Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Entries may be submitted on the Catalogs.com website starting on Tuesday, September 1 and ending on Wednesday, September 30.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
A dog can catch a chicken but it can't catch chicken pox. A cat can swat incessantly at a dangling be-feathered teaser but it won't develop carpel tunnel syndrome. And humans almost never come down with a raging case of mange. Still, there are many afflictions which people and pets endure in common. Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (VPI) recently reviewed its 2008 claims data and compiled the following list of the top ten medical conditions common to people and pets.
1. Allergies - In 2008, VPI received 63,761 claims for skin allergies. Allergic reactions in pets can result from flea bite saliva, the pollen of nearby plants or foods that pets eat. Treatment for pets is relatively the same as it is for people: control the pet's exposure to allergens (in the environment or to certain foods), administration of antihistamines, and, in severe cases, administration of anti-inflammatory medications.
2. Bladder infection - 23,915 claims received. The symptoms of a bladder infection, or bacterial cystitis, can be difficult to recognize in pets. Don't assume all "accidents" in the house or a pet's frequent urination pattern is simply a behavioral issue. There could be medical basis to a pet's change in urinary habits. It is important to never ignore a pet that appears to be experiencing painful or difficult urination.
3. Arthritis - 19,537 claims received. The aging process occurs more rapidly in pets and has many of the same effects on pets as it does on humans. Arthritis, or degenerative joint disease, most often results from a lifetime of wear and can cause pain or decreased joint movement. Pets suffering from arthritis may need anti-inflammatory medications and/or pet specific pain relievers for their arthritis. (Note: never give a pet a human drug or pain reliever, since these can be toxic to pets.)
4. Diabetes - 8,590 claims received. As with humans, diabetes requires daily management of the disease and a combination of treatment involving weight control, specially timed meals, insulin injections and/or oral medications.
5. Skin Cancer - 2,114 claims received. It would be easy to think that with hair usually covering the majority of their bodies, pets don't have to worry about skin cancer. Unfortunately, the three most common skin cancers in humans also occur in pets. Areas of skin that are white or pink on a pet's coat are particularly susceptible to sunburn which, with long-term exposure, can lead to skin cancer. As such, it is important to monitor the skin of pets with white ear tips and pink noses.
6. Gum Disease - 1,748 claims received. Pets have a disadvantage compared to people in the dental category. Food particles tend to gather in the corners of their mouth after a meal, so tooth brushing and regular checkups are necessary. Without tooth brushing the pet is susceptible to the potentially harmful effects of excessive plaque buildup on the tooth's surface. The plaque harbors bacteria, which easily invade the adjacent gum lining, leading to gum recession and gum disease.
7. Acne - 705 claims received. Acne in dogs and cats affects the chin and lips. While dogs often outgrow the condition, cats are more likely to suffer lifelong breakouts. Most pets are not bothered by the condition, but in severe cases, the affected areas may become painful or itchy. Topical medications may be prescribed by a veterinarian to relieve the pet's discomfort.
8. Stomach Ulcers - 584 claims received. Ulcers in pets can be caused by drugs, cancer, kidney or liver disease, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease or chronic stomach inflammation. Pets with stomach ulcers may vomit or display abdominal discomfort.
9. Cataracts - 495 claims received. A cataract is a change in the transparency of lens in the eye. An opaque lens blocks light from reaching the retina and may cause a partial or complete loss of vision. Cataracts in pets may be caused by diabetes, malnutrition, radiation, inflammation, or trauma. Like humans, surgery may be required to remove the affected lens or lenses.
10. Laryngitis - 382 claims received. Dogs and cats can bark or meow for hours upon hours, but every so often, one will lose his voice. The cause may be an upper respiratory tract infection, irritation due to an inhalant, or just excessive vocalization. An inflamed larynx will cause vocal difficulty. Fortunately, it is rarely serious.
Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Image Library
Monday, August 17, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
In 1869 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed the first legislation in the United States allowing the use of public funds for transporting children to and from school. Over the next half century, the other 48 states followed suit.
In its earliest days, long before bright yellow paint and flashing red lights, the school bus took the form of a long, wood-framed wagon, pulled by horses or mules, with wide planks running the length of the sides, to serve as benches. Children boarded and exited the wagons at the rear to avoid frightening the animals.
In the anthology Good Old Days Remembers the Little Country School House, Emma B. Lee recalls chilly Indiana mornings, riding to school with classmates, in a wagon drawn by two horses. "The only heat we had came from one of those little round kerosene heaters that was anchored behind the driver's seat. That didn't make much heat for a wagon big enough to haul 18 to 20 kids."
