistent reaction to vaccines. Take your child to see a doctor right away.

Later, write down what happened and the date and time. Ask the doctor, nurse or health department to file a vaccine adverse event report.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) in Rockville, Md. is a national program administered jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice. The program provides compensation for the extremely rare instances where profound injury results from vaccination.

The criteria for compensation through the VICP are strict. Most people never need the program, but it exists to address the extremely rare occasions when people do.

I've heard that good sanitation is the real reason why there are fewer childhood diseases now. So we don't really need vaccines, do we?

Good sanitation does decrease the risk of some diseases. And diseases may have natural "up" and "down" cycles. However, a permanent drop in the incidence of childhood diseases coincides with the widespread use of vaccines.

For example, the Hib vaccine, a vaccine against the Hemophilus bacteria - the leading cause of meningitis in children - has only been in use for about five years. But the incidence of meningitis caused by Hib has dropped more than 95 percent during the same period.

Between 1989 and 1991, the U.S. had a measles epidemic, which killed 120. This epidemic occurred mostly in urban communities with many unvaccinated children.

If my baby gets more than one shot at a time, will the immune system become overloaded?

Our immune system is very efficient and can respond to many foreign substances at any given time. Taking more than one vaccination at a time, in accordance with national guidelines, does not present much of a burden for a normal immune system. Current vaccine combinations have been studied and are recommended because the combinations have been found to be safe and effective. They are not combined at random.

Do DTP shots cause SIDS?

The Institute on Medicine reviewed controlled studies comparing immunized with non-immunized children for evidence linking diptheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) immunizations to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They found no difference in risk for SIDS between immunized and non-immunized children, meaning that no link between the DTP shot and SIDS was apparent.

Do vaccines cause diabetes, autism, Crohn's disease or other chronic disorders?

After decades of vaccine use in the United States, research shows no reliable evidence implicating vaccines as a cause of chronic illness or conditions. Vaccine safety research is done regularly within the United States, including research into theories linking various diseases to vaccines. This is done to maximize public safety as much as possible.

Some researchers published articles bolstering their theories that vaccines cause various diseases. However, when other researchers try to duplicate their results, they often can't. The ability to duplicate scientific results is key to help validate a research finding.

If the risk and benefits of a vaccine change as a result of changing circumstances within a population, the recommendations relating to that vaccine also change. For example, natural cases of smallpox are no longer found because it is thought to have been eradicated worldwide. As a result, the risk of contracting smallpox is very low, so low that the risk of possible complications from the vaccine now outweighs the risk of smallpox. For that reason, the smallpox vaccine is no longer recommended for the general population.

What would happen if we didn't have vaccines?

The following diseases would once again become prevalent in the general population:


A rare but potentially fatal disease spread through sneezing and coughing, diphtheria affects the heart, kidneys and upper respiratory tract. Early symptoms include sore throat, fever, chills and runny nose. Heart failure or paralysis can also result.


Also known as whooping cough, this highly contagious disease is an acute illness affecting the respiratory tract that often begins as a mild cold and progresses to severe coughing and difficulty breathing. It is especially dangerous to young babies (younger than 9 months) because it can lead to pneumonia, seizures, encephalitis, permanent brain damage and death.


Also known as lockjaw, this disease can be transmitted through animal bites, dirty objects like a rusty nail or soil. The bacteria enter the body through an open wound and infect the central nervous system. Severe muscle spasms and death may result.

The DTaP vaccine protects against these three illnesses. It is given five times before age 6. Td booster shots are needed at 11 to 12 years if at least five years have elapsed since the last dose. Subsequent routine Td boosters are recommended every 10 years thereafter.


This is a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening viral disease spread through coughs and sneezes from an infected person. A high fever, runny nose, dry cough, small bright red spots on the skin and a diffuse red rash characterize measles. Secondary complications from measles include ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis, convulsions, deafness, mental retardation and death.


This is a viral infection that results in fever, headaches and swollen salivary glands in the cheek and jaw region. Secondary complications include permanent hearing loss, meningitis and male sterility.


Also known as German measles, this is a viral infection that starts with a low-grade fever and raised rash beginning on the face and spreading to other parts of the body. Rubella is not a serious illness for children, but it is very serious for pregnant women. When contracted early in pregnancy (perhaps before a woman even realizes that she is pregnant), rubella can lead to miscarriage or devastating birth defects.

The MMR vaccine protects against these three diseases and is given in two doses, the first at 12 to 15 months of age and the second at 4 to 6 years.

Haemophilus influenza type B

Also known as Hib disease, this is a bacterial infection that is moderately contagious and is spread through coughing and sneezing. Hib infections can result in meningitis, overwhelming blood infections, permanent brain damage and death. Before the Hib vaccine was introduced, Hib disease was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States.

The Hib vaccine is typically given at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months with the final dose given between 12 and 15 months.


Neisseria meningitidis is an important cause of meningitis in children and young adults. There is a vaccine against the four common types (A, C, Y and W135). This vaccine, now required for young adults entering college, is safe with few side effects.

Pneumococcal vaccine

Streptococcus pneumoniae causes serious infections in young children younger than 2 years old. It causes meningitis, pneumonia and middle ear infections. A vaccine for children against this bacterium has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A similar vaccine has been available to adults for the last 25 years and is safe.


This is a viral infection that is transmitted in the stools of infected persons. The virus can cause permanent paralysis and death. The polio vaccine should be given at 2 months, 4 months and between 6 and 18 months of age.

The polio vaccine is available in two forms. The oral polio vaccine (OPV) is a live virus and can actually cause polio in very rare instances, or if a person who isn't immunized is exposed to someone who has just received the vaccine. The injectable polio vaccine (IPV) is inactivated and cannot cause the disease.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the first two doses of poliovirus vaccine should be IPV followed by two doses of OPV at 12 to 18 months old and 4 to 6 years of age.

