Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Hoarding gaining attention and new approaches, from Harvard Women’s Health Watch PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Raquel Schott   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 08:59

BOSTON—The problem of hoarding used to be largely out of sight. Compulsive hoarders typically avoid visitors and rarely seek help. But television shows such as Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive have increased public awareness by presenting vivid pictures of hoarding to millions of viewers. Mental health professionals are also taking a fresh look at the problem, reports the November 2011 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

Compulsive hoarders acquire and accumulate objects in such large and disorderly quantities that their living space becomes dangerous or impossible to use for normal activities. Stockpiling paper is especially common. Vast stacks of old newspapers, magazines, books, mail, and lists pile up, leaving no space to sleep or eat. Worse, the piles may catch fire or topple over, causing injury or death.

Hoarding was once considered a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but mental health professionals now believe it’s its own disorder and have come up with new criteria for diagnosing it.

Most hoarders need professional treatment, says Harvard Women’s Health Watch, but there are several things concerned relatives and friends can do to help, including the following:

Listen. Let the hoarder tell her story. Respect her perspective and her attachment to her possessions. Don’t tease or criticize.

Go slow. There’s no need to rush changes unless the hoarder’s living situation is unsafe or she needs to move to smaller quarters or a nursing facility.

Engage. Involve the hoarder in decisions about where to put things and what to throw out.

Provide structure and support. During the decluttering process, keep her company and help her stay focused on one area at a time.

Lift and tote. An elderly hoarder may need family, friends, or professional cleaners or movers to help with handling the clutter.

Work with others. Many communities have hoarding task forces that address psychiatric, legal, geriatric, and housing concerns. Check with your local Council on Aging.

Read the full-length article here: “When keeping stuff gets out of hand”

Also in this issue:

  • What screening tests do you need after age 75?
  • Even a little exercise helps a woman’s heart
  • Sleep apnea and dementia in older women
  • Cholesterol-lowering foods versus low-saturated-fat diet
  • Reclast and Prolia for osteoporosis

Harvard Women’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications (www.health.harvard.edu), the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $28 per year. Subscribe at www.health.harvard.edu/womens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

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Davenport School of Yoga expands to Bettendorf PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Anne Gallagher   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 11:34

DAVENPORT SCHOOL OF YOGA EXPANDS TO SECOND LOCATION

New Bettendorf Yoga Studio Opens Nov. 7

Davenport School of Yoga opens a second yoga studio Nov. 7 at 3420 Towne Point Drive, Bettendorf. To celebrate, a new curriculum has been developed to include special classes for parents and children to take together, as well as seniors seeking to maintain an active lifestyle.

“A number of our current students come from Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley and Leclaire. We believe this is the right time to expand to serve these students,” says Davenport School of Yoga founder Jeani Mackenzie.

“Our focus is on creating health improvements for each individual, no matter what their skill level. The school is based in traditional western Hatha yoga, which takes the body through its full, natural range of motion in a series of simple movements. No matter what your starting point, the result of yoga is improved strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and concentration.”

A complete course and fee schedule is available by visiting www.davenportschoolofyoga.com . An open house for the Bettendorf studio will be held Nov.12. All morning classes will be free to guests. Instructors will be providing free demonstrations from 11 to 2 p.m. Walk-in guests are welcome.

Mackenzie has been teaching yoga for more than 32 years. Her original studio is located at 421 Brady Street, Davenport.

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Participate in the National PTA’s Healthy Lifestyles Month with TOPS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Kimberly Greene   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:11

MILWAUKEE, WI – With the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity and other health problems, it’s important that parents encourage and teach kids about nutritious food options and physical activity.  The National PTA’s (Parent Teacher Association) Healthy Lifestyles Month this November is an opportunity to use creative events and activities to show that living healthfully can be fun.  TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, provides advice to promote wellness at home and get involved with the PTA Healthy Lifestyles initiative.


The facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes of physical activity each day.  Today, there are more video games, less homemade meals, and a reduction of physical education and sports programs at school – trends that have contributed to a growing problem of decreased physical activity among children.  One in three children and adolescents are overweight or obese, and according to the American Diabetes Association, one in every 400 children has diabetes.

Although there has been an increase in childhood obesity, there has also been a rise in initiatives to temper this trend.  Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, a program that TOPS supports, is one such plan that ties into the goals and message of Healthy Lifestyles Month.


It starts at home

It’s important to develop healthy habits at home, so children can go to school, friends’ houses, and other places, ready to make sensible, healthy choices.

1. Physical activity – Get moving as a family and demonstrate to kids the necessity of exercise, which can also boost self-esteem and confidence and reduce stress.

• Take a group walk or bike ride around the neighborhood after dinner.
• Find free or low-cost physical activity areas in your community, such as a playground, bike trail, tennis court, or park.
• Take on active chores as a family, like raking leaves or shoveling snow.
• Use pedometers and have a contest to see who takes the most steps in a given week.
• Go to the gym as a family.  Many fitness centers offer discounted memberships.

