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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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How to have a healthy Halloween without ruining the fun

Posted on October 28, 2012 By Hope Gillette

Let’s admit it: for most children, Halloween is all about the candy. Dressing up in a fun costume and wandering the neighborhood with family and friends is just a perk for what will otherwise be a night laced with candy-induced dreams. However, a healthy Halloween is still possible!

For the parent who wants to provide a healthier experience on Halloween, there are some great options which will keep the night fun without disappointing the ghosts, witches and wizards who come to the door. For other parents looking to manage a child’s candy intake, there are some tried-and-true tricks to keep sugar highs at bay.

Managing a child’s candy intake on Halloween

Managing a child’s candy intake can be as simple as portioning out a daily ration from the Halloween candy bowl. You could even restrict candy intake further, picking on day of the week for the treat.

These are some other creative ways to keep candy intake to a minimum:

Make children ask for candy: In addition to rationing out candy, making children ask for it can be a good way to moderate how much is consumed. Place the candy out of sight and tell your child there is a limit on how much can be had daily. Only give out the candy when your child asks for it. Most parents find the candy gets forgotten about when it’s not directly in the line of sight.

Keep candy in the refrigerator: Keeping candy in the refrigerator will keep it fresh, but most children find the candy is more difficult to chew when it is cold. If they want it, they will have to wait for it to warm to room temperature. Remembering to pull it out ahead of time can greatly reduce the amount children request sugary treats.

Make children eat something healthy, too: To temper the amount of sugar that comes with Halloween candy snacking, parents are urged to align candy allotment with another meal or with a healthy snack. While this doesn’t eliminate the candy consumption, it does associate healthy foods with snacking, too.

Make it a business: If you think your child has an entrepreneur spirit, propose saving the candy for a few days and then selling it in a yard sale. Funds can be re-invested in something they’ve been asking for or donated to their local charity.


A healthy Halloween

Small toys make a great alternative to candy for parents who want to provide a healthier Halloween

The flip side of the coin for parents is how to make it a healthy Halloween andgive out healthy alternatives to candy. Most people think of vegetable bags and rice cakes when they think of healthy snacks, but don’t chase kids away with such undesirable items. 

Pediatric Safety recommends some fun alternatives to Halloween candy.

  • Stickers
  • Fake tattoos
  • Small toys
  • Packs of sugar-free gum
  • Packs of hot chocolate
  • Sweet treats like trail mix
  • Small jump ropes
  • Art supplies like crayons or chalk
  • Glo-sticks

Halloween general safety

While keeping snacks regulated in order to have a healthy Halloween is important, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) remind parents general safety is also important.

Children who are heading out for the night should;

  • Wear visible costumes
  • Never visit unlit houses
  • Avoid walking near lit candles or torches (fire hazard for flammable costumes)
  • Avoid homemade treats
  • Use reflective tape on shoes and candy bags
  • Keep accessories such as knives and swords soft to prevent injury if a child falls

 

source: voxxi.com
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Top 5 habits of highly healthy people

By Dr. Joey Shulman, DC, RNCP

Making minor, yet meaningful changes to your lifestyle can help you become a significantly healthier and happier person. Our health expert shares five tips on sleep, nutrition and fitness to help you achieve these goals.

“Why does she look and feel so good? I think I want what she’s having!” If you find yourself thinking like this it might be time to adopt some new habits


After working in health care for over a decade and working one on one with thousands of clients, it has become clear that there are certain habits that are absolute game changers when it comes to your health. 

Implementing the following habits will quickly make a huge impact on your health – both physically and mentally.
 
1. Wake up early
If you wake up late and feel rushed in the morning, the rest of your day tends to continue in a similar hurried and stressful fashion. In order to set the proper tone for your day and to carve out some precious time just for yourself, try waking up a half-hour earlier than you normally do to walk, stretch, meditate or write in a journal

By doing so you will lower your stress levels and begin your day in a clear and calm fashion. To make life even easier, pack your bags and lunch (and the bags and lunch of your kids) the night before and lay out your clothes for the next day.
 
2. Do not eat refined carbohydrates or sugar
There is no way around it: Eating too much refined flour and sugar in the forms of cereal, bread, cookies, granola bars and muffins results in a dramatic energy plunge and food fog. To make matters worse, refined flour and sugar also tend to trigger the over-secretion of the hormone insulin, which leads to excess fat storage in the abdominal region and intense sugar cravings.
 