Use of IPV is acceptable for and is recommended for patients whose immune systems are compromised or who live with other family members who may be immunosuppressed. The OPV remains the treatment of choice for mass immunization campaigns to control outbreaks due to wild poliovirus.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) that is present in the blood and body fluids of an infected individual. The virus can be transmitted in the womb as well as through unprotected sexual intercourse, nonsterilized needles and contact with infected blood products. HBV can cause an acute illness characterized by fatigue, loss of appetite, joint and muscle pain, abdominal discomfort, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. It can destroy the liver, cause liver cancer and lead to death.

The hepatitis B vaccine does not contain any live components. Vaccines available in the U.S. are made using recombinant DNA technology, and they contain only a portion of the outer protein of HBV.

The vaccine is usually administered shortly after birth and at ages 2 and 6 months. If you did not receive the vaccine during childhood, it can be administered in a three-dose series. Talk with your physician about whether or not you are a candidate for the hepatitis B vaccine.


Also known as varicella, this is a very common viral infection that is extremely contagious. It is spread through sneezing, coughing and saliva and is characterized by flu-like symptoms that lead to a generalized rash. The rash often begins on the abdomen and quickly spreads to other areas of the body. The typical lesions are fluid-filled and cause itching. Complications are relatively rare, but each year between 5,000 and 9,000 people are hospitalized for chickenpox, and as many as 100 people die.

The AAP recommends the varicella vaccine. But not all pediatricians are in favor of universal vaccination. When given, the vaccine is recommended at any time after the child's first birthday. Susceptible children 13 years or older should get two doses given at least one month apart.

What about the Lyme disease vaccine?

The Lyme disease vaccine is no longer available. LYMErix® was a vaccine that was taken off the market by its manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, citing poor sales. The Food and Drug Administration licensed LYMErix in 1998 to prevent Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. Initially, hundreds of thousands of people received the vaccine. However, sales plummeted after highly publicized reports that some users suffered arthritis-like symptoms, muscle pain and other ailments following vaccination. GlaxoSmithKline says that it is not discontinuing the product because of safety issues. The manufacturer maintains that the scientific record remains clear that the vaccine is safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that it found no unexpected safety problems with LYMErix after reviewing the data. The vaccine was only 80 percent effective in people who got all three shots.

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called spirochetes. A tick that has Lyme disease may then pass it on to any animal or human that it bites. Lyme disease is more common in certain regions in the U.S.

Prevent tick bites by wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts in tall grasses and forested areas. Also be sure to use bug repellant. Also, check yourself and your children by inspecting for ticks after being outside.

Investigational vaccines on the horizon

* Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, to protect children from a major source of bronchitis and pneumonia

* Malaria vaccine

* Tuberculosis vaccine

* HIV/AIDS vaccine

Neurological Manifestations Of Aids

What are the neurological manifestations of AIDS?

DESCRIPTION: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the result of an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus attacks selected cells of the immune, nervous, and other systems impairing their proper function. HIV infection may cause damage to the brain and spinal cord, causing encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain), nerve damage, difficulties in thinking (i.e., AIDS dementia complex), behavioral changes, poor circulation, headache, and stroke. AIDS-related cancers such as lymphoma and opportunistic infections (OI) may also affect the nervous system. Neurological symptoms may be mild in the early stages of AIDS, but may become severe in the final stages. Complications vary widely from one patient to another. Cerebral toxoplasmosis, a common OI in AIDS patients, causes such symptoms as headache, confusion, lethargy, and low-grade fever. Other symptoms may include weakness, speech disturbance, ataxia, apraxia, seizures, and sensory loss. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a disorder that can also occur in AIDS patients, causes weakness, hemiparesis or facial weakness, dysphasia, vision loss, and ataxia. Some patients with PML may also develop compromised memory and cognition.

Is there any treatment?

TREATMENT: There is no cure for AIDS but recently developed, experimental treatments appear very promising. Some symptoms and complications may improve with treatment. For example, antidementia drugs may relieve confusion and slow mental decline. Infections may be treated with antibiotics. Radiation therapy may be needed to treat AIDS-related cancers present in the brain or spinal cord.

What is the prognosis?

PROGNOSIS: The prognosis for individuals with AIDS in recent years has improved significantly because of new drugs and treatments, and educational and preventive efforts.

What research is being done?

RESEARCH: The NINDS supports a broad spectrum of basic and clinical research studies on the neurological complications of AIDS. Much of this research is conducted at leading biomedical research institutions across the country.

Where can I find more information?

These articles, available from a medical library, are sources of in-depth information on the neurological manifestations of AIDS:

McArthur, J. "Neurologic Manifestations of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection." In Diseases of the Nervous System: Clinical Neurobiology, W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, pp. 1312-1330 (1992).

Mintz, M, and Epstein, L. "Neurologic Manifestations of Pediatric Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome: Clinical Features and Therapeutic Approaches." Seminars in Neurology, 12:1; 51-56 (March 1992).

Newton, H. "Common Neurologic Complications of HIV-1 Infection and AIDS." American Family Physician, 51:2; 387-398 (February 1, 1995).

Pajeau, A, and Roman, G. "HIV Encephalopathy and Dementia." Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 15:2; 455-466 (June 1992).

Simpson, D, and Tagliati, M. "Neurologic Manifestations of HIV Infection." Annals of Internal Medicine, 121:10; 769-785 (November 1994).


Are Online Classes Right for You?

Here are five things to keep in mind when considering online education.

Are you thinking about going back to school - and doing it online? You're not alone.

According to the Sloan Consortium, 5.6 million students studied online in 2009.

To add some perspective to that statistic, nearly 30 percent of the 19 million full-time and part-time students enrolled in all colleges and universities in the country took at least one online course in 2009.