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Making the Most of Your Next Appointment
You wait weeks for an appointment, rearrange your schedule to arrive on time, sit in the waiting room for at least half an hour and then, finally, you are face to face with your doctor. This is your chance to get your needs met. And you only have about 15 minutes to do it. How can you make the most out of your limited time?
The most satisfying doctor visits begin long before you enter the examination room. As the patient, it is your job to come prepared. Here are some strategies for optimizing your next visit to the doctor.
better or worse." Before your appointment, summarize your findings into a few sentences and bring them with you. "The anxiety inherent in seeing the doctor as well as the time crunch makes forgetting what we meant to say way too easy to do."
But shouldn't your doctor already know what medication you're taking? Yes, in an ideal world where information was shared instantly among all of your health care providers and where every patient followed doctor's orders exactly. "What really matters is what pill bottles are in the home and exactly what
medications at what doses the patient is actually taking and swallowing as of today. Only the patient knows that," says Carla Mills A.R.N.P., author of A Nurse Practitioner's Guide to Smart Health Choices . "A patient carrying a copy of their current med list carries the ultimate check and balance."
Decide what you want to achieve from the visit. "Have your top three concerns written down," says holistic chiropractor Dr. Tom Hyland Robertson. "Let your doctor know that you have three concerns - or two or only one - at the beginning of the visit. This will help to streamline [the doctor's] thought processes."
Speak the Language
As your doctor talks to you, ask for definitions or clarifications of any words or instructions you don't understand. Take notes or have someone come with you to take notes while the doctor gives instructions. Paraphrase the information back to your healthcare provider so he or she can determine whether the message is clear. If you're still unsure about something, request additional information.
The bottom line is, a passive patient, who sits back and lets the doctor call the shots, is more likely to leave the office unsatisfied, with lingering questions and festering symptoms. A pro-active patient, who takes initiative, sets goals and expresses opinions and concerns is destined to have a more effective healthcare experience.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Are you an artist who loves trees - doodling dogwoods, painting maples, etching elms? Would you like to win a year's supply of paper products? If so, you have until June 30 to send your original, arboreal artwork to the "Save the Trees Paper Towel Design Contest," sponsored by Marcal to promote its new Small Steps line.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
- Hurricanes and tornadoes are the natural disasters that most worry half of the 500 children polled.
- Clean drinking water was a big concern. Nearly a quarter of all children polled are afraid that there is not enough for everyone on the planet.
- Penguins, polar bears and other species becoming extinct, is the biggest environmental fear for another 28%.
This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted by CARAVAN Opinion Research Corporation, using a national sample of 500 children (half boys, half girls) ages 6-11, living in private households in the Continental United States. The poll was completed during the period of April 3-7, 2009.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Before heading to the altar or the Justice of the Peace, surf over to the Marriage Calculator to decide if you and your beloved are in danger of ending up divorced. Already married? Check your chances of staying that way for the next five years. The Marriage Calculator uses information from the U.S. Census Bureau to figure the odds of living happily ever after with your spouse.
Matrimonial track records suggest that factors such as level of education and age at time of marriage are strong indicators of longevity. Income isn't one of the specific factors on the Marriage Calculator but level of education is often related to income level.
"The past is being used to determine the future with this calculator," says G. Cotter Cunningham, CEO of divorce360.com. "Here's a tool for everyone who is thinking of getting married right now."
What do you think? Would you let the Marriage Calculator influence your choice of spouse?
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Perhaps a larger police department could have found a clerical position for the olfactorally-deprived officer. But apparently, in Collier Township, there are no paper pushers. All police officers work the streets and all are first responders. Therefore, all must be able to pass the smell test.
According to Pennsylvania State Police Major, John Gallaher, executive director of the state municipal officers' training commission, there are standards for an officer's vision, hearing and cardiovascular health, but not for smell.
Do you use your nose at work? Would losing your sense of smell lead to losing your job?
Friday, March 27, 2009
Take American Idol, add a little Iron Chef and serve between two slices of bread. The Best in Class Sandwich Challenge is on! From now until May 4, kids aged 6 to 18 are invited to submit their original grilled, pressed, toasted or cold sandwich recipes to the makers of Arnold Bread. And it's not just a lot of bologna, winners will receive one of four grand prizes of $1500, plus an additional $5000 for their school.
The company's first kid-centered recipe contest was inspired by their new line of Arnold Soft 100% Natural Breads made with whole grains and without high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives.
