Elderly Need Monitoring During Cold Spells

CHICAGO (UPI) — Cold icy weather affects people — especially the elderly, sick or frail — even if they don’t venture outdoors, a Chicago emergency medicine physician said.

 

 

 

Dr. David Zich, an internal medicine and emergency medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said when there is a blast of cold weather, people should check on neighbors and elderly relatives.

 

 

 

Colder weather can put the elderly at higher risk for health problems and restrict them to their homes due to severe weather, he said.

 

 

 

When sub-zero temperatures occur, be sure to check on elderly neighbors and relatives to make sure their home is adequately heated and they have the necessary food, medications and other items they need, and perhaps offer to put out their garbage.

 

 

 

The household chore of taking out the trash has led to elderly people slipping on ice, falling and being stuck outdoors for hours. The same fate is possible for anyone, so taking a cellphone or a personal emergency alert button along is recommended.

 

 

 

Zich said more home fires occur during the winter months than any other time of year. Take the proper precautions by having your furnace checked, your chimney inspected, and proper smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed.

 

 

 

Make sure all electrical heaters are away from flammable materials, and that combustion heaters are well-vented and working properly, Zich said.

Don’t Drink Coffee Before Snow Shoveling

CHICAGO (UPI) — As with any physical activity, the body must warm up so ease into snow shoveling, try not to do it all at once and take breaks, a U.S. cardiologist says.

 

 

 

Dr. Charles Davidson, clinical chief of cardiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and medical director at Northwestern’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, said before snow shoveling eat a small meal to provide a source of energy.

 

 

 

However, digestion puts strain on the heart, so eating a large meal before any physical activity should be avoided. Additionally, alcohol and caffeine should also be avoided just prior to shoveling, Davidson said.

 

 

 

The body needs hydration, even in cold weather. When shoveling snow, take frequent breaks and drink water regularly to prevent dehydration, Davidson advised.

 

 

 

“Don’t pick up too much: Large loads of snow can be heavy and place strain on the heart, back and neck,” Davidson said in a statement. “Push, instead of lift, and use a small shovel, which encourages smaller loads of snow.”

 

 

 

Cold temperatures reduce circulation to the body’s extremities so wear weather-appropriate, layered clothing and gloves to maintain body temperature and circulation, Davidson said.

 

Solo Rock/Pop Stars Apt To Die Early

LIVERPOOL, England (UPI) — Successful solo rock/pop stars are about twice as likely to die early as those in equally famous bands, British researchers found.

 

 

 

The researchers said despite considerable wealth, rock and pop stars suffer higher levels of mortality than demographically matched individuals in the general population.

 

 

 

Previous studies had not considered whether such mortality risks in stars vary with the characteristics of the performer or whether the cause of death may be related to experiences predating fame.

 

 

 

The study included 1,489 North American and European rock and pop stars over a 50-year period from 1956, when Elvis Presley was on top, to 2006, when Regina Spektor, The Arctic Monkeys and Snow Patrol were hot.

 

 

 

During the study period, 9.2 percent of famous rock/pop stars died. The average age of death was 45 for North American stars and 39 from Europe, the study found.

 

 

 

The study found a gap in life expectancy between rock and pop stars and the general population widened consistently until 25 years after fame was achieved, after which death rates began to approach those of the general population — but only for European stars.

 

 

 

Solo performers were around twice as likely to die early as those in a band, irrespective of whether they were European or North American.

 

 

 

The findings suggest peer support offered by band mates might be protective, the researchers said.

 

 

 

The study, published online in the journal British Medical Journal Open, was conducted by Mark Bellis, Karen Hughes, Olivia Sharples, Katherine Hardcastle of the Centre for Public Health, University of Liverpool, in England, and Katherine A Hardcastle, Department of Health, Manchester, England.

U.S. Pediatricians Call For Daily Recess

CHICAGO (UPI) — Young children and adolescents should get a daily recess in addition to physical education in school to promote physical activity, U.S. pediatricians say.

A policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “The Crucial Role of Recess in Schools,” said safe and properly supervised recess offers children cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits.