To help you decide if studying online is right for you, we put together five things to keep in mind when considering going to school online.
#1 - Busy Adults May Need Online Flexibility

"It's nearly impossible for many people to take a lunch break, let alone leave the office for two hours to take a class," says Pam Dixon, author of "Virtual College." "Online education allows people to go to school on their own time."

Western Governors University, for example, has over 24,000 online students, with ages ranging from the 20s all the way to the 60s. The school's website says the average student is 36 and has a full-time or part-time job.

At Ozarks Technical Community College (OTCC) in Missouri, the average online student is 29-years-old. "Older students have jobs, families, and lots of other commitments that make online learning not only more attractive but really the only viable way to pursue a higher education," says C. DeWitt Salley, Jr., director of OTCC's online teaching and learning, in a school news release.

Interested in Studying Online? Find the Right School Now.
#2 - There Are Many Online Options

If you think online education doesn't provide you with options, think again.

Check out this small sampling of online degree programs from around the country:

* The University of Illinois offers 107 online degree and certificate programs.
* The University of Maryland University College offers more than 25 undergraduate degree programs and 30 certificates available online.
* Arizona State University has more than two-dozen online undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Find the Right Online Education Program for You.
#3 - You Can Earn Certificates Online

Degrees aren't the only credential you can earn online. Certificates are yet another online option, particularly for those who are looking to gain specialized skills in a relatively shorter amount of time.

Earning a certificate online could help demonstrate to employers that you are qualified, Dixon says.

"We're in a certificate world right now," she says. "If you can stack up certificates next to your name, it's very helpful."

About 750,000 certificates were awarded by colleges and universities in 2007-2008, according to "Certificates Count," a survey by Complete College America, a Washington-based non-profit.

"The most popular programs, making up some 43 percent of all certificates, are in healthcare," writes Complete College America. "Fields like business and technology also attract large numbers of students, who are generally eligible for federal and state financial aid."

In broad terms, here are the most popular certificate programs, according to Complete College America:

* Health care
* Business
* Mechanical/Repair Technology
* Security & Protective
* Transport & Materials Moving
* Construction
* Personal Services
* Engineering Technology

Want to Start Your Online Education? Find the Right School Now.
#4 - Online Education Can Help Career Changers

Going to school online is one way to begin preparing for your next career. An added advantage for those who are working is that they don't necessarily have to quit their job to prepare for their next one.

And don't let your circumstances or age convince you that it's too late to change your career, says Dixon.

"There are lots of people who are looking to change careers right now," Dixon says. "Going to school online can be a terrific option for people, including Baby Boomers, who are looking for a career tweak."

In fact, 63 percent of Baby Boomers (people born in the post-World War II baby boom) expect to change careers at some point in the future, according to a 2010 survey by Kelly Services, a Michigan-based workforce solutions company.

Want to Change Your Career with an Online Education? Find the Right School Now.
#5 - Driven Students Can Overachieve Online

A 2009 government analysis by the Department of Education concluded that online education may in fact top classroom-learning in one important regard. "On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction," the Department of Education study found.

When analyzing which students can succeed in an online environment, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, which has has been offering online courses for more than 10 years, found that:

* Online students must be motivated to succeed.
* Time management skills are essential in online education.
* Students must be able to work independently and ask for help when needed.

"If you don't like to learn visually, you're going to have to work a little bit more," she adds. "But the truth is, you're going to have work a little bit more in a traditional classroom as well."


The Most Versatile Degree

Learn why majoring in business could make good business sense.

Forget about skinny jeans. The most popular accessory in school these days is a business degree.

Over 300,000 students graduated with a bachelor's in business in 2008, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That's more degrees than social sciences, history and health sciences, combined, according to the "Digest of Education Statistics, 2009" report.

Click to Find Online or Local Business Schools

Business is a popular degree with employers too.

"In general, the average employer views business majors as very solid job candidates, thanks to their broad-based education and business know-how," writes Kate Walsh in her book "What Can You Do With A Major In Business: Real People. Real Jobs. Real Rewards."

Wondering what you could do with a business degree? Keep reading for six increasingly popular business career choices that could offer great earning potential and opportunity.
#1 - Eco-Investor

Many experts believe green energy - and environmental investment - is America's next big bubble, and eco-investors will help sway what companies and sustainable practices take off. Like any kind of investing, eco-investing requires informed decisions, based on solid business practices taught in school.

Start a Business Degree - Find the Right School Now

"Eco-investors have diverse educational backgrounds," writes Pamela Fehl in "Green Careers: Business & Construction", "but most people in this field have a bachelor's degree in business."

Average Salary: $83,000*

Related Degree: Business Administration
#2 - Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is all the rage these days, with 4 out of 10 young people having already started or would like to start their own business, according to an August 2010 Harris Interactive survey.

In business school, you could benefit by reading case studies of famous startups. You'll also likely network with other entrepreneurially-minded students while learning how to build and sustain a business.

Average Salary: $111,000*

Related Degree: Business Administration

Start a Business Degree - Find the Right School Now
#3 - Pharmaceutical Sales

Pharmaceutical sales leapt from $40 billion in 1990 to $234 billion in 2008. Since commission can often factor heavily into sales salaries, the sky could be the limit for your earning potential.

Closing, forecasting, prospecting, networking, and management techniques are all sales topics you are likely to study in business school.

Average Salary: $88,150*

Related Degree: Marketing/Communications

Click to Find Local and Online Business Schools
#4 - Social Media Analyst

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is largely responsible for the social media boom that is upon us. Yet his company is just one of many social media companies that are attracting eyeballs and equity these days.

Go to business school, and you'll likely study social media buzz words like search engine optimization and the long tail concept.

Average Salary: $31,000-$51,000*

Related Degree: Marketing/Communications

Find the Right Business School for You
#5 - Human Resources Specialist

Human resources are a key part of any business, regardless of the industry. As companies look to streamline budgets, HR departments are looking for employees who can contribute from day one. This goes for human resources specialists as well, so studying HR in a business school program could help get your career rolling.