Highly healthy people treat white refined sugar as a “toxin” and save it as a very occasional treat. Instead of white sugar, opt for naturally sweet foods, such as berries, apples, unsweetened applesauce and mangos, to make morning parfaits and smoothies or frozen deserts. And remember to consume whole grains rather than refined flours.



3. Get active three to five times per week
Highly healthy people keep moving. In order to keep your body mass index in a healthy zone, your heart healthy and your stress levels down, it is important to engage in cardiovascular and weight-bearing activities three to five times per week. 

Pick something you love – or try something new! – such as yoga or Pilates, personal training or brisk walking.
 
4. Drink two litres of water daily
If you are feeling fatigued or bloated simply add more water to your daily regimen. Highly healthy people hydrate! 

Whether you opt for water or herbal tea, it is critical that you take in two litres or more of hydrating fluids every day. 

For an extra health boost, add freshly squeezed lemon or lime to your water to take advantage of their natural astringent effects.
 
5. Make time for bliss and joy
Let’s face it – life can get so busy and cluttered that we often forget to make time for play and joy. Highly healthy people understand the importance of taking a break and engaging in activities that allow them to follow their bliss. Whether that means going for a massage, spending time with friends or taking an art class, be sure to find something that makes you lose track of time and enjoy life. 
 
Commit to implementing these five tips for seven days straight and you’re sure to notice a huge difference in your overall sense of physical and mental wellness.
 
Joey Shulman is the author of The Metabolism-Boosting Diet (HarperCollins, 2012) and The Last 15 (Wiley, 2007). She is also the founder of The Shulman Weight Loss Clinic. For more information, please visit drjoey.com or shulmanweightloss.com.


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U.S. energy drink makers not reporting caffeine levels, study says

CTVNews.ca Staff      Published Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012

Energy drink manufacturers do not accurately list the levels of caffeine in their drinks, a new report says.

Consumer Reports magazine measured caffeine levels in 27 energy drinks and shots, testing three lots of each product. The amount of caffeine found in the drinks ranged from 6 milligrams to 242 milligrams per serving, with some packages including more than one serving.

While caffeine can boost energy, it can also affect heart rhythms and increase blood pressure. Research suggests 400 milligrams is the maximum daily limit of caffeine for healthy adults. That figure is 200 milligrams for pregnant women, and 45 to 85 milligrams for children.

The drink 5-hour Energy Extra Strength had the highest amount of caffeine, while 5-hour Energy Decaf had the lowest, the study found.

The magazine also found that in five of the 16 drinks that reported caffeine levels, namely Arizona Energy, Clif Shot Turbo Energy Gel, Nestlé Jamba, Sambazon Organic Amazon Energy, and Venom Energy, the actual amount of caffeine was much more than what was listed on the labels.

“Some of the energy drinks underestimated the amount of caffeine listed on the label by 20 per cent or more,” says Consumer Reports’ deputy health editor Gayle Williams.

Eleven drinks did not list caffeine levels at all, which Consumer Reports suggested might be to protect companies’ proprietary blends.


According to a representative of the Monster Beverage Corporation, the company does not list levels because in the U.S. “there is no legal or commercial business requirement to do so, and also because our products are completely safe, and the actual numbers are not meaningful to most consumers.”

However, last week, the parents of a 14-year-old California girl filed a wrongful death suit against the company after their daughter drank two 24-ounce Monster Energy Drinks in 24 hours. According to an autopsy, the girl died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.

A 24-ounce can of Monster Energy Drink contains 240 milligrams of caffeine, and the girls’ parents say the company did not warn about the risks of consuming the drink.

Consumer Reports says Monster Energy Drink is one of 17 products whose labels caution against consumption by children, pregnant or nursing woman, and those who are caffeine-sensitive. In addition, the company, along with eight others, recommends a daily limit.

Monster Energy Drink is also suspected to be linked to five deaths and a non-fatal heart attack in a report being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Health Canada says it is moving energy drinks from the “natural health product” category to the food category. This means labelling will be mandatory and no drink will be able to have more than 180 mg of caffeine.

