MILWAUKEE, WI - Just in time for National Sleep Awareness Week, March 8-14, TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, explains the connection between obesity and sleep habits. According to TOPS, studies show a link between too few hours of sleep and increased body weight in both adults and children.

"Our society is an insomniac, underslept society, perhaps because of economic stress, chaotic lifestyles, or sedentary time spent with modern media, such as the Internet or cable TV," says Nicholas "Dr. Nick" Yphantides, M.D., M.P.H., medical spokesperson for TOPS. "Sleep is an afterthought to many of us."

Dr. Nick points out that insomnia often leads to late-night eating binges, which are proven to be disruptive to the digestive cycle and result in weight gain. "Falling asleep with a full stomach means you are less likely to eat breakfast, which is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle," he says. "Every study of successful long-term weight loss shows that the eating plan includes a healthy breakfast."

While it's not easy to break old habits, Dr. Nick notes that the more resistant people are to saying "lights out" the more they have to deal with the consequences the next day. For example, when fatigue sets in from late-night activity, there is less desire to engage in exercise the next day, an essential element of weight control.

Lack of sleep also affects the way the body processes and store food and alters hormones which affect the appetite. "Physiologically, when a body is not rested, it kicks into survival mode," he says. "Stress hormones are generated, resulting in less production of appetite-suppressing leptin. Instead, more ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, is generated." In addition, Dr. Nick notes, there is a suspected association with insulin, which has an impact on food going into storage in the body.

The importance of sleep cannot be overestimated. More than just resulting in fatigue and affecting daily activities, lack of sleep can impact the immune system, memory recall, hypertension, and other serious problems.

"I don't believe everyone needs seven hours or another specific number, but I do believe in adequate sleep. It fits into the larger category of being responsive to what the body needs," Dr. Nick says. "Part of the evidence of the restorative nature of sleep points out that when we are ill, we need more of it, and not less or the same."

To improve your success for a restful night, consider the following:

  • Aim to exercise at least twenty to thirty minutes each day and no later than three hours before bedtime.
  • When tired enough to seek coffee and energy drinks, take a short, half-hour nap instead.
  • Go to bed and get up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Keep bedrooms cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable.  Consider a sound machine or small fan for white noise and an eye mask to block out light.
  • Follow a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book, engaging in light stretching, or taking a bath.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss education and support organization, was established more than 62 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., TOPS promotes successful weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness education, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and several chapters in Europe.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view or call (800) 932-8677.


WASHINGTON --- Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the Food and Drug Administration about progress made to improve foreign drug inspection, following commitments made by the agency when Baxter International temporarily suspended production of its blood thinner heparin in 2008 because of adverse reactions.

"My letter today follows up on oversight I did at that time because requirements the FDA already had in place then were not met by the FDA, and the drug company itself didn't have a system to check the quality of upstream providers of the drug components.  In fact, pharmaceutical companies aren't required to have those checks in place," Grassley said.  "I will continue asking the FDA for information and working to hold the federal agency accountable in its work to protect the safety of the drugs in our medicine cabinets."

Since 2007, Grassley also has twice filed legislation to dramatically beef up the FDA's foreign inspection operation, including enhanced enforcement for quality and safety violations.  The legislation, which Grassley had introduced with the late Senator Kennedy, hasn't been passed by Congress.  China is one of the largest exporters of pharmaceutical products to the United States.  Following questions raised by Grassley and others in 2007 and 2008 about the inadequate foreign inspections, the FDA has opened an office in China to facilitate inspections.

Below is the text of the letter Grassley sent today to the FDA Commissioner.

February 16, 2010

The Honorable Margaret A. Hamburg


U.S. Food and Drug Administration

10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20993

Dear Commissioner Hamburg:

As Ranking Member of the United States Senate Committee on Finance (Committee), I have a special responsibility to the more than 100 million Americans who receive health care coverage under those programs to ensure that taxpayer and beneficiary dollars are appropriately spent on safe and effective drugs and devices.

In 2007 and 2008, I wrote a series of letters to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA/Agency) inquiring about the Agency's oversight of foreign-made drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).  I appreciate FDA's responses to my letters and look forward to the Agency's continued cooperation.

Almost two years ago, in February 2008, Baxter International (Baxter) had announced that it had temporarily suspended production of its blood thinner heparin because of increased reports of serious adverse events, in particular allergic reactions, associated with the use of its drug.  The company recalled its heparin sodium injection single-dose vials, the remainder of its multiple-dose vials, and the heparin flush products from the market.  Prior to the recall of its products, Baxter manufactured about 50 percent of the heparin used in the United States.  Thus, there were serious concerns about whether or not this country would have enough heparin to meet patient needs.