Contestants will be divided into the following age groups.
- 6-8 years of age
- 9-12 years of age
- 13-15 years of age
- 16-18 years of age
Twelve finalists - three from each age group - will be selected by a panel of judges. Recipes will be judged on:
- (#1) Originality And Creativity - 50% - Uniqueness and creativity of recipe.
- (#2) Healthfulness - 25% - Includes ingredients that are healthy and nutritious.
Perceived Ease of Preparation - 25% - Your Entry must be easy for users
to prepare and include ingredients that are available everyday.
Then, once the judges have selected the most original, healthful, delectable dozen, it's your turn. Starting May 24th, the twelve finalist recipes will be posted online and the public will have a month to vote for their favorite.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Have you heard? March is International Listening Awareness Month. Defined by the International Listening Association as "the process of receiving, constructing meaning from and responding to spoken and/or non-verbal messages," listening is at the root of all communication.
If you're not lucky enough to have a first-rate listener on hand next time you feel like venting, there is a new service that can help. Consider confiding in one of the non-judgemental, polite and professional listeners at We Just Listen? For just a dollar a minute, any time of day or night, you can count on a supportive, receptive ear on the other end of the line. We Just Listen is completely anonymous. Even your listener won't know who you are.
"I've found that needing to talk and not being able to has been a major source of frustration in my life." says Robert Connerley, company founder. "We Just Listen offers something that can't always be attained from a friend or a loved one -- the opportunity to speak frankly and openly to
an unbiased empathetic listener."
Monday, March 16, 2009
A commitment to weight loss should go hand in hand with an increase in sleep, according to Michael Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. "Sleep loss is associated with striking alterations in hormone levels that regulate the appetite and may be a contributing factor to obesity." said Thorpy.
Specifically, sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. As a result, individuals who lose sleep may continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake. Additionally, lack of sleep may interfere with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates and cause high blood levels of glucose. Excess glucose promotes the overproduction of insulin, which can promote the storage of body fat.
But, it's not just getting sleep that's important; it's the kind of sleep you're getting. For example, decreased amounts of restorative deep or slow-wave sleep ( non-REM sleep) have been associated with significantly reduced levels of growth hormone 1 --a protein that helps regulate the body's proportions of fat and muscle during adulthood.
"Sleep loss disrupts a complex and interwoven series of metabolic and hormonal processes and may be a contributing factor to obesity," said John Winkelman, MD, PhD, medical director of the Sleep Health Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "What most people do not realize is that better sleep habits may a be instrumental to the success of any weight management plan."
Unfortunately, many of us are not taking advantage of this snuggly weight-regulation technique. According to the National Sleep Foundation, in the past eight years, the number of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night jumped from 13% to 20%, and those who reportedsleeping eight hours or more dropped from 38% to 28%. Two out of every ten Americans sleep less than six hours a night. People sleeping too few hours report being too tired to work efficiently, to exercise or to eat healthy.
If you have trouble sleeping for more than a few weeks, or if sleep problems interfere with daily functioning, speak with your doctor.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Image by Bubamara. Available at Wikimedia Commons.
From the small stuff - like wearing weird clothes - to the serious - such as suicidal behavior - When Things Get Crazy with Your Teen offers exasperated parents of teenagers an immediate and practical course of action. Subtitled "The Why, the How and What to Do NOW," Michael Bradley's latest tome on taming teens is chock full of bullet lists and bite-sized advice. Set up like a reference book, it's not so much a book to read cover to cover as it is one to consult when the inevitable need arises. For instance, your 15 year old daughter insists she absolutely has to have her nose pierced. Quick! What do you say? What do you do? Pick up this book and scan the alphabetized sub-headings under Body/Appearance Issues until you find "Piercing, Wants A." Turn to the appropriate page and start following the DO list.
- Set a minimum age requirement before she "has" to have them (if it's not too late).
- Stay calm (now that it's too late).
- Ask if she has researched the health risks.
- Require a consultation with a physician
- Have the doc list the piercing areas be relative risk
- Insist on the least risky area.
- Trade off piercing for increased responsibilities (grades, chores).
- Negotiate the minimum interval before any other piercing can be considered (if any).
- Flip out and yell "NO!"
- Say OK right away.
- Accuse her of "following a fad." (Of course she is - so what?)
- Assume that all piercings have equal risks.
- Allow an additional piercing within a short time (six months).