With files from The Associated Press and CTV’s Seamus O’ Regan

source: ctvnews


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The Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Mostly known for being a part of Halloween decorations or a pie filling, pumpkins are also packed with nutrition and offer a wide range of health benefits. Pumpkins are a storehouse of vitamins, mineral and other healthy nutrients. Whether it is the pulp or the seeds, pumpkins are great for your health and can offer some incredible benefits.

Nutritional Composition of Pumpkins

High Carotenoids Content – Pumpkins owe their bright Orange color to the high amount of carotenoids present in them. Carotenoids assist in staving off the free radicals in the body, and help in preventing premature aging, cardiovascular diseases and other infections. They are also high in Lutein & Zeaxanthin which protect the eyes against free radical damage and prevent formation of cataracts and degeneration of the eye tissues.

Protein – Pumpkin seeds also known as Pepitas are a rich source of protein. One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains approx. 7 grams of protein. Their oil is high in phytosterols or plant-based fatty acids and their chemical composition is the same as cholesterol. Phytosterols can replace cholesterol in the body, and help in reducing the blood cholesterol levels.

Essential Fatty Acids – Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of essential fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits. From providing protection against serious health diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer to promoting healthy skin and improving brain power, essential fatty acids present in pumpkin oil offer several health benefits.

Vitamin A – Pumpkin is a rich source of Vitamin A. Regular consumption of pumpkin (both seeds and flesh) can promote the health of your eyes and boost your immune system remarkably.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps fight free radicals, improves immunity and promotes the production of collagen. The high Vitamin C content in pumpkins also offers protection against various forms of cancer.

Magnesium – Both the pulp and seeds of pumpkin are rich in magnesium, which is an important mineral required for various biological functions. Magnesium is also required for the maintenance bones and teeth.

Potassium & Zinc – Pumpkin is loaded with potassium and Zinc. Studies show that eating a potassium-rich diet can prevent onset of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Zinc is important for providing bone density support for people at risk for osteoporosis. It boosts the immune system and promotes reproductive health.

Fiber – Pumpkin flesh is very low in calories and contains abundant quantities of extremely good dietary fiber. It is extremely effective for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, indigestion etc. The high amount of fiber also helps in lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood and in regulating the blood sugar levels.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Flesh and Seeds

Prostate Cancer – The protective compounds present within the pumpkin seeds, called phytosterols can lower the risk of prostate cancer. These work by shrinking the prostate and stimulating the secretion of chemicals that protect against the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High DHT levels can cause enlargement of the prostate glands.

Anti-Inflammatory Effect – The Beta carotene present in pumpkin seeds and flesh has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of pumpkin can protect against joint inflammation and arthritis. Pumpkins have been known to provide relief from inflammation quickly, without the harmful side-effects of anti-inflammatory medicines.

Great on your skin – The high amount of Vitamin A, C and E as well as Zinc present in pumpkin, make it a great choice for those who want a healthy and glowing skin. Have a cup of pumpkin seeds per day to prevent appearance of wrinkles and to keep your skin hydrated and nourished.

Prevents Kidney Stones – Have 5 to 10 grams of pumpkin seeds every day. This stimulates the kidneys and prevents the formation of calcium oxalate stones.

Depression – Pumpkin flesh contains L-tryptophan, a chemical compound that triggers feelings of well-being and happiness. Having pumpkin as a part of your daily diet can keep your spirits high and prevent depression.

Treatment of Parasites – In various cultures especially China, pumpkins are used to treat infections caused by tapeworms and other parasites.

Diuretics – Pumpkins are natural diuretics. These help in flushing out the toxins and unwanted waste material from the body, leaving you refreshed and healthy.

With so many health benefits, it is no wonder that pumpkin is an important part of the list of Super Foods. Next time you are carving a pumpkin, do not throw away the pulp or the seeds – instead boil, bake or cook them in any form you like.

source: bewellbuzz.com


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5 Ways to Get Healthier & Happier With Age


Molly, selected from Experience Life      October 20, 2012
   

1. Connect With Others

One of the most important things you can do to enrich your life at any age is to connect with other people. Meeting, talking, collaborating, sharing — none of these personal-growth essentials happens when an individual is isolated. The people around us (friends, lovers, family, mentors and even enemies) can all provide important insights and become catalysts that aid us in our quest to evolve.