After several months of investigation, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the adverse events were caused by heparin contaminated with oversulfated chondroitin sulfate.  According to the FDA, this contaminant was found in heparin API produced by Baxter's API supplier in China, Changzhou Scientific Protein Laboratories (SPL), as well as more than 10 other Chinese facilities in the heparin supply chain.  In addition, the Agency revealed that due to human error, the FDA had failed to conduct a pre-approval inspection of Changzhou SPL in accordance with its pre-approval inspections program to ensure compliance with current good manufacturing practices (CGMP).

Despite its own audits and inspections of the API supplier, Baxter did not discover that its heparin API supply was contaminated because the company did not have mechanisms in place to ensure that the upstream providers, such as the crude heparin processors and slaughterhouses, were providing quality product to Changzhou SPL.  Baxter and other heparin manufacturers, however, are not required to have such mechanisms in place.  FDA has stated that API and drug manufacturers "frequently audit suppliers of critical materials" but the audits are not a requirement of the CGMP regulations for finished pharmaceuticals.  Nonetheless, there was one heparin manufacturer, APP Pharmaceuticals, which had a traceable distribution system that did allow it to trace crude heparin from the API supplier to the workshops and pig farms.  That company was able to increase its heparin production capacity and take over as the major supplier for the U.S. market after Baxter's product recalls.

Investigation of the contamination of the U.S. heparin supply in 2008 highlighted the need to improve FDA's protection of the safety of products made in this country and abroad.  In fact, the FDA acknowledged at a press conference on April 21, 2008 that the heparin problem "illustrated the need for [the FDA] to focus on enhanced regulation and scrutiny of the whole supply chain for drugs, including all sources of materials, including the natural sources."  In the Agency's response to me, dated June 5, 2009, the FDA also stated that "Aside from a traceable distribution system, it is imperative that both the API and drug product manufacturer establish and implement procedures and controls to secure and assure the integrity of the supply and distribution chain."

In response to the heparin contamination, the FDA announced a number of efforts it was implementing to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, including the establishment of an FDA presence abroad by opening field offices in China, India and Latin America, as well as the pursuit of international agreements to augment its foreign inspection program.  The FDA also stated that the FDA and international regulators had agreed to hold an inspection summit in 2009 to apply the lessons learned from the heparin contamination.  In addition, the FDA stated in its letter to me that it is collaborating with several pharmaceutical associations "to establish more robust systems and procedures to qualify suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients and assure the identity and purity of batches of incoming ingredients."

I am writing today to follow up on the status of FDA's initiatives to improve its foreign drug inspection program, in particular any efforts to prevent tainted final dosage forms and API from entering this country.  I would also appreciate a response to the following requests:

· A reporting of FDA's plans to ensure the safety and quality of drug products that are imported into this country, including efforts to improve surveillance, technology and testing capabilities, to harmonize regulatory standards and procedures, and to enhance the Agency's regulation of the whole supply chain of drugs.

· If FDA conducted its own assessment of how the Agency handled the heparin contamination, a copy of any report or memorandum generated from that assessment, including any recommendations and lessons learned.

· A status report on FDA's review of reports of adverse events occurring after heparin administration and the number of deaths and adverse events that have been determined to be epidemiologically associated with use of the contaminated product.  During the April 21, 2008 FDA press conference, the Agency stated that there were 81 deaths linked to the allergic reactions that may have been caused by contaminated heparin.  A month earlier, on March 5, 2008, the Agency stated that it had received 785 reports of adverse events.  FDA's webpage on adverse event reports and heparin, last updated July 1, 2009, shows that between January 1, 2007 through May 31, 2008 there were 146 reported deaths that included one or more allergic symptoms that is associated with use of the contaminated heparin.  The webpage, however, does not identify the total number of other adverse events reported to the FDA.

Thank you for your assistance on this important matter.  I would appreciate a response to the requests set forth in this letter by no later than March 2, 2010.


Chuck Grassley

United States Senator

Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance

MADISON, Wis. - While cancer prevention in the future may never be as simple as sipping green tea or eating watermelon, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) says that more specific study of nutrients and vitamins for cancer prevention is the next big frontier in cancer research.