Average Salary: $59,070*

Related Degree: Human Resources

Find the Right Business School for You
#6 - Accountant

Some of the newer industries already mentioned - like green technology and social media - share the same dollars and cents approach that forms the bedrock of any business. Accountants help all types of companies turn a profit by paying their bills and taxes on time and performing budget analyses.

Accounting may also be one of the more valuable business degrees you can earn, since the U.S. Department of Labor forecasts a 22 percent jump in employment opportunities for accountants and auditors through 2018.

Average Salary: $67,430*

Related Degree: Accounting/Finance


Is An MBA Right For You?

See the opportunities that an MBA degree could offer.

Thinking about going back to school to earn your Master of Business Administration (MBA)?

Looking at new employment numbers, there may be no time like the present.

A recent analysis of career placement data for 2009 and 2010 by U.S. News revealed that 75.7 percent of 2010 MBA graduates were hired within three months of graduation, up from 70.8 percent in 2009.

It's Time to Earn Your MBA. Find the Right Business School Now.

Think an MBA might benefit you? Join us as we explore seven MBA specializations that could help you climb the corporate ladder. In addition to required core courses, most business schools allow you to concentrate on one of these key disciplines:

* Business Administration
* Health Care Administration
* Management
* Human Resources (HR)
* Marketing/Communications
* Technology
* Accounting

Keep reading to see if one of these MBA specializations is right for you.
#1 - Business Administration

Business administration is the meat and potatoes of business school, or what most schools call the core curriculum. In this program, you would take courses like accounting, communications, economics, HR, marketing, and technology. You'll also likely work independently and in groups, pouring over case studies and giving presentations to your peers.

Potential career paths: Mastering business administration can help you develop a broad-based background that could help prepare you to move into any number of avenues in today's multi-faceted business world. An administrative services manager, as one example, has an average income of $81,530, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Another position that many MBA students hope to rise into eventually is general manager, a position with an average yearly compensation of $110,550.*

Learn About MBA Programs. Find Business Schools.
#2 - Health Care Administration

Getting an MBA with an emphasis in health care administration could give you an in-depth understanding of the country's biggest and fastest growing industry. Health care specific classes might cover the sweeping governmental reform that is changing the way health care is delivered. You also might study the technological advances that are helping move electronic records online while also debating issues like patients' privacy rights.

Potential career paths: Whether you're interested in overseeing pharmaceutical manufacturing at a large plant overseas, working as a fundraising manager at a major hospital, or helping lead a team of sales professionals in the medical device industry, there is no shortage of exciting management options to pursue. Hospital health services managers have an average yearly compensation of $96,660, according to the Department of Labor.*

Find Online Health Care Administration Programs Now.
#3 - Management

Earning your MBA with a management specialization could give you a top-to-bottom view of everything and everyone in an organization. You'll likely learn about general management principles while also studying methods that are unique to different disciplines like heath care or technology. Typical courses include risk management, leadership and team-building strategies, and project and supply chain management. Along the way you might build key problem-solving and communication skills that you could put to work right away.

Potential career paths: An MBA with a focus on management could be a great calling card to employers who are looking for employees who have what it takes to grow into senior roles. One route to success would be to start as a project manager and work your way up the ladder. Positions like distribution manager and purchasing manager have average yearly incomes of $85,470 and $96,910 respectively, according to the Department of Labor.*

Learn About Management Programs. Find Schools.
#4 - Human Resources (HR)

This particular career-focused specialization is a good match for MBA students with strong interpersonal skills. While an undergraduate degree in HR is a helpful gateway to entry-level positions, earning an MBA with a focus on HR is a fantastic way to gain an understanding of complex issues like labor law and union issues. This type of program generally includes coursework in collective bargaining and labor economics, which are key areas top-level HR pros must master.

Potential career paths: An advanced degree like this one is increasingly important and "highly recommended" when trying to land senior HR positions, according to the Department of Labor. Some students move into a related career track as a contract negotiator or mediator, while others gravitate to a more traditional HR track. HR managers have an average annual wage of $105,510, according to the Department of Labor.*

Want to Master HR? Find the Right School.
#5 - Marketing/Communications

Identifying a company or organization's competitive advantage and sustaining it is at the heart of this MBA specialization. By studying marketing and communications, you could learn how to design, sell, package, and spread products and messages to your intended audience, whether it's locally or globally. Along the way you're likely to study everything from advertising and sales to promotions and public relations (PR).

Potential career paths: Specializing in marketing/communications while getting your MBA could be great prep for a career in public relations, marketing, sales, or advertising. Management roles in these areas require smart, business-savvy professionals with strong communication skills. According to the Department of Labor, PR managers have an average income of $101,850 while marketing managers average at $120,070.*

Find Marketing/Communications MBA Programs
#6 - Technology

The timing for getting an MBA with a focus on technology couldn't be better, according to QS World MBA Tour, which reported a 39 percent spike in MBA hiring for the technology sector in 2010. Getting an MBA that focuses on technology could help you to stay relevant in this rapidly evolving industry, particularly if you have an undergraduate background in computer or information technology (IT), though it's not required. In this type of program, you could learn how to manage a technology team while studying strategies for a networked economy.

Potential career paths: While many students move into technology product management, you could also be prepared to work in related areas like mergers and acquisitions for IT firms. The computer software industry is another exciting career possibility for those with a technology-focused MBA. According to the Department of Labor, the average compensation for software publisher managers is $136,580.*

Find Technology MBA Programs
#7 - Accounting

Getting an MBA with an emphasis in accounting can give you a strong understanding of how a company's bottom line impacts its operating and strategic decisions. Want to advance to a certified public accountant (CPA) or work in the finance department of a corporation? This degree could help.