“Recess should be used as a complement to physical education classes, not a substitute, and whether it’s spent indoors or outdoors, recess should provide free, unstructured play or activity,” the statement said.

“Yet recent surveys and studies indicated a trend toward reducing recess to accommodate additional time for academic subjects in addition to its withdrawal for punitive or behavioral reasons.”

The AAP recommended recess should never be withheld as a punishment, because it serves as a fundamental component of development and social interaction that students may not receive in a more complex school environment.

Study authors concluded that minimizing or eliminating recess could negatively affect academic achievement, as growing evidence links recess to improved physical health, social skills and cognitive development.

The statement was published online and is scheduled to be published in the January issue of Pediatrics.

Most Don’t Know Glaucoma Not Preventable

ST. LOUIS (UPI) — The American Eye-Q consumer survey on eye health indicates 90 percent of U.S. respondents say glaucoma is preventable but it isn’t.

 

 

 

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States but awareness is relatively low. The American Optometric Association’s American Eye-Q survey indicated 86 percent of those asked didn’t know what part of vision glaucoma affects — deterioration to peripheral vision making it hard to see.

 

 

 

Seventy-two percent of respondents said glaucoma has early warning signs — it does not — but only an exam that dilates the eyes can show whether a person is at risk.

 

 

 

Regular eye exams are the first line of defense for early detection of glaucoma, which is treatable, officials at the American Optometric Association said.

 

 

 

The disease often strikes without pain or other symptoms, so it is crucial for patients to receive a dilated eye exam where their eye doctor can thoroughly examine the pressure and nerves inside the eyes for potential signs of the disease.

 

 

 

Eighty-six percent of American Eye-Q respondents said they were unaware a person’s race places them at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. The Glaucoma Research Foundation said glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African-Americans than Caucasians. Other risk factors include those who have a family history of glaucoma, hypothyroidism, people age 60 and older, or individuals who have had severe eye trauma.

 

 

 

The survey of 1,009 U.S. adults was created and conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates May 9-16. Margin of error at 95 percent confidence level.

Parliament Shells Out $130,000 On Costumes

LONDON (UPI) — Freedom of Information requests by The Sun revealed Britain’s Parliament spent more than $130,000 in taxpayer money on ceremonial garments for officials.

 

 

 

The newspaper said some of the outfits for officials such as the Sergeant at Arms cost more than $8,100 apiece.

 

 

 

The Sun said news of the spending on ceremonial garments — which include tailor-made breeches, court coats, waistcoats, lace cuffs, wing collars, men’s tights, gloves, braces and wigs — comes amid spending cuts and tax increases in the country.

 

 

 

John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said the public is unlikely to be pleased with the news.

 

 

 

“Huge bills for ceremonial dress won’t go down well with families feeling the pinch,” he said.

Crepe Company Spills Classified Info

PARIS (UPI) — A crepe manufacturer in France spilled the beans on the defense minister’s classified visit to Afghanistan, saying he would be taking its products with him.

 

 

 

The exact date of Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s visit to soldiers in Afghanistan was being kept secret for security reasons until crepe manufacturer Paysan Breton and parent company Laita posted a news release revealing the exact date of the visit and saying Le Drain would be taking the company’s crepes to the troops, France24 reported Monday.

 

 

 

“Mr. Le Drian has chosen to give our soldiers a gift of Laita pancakes, an authentically Breton product,” the news release stated.

 

 

 

The news release opened the company to a flood of criticism.

 

 

 

“Of course it’s hardly a secret that a senior member of the government would visit the troops for New Year’s Eve,” said Francois Gere of the French Institute of Strategic Analysis. “But publicizing it in this way can only serve to heighten the risk, even if it a small one. It is also completely inappropriate for a company to align its branding with a government minister in this way.”

Cities Vie For Ponce De Leon Title

MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. (UPI) — Two Florida cities are battling for the title of conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon’s 16th century landing spot ahead of the event’s 500th anniversary.