"In our research on green tea and a nutrient in broccoli, we've discovered that both appear to have some beneficial effects on certain tissues, and that they are safe. But we're still studying whether either or both actually prevent cancer," says Dr. Howard Bailey, professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Bailey, also a practicing oncologist, is one of the main investigators for a multi-center National Cancer Institute study of soy products, green tea, vitamin D and a compound associated with certain fruits and vegetables.

Very few nutrients have been proven to have cancer-prevention characteristics, but a handful of drugs have shown promising results in clinical trials or have been proven to prevent certain cancers. Tamoxifen, originally developed to treat breast cancer, and raloxifene, first used to prevent osteoporosis, can reduce the risk of breast cancer for high-risk women. Another FDA-approved cancer-prevention drug is the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer.

While research on drugs for chemoprevention has made progress, Bailey says the study of nutrients lags behind. He says there are several theories about why there's so much to learn about potential disease-prevention characteristics of nutrients.

"Because we've been exposed to nutrients and vitamins for ages, any potential health advantage to consuming them is likely to be modest. Early on, we thought we could increase the effect by increasing the dose or amount of nutrient or vitamin taken. However, the old adage about 'too much of a good thing' may apply."

Bailey says he and other researchers will try to determine the level of nutrients or vitamins needed to be effective in prevention of specific cancers. He is currently researching the effective dosage of nutrients and vitamins like green tea and vitamin D for specific diseases, including bladder and prostate cancers.

He also plans to explore the idea that a one-time, large dose of vitamin D is safe and has prostate cancer-prevention properties. For more information on clinical trials at the UWCCC, go to


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that a total $1,236,175 will be coming to Iowa for public wellness efforts aimed at reducing obesity rates, decreasing smoking and promoting healthy living through increased physical activity and better nutrition.  The grants are being provided through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and were funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Harkin worked to secure these funds through his role as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, which wrote the Recovery Act.

"To improve our state's physical and financial health, reduce incidents of chronic disease and reign in rising health care costs, we must take steps to keep people well and out of the hospital in the first place," said Harkin.  "Today's funding shows that the Recovery Act continues to help Iowans on all fronts -- today making investments that encourage better health choices and help prevent the chronic diseases related to obesity and smoking."

Specifically, the funds will be used as follows:

$600,256 is being awarded for health policy and environmental change. Under direction of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Iowa will receive funding to promote state-wide policy and environmental changes that support good nutrition, physical activity, obesity control and reduce tobacco use.

$635,919 is being awarded for tobacco cessation. Iowa will receive the funding to expand Quitline Iowa (1-800-QUIT-NOW), and promote its use through expanded media campaigns.  Quitline Iowa provides free support and coaching to all Iowans who wish to quit smoking.

(IOWA)? February is American Heart Month, drawing attention to heart disease, America's No. 1 killer, and the strides being taken through research and education to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death rates.  Appropriately kicked off on National Wear Red Day (Feb. 5, 2010), the American Heart Association and its Go Red For Women movement urge everyone to support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red that day.

On National Wear Red Day, Friday, Feb. 5, 2010, thousands of people, employees at more than 10,000 companies, national and local news anchors and talk-show hosts across the country will wear red to support the cause.  Men and women across the state of Iowa are also encouraged to show their support by wearing red on Feb. 5.  The red dress and the color red symbolize one's support in the fight against heart disease.

Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association's promise to save women's lives.  Too many women die each year because they are unaware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.  One in three women dies of this largely preventable disease - that's almost one woman every minute.  This year, Go Red is asking women to bring a voice to this silent killer: SPEAK UP TO SAVE LIVES.


* Cardiovascular disease kills approximately 450,000 women each year, about one every minute.

* More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.

* Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

* Heart disease is largely preventable. In fact, 80 percent of cardiac events in women may be prevented if women make the right choices for their hearts, involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.

Only 1 in 5 women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat and that's why the communities in Iowa are trying to educate women by "Going Red" on Friday, Feb. 5, 2010.

Research shows that women who "Go Red" are more likely to make healthy choices. For example:

* More than one-third have lost weight.

* Nearly 55 percent have increased their exercise.

* Six out of ten have changed their diets.

* More than 40 percent have checked their cholesterol levels.

* One third have talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.

