Showing posts from March, 2014

Work from Home A Pleasure, or A Punishment?

When I started out in corporate life back in the '80s, most if not all the women in executive positions were unmarried and I can't think of one who had children.
Today that's been changing. Many companies allow employees – both mothers and fathers – to work from home (though that has its challenges, too; more on that later).
According to, some of the best companies for telecommuting are Accenture, Federal Express, Sears, Wendy's, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
The advantages for companies are many: save office space and reduce costs, help employees better balance home life and work, reduce absenteeism (how many moms and dads miss a day of work because of ear infections or strep throat?), and finally, happier employees who produce more.
For the employee, it's even better. Less time commuting (more time spent on actual work), ability to stay on-task even with sick kids at home, less money spent on caretakers when both parents work, better concentration. I know …

Your Life, or Sex? Now Men May Not Have to Choose

In the past, men faced a daunting challenge.  Lower your cholesterol and downgrade your risk of a heart attack or stroke.  Or see your sexual health diminish.  Life, or sex?  Tough choice.

But a new study gives men hope.  According to, they may no longer have to make the choice.  
Statins, the very medication that slashes your cholesterol levels, and prevents sudden cardiac death, may also improve your health in the bedroom. 

“Older men who have poor cardiovascular health, diabetes or metabolic syndrome often experience erectile dysfunction (ED) and the prevalence of these diseases is expected to increase,” the Web site quotes John B. Kostis, MD, professor of medicine, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the study’s principal investigator. “Our research indicates that statins not only improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, but also improve erectile function in the men included in our analys…

Always Wanted to Be On-Screen? Now You Can, On Your Next Job Interview

I admit I've never had a video job interview but people who have seem to go both ways on whether they're good, or bad.

Theresa Everline reports at that it's a growing trend.  A new study has found that a whopping 60% of human resources managers are now using this tool, up from just 14% a year ago. 

"For an on-demand, or one-way, video interview, a candidate logs onto an online platform on his or her own time. Using a computer’s camera, he or she records answers to questions shown on the screen. In most cases, a question is displayed, giving the candidate 30 seconds to prepare," Everline reports. Then, he or she gets two or three minutes to record an explanation about why his or her experience is a good fit for the job.

But if you listen for affirmation from an interviewer to make sure you're saying what she wants to hear, with a video interview that's just not possible, most of the time.
Everline writes about a person she interviewed for this…

Now Vitamin A Said to Stop Pre-Cancerous Breast Cells From Turning Malignant

A couple of weeks ago we learned that Vitamin D might prevent breast cancer.  Now researchers are turning to a new letter in the alphabet.  They're saying that a derivative of Vitamin A, known as retinoic acid, found abundantly in sweet potato and carrots, helps turn pre-cancer cells back to normal healthy breast cells.

Wish we'd known that nine years ago, when my first pre-cancerous breast cells were found.

The vitamin doesn’t appear to change "the course of full-blown cancer, only pre-cancerous cells, and only works at a very narrow dose," according to, reporting on the study.

Scientists created a model of breast cancer progression composed of four types of cells each one representing a different stage of breast cancer: normal, pre-cancerous, cancerous and a fully aggressive model.  

"When the researchers exposed the four breast cell types to different concentrations of retinoic acid – one of the chemicals that the body converts vitamin A into – they …

Problems in the Bedroom? Try Lifestyle Modification, Not Medication

Men, here's what you've been waiting for.  It's possible to treat that problem good-looking older men with even better-looking, younger wives are having trouble with on all those vacation-like commercials, without medication.

According to, "Men suffering from sexual dysfunction can be successful at reversing their problem, by focusing on lifestyle factors and not just relying on medication."

In a study of Australian men 35-80, over 31% involved in the study developed some form of erectile dysfunction over a five-year period.

And it's not just about sex.  "Sexual relations are not only an important part of people's well-being. From a clinical point of view, the inability of some men to perform sexually can also be linked to a range of other health problems, many of which can be debilitating or potentially fatal," the Web site quotes Professor Gary Wittert, Head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Director of …

Do You Die Younger Without Health Insurance?

I blog I visit a lot recently asked a very interesting question.  How risky is it to be uninsured? I particularly want to know because my husband, 64 but healthy, does not have health insurance, and never has.  (Of course, he also never goes to the doctor.)

But Chris Conover at, who poses that question, says a couple of things.  Some studies show you have an elevated risk of dying without insurance.  Try about 25% more.  But others, sifting similar data, find the risk statistically insignificant.

Why?  People who smoke and/or are obese are more likely to be uninsured, sure risks for an early death. It's possible they're more comfortable taking risks and might speed or not wear seat belts, too.  Young people, who also often do not buy insurance (they'll live forever, remember?), have as one of their greatest causes of death, automobile accidents, Conover points out. 

So, are they dying young from being hospitalized without insurance, or just because they're risk…

Want to Avoid Cardiovascular Disease? Get Married

All of you guys out there on the fence -- get married.  I know, I know, I'm with a man who waited 10-and-a- half years to do it.  But if you believe all the studies, you'll live longer.  And now you're less likely to get cardiac disease (I guess that makes sense) as well.