2. Nutrition – While parents typically decide what their children eat, kids will often eat what is available to them.  Surround kids with healthy snacks and homemade meals to ensure that they’re making good choices.

• Serve fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables.  Consider more unique snack ideas like homemade smoothies, a fruit salad, or vegetables and hummus dip.
• Offer water, fat-free milk, or 100 percent fruit juice with no sugar added.
• Since nuts and trail mix are often high in calories, serve them in small portions along with another healthy snack.
• Don’t force kids to clean their plates if they are full.

3. Grocery shopping – Before going to the store, make a list of groceries your family needs.  Explain to the kids that you will only buy what’s on the list to avoid unhealthy options slipping into the cart.  When making your way through the store, focus on the perimeters.  These areas contain healthier options, such as produce and dairy.  Also, never shop with an empty stomach, so you aren’t vulnerable to buying extra foods.


Get involved at school

There are numerous ways to become engaged at your child’s school.  Joining your local PTA can help you and other parents impact what’s served at lunch, emphasize the importance of physical activity during the school day, and plan activities to promote health and wellness.  Here are some PTA program and activity ideas that will keep families moving and promote wellness:

• Create a document for parents about physical activity areas and resources within the community.
• Host a fundraiser for new fitness equipment.  Skip the candy bars and cookies and sell services, magazines, candles, cookbooks, or other alternatives to sweets.
• Plan a 5K run/walk or walk-a-thon event for the school district and encourage families to participate. 
• Hang up posters and other educational materials in the cafeteria to make students aware of the importance of a nutritious meal.
• Hold a seminar for parents with a health and wellness expert.
• Organize a healthy Family Fun Night with nutritious snacks, games in the gymnasium, such as basketball or kick ball, a dance, food trivia, and more.

It’s also important to find out if your local school district has a wellness policy.  This should include nutrition education goals, physical activity objectives, guidelines for food available at school, opportunities for parents and students to get involved with the policy development, and plans for evaluation.  The best place to begin inquiring about a school wellness policy is at the district office.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization.  Founded more than 63 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind.  TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information.  TOPS has about 170,000 members - male and female, age seven and older - in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge.  Membership is affordable at just $26 per year, plus nominal chapter fees.  To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.

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NARI supports National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 23-29, 2011) PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Morgan Zenner   
Monday, 31 October 2011 14:38

Learn how your remodel can impact a child’s health during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Survey results reveal homeowner attitudes about lead hazards during a renovation

 

Des Plaines, Illinois, October 26, 2011—The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is raising awareness of the dangers of lead exposure by observing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week on October 23-29, 2011. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule requires certification and lead-safe work practices for any renovation, repair or painting projects in homes and child care facilities built before 1978. For more background on the EPA’s RRP rule, please click here.

 

“Through awareness and education, NARI is hoping to motivate every remodeler and homeowner to abide by the RRP rule when renovating their homes for the safety of the vulnerable populations who could potentially be impacted by lead exposure,” says NARI National President Michael Hydeck, MCR, CKBR, of Hydeck Design Build in Telford, Pa.

 

The RRP rule is designed to protect pregnant women and children under 6 from toxic lead exposure by requiring contractors to complete an eight-hour training course outlining lead-safe work practices that contain and minimize lead dust. Those who complete the course must supervise the renovation of pre-1978 homes, and the contracting firm must be a Certified Firm with the EPA. NARI is concerned that lack of awareness of RRP and additional costs to comply with this rule is actually putting this target audience at higher risk for lead exposure.

 

NARI’s June 2011 consumer survey proved this, revealing an opposite effect from the rule’s intended purpose based on consumer behaviors and buying habits for renovations in older homes. The survey, which used Meredith Corporation’s Home Enthusiast Panel to gauge homeowner attitudes and knowledge of RRP, found 53 percent of respondents had not heard about this rule prior to the survey. Fifty-nine percent of homeowners responded they would do demolition work themselves in order to save money—an activity that can create significant lead hazards. Twenty-nine percent would likely hire a non-certified contractor to work on their home in order to save money. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to request a copy of the Consumer RRP survey from NARI.

 

“These results indicate that homeowners are largely unaware of the dangers of lead—so much so, that they are willing to put their families at risk in order to reduce remodeling costs,” Hydeck says.

 

That was not the case with Dan and Michelle Neifert, homeowners from Boise, Idaho, whose 75-year-old home recently went through a complete renovation. “I knew that I had to find a lead certified renovator to work on my home because every contactor we talked to said we needed to test the home and that it was against the law not to,” Dan Neifert says.

 

The RRP rule became even more important to the Neifert’s after discovering they were expecting their first child. Though they did not live in the home while the gut-rehab took place, it was still important that lead-safe work practices and clean-up processes were implemented and followed to protect their child from lead exposure.