Potential career paths: An in-depth understanding of accounting theory and practice is great preparation to work as a CPA or manager in the financial services industry. According to QS World MBA Tour, the finance sector hired 22 percent more MBA grads in 2010 and expects to increase hiring by 11 percent in 2011. Financial managers have an average yearly compensation of $113,730, according to the Department of Labor.*

Find MBA Programs Online or Near You

*Average compensation information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, using 2009 median salary information.


Half of Americans drink daily soda, sweet beverage

ATLANTA (AP) — Half of Americans drink a soda or sugary beverage each day — and some are downing a lot.

One in 20 people drinks the equivalent of more than four cans of soda each day, even though health officials say sweetened beverages should be limited to less than half a can.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the figures Wednesday in a report said to be the government's first to offer national statistics for both adults and kids.

Sweetened drinks have been linked to the U.S. explosion in obesity and related medical problems, and health officials have been urging people to cut back for years. Some officials have proposed an extra soda tax and many schools have stopped selling soda or artificial juices.

But advocates say those efforts are not enough, and on Wednesday a coalition of 100 organizations announced a new push. The effort includes the American Heart Association and the some city health departments who plan to prod companies to stop the sale of sugary drinks on their property or providing them at business meetings — as Boston's Carney Hospital did in April. There will also be new media campaigns, like one starting soon in Los Angeles that will ask "If you wouldn't eat 22 packs of sugar, why are you drinking it?'

The new CDC report may be ammunition. It found:

—About half the population drinks a sugared beverage each day.

—Males consume more than females, with teenage boys leading the pack. On average, males ages 12 through 19 drink the equivalent of nearly two cans of soda each day.

—Poor people drink more than the more affluent. Low-income adults got about 9 percent of their daily calories from sugary beverages; for high-income adults it was just over 4 percent.

—Blacks get more of their calories from sweetened beverages than other racial and ethnic groups.

The study is based on in-person interviews of more than 17,000 people in the years 2005 through 2008. They were asked to recount everything they ate and drank in the previous day. However, diet sodas, sweetened teas, flavored milks and 100 percent fruit juice did not count.

Healthy-eating recommendations call for people to limit sugary beverages to about 64 calories per day. That's a little less than half of a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola, which is 140 calories.

In other terms: An average can of sugared soda or juice has 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar.

There have been efforts to reduce children's access to sodas and sports drinks in schools, with beverage companies agreeing to remove full-calorie soft drinks. But the CDC study found more than half of the drinks are consumed at home. Less than 1 percent are bought at schools or day-care centers.

That's why some members of the coalition argue that parents shouldn't drink sweetened beverages, so they don't serve as a poor example at home. They hope drinking soda will become as unfashionable as smoking.

A spokesman for Carney Hospital — the 149-bed Boston facility that stopped allowing full-calorie soft drink sales — said the approach makes sense. When the policy was implemented in April, sales of beverages dropped, but have gone back up, as more people apparently are adjusting to water and other non-sweetened drinks.

The hospital's Dorchester neighborhood has high rates of diabetes and other weight-related illnesses, said spokesman Joe Burnieika. "We can't afford to feed people's bad habits if we can give them a healthy alternative," he said.

In a statement, the American Beverage Association on Wednesday suggested that the coalition's effort was misguided. Citing sales data and some other research, the industry group said sales of full-calorie soft drinks have been declining, which they credited to soda makers offering more no-calorie and low-calorie options and improved calorie labeling on the front.

These initiatives "will contribute far more to solving complex health issues like obesity than (the coalition's) sound bite solution that offers plenty of hype but no substance," the statement said.



CDC report:

Vitamin D levels tied to colon cancer risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new analysis of earlier research finds that both higher vitamin D intake and higher blood levels of the vitamin's active form are linked to lower risk of colon and rectal cancers.

In 18 studies that included more than 10,000 people, colon cancer risk was as much as 33 percent lower in subjects with the highest blood levels of vitamin D compared to those with the lowest levels, researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Those with the highest intake of vitamin D through supplements and food had 12 percent lower risk than those with the lowest intakes.

The total of studies available for analysis is still sparse, noted senior author Dr. Huanlong Qin and his colleagues from The Sixth People's Hospital affiliated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. Additional studies would be "highly desirable to enable more precise estimates and a better understanding of the role of vitamin D in colorectal cancer carcinogenesis," they write.

Vitamin D has previously been linked to protection from various cancers, heart disease, diabetes and asthma, among other conditions. How the vitamin might exert a beneficial effect is still poorly understood, however. Some evidence suggests that to achieve a benefit people may need more than current recommended daily requirements.

Up to 58 percent of U.S. adults and adolescents may have vitamin D deficiency, which is "an important health problem in the industrial world," Qin's team said. While there are biologically plausible mechanisms through which low vitamin D levels could increase colon cancer risk, the researchers add, studies have had mixed results so far.

A recent review by the U.S. Institute of Medicine concluded there isn't enough information to justify increasing recommended intakes of vitamin D.

For their analysis, Qin's group looked only at the strongest studies that investigated the relationship between vitamin D intake or blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the active form in the body, and colorectal cancer, colon cancer or rectal cancer.

They identified nine studies of vitamin D intake including 6,466 patients, four of which were conducted in the US, three in Europe, and two in Asia. Nine more studies, including 2,767 cases and 3,948 people in comparison groups, looked at blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, with six conducted in the US, two in Europe and one in the US. One study included both vitamin D intake and blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Limitations of the analysis, the researchers note, included the lack of uniform criteria for comparison groups across the various studies; also, not all of the studies had information on vitamin D intake or its blood levels for individuals, only ranges for groups. The "lowest" and "highest" categories in different studies also varied significantly.

Hence, the researchers' conclusion that their findings need to be confirmed in large, gold-standard randomized clinical trials of vitamin D supplements.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, online August 29, 2011.

Jolie hasn't seen her movies

Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie says she often falls asleep while watching movies and has not seen all of her own films.

The 36-year-old actress, who raises six children with Brad Pitt, says she finds it difficult to stay awake and watch a movie, Contactmusic reported.