Developing relationships with older folks whom you admire and perceive as good role models, whether for their enduring physical fitness, their perspective and experience, or simply their joie de vivre, can be especially inspiring. So can connecting with younger people. Older men and women gain a deeper appreciation of their accumulated knowledge by sharing it. And feeling gratitude for one’s wisdom and previous life experiences is itself a powerful factor in remaining happy and inspired as we age.

Linking with others has huge health benefits as well. Edward M. Hallowell, MD, an adult and child psychiatrist based in Boston, cites landmark research from Harvard University School of Public Health, that showed people with no close ties to friends, relations or other community were three times more likely to die over a nine-year period than those with at least one source of social support. “Social isolation is as much a risk factor [for early death] as smoking,” he says.

The value of connection increases with years and experience. As lives and relationships deepen, there’s more to share.

A Minneapolis resident, Scotty Gillette was in her early 40s when she and a group of four other childhood friends decided to meet for dinner once a month. Nearly 40 years later, they’re still doing it. “We’ve supported each other through divorces, widowhood, and issues with our children and grandchildren,” she says. “We’ve nursed each other through operations, helped out when husbands have gotten sick, and celebrated at the weddings of our children and the births of our grandchildren.” Each woman is a crucial beam in her friends’ emotional architecture.

Community can be as simple as three or four people getting together for focused conversation once a week, says Parker Palmer, an educator, community activist and author of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (Jossey-Bass, 1999). “It requires, more than anything else, intentionality.” The form matters less than the function; joining a bowling league, volunteering to tutor at the local high school, starting a band, taking an acting class — all will connect you with something you love, as well as a vital group of friends.

2. Look and Learn

To recognize life’s continuing possibilities, you must constantly survey the world with an open, inquisitive mind. “Lifelong learning expands our horizons and helps us see a life beyond our current roles,” says Pamela McLean, PhD, a clinical psychologist and coauthor of Life Launch: A Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Hudson Press, 2000).

The Harvard Study of Adult Development found that pursuing education throughout your adult years is a key factor to a rich life and healthy aging. Research has also found that learning can make your brain function better.

For many years, neuroscientists thought that the body stopped building new neural connections after childhood. But landmark studies in the early 21st century showed that the adult brain continues to grow new cells and create new neural connections. And learning helps trigger the growth of those new cells.

“Long-held assumptions that our brains are in a state of gradual decline from a youthful peak have been proven untrue,” notes Barbara Strauch in The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind (Penguin, 2011).

If you maintain only one interest in your life — whether it’s work, children, athletics or a hobby — you risk losing your source of identity and satisfaction when change comes. Conversely, if you polish many facets of yourself, you will shine no matter what.

“The demands of the 30s and 40s are so pressing that it’s almost impossible to imagine how you can diversify your interests,” says McLean. “But it’s important not to become a one-string guitar. Don’t give all your life to work. Allow yourself to try adventures you normally wouldn’t.”

The opportunities to learn are endless. You can choose a structured activity, like taking a class or starting a book club. Or you can take a more free-form approach: Learn about local history or sports teams; listen to public radio while going to work and books on tape during the commute home; commit to visiting a new place every year, even if it’s on the way to your annual vacation spot.

As your life path proceeds, keep an eye out for life’s teachers. McLean suggests seeking out role models who are living in a way that inspires you. Then learn about their lives by asking questions about how they got there.

One person who has made a career out of interviewing his mentors is Bill Moyers, the host of the public-television news program Moyers & Company. “All the septuagenarians I’ve interviewed through the years have taught me something,” he says. “They lived long enough to turn their experience into wisdom, and to share it.”

3. Explore Within

Perhaps the best way to integrate valuable life experiences into your aging process is to regularly evaluate where you are and what’s calling next. “It’s a challenge for anyone, regardless of their age, to know where they want to go,” says McLean. “It’s easy to wander or, in our media-oriented society, to be led. But satisfaction only comes with a direction that is truly your own.”

Palmer agrees, and points out that instead of becoming more set in their ways, aging adults need to remain nimble. “One of the keys to aging gracefully is to acknowledge that you have as much need for discernment now about the best next steps in life as you did at 32 or 45 or 56. There’s a mythology that by 72 you’re pretty well settled, but we have wiggle room as long as we’re drawing breath.”

Developing and following your own evolving sense of purpose takes mindfulness, says McLean, which requires regular doses of reflective thinking. “Look for opportunities to think outside the moment and ask what you want to be,” she advises.