 

“We figured lead was in the home, and we wanted to have everything done correctly and safely for our new child, regardless of added costs and time,” Dan Neifert says. They conducted lead testing before demolition to identify exactly which areas required lead-safe work practices.

 

Lead was found in the exterior and interior of the home. The exterior windows, tiles, stucco siding of the home and detached garage tested positive, and the interior bathroom tile floor, utility room ceiling and crawlspace access were positive as well. Since the remodeling project involved replacement of all windows, renovation of the main floor and conversion of a garage into living space, all work was done within RRP guidelines.

 

The Neiferts said that lead testing, labor and materials added cost to the project, and they say the demolition added an additional week to their project.

 

“The lead-safe work practices I witnessed from visiting the home was the worksite was surrounded by cautionary tape, the entire exterior of the home was covered in plastic, and those working inside wore respirators and suits,” Dan Neifert says. He adds that because he was located in a historic district, he had to notify neighbors of his remodeling plans and inform them of the RRP renovation that was taking place.

 

NARI member Joe Levitch, CR, EPA Lead Certified Renovator and Lead Paint Inspector and Risk Assessor, of Boise, Idaho’s Levco Builders completed the Neifert’s renovation and lead testing. “It’s a win-win for the homeowners to keep their families safe and have proof that their home is safe for anyone to live in for years to come.”

 

NARI, along with week organizers Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, are assisting in promotion of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, According to the CDC, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet an estimated 250,000 U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels.

 

 

In honor of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 23-29, 2011), NARI is providing this checklist to minimize lead exposure for homeowners living in pre-1978 homes:

 

  • Verify that your contractor’s firm is registered with the EPA unless your state has taken over with its own lead safety program, in which case the certification process may be slightly different. To find out if your state is working under its own lead program, visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm#authorized.
  • Verify at least one person is a Certified Renovator and has documented the training of the work crew and is supervising the work being completed in the home.
  • Know that these certifications must be accessible at the work site at all times.
  • Firms must post signs before renovation begins, clearly defining the work area and warning occupants and other persons not involved in renovation activities to remain outside of the work area.
  • Make sure you understand and sign the EPA’s “Renovate Right” brochure.
  • Remove all belongings from the immediate area of the renovation.
  • Notice if your contractor is using plastic sheeting that is taped 6 feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation; reusable cloth coverings are not acceptable.
  • Renovators should be cleaning up and mopping daily to minimize dust contamination.
  • Contractors must use HEPA vacuums and/or wet mopping to remove lead particles.
  • All contaminated materials should be placed in heavy duty plastic bags before your contractor disposes of them.

 

To learn more about testing your child’s lead levels, testing your home for lead for lead or preventing health effects related to lead exposure visit http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/nlppw.htm. To find a NARI remodeler in your area who is a Lead Certified Renovators, visit www.nariremodelers.com. For green remodeling information, please visit www.greenremodeling.org.

 

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Pay-for-Delay Deal making Continues between Brand Name and Generic Drug Companies PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 31 October 2011 13:37
October, 25, 2011

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley made the following statement after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a staff report that found drug companies entered into 28 potential pay-for-delay deals between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011.

Grassley, along with Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, is the author of legislation that would end these settlements between generic and brand name drug companies that keep more affordable generics off the market.  The senators also sent a letter to the Deficit Reduction Committee encouraging them to use their legislation as a cost-saving measure.   The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Grassley-Kohl bill will save the federal government – which pays approximately one-third of all prescription costs – $2.68 billion over ten years.  The Federal Trade Commission estimates that ending these settlements would save consumers who pay for prescription drugs through private insurance or on their own $3.5 billion per year.   The Washington Post also editorialized about the issue today.

Here’s Grassley’s comment.

“The pay-for-delay tactics employed by brand name and generic drug companies only benefit those companies that engage in such settlements.  It hurts consumers who don’t have access to affordable medications, and it hurts taxpayers who pay for prescription drugs in both Medicare and Medicaid.  The FTC’s study shows a remarkable continuation of a practice that puts the interests of drug companies above the interests of consumers.  No one has to engage in such deal making at the expense of consumers, and it’s time to put an end to it.”

According to the FTC staff report, companies reached 156 final patent settlements in fiscal 2011, and 28 of those settlements contained a payment to a generic manufacturer which restricted the generic company’s ability to market its product. The FTC went on to say that “Of those 28 settlements, 18 involved generics that were so-called ‘first filers,’ meaning that they were the first to seek FDA approval to market a generic version of the branded drug, and, at the time of the settlement, were eligible to exclusively market the generic product for period of time.” The FTC press release explains that “Because of the regulatory framework, when first filers delay entering the market, other generic manufacturers can also be blocked from entering the market, which makes such patent settlement deals particularly harmful to consumers.”

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