“Brad jokes with me, because I'll watch a movie and I'll be asleep in five minutes. I'm terrible. There's some of my own I've never seen,” said Jolie.

However, 'The Tourist' actress always finds the time to watch her partner's work and particularly enjoyed 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford'.

“Since I've been with him I've seen all the ones we've gone to the premieres for. I think I liked 'Jesse' because I knew how hard he worked on that. It's interesting: when you live with an artist, it's not the film but the process you respect. I know he took a risk on that, fought for it, stood true to what he believed. He didn't cave when people were pressing him, and he made a beautiful film,” said Jolie.

The actress also said that she and Pitt often read each others scripts before accepting it.

“We read each other's things. More now than when we were first together. We throw each other scripts and say, 'Is this good, or have I lost my mind?,” she added.


Kardashian's sex tape tagged for £18mn

Kim Kardashian's sex tape with her former love interest Ray J has been tagged for 18 million pounds.

The mystery buyer approached the owners with the offer, leaving Hollywood sources claiming the bidder could be the reality TV babe herself.

The interest in the 39-minute flick has gone up after the 30-year-old socialite’s wedding, with two million fans paying up to 30 pounds to see the video online in August alone.

The ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star is seen in a steamy hotel romp with Ray J in the video.

Vivid Entertainment, the tape’s rights owner has revealed that lawyers acting for a buyer had approached them.

“I have no idea who is behind this offer but if it’s Kim, I have a tremendous amount of respect for her,” the Daily Star quoted Steve Hirsch, Vivid boss as saying.

“She has my number and can call me any time,” Hirsch stated.

Kardashian had sued Vivid Entertainment four years back after the tape was made public, with the legal battle ending earlier this year when she got a 3 million pounds pay-off and a share of the profits.


Madonna says she identifies with Wallis Simpson

VENICE, Italy (AP) — There may be few people better suited than Madonna to tell the story of the two-time American divorcee for whom Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated his throne.

The star herself acknowledges the parallels with Wallis Simpson, the central figure in her sophomore directorial effort, "W.E.," which made its world premiere out of competition at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.

She ticked off their common traits: Americans married to Brits. A shared love of fabulous clothes. A sense of adventure. Tenacity, resourcefulness and resilience. But on a deeper level, Madonna can relate to the limitations imposed by enormous fame — or, in the case of Simpson, notoriety.

"I think once you become famous, you have to pretty much relinquish the idea that people are going to see you for who you are, or look beyond the surface of things," Madonna told a small group of reporters. "I think that was a source of great frustration for Wallis Simpson and for Edward VIII, because after he abdicated, they didn't really have the opportunity to defend themselves.

"So hopefully, I have been able to do that for Wallis Simpson through my film."

Madonna spent several years researching before sitting down to write the film with Alek Keshishian, the director of her "Truth or Dare" documentary. What emerges is a sympathetic portrait of the oft-maligned Simpson that attempts to show what the American divorcee — and not just the king — sacrificed to marry in 1937.

"I think she felt an existential loneliness," Madonna said.

"W.E." — short for Wallis and Edward, who are portrayed by Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy — tells Simpson's story through the eyes of a modern-day namesake who seeks solace from her unhappy marriage in the details of what in its day was considered the romance of the century.

Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) becomes obsessed with a Sotheby's auction of personal items that once belonged to Wallis and Edward, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The everyday objects — an engraved cigarette case, a martini shaker — become a sort of portal between the 1930s and 1998, the year of the real-life auction. In a testament to their enduring fascination, the sale totaled $23.4 million, three times Sotheby's original estimate.

The movie covers the same historical period as last year's Oscar-winning "The King's Speech," which focused on Edward's brother Bertie, who strived to overcome a speech impediment as he was elevated to the throne in the wake of his brother's abdication.

"I view the success off that film as laying the ground work for my film," Madonna said. "There's a little bit of history, and a little bit of knowledge. We are not starting from a blank slate."

Much of Simpson's inner life in the film is revealed by the Duchess's correspondence with the Duke and other confidantes.

In the film, Wallace confides in a letter to her aunt, "You have no idea how hard it is to live out the great romance of the century, and to know I will have to be with him, always and always and always and always."

Madonna read numerous books and viewed footage in her research and adamantly rejects contentions that Simpson was a Nazi or Nazi sympathizer, a point she seeks to rebut in the film.

"In fact, I believed she was a Nazi too, when I started my investigation. But after years of research, I could find no empirical evidence proving she was a Nazi or Nazi sympathizer," Madonna said.

While she and her husband did have lunch with Hitler, and Simpson met with Hitler's foreign minister, Madonna said they were far from the only ones in that era to do so.

"There was nothing unusual about them having a meeting at that time," Madonna said. "I believe people wanted to undermined their popularity once they abdicated."

The film is rich in sometimes dizzying visual detail, with a sumptuous wardrobe created by Arianne Phillips from photographs of the Duke and Duchess together and studies of fashion archives and museums. The jeweler Cartier also recreated copies of pieces that the Duke had commissioned for the Duchess, apparently an attempt to make up for the royal jewels that would never be hers.

Madonna said she wanted to indulge in the luxury as a counterpoint to the poverty of the inner lives of the two protagonists: "To make the point that no matter how beautiful and glamorous your surroundings, there is no guarantee for happiness."

For the film's press debut, Madonna wore a replica of a bracelet of Latin crosses made for Simpson by Cartier, with the birthstones of her four children, and a prim dark dress with a high white collar and white trim along the sleeves that she said would have appealed to Simpson.

Madonna said she received support for the project from both her two director ex-husbands, Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie. But she also acknowledged that that during her nearly 10-year marriage to Ritchie, she was intimidated from directing.

"I didn't think I had the right to make a film until I paid my dues, which I did by making "Filth and Wisdom" in 2008, she said.