There are opportunities everywhere. Take a vacation, journal, meditate, try yoga, get a coach. Resist the invented busyness that keeps most of us distracted from our feelings: Stop compulsively checking your email or your phone; go on a weeklong media fast; sit still on your couch for five full minutes and don’t write a “to-do” list or schedule a dentist’s appointment or rearrange your sock drawer. If you feel uncomfortable, that’s the point. You’re starting to listen to your inner self.

Allowing our internal compass to guide us toward meaningful pursuits brings its own set of benefits. The Longevity Project, a long-term study launched by a Stanford psychologist at the turn of the last century, followed 1,500 people born around 1910 and found that passionate people who believed they were living up to their potential and engaged in meaningful work lived longer, healthier lives than their less reflective and less engaged peers.

The inner journey itself can be a wellspring of energy and inspiration for daily life. “I’ve found that if a person has a way of being introspective while aging, it creates an acceptance of life,” says Stephan Rechtschaffen, MD, a cofounder of the Omega Institute, a holistic learning center based in Rhinebeck, N.Y. “Maintaining vitality can be aided by spiritual processes. They allow us to access our inner landscapes and to see life with wonder.”

4. Play Creatively

Embracing the pleasures of uninhibited expression — whether we find that in art, music, dance, woodworking, Scrabble or poker — enriches and regenerates our souls no matter how old we are. “Any healthy activity where your brain lights up helps plant the seeds of happiness,” says Hallowell.

Those bits of happiness enrich our brains now and can continue to pay off in the decades to come, bringing satisfaction and continual self-renewal. In fact, time often enhances the end results of creative endeavors. In her book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (Simon & Schuster, 2005), choreographer Twyla Tharp explains that she didn’t feel like a “master” of her craft until she had completed 128 works and was 58 years old.

“Why did it take 128 pieces until I felt this way?” Tharp asks rhetorically. “A better question would be, why not? What’s wrong with getting better as you get more work under your belt?” She cites Verdi, Beethoven, Dostoyevsky, Kurosawa and Balanchine as a few of her personal role models. All had stunning early triumphs, to be sure. Yet what interests Tharp is that all of these artists kept raising the bar for their achievements throughout their middle and later years.

How, in the face of deteriorating memories and aching backs, did they do it? In Tharp’s view, they were able to integrate what they had learned and put it into perspective.

“As we age, it’s hard to recapture the recklessness of youth, when new ideas sparked off us like light from a pinwheel sparkler,” she writes. “But we more than compensate for this with the ideas we do generate, and with our hard-earned wisdom about how to capture, and, more importantly, connect those ideas.” The results of this mature brand of ideation and creative expression, Tharp asserts, can be richer, deeper and just as satisfying as the spontaneity of youth.

5. Mind Your Body

Whether you’re 18 or 88, you feel better when you maintain a healthy weight, a high level of physical vitality, and a commitment to daily movement. As the years pass, though, it becomes increasingly important to examine specific aspects of your daily routine and environment.

For instance, according to Mark Hyman, MD, recent research shows that balancing blood sugar is one of the best ways to inoculate against certain age-related diseases, such as dementia, cancer and adult-onset diabetes.

Besides reducing our sugar intake, Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company, 2012), advises people to take a few key steps: (1) Avoid flours and starches (“They act just like sugar in the bloodstream,” he explains); (2) include healthy proteins (such as fish, beans, nuts, lean animal protein) with every meal to fuel metabolism and maintain muscle; (3) liberally consume high-fiber foods (nuts, berries, beans, non-starchy vegetables and seeds); (4) enjoy healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to activate a critical cell-signaling system related to blood-sugar control.

Hyman also wants us to mind our mitochondria, which are the microscopic components of each of our cells that turn food and 90 percent of the oxygen we breathe into energy. We have more than 100,000 trillion of these little energy factories in our bodies, and according to recent lab tests, rats with the healthiest and most plentiful mitochondria had greater endurance and aerobic capacity, experienced increased fat burning, didn’t develop prediabetes, and lived to be the equivalent of 120 human years old.

The trouble is that, over time, mitochondria are sensitive to poor diet, sedentary habits, toxins, allergens, and high levels of stress. This is why Hyman urges us to emphasize whole foods, limit our overall exposure to pollutants, find time to relax and rejuvenate, and enjoy plenty of physical activity. Interval training is especially helpful, he notes, since high-intensity activity interspersed with periods of rest increases the efficiency and function of mitochondria. Strength training also increases the amount of mitochondria in muscle cells.