According to, "Analysis of surveys of more than 3.5 million American men and women, administered at some 20,000 health centers across the country — believed to be the largest analysis of its kind ever performed — found that married people, regardless of age, sex, or even cardiovascular risk factors, had significantly less chances of having any kind of cardiovascular disease than those who were single, divorced or widowed."

The study went even further. reports it found:

 Being married carried a 5 percent lower risk of having any cardiovascular disease than being single  Widowed and divorced people were, respectively, 3 percent and 5 percent, more likely to suffer from any …

Do Kids Really Believe Curious George Can Fly a Kite?

Say it ain't so!  Max and Ruby!  Curious George.  The three little pigs.

The very reason we love them so is now the same one scientists say actually harms our kids. Giving animals human characteristics can lead to "less factual learning" but also influences "children’s reasoning about animals."

Does this mean they'll grow up to pull the wings off birds?  No, of course not.  But researchers also say that young readers are more likely to "attribute human behaviors and emotions to animals when exposed to books with anthropomorphized animals than books depicting animals realistically," according to

“Books that portray animals realistically lead to more learning and more accurate biological understanding,” the Web site quotes lead author Patricia Ganea, assistant professor with the University of Toronto’s Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development. “We were surprised to find that even the older children in our study were sensitiv…

New Study confirms,Eat All the Dark Chocolate You Want!

Love dark chocolate and been think you've been conned into eating it because it's "healthy."

I know, my friends and family laughed at me, too.  But it's true; a new study has confirmed it.  

Turns out certain bacteria in the stomach "gobble the chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart," reports.

“We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the ‘good’ ones and the ‘bad’ ones,” explained Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the study’s researchers, at “The good microbes. . . feast on chocolate,” she added. “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory. When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke,” said John Finley, Ph.D., who led the work. He noted that cocoa powder, an ingredient in chocolate, contains several an…

Obese Teens Dying Younger Than National Average

Good news. We're all living longer.  Except for obese teens, it turns out.

According to, "Although people live longer today than they did 50 years ago, people who were overweight and obese as teenagers aren’t experiencing the same gains as other segments of the population."

The life expectancy of the average American born in 2011 was 78.7 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from about 50 at the turn of the last century. The average lifespan has increased by more than a decade since 1950, but rising obesity rates threaten to take a toll on this progress.

“In studying the rate of death among adults younger than age 50, we found that there was no improvement among men who were overweight or obese as teenagers,” newswise quotes one of the study’s authors, Amir Tirosh, MD, PhD, of the Division of Endocrinology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. “In fact, the mortality rate among overweight and obese teenagers i…

Grunt, Groan and Push Your Way Through Exercise? You'll Lose More

I've been hearing for some time that short, fast spurts of exercise are the best way to lose weight and stay in shape.  You can jog eight miles but if it takes you a couple of hours (as it might, me), it's all for naught.  But run a mile in seven minutes and now you're talking.  It's not the quantity, it's the quality, or so they say.

Now a doctor is saying that "just 20 seconds of grunting, groaning and pushing your way through the pain, even in business attire will make you not only skinnier but healthier," according to ABC News Nightline. They're talking, of course, about high-intensity interval training.

I do zumba (ok, so it's in the pool and easier), but every other short set of exercise is high-intensity. You can do it as fast or as slow as you want but I try to keep my knees up in the jogging and kicking parts and when we "rocket" (jump to the ceiling), I try to go straight up, and fast.

But can one minute total three times a week r…

World's Best Diet? Or Just the Way You Should Always Eat?

An expert has compared all the popular diets out there -- llow carb, low fat, low glycemic, Mediterranean, Paleo and vegan -- against a regular old "mixed, balanced" diet.

And guess which one won?  You guessed it.  The old three-square-meals a day version, consisting of plant and animal foods, or as he puts it, "a diet comprising 'preferentially minimally processed foods direct from nature and food made up of such ingredients, ... mostly plants, and ... in which animal foods are themselves the products, directly or ultimately, of pure plant foods.'"

According to, it's not that the other diets (or, as Weight Watchers, which despises the word, calls it, "a new way of eating"), are bad.  

"The problem is that each, by virtue of being prized and heavily marketed for its distinctions, misses the point that their individual successes are due to the commonalities among them," the Web site notes.

Blind adherence to anything is not …

New Study: Kids Doing Drugs in College Show Brain Changes, and Sometimes, Damage

Here's a really scary thought.  The brains of kids who do drugs in college show damage.

According to, a new study has found that "impaired neuronal activity in the parts of the brain associated with anticipatory functioning among occasional 18- to 24-year-old users of stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and prescription drugs such as Adderall."

Anticipatory functioning are just big words for thinking about something before you do it.

The brain differences, detected using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are believed to represent an internal hard wiring that may make some people more prone to drug addiction later in life, the Web site reports.