Madonna, the enduring pop icon who has been a dancer, singer, actress and now director, says all of her experience is coming together in "W.E."

"I see myself as a storyteller. Film has always informed the other areas of my work. I don't think that being a filmmaker is such a big leap," she said. "I think all of my work before actually prepared me for the responsibility of filmmaking."

Her actors brimmed with praise for her directorial skills.

"I never experienced a director more prepared, more inexhaustible, more excited about the subject material," D'Arcy said. "There is no question — because it is Madonna — it comes with an element of fear, which she dismisses instantly because there is work to be done."

HP resurrects TouchPad tablet to pacify rabid customers

(WIRED) -- And on the 61st day, the TouchPad rose again.

HP has plans to produce another round of its TouchPad tablets before the year is out, despite its earlier decision to discontinue its mobile hardware products.

"Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand," HP spokesman Mark Budgell wrote in a company blog post. "As we know more about how, when and where TouchPads will be available, we will communicate that here and through e-mail to those who requested notification."

Budgell says it will be a few weeks before devices from the additional run will be available for purchase.

The blog post signals further confusion from a company in upheaval. Two weeks ago, HP announced suddenly it would end production on all of its mobile hardware, including the soon-to-be-released Pre 3 and Veer smartphones.

The decision also included the company's iPad competitor, the TouchPad, killed off a mere 49 days after its debut in July. Circulating rumors suggested third-party retailers were sitting on hundreds of thousands of unsold units.

HP followed its announcement by slashing prices on remaining TouchPad inventory, reducing the price of the 16-gigabyte TouchPad to $100, and the 32-gig version to $150.

Since the blowout sale prices, however, the company hasn't been able to keep any TouchPads in stock. Retailers have been bombarded by customer requests for the cheapened devices, and dozens of retailers have reported completely selling out.

Which is most likely the reason behind HP's decision to once again beef up its inventory for a last TouchPad blast.

"Tablet computing is a segment of the market that's relevant, absolutely," HP personal systems group exec Todd Bradley told Reuters in an interview. The company continues to explore licensing options for, webOS -- its proprietary operating system -- according to Bradley.

There's no guarantee, however, that HP will continue to sell the last round of tablets at a $100 rate. Hardware teardown website iSupply speculates that, in terms of components alone, a 16-GB TouchPad costs HP approximately $300 to build. That's a $200 bath HP is taking on each individual unit sold, not including the cost of labor, shipping and associated expenses.

HP did not immediately respond to a phone request for comment.

While the resurgence in TouchPad interest may be a promising sign for HP, the company's flip-flopping decision process isn't serving its public image.

"The only thing I know for sure that's going on at HP is that they have completely lost control of their message," Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said by e-mail to Epps continued, saying HP was "sabotaging their brand with the mixed messages."

As of today, the TouchPad is now the No. 2 best-selling tablet after the iPad, according to FastCompany. Ironically, that's the exact position HP was vying for.

Unfortunately for the company, it took bargain-bin pricing and the threat of extinction to get there.

Why smartphones still haven't taken over the U.S. market

Editor's note: Amy Gahran writes about mobile tech for She is a San Francisco Bay Area writer and media consultant whose blog,, explores how people communicate in the online age.

(CNN) -- Smartphones may attract nearly all of the marketing hype and news coverage, but comScore's latest statistics show that smartphones still comprise only a minority of the U.S. mobile market -- about 35%, as of July 2011.

The other 65% of U.S. mobile handsets in use are "feature phones" -- which tend to be much less expensive to buy and own. Often, these phones do not require a pricey two-year wireless service contract with hefty early termination fees.

Even though smartphones cost much more, these devices have been getting popular with U.S. consumers, even in light of the country's economic recession. After all, a 35% market share is nothing to sneeze at -- especially considering that smartphones have only been widely available in the U.S. for about five years.

At some point, a majority of U.S. mobile users will indeed own smartphones. But that shift won't happen as quickly as early forecasts anticipated.

Back in March 2010, the Nielsen Company proclaimed that smartphones would overtake feature phones by 2011. Specifically, they predicted that by the end of Q3 2011 (about a month from now), most U.S. mobile users would own smartphones.

That ambitious prediction doesn't seem to be panning out.

For over a year, comScore has been publishing monthly mobile-market-share statistics that show the percentage of U.S. smartphones. I've been tracking these figures. Based on this data, it looks like it'll be roughly October 2012 before smartphones actually take over as a majority of U.S. handsets.

That's about a year later than Nielsen's forecast.

Even then, there will still be plenty of feature phones in the U.S. market for quite a while. They're definitely not vanishing any time soon.

What might speed up or slow down the proliferation of smartphones in the U.S.?

It's mostly a cost-benefit tradeoff. Decisions about which mobile phone to purchase are driven by functionality (what people want to do with their phones), access (the quality, speed, and geographic availability of local wireless networks), cost (both up-front and monthly bills), and flexibility (the ability to switch carriers, plans, or to cancel at will).

Right now smartphones win in terms of functionality because people can use apps to do almost anything a much bulkier computer would let them do. Still, many consumers prefer simpler phones, and view the mobile app frenzy as a confusing and unnecessary excess. This market segment (and it's not just determined by age, education, or income) will probably keep using feature phones the longest.

Access divides on urban and rural lines. Once you get outside of major metro areas, wireless coverage gets spottier. Also, carriers are very slow to roll out faster "4G" networks in less-populated rural areas. Using a smartphone on a slow or spotty data network can be pretty painful, and might not seem worth the extra cost.

In terms of overall cost and flexibility, feature phones are the clear winners -- which is probably why they remain so popular. It's easy to get a pretty good, no-contract feature phone for $50 or less (or even for free), and then get a month-to-month or pre-paid plan that allows Web browsing, e-mail, and other data access. That costs around $50 per month.

Generally users can cancel these phones at any time, with no early termination fee.