Women and men interested in "going red" on Friday, Feb. 5th and joining the Go Red For Women movement should visit

February has been celebrated as American Heart Month since 1963 to urge Americans to join the battle against heart disease.  A presidential proclamation pays tribute to the researchers, physicians, other public health education professionals as well as volunteers for their tireless efforts in preventing, treating, and researching heart disease. The observation also recognizes the critical importance of developing tools that will increase survival rates from heart attacks and cardiac arrest.  President George W. Bush entered his proclamation on Feb. 1, 2002, and the message continues to ring true today.

For more information about American Heart Month or National Wear Red Day please contact Ciara O'Brien Murray, communications director at (913) 652-1966 or


DAVENPORT, Iowa - Jan. 29, 2010 - For the third straight year, Genesis Health System has been recognized by SDI as a one of the nation's Top 100 health systems for integrating services to improve quality and operate efficiently.

Genesis moved up from No. 93 in 2009 to No. 71.

"This ranking is recognition of the hard work and dedication of the staff, physicians, volunteers and leadership of Genesis Health System,'' said Doug Cropper, President and CEO, Genesis Health System. "This ranking also is recognition of the quality of care and financial stability of Genesis that allows us to continue to provide that quality care

The 2010 edition of the rankings from SDI identifies the top 100 Integrated Health Networks (IHNs) from a universe of 593 local and regional health networks in the United States that meet critical success factors.

The ratings are based on SDI's IHN Rating System, which evaluates each network's ability to operate as a unified organization in eight categories: integration, integrated technology, contractual capabilities, outpatient utilization, financial stability, services and access, hospital utilization, and physician participation.

SDI is a Pennsylvania-based healthcare analytics organization that provides innovative services that help the healthcare industry solve a wide range of business challenges.


February is American Heart Month, drawing attention to heart disease, America's No. 1 killer, and the strides being taken through research and education to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death rates. Appropriately kicked off on National Wear Red Day (Friday, Feb. 5, 2010), the American Heart Association and its Go Red For Women movement urge everyone to support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red that day.


  1. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women age 20 and over, but it is largely preventable. In fact, up to 80% of cardiac events in women may be prevented if women make the right choices for their hearts, including diet, exercise and not smoking.

  1. Go Red BetterU is a FREE 12-week online nutrition and fitness program that can makeover your heart. Each week will focus on a different area and provide step-by-step guidance. You'll have access to everything from daily expert tips and an online journal to a downloadable BetterMe coaching tool.  Visit for more information.

  1. While 1 in 30 American women die of breast cancer, 1 in 3 women die from cardiovascular disease.

  1. Cardiovascular disease kills approximately 450,000 women each year, which is about one each minute.

  1. FEBRUARY 5th: Today is National Wear Red Day! Join dozens of women, as well as companies and organizations in Iowa and cities across America by wearing red today. It's a simple, powerful way to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke.

  1. Overweight children are more likely to have abnormally thick heart muscle tissue when they become an adult, which increases the risk of heart attack and heart failure. Learn how to get your kids on the right track at

  1. Visit and join the online discussion about heart health.

  1. If you or someone you know shows signs of heart attack or stroke, call 9-1-1 right away. An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team can begin treatment when it arrives. That means treatment can begin sooner than it would if the patient arrived at the hospital by car. What's more, the EMS team is also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped, which can save hundreds of lives each year.

  1. Children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy have more damage to their arteries in young adulthood than offspring of non-smokers and the association is even stronger if both parents smoke.


  1. Choose to speak up, not remain silent. Support legislation that would improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke in women at

  1. Too many lives have and will be cut short from heart disease and its risk factors; however, early detection, lifestyle changes, and other intervention can improve certain conditions.

  1. Plan meals in advance - visit for recipes from a number of heart-healthy cookbooks and use the online grocery list builder to quickly identify heart-healthy products to add to your grocery list.

13. Schedule a doctor's appointment each year and get a complete blood screen. Visit and download "What to Know BEFORE Your Doctor Visit." Only 1 in 5 women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat.

  1. This year about 1.2 million Americans will have a first or repeat coronary attack. About 452,000 of them will die. Coronary heart disease is our nation's leading cause of death.

  1. Nearly 8 million Americans age 20 and older have survived a heart attack (myocardial infarction). About 8.9 million have angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort due to reduced blood supply to the heart).

  1. An estimated 25.1 million men and 20.9 million women increase their risk of heart attack and stroke by smoking cigarettes.

  1. One of the best ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease is to start getting regular, moderate exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.

  1. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, causing someone to gasp dramatically, clutch her heart and drop to the ground. No one has any doubts about what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often the people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.