“If you show me 100 college students and tell me which ones have taken stimulants a dozen times, I can tell you those students’ brains are different,” said Martin Paulus, MD, professor of psychiatry and a co-senior author with Angela Yu, PhD, professor of cognitive science at UC San Diego, at newswis…

Inhibitor of Pregnancy? Stress, Big Time

I remember when I was trying to get pregnant being told by everyone that all I had to do was relax.  That alone stressed me out.  Every procedure I failed, I'd tell myself it was because I didn't relax enough.  Really great for the cortisol level.

Now it's turning out that stressing out and fertility are linked. Well, infertility.  A new study has found, according to Deborah Netburn at The Los Angles Times, that stressed out women do have more difficulty getting pregnant than women with less stress, according to a new study.  In fact, 29 percent more, Fox news reports. This, of course, contradicts earlier studies that say they don't!

From 2005 to 2009, researchers followed 401 reproductively healthy couples who were trying to get pregnant.  Over a period of 12 months, researchers recorded each couple’s time-to-pregnancy and observed that by five to six months into the study, the couples who had yet to conceive were those with the highest levels of chronic stress. “When we…

Why Boys 4 Times More Likely to Have Autism Than Girls

Have you ever wondered why more boys than girls suffer from autism? Now experts may have the answer. Blame it on mutations.

It takes more mutations to trigger autism in women than in men, which may explain why men are four times more likely to have the disorder, according to a new study as reported at

The study found that women with autism or developmental delay tend to have more large disruptions in their genomes than do men with the disorder. Inherited mutations are also more likely to be passed down from unaffected mothers than from fathers. Together, the results suggest that women are resistant to mutations that contribute to autism, the Web site notes. “This strongly argues that females are protected from autism and developmental delay and require more mutational load, or more mutational hits that are severe, in order to push them over the threshold,” newswise quotes lead researcher Evan Eichler, professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. “…

Burn More Calories? Eat an Egg Before Exercise

Eat an egg.  Chew a cheese stick.  Swallow a hunk of steak.  Then, go exercise.

Experts are now promising that some women who do this will lose more weight, or lose it faster.  

According to, "A high-protein meal followed by 30 minutes of moderate exercise is an effective way of burning calories, especially when compared to exercising on an empty stomach."

I was actually told this several years ago when I had a trainer for three months.  He suggested I eat something, anything, before I went for my jog.  I usually picked fruit and I can't say it helped me lose much weight (maybe I chose the wrong thing).  The idea? You will exercise longer and tire less, if you have food in your stomach.  But this new study found something else.

“We looked at the effects of protein consumption alone on total energy expenditure, and protein consumption combined with exercise,” newswise quotes Ashley Binns, a doctoral student in kinesiology and exercise science at the University of…

Quiz: Which Makes People Healthier -- Big Government or Strong Communities?

Here's how to make both Republicans and Democrats happy.  A new study has found that big government AND communities both make people healthier.

“Some people might like the argument that liberal government automatically leads to healthier people, because it supports their world view,” quotes Mitchel Herian, a faculty fellow with University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Public Policy Center and lead researcher on the new study. “But, in the absence of a liberal government, you also see better levels of health if you have a strong community.”

“When government programs are in place, people tend to be healthier," adds Ed Diener of the University of Illinois. "But when government programs are weaker, a person with lots of close ties and social capital can still be healthy. Their wife can get them to exercise, their friends can help them not drink too much, and their support for each other may directly affect their health. Loneliness is bad for health.”

The study found that s…

Bariatric Surgery Slashes Obese Women's Risk of Uterine Cancer by 70%

Here's another reason for women to have bariatric surgery: it may prevent you from getting uterine cancer.

A new study has shown that women who had bariatric surgery to lose weight had a 70 percent lower risk of uterine cancer and an even lower risk if they kept the weight off, according to

Cancer of the uterus is the fourth most common female reproductive cancer.  If caught early, it's highly treatable. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that half a million women each year survive this cancer. About 50,000 women will be diagnosed with it this year.

But here's the thing: about half of all cases of endometrial (uterine) cancer can be traced to obesity. Obese women are two to four times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than those of normal weight.

“We found that after women had bariatric surgery, their risk of uterine cancer plummeted and became the same or perhaps even a little less than in women who were not obese,” the Web site quotes Kristy Wa…

What Makes the Perfect Job? It's Not What You Think

We all strive for balance in our work and home lives but many of us never find it.  Your son’s softball game?  You said you’ll be there, but, oh wait, the boss needs that report before day’s end.  That meeting where you’ll be recognized for your work on that project?  It’s today. But so is your daughter’s dance recital.
We’ve all been there.  Finding the right balance between our job’s requirements, and our home’s, has never been harder. But a new survey by CareerBliss, as reported by, has found some surprising news about the most satisfying jobs in the U.S. today.  Teacher or professor?  You didn’t even make the top 10.
But database administrator, or quality assurance engineer, executive assistant or executive recruiter, underwriter or software developer.  You’re on top of the world. 
These jobs were ranked happiest for many reasons.  For example, database administrators find a lot of freedom and creativity in their work, using specialized software to store and organize dat…