- Assume that a pierced nose indicates pierced character.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Being of sound mind and body, author Norah Vincent feigned depression, checked herself in to the psychiatric ward of a large, public, city hospital and started taking notes with a blunt-tipped Crayola marker. (Her ballpoint pen had been confiscated during admission - too pointy.) The result is Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin. Throughout the course of Voluntary Madness, Vincent samples three mental health facilities from the inside - the public hospital, a private, suburban clinic and an alternative treatment center which touts exercise and intensive talk therapy over medication. The author shares her blunt observations along with her strong opinions on the pharmacuetical industry and its cozy relationship with psychiatry.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
During the Great Plague of London (1664-65), cats and dogs fell under suspicion of spreading the disease that was claiming the lives of over a thousand Londoners a week. In his Journal of the Plague Years, author Daniel Defoe wrote of the widely-held belief that because dogs and cats were "domestic animals and are apt to run from house to house, and from street to street, so they are capable of carrying the effluvia or infectious steams of bodies ... even in their furs and hair." Hoping to end the spread of this fatal "effluvia," the lord mayor issued an order to kill all cats and dogs in the city. A special executioner was appointed to the gruesome task. An estimated 40,000 dogs and 200,000 cats lost their lives in a useless effort to contain the Plague. Not only did the disease rage on, but the natural predators of the true Plague carriers - flea-infested rats - had been eliminated.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
January is National Hot Tea Month. In honor of this, here are some examples of the time-honored tradition of tea poisoning. A 40 year old Missouri woman was arrested this week for allegedly trying to poison her husband by adding Visine to his tea. She is being held on $100,000 bail. In July 2008, a Saudi court sentenced two Asian housemaids to four months in prison and 250 lashes each for contaminating the tea of their employer with urine and menstrual blood. In 2006, former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, died after radioactive polonium-210 was added to his tea at a London hotel In 1997, a 50 year old UK man denied that his dropping rat poison pellets into his wife's tea was an attempt to harm her. On the contrary, he said, they were experimenting with the blood-thinning properties of the toxic pellets in an effort to relieve his wife's leg pains. "It has great medicinal properties," he told a jury. "Like nearly everything, it is the dose that counts." During World War II, British agents planned to assassinate Hitler by poisoning his tea. Although the poison of choice was known to make tea appear suspiciously cloudy, agents were optimistic that the dictator would not detect it since he always took his tea with milk. "Since the milk is poured first into the cup," a report noted, "it is unlikely that its opalescence would be noticed as it came from the teapot." In the end, the plot was abandoned. In 1867, a seventeen year old Boston girl, Alice Christiana Abbott, was tried for poisoning her step-father's tea. Described by the New York Times, rather ironically, as having "a demeanor that would have been appropriate at a tea party," the young girl denied the charge and stated that her mother's husband had had "improper connection" with her from the time she was 13 years old. When she threatened her step-father with exposure, she says, he committed suicide by poisoning himself. The jury promptly committed Miss Abbott to the Taunton Lunatic Asylum.
Image by Vivek Chugh, provided courtesy of stock.xchng.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Could Bubble Wrap end world hunger? It can help, according to 12 year old Kellan Horner of Lenexa Kansas, a semi-finalist in this year's Bubble Wrap Competition for Young Inventors. He is hoping that his Bubble-Wrap-encased hydroponic green house, which enables plants to grow without soil, will not only help the hungry but also earn him the contest's grand prize of $10,000. Not to burst his bubble or anything, but competition is stiff. There's the Bubble Wrap Emergency Shelter designed by 10 year old Andrew Teesdale of Sherwood Oregon. This lightweight tent is meant to provide temporary shelter for disaster victims. (FEMA take notice.) Then there's the amazing Pop-Up Solar Cooker Book, invented by 11 year old Jared Mann of Christiansburg Virginia. The portable, solar-powered appliance can be used as a grill or an oven, depending on which page the "book" is turned to.
In all, 2200 students in grades 5 through 8 submitted original inventions. Of these, 15 - including Kellan, Andrew and Jared - were selected as semi-finalists. Three finalists will be announced some time in early January and will be flown to New York City, with a family member, for a three-day trip, where the grand prize winner will be announced on - when else - Bubble Wrap(R) Appreciation Day (January 26, 2009 for those who don't know). The grand prize winner of the competition will receive a $10,000 U.S. savings bond, while the second and third place winners will receive $5,000 and $3,000 U.S. savings bonds, respectively. The teacher/mentor of each finalist will receive a $500 gift card. awarded by the Sealed Air Corporation, the mother company of Bubble Wrap.
Check out all of the semi-finalists and their inventions here.
Good luck everyone!