Beyond all these practical recommendations for healthy, graceful aging, though, success is ultimately rooted in self-honesty — the ability to see yourself clearly and then take action on the parts of your life that are asking for investment and attention.

For example, the Harvard Study on Aging tells us that having a healthy marriage before age 50 is an indicator of successful aging. Do you have a strong partnership? If you do, what sorts of steps can you take to fortify that bond? If not, what can you do to change your situation?

If you are severely overweight, chain smoking, or abusing alcohol or drugs, what resources are available to help you face down the demons? What role do you play in the dysfunction?

Ignoring problems not only leads to physical and mental deterioration, but also leads to avoiding solutions that have the potential to connect you to the larger community and your better self.

In other words, you’re never too old to leave behind old habits, to embrace new rituals, or to discover new vistas in the search of happier, healthier and higher terrain.


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What’s really scary about Halloween: Crossing street, not tainted candy

By Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press October 17, 2012  

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Hey, mom and dad: Halloween’s not really all that scary — except when it comes to traffic safety.

Despite warnings about tainted candy, candle fires and even child abductions, real Halloween headlines are rarely about any of those things. Instead, tragedies related to the holiday typically involve trick-or-treaters hit by cars. Fortunately even those accidents are relatively few in number.

And here’s something that might surprise you. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the most emergency room visits involving children around Halloween are related to sports.

The report stated nearly 18 per cent of injuries on Halloween were to the finger and hand, and a third of those were lacerations, with some likely resulting from pumpkin-carving. But the report added that “a much higher proportion of injuries that occurred on Halloween were associated with sports, including football and basketball, than with knives.”

Which is not to say parents should spend Oct. 31 relaxing. (Are parents ever allowed to relax?) Obviously, you need to know where kids are, monitor candy hauls, and make sure they can see out of their masks and won’t trip on their costumes. But here are some statistics to provide a reality check on what’s really scary about Halloween.

TAINTED CANDY: URBAN LEGEND VS. REALITY
Of course you should examine goodies and make sure kids avoid treats that aren’t sealed.
But know this: “There isn’t any case of a child killed or injured from a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick or treating,” according to Joel Best, a professor at the University of Delaware who has extensively researched the subject.

Best says there have been more than 100 reports of tainted treats going back to 1958, but they include a father who poisoned his child to collect insurance money, incidents where someone gave out booby-trapped goodies but nobody was injured, and cases where kids had food allergies.


CAR ACCIDENTS
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, in four out of six years between 2006 and 2010, more pedestrians under the age of 21 were killed by cars on Oct. 31 than on Oct. 30 or Nov. 1.

The numbers are small: A total of 16 deaths took place on Oct. 31 during those five years, compared to 11 on Oct. 30 and 10 on Nov. 1.

But a quick survey of news stories from 2011 suggests that traffic safety on Halloween is one area where parental vigilance is warranted. Last year, children and teenagers trick-or-treating or heading to Halloween parties were injured or killed in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Egg Harbor Township, N.J., Port Bolivar, Texas, Lower Allen Township, Pa., and Colorado Springs, Colo. Most cases involved pedestrians hit while crossing streets or walking along roads; one case resulted in a drunk driving arrest. In another case, parents were injured along with their child.

One way to increase pedestrian visibility on Halloween: Have kids carry a flashlight or glowstick, or add glow-in-the-dark necklaces or reflective tape to costumes.

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILDREN ARE?
Statistically it’s rare for children to be kidnapped by strangers, but it seems like there’s always a case in the news. In the last few weeks, a girl was found murdered in Colorado and another child was abducted, then found, in Wyoming. So it’s understandable that Halloween makes parents nervous, with kids out after dark, sometimes unaccompanied by parents, often approaching strangers to ask for candy.

Obviously parents should keep track of kids, stay in touch by cellphone with teens, and make sure younger children have adult supervision.

But perhaps you’ll find this reassuring: There is no data to suggest an increase in reports of missing children on Halloween, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

FIRE AND DEVIL’S NIGHT
Candles are often used for spooky decor and to light pumpkins. Be mindful if kids in billowy costumes are nearby.

But the fact is, according to Dr. John Hall, division director of the National Fire Protection Association, “there is no localized spike in reported fire injuries around Halloween.”