 

 

 

Organizers of festivities in St. Augustine and Melbourne Beach, cities 144 miles apart that both bear state signs declaring them “possible” landing spots for Juan Ponce de Leon when he first visited and named “La Florida” April 3, 5013, are claiming evidence for their city’s claim to being the conquistador’s landing spot, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

 

 

 

Organizers of 500th anniversary celebrations in St. Augustine, which was founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565 and holds the title of North America’s oldest continuously inhabited city, is planning “Viva 500″ celebrations all year long, including a visit from Santiago Baeza Benavides, the mayor of Santervas, de Leon’s Spanish hometown.

 

 

 

St. Augustine has long claimed de Leon landed at a beach about 15 miles north of the city.

 

 

 

However, organizers of rival celebrations in Melbourne Beach say evidence suggests de Leon made his landing near their city.

 

 

 

Douglas Peck, 94, a retired Air Force engineer and history buff, attempted in 1990 to retrace de Leon’s sailing path from Puerto Rico to Florida.

 

 

 

“From my reconstructed track I found that Ponce de Leon’s anchorage and landing after discovering Florida and the North American continent were about 28 degrees north latitude and 89 degrees, 29 minutes west longitude, which is below Cape Canaveral and a short distance south of Melbourne Beach. I do not say that this is the exact spot, but I place the accuracy within five to eight nautical miles either side of this fix,” he wrote in the Florida Historical Quarterly.

 

 

 

Michael Francis, a Spanish-Florida scholar in St. Petersburg, said he is not convinced by either city’s claims.

 

 

 

“Honestly,” Francis said, “why don’t we just say Ponce landed somewhere between St. Augustine and Melbourne Beach? Why don’t we celebrate all over Florida? I don’t understand the competition.”

Sonar-Equipped Boats Could Solve Mysteries

SEATTLE (UPI) — The head of a Seattle submarine rental company said the wreckage of lost planes such as Navy Flight 19 and Amelia Earhart’s can be found — for the right price.

Stockton Rush, chief executive officer of OceanGate, based in Seattle, said his company’s small submarine equipped with sophisticated sonar recently discovered the wreckage of a World War II era Navy Hellcat fighter in 240 feet of water off the coast of Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday.

Rush said the submarine could find the wreckage of Flight 19, a Navy squadron that vanished after taking off from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1945, and the plane piloted by Amelia Earhart, who attempted to fly around the world after taking off from Miami in 1937 in a Lockheed Model 10 Electra, if someone was willing to shell out the “possibly hundreds of millions” of dollars such a search would require.

“The technology to find those planes exists,” Rush said. “It’s really a question of, is it worth the investment?”

Frank Cantelas, head marine archaeologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, said the organization’s 224-foot Okeanas Explorer would have a good chance of finding the wrecks if it was assigned to the search.

“If you pick a good survey area, sonar makes the likelihood of discovery a little better,” he said.

Wine Industry Relies On Water-Witching

CERES, Calif. (UPI) — Marc Mondavi, a California winery operator, has a new vocation, water-witching, and is called upon to find ground water for local wineries, using copper rods.

“You either have it or you don’t,” Mondavi, 58, says of the skill that takes him to neighboring vineyards in northern California to find places, without the aid of science, to dig industrial-size wells. “If you have it, you have to take time to develop it.”

Although no scientific evidence exists to support the practice of using sticks or metal rods to divine the presence of underground water, dowsing, or water witching, has been used since the 15th century, and is still a common practice in rural America, the San Francisco Chronicle said Monday.

“Some water exists under the Earth’s surface almost everywhere. This explains why many dowsers are successful,” a statement from the U.S. Geological Survey says.

Mondavi, whose late uncle, Robert, made California wine famous and, with his brother Robert Jr., is responsible for day-to-day operation of the Charles Krug Winery, has become the local industry’s go-to person for finding water.

After saying, “Find water,” to two copper rods he was holding, Mondavi walked down a row of grape vines, until the rods began to move, then crossed over each other, the newspaper said.

“Here,” Mondavi said. “Here is where you’ll find water.”

“I don’t know how he does it, and I’m not going to learn,” said John Franzia, whose Bronco Wine Co. in Ceres, Calif., has employed Mondavi to find water. “I’m a believer, because I have water.”