In contrast, smartphones typically cost $100 or more (sometimes much more) at a subsidized price on a two-year contract from a wireless service provider. Monthly bills typically start at $80-90, and if you want to cancel early you'll still owe the carrier up to a few hundred dollars for an early termination fee.

If the overall U.S. economy improves significantly -- and especially if lots more full-time jobs get created soon -- it's likely that smartphones would take over sooner. But if the recovery continues at its current pace or slows, feature phones could remain the majority into 2013 or beyond.

It's also possible that manufacturing advances could bring the cost of smartphones down. Or the major U.S. carriers might decide to offer more smartphones on more flexible and consumer-friendly terms. Personally, I'm not holding my breath for either of these outcomes.

The good news is that, for people who stick with feature phones, those devices aren't as limited as they used to be. One of the biggest areas of improvement in the U.S. feature phone market is the Web browser. Most feature phones come with some kind of Web browser, and users can opt to pay a little extra for a data plan that allows them to access the mobile Internet.

It used to be the case that feature phones came packaged with horrible, frustrating and slow browsers that displayed most Web pages poorly or not at all.

But now it's fairly easy for most U.S. consumers to find feature phones that include a much better pre-installed Web browser such as Opera Mini or Bolt. These display most Web pages pretty well and are easy to use, offering a vastly superior mobile browsing experience.

According to Per Wetterdal, Opera's U.S. regional manager, American consumers can currently purchase Opera Mini-equipped feature phones that don't require a two-year contract from AT&T and Virgin Mobile (a brand from Sprint) -- and by this holiday season also from Verizon. (The stock AT&T mobile browser is actually a branded version of Opera Mini.)

Discount carriers such as MetroPCS and third-party retailers such as Wal-Mart generally don't yet offer feature phones pre-installed with better proxy browsers. But any feature phone owners usually can download a better browser for free. The possible drawback is that once installed, it may take some extra clicks to launch.

Opera Mini and Bolt offer additional benefits that may appeal to smartphone owners, too. These browsers, and others like them, are "proxy browsers" which compress data significantly before transmitting it to the phone. This means they load Web pages faster, and they help control mobile data consumption.

So if you're on a tiered data plan, even if you own a smartphone it might be a good idea to install a proxy browser. Using it can help you avoid hitting your data cap, getting charged for overages, or even getting throttled. This will probably work well enough for most of your Web browsing, and you can switch to a fully-featured non-proxy browser for sites that warrant it.

Some proxy browsers are specifically designed for smartphones. Opera Mini offers versions for all smartphone platforms, Bolt has BlackBerry versions, and Skyfire offers Android and iOS versions that also play Flash video (something still not fully supported by Apple's Mobile Safari browser).

But if you want to stick with a feature phone for a while, don't worry too. You'll probably still get a good-enough mobile online experience if your phone has a decent mobile browser.

The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of Amy Gahran.

Robots aren't good at talking to themselves

(CNN) -- Have you ever looked at your smartphone or laptop -- or even a robot, if you're lucky enough to come in contact with one -- and wondered, "What the heck are you thinking?"

Well, if so, here's your answer.

Cornell's Creative Machines Lab posted a video this week of a computer's inner monologue, and it's making the rounds on the Internet not because the machine is having profound thoughts about world domination or the future of technology -- but because the discussion it has with itself is totally ridiculous.

Researchers used the "Cleverbot" for this test case, which is regarded as one of researchers' best attempts to mimic human conversation patterns with computer intelligence. Cleverbot actually "learns" from the conversations it has as it has them, which is fairly impressive, as this episode of WNYC's "Radiolab" podcast discusses at great length.

(Side note: You can have a text conversation with this piece of computer software at, and the results are sometimes frighteningly spot-on and sometimes hilarious).

But turn the computer on itself and things go totally awry. The researchers set up two screens, one with a computer-graphics picture of a woman, and one with a man. They talk to each other, but they're both controlled by the same program. Here's a snippet of the dialogue, which is posted in full on YouTube:

Man: "I am not a robot. I am a unicorn."

Woman: "But you said earlier that you were a robot."

Man: "I did not."

Woman: "I thought you did."

Man: "You were mistaken, which is odd, since memory shouldn't be a problem for you."

I guess that last bit is a nod to the fact that these computers come packed with lots of hardware memory.

That little argument about unicorns and memory could leave you with the impression that a robot's inner monologue is pretty bizarre and vapid. But the computers do talk with themselves about some lofty topics, too, including religion. Here's another piece of the conversation:

Woman: "What is god to you?"

Man: "Not everything."

Woman: "Not everything could also be something. For example, not everything could be half of something, which is still something and therefore not nothing."

Man: "Very true."

The computers seem almost proud of themselves in that moment.

And, as this final bit of dialogue shows, they do think about the future. Or at least it seems like they do:

Woman: "Don't you want to have a body?"

Man: "Sure."

Woman: "Au revoir."

And that was that.

Lots of researchers around the world are trying to make computer software that can hold a reasonable conversation with humans. There's even a competition to see who can do this the best. As the publication IEEE Spectrum noted on Monday, the next Loebner Prize Competition in Artificial Intelligence will be held on October 19.

Most of the results have been fairly disappointing, however.

All the researchers are essentially trying to pass what's been called the "Turing test," named for tech guru Alan Turing, who was interested in whether or not machines would ever be able to "think."

The test, which he outlined in 1950, basically has humans hold conversations with another person and with a computer. If they can't distinguish between the two, the computer is said to have passed the Turing test.

Computer scientists like to argue about whether a machine has ever passed this test. One, a computerized therapist named ELIZA, supposedly did fool some humans into thinking it was a living being in the 1960s.

But as this week's Cleverbot video showed, if you let a computer program talk to itself, there's probably not a human alive who would buy it.

Share Your Articles

Expert Authors Sharing Their Best Articles Submit your high-quality, original articles for more exposure, credibility and traffic back to your website.