  1. The American Heart Association dedicates more monies to research than any

other voluntary health organization. Only the federal government funds more cardiovascular research.

  1. Start thinking about your heart. By adding one hour of regular, vigorous physical activity, adults may gain up to two hours of life expectancy. Start by including more physical activity into your daily routine. Take a walk, ride a bike or take the stairs.  Visit for some free tools and tips.

  1. About 36.6 million American adults have cholesterol levels of 240 or higher ? the point at which it becomes a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. Your total cholesterol should be below 200, and your HDL (good) cholesterol should be 40 or higher.

  1. Americans think they are in better heart health than they really are. According to a recent American Heart Association survey, nearly 40 percent thought they were in ideal heart health, when in reality less than 1 percent of Americans have an ideal profile.


  1. To find out how healthy you are, the American Heart Association developed a new health assessment tool, called My Life Check, at It will give you an overall health score and create an action plan to move you closer to your individual health goals. No matter what you score, any healthy change can help you live a longer, better life.

  1. During a heart check up, your doctor takes a careful look at your "numbers," including your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, your blood pressure and more. Knowing your numbers is an important part of keeping your heart-healthy. It can help you and your doctor know your risks and mark the progress you're making toward a healthier you.

  1. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States. If you smoke cigarettes (or cigars), you have a higher risk of illness and death from heart attack, stroke and other diseases. So if you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, love your heart and quit today. Need more motivation? Visit for help quitting smoking.

  1. Uncovering family history can help you to better understand your risk for heart disease. If you have a blood relative with heart disease or a risk factor for genetic heart disease, your risk for developing it significantly increases.

  1. More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.

  1. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.  Learn about your risk factors and how to reduce them at

Take a stroll for body, mind, and soul--walk a labyrinth!

Peace Walks


Martin Luther King Center
630 Martin Luther King Drive (9th Street)
Rock Island, Illinois
Sat., February 6
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Join us for the monthly Peace Walk at the Martin Luther King Center in downtown Rock Island. This walk will feature the 11- circuit Chartres labyrinth. Continuous 5-minute introductions are available for first-time walkers by Certified Labyrinth Facilitator Pat McLaughlin.

For those who prefer a quiet environment, we have designated the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. as Contemplative Time. Families with children are welcome to walk between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Adults are also welcome during this time if they are not disturbed by playful activity on or around the labyrinth.

We invite you to discover the peacemaking path of the labyrinth at a Peace Walk. Dates, times, and locations for the Peace Walks are posted on our online Events Calendar at So stay tuned, and visit our Web site often! To host a Peace Walk in your neighborhood, contact Pat at

Cost: Free! Donat ions are gratefully accepted.

Directions to Martin Luther King Center

Progressive Baptist Church is holding a Blood Drive on Saturday, February 6, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  Progressive Baptist Church is located at 1302 East 12th Street in Davenport.

Appointments: to donate, call Dorothy Steverson at 563-386-1884.  The public is invited to give blood at this Blood Drive!

New Donors Needed: Healthy people are needed to give blood every day. Blood donation is a safe, simple procedure that only takes about an hour.  Donors must be at least 16 years old, in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds.  A Blood Donor card or other photo I.D. is required to donate; 16 year old donors must present a signed parental consent form, available from the Blood Center or by download at  There is no risk of contracting a disease by giving blood.  Controlled high blood pressure and diabetics are acceptable.  If you have a question regarding your eligibility to donate blood, call the Blood Center at 800-747-5401.

"Blood is needed every day - not just in times of disaster.  Let's make sure blood is on the shelves at all times so we're prepared for anything.  It's the blood on the shelf that saves lives," encourages David Green, MVRBC President and CEO.

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The Independent Physicians of the Quad Cities Fund is looking for local nonprofit organizations that are seeking funding for projects designed to improve public health in the local community. Grants area available for up to $5,000 and will be awarded based on a program's impact on public health.

Consideration will be given to projects that:

  • Monitor health status to identify community problems
  • Inform, educate and empower individuals about health issues
  • Link those in need to personal health services
  • Assure a competent public health and personal health care workforce
  • Research new insights and innovative solutions to health problems

The Independent Physicians Association of the Quad Cities Fund is now accepting grant applications. Visit to download an electronic version of the application, guidelines and budget form. All applications must be received by the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend by February 28, 2010.

If you are interested in learning more, contact Community Foundation of the Great River Bend Program Associate Pat Miller at 563-326-2840 or