In past years, there has been a phenomenon called “Devil’s Night,” especially in the Detroit area, of arson at abandoned properties. A 2005 report from the U.S. Fire Administration noted that “on Halloween, and the night before, incendiary and suspicious structure fires are about 60 per cent more frequent than on an average day.” But the number of fires has been decreasing thanks to community and police patrols and other efforts. In 1984, more than 800 fires were started in Detroit during the Halloween period, compared to 169 in 2010 and 94 last year.

source: timescolonist.com


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Could Green Tea Help Fight Prostate Cancer?

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter 

THURSDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) — Six cups of green tea a day may slow the progression of prostate cancer, a new study suggests.

The finding stems from research that showed prostate patients scheduled for a type of surgery known as a prostatectomy, where the prostate is removed, reduced their levels of some disease-associated inflammation by drinking lots of brewed green tea in the weeks preceding the operation. And that reduction in inflammation may inhibit tumor growth, the researchers suggested.

Their results were to be presented Thursday at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual prevention conference in Anaheim, Calif.

The notion that the polyphenol compounds found in green tea might have a protective effect against prostate cancer has yet to be confirmed outside a laboratory setting. However, this latest report builds on previous Italian research that suggested that consuming green tea extract may help lower the risk that a precancerous condition will develop into full-blown prostate cancer.

And related research that was also presented at the cancer research conference suggested that the flavonoids found in fruits and vegetables may be associated with a lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.

However, at least one urologist, Dr. Mark Soloway, chairman emeritus of urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, pointed to the new study’s limitations, and said it was too soon to say that green tea had any impact on prostate cancer.

Scientific findings presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

In this latest green tea study, men who drank the beverage for three to eight weeks prior to surgery experienced a noticeable drop in both serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentrations and PSA protein expression by the time they went under the knife. The fall-off in such telltale signs of disease was accompanied by reductions in both disease-linked inflammation and oxidative DNA damage, the study authors said.

tea

“To see this effect, you would need to drink a lot of green tea,” stressed study author Susanne Henning, a registered dieticianand adjunct professor with the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine. “Two cups a day is not going to help. In fact, we had our men drink six cups spread out all throughout the day, which I think was beneficial because green tea polyphenols are excreted very rapidly, so if you drink it that way you keep your levels up. And that seems to be the important factor in keeping the protection going.”

To explore the anti-cancer potential of green tea, the authors focused on 67 prostate cancer patients, all of whom were weeks away from surgery. About half the men were randomly assigned to a six-cup-a-day regimen of green tea leading up to surgery, while the others consumed water instead.

The result: Blood and urine samples analyzed alongside tissue samples taken during surgery revealed that the green tea group fared significantly better on key signs of inflammation, PSA levels and expression and DNA damage.

However, no notable difference was found between the two groups in terms of tumor cell growth.

Henning stressed the need for more research on the potential green-tea/prostate cancer connection, and her team is currently planning new animal investigations involving combinations of green tea and other natural foods.

While this research showed an association between green tea and prostate cancer, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

“Actually, several food agents have been under investigation for their protective impact,” she noted. “Lycopene and omega-3 fatty acids, for example. So, I would say that if you have cancer and you want to make a decision about all of this, then think of incorporating all of those as a part of a lifestyle change. I know that if I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I would try to change my lifestyle. And that would mean, in addition to eating lots of fruits and vegetables and trying to lose weight and exercising, that I would definitely drink green tea.”

The University of Miami’s Soloway said that while drinking green tea probably does not have a downside, this “limited study” does not confirm its impact as a prostate cancer intervention.

“[There’s] not much solid data to prove it,” he said. “This is a small study, and it would take a longer study with hundreds of patients to ‘prove’ its benefit.”

Soloway also noted that the jury is still out on whether inflammation even plays a significant role in cancer development. “It is very much a question,” he said. “Not proven at all.”

But, he agreed that until larger studies come along to explore green tea’s potential, “it might be worth giving it a shot.”

More information

For more on prostate cancer risk, visit the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Susanne Henning, Ph.D., R.D., adjunct professor, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles; Mark Soloway, M.D., professor and chairman emeritus, urology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Oct. 17, 2012, presentation, American Association of Cancer Research annual prevention conference, Anaheim, Calif.

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