Credit card law includes gun provisions

Credit card law includes gun provisionsPro-gun advocates have praised the law signed by President Obama last Friday that includes a clause which allows guns to be carried in national parks.

As explained by Obama, the main purpose of the legislation is to bring clarity and transparency to the credit card market to protect customers from some of the techniques used by credit card companies such as unexpected fees and interest rate increases.

Among its provisions are a ban on retroactive interest rate hikes and an end to "late-fee traps," such as due dates that fall on weekends or change every month.

The new law is also designed to restrict credit card companies from advertising among and enrolling college students without the knowledge of their parents.

However, the bill also includes a provision that makes it legal to carry concealed and loaded guns and rifles in national parks.

The measure was supported by Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, and endorsed by the National Rifle Association which argued the law would enable law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against acts of violence in the parks.

However, opponents counter by saying it will make the parks less safe.


Scientists eye herb in diabetes treatment

Scientists eye herb in diabetes treatment Diabetes therapy may be in for a breakthrough if a particular type of African tea turns out to be useful in the fight against the debilitating disease, scientists say.

Danish scientists first studied the application of the tea on genetically diabetic mice. The liquid is obtained by boiling the leaves, young stalks and fruit of Rauvolfia vomitoria and Citrus aurantium, and has been used as a treatment in traditional Nigerian medicine.

The animal tests showed that after six weeks of daily consumption, combined with a low-fat diet, the pancreas health improved.

The researchers have recently completed a four-month long clinical test on human patients with type 2 diabetes who drank 750 ml of the tea each day and reported encouraging results.

"The [African tea] appears to differentiate itself from other current type 2 diabetes treatments because [it] does not initially affect the sugar content of the blood," says Joan Campbell-Tofte from the University of Copenhagen.

"But after four months of treatment we can see a significant increase in glucose tolerance," she adds.

The researchers say the patients who drank the tea had higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which make cell membranes more permeable, resulting in better glucose absorption from the blood.

According to the CDC, more than 23 million Americans are affected by diabetes, and between 90 and 95 percent of diagnosed cases involved type 2 diabetes.


GOP abandons push to rename Democratic Party ‘Socialist’

GOP abandons push to rename Democratic Party 'Socialist'After a short but intense campaign by some of its members, the Republican Party has abandoned its call for the Democratic Party to rename itself as the ‘Democrat Socialist Party.’

According to the Associated Press, the move spurred a fight within the GOP ranks that reflected the divide between those who want to take the party in a more centrist direction and those seeking to give it a more conservative tone.

The original resolution provoked criticism from the leadership of the GOP, with committee chairman Michael Steele suggesting the party should focus on criticizing the administration’s policies rather than engaging in "name-calling."

"I’ve been very clear that I don’t think that is an appropriate way to express our views on the issues of the day," he said on Meet the Press.

However, the resolutions supporters are not giving up their quest to draw the nation’s attention to Obama’s policies. Their new resolution urges Democrats to "stop pushing our country towards socialism and government control."

Since last year’s general elections, the Republican Party has been scrambling to find a leader and has been engaged in a debate over its identity at a time when the opposition Democratic Party, which controls both the legislature and the executive, has found an undisputed leader in President Obama.

Insomnia may be treated with traditional Chinese medicine methods

Insomnia may be treated with traditional Chinese medicine methodsWhile sleeping pills may have side effects and cause addiction, proven natural methods have been shown to relieve symptoms of insomnia and restlessness.

In particular, traditional Chinese medicine has been successfully treating insomnia for thousands of years.

According to, one of the most commonly used herbal supplements to treat the disorder is Suanzaorentang, a blend of five herbal extracts including sour jujube seed, Szechuan lovage root, poria, anemarrhena rhizome and licorice root.

It says the blend has been shown to have a sedative effect at higher doses and an anti-anxiety effect at lower doses. It is also believed to promote non-rapid eye movement sleep by stimulating serotonin receptors.

There is a growing awareness, even among Western medicine practitioners, that insomnia is not an isolated condition but is often related to physical and mental disorders, including stress and anxiety.

Hence Chinese health practitioners have also used acupuncture to treat insomnia, applying it to different parts of the body depending on the underlying condition.

Some of the most popular points include Yin-tang, which is located on the forehead between the eyebrows, as well as Shen-men, which is on the ear, according to Natural News.


Doctor: Natural remedies proven to reduce risk of melanoma recurrence

Natural remedies proven to reduce risk of melanoma recurrenceWith the medical community marking the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, one expert has talked about natural approaches to reducing the risk of recurrence of this deadly skin cancer.

Dr. Gary S. Rogers, professor of dermatology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, says that even if you beat melanoma, you have an increased risk of getting another one in the future.

"With melanoma, you can never let your guard down," he emphasizes.

Rogers says melanoma survivors can benefit from eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as legumes, green leafy vegetables, carrots, fish such as salmon, fruits, whole grains and flax seed.

He also recommends adding antioxidant supplements to the daily diet, including beta carotene, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E and fish oils.

There is furthermore evidence that drinking up to two glasses of red wine a day may be helpful due to resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skins of grapes that has potent anti-cancer properties and becomes concentrated in red wine during the fermentation process.


Chernobyl anniversary brings nuclear attack survival into focus

Chernobyl anniversary brings nuclear attack survival into focusAs part of the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster, a conference on thyroid cancer was recently held at the U.N.

It addressed issues related to the increasing cost of healthcare and discussed new cost-effective diagnostic and treatment options.

The conference also served as a reminder that a nuclear explosion, whether accidental or terrorist, is still a possibility, and that people should be prepared to protect themselves in the immediate as well as the longer term from its consequences.

Radioactivity is invisible and does not have any odor. Contrary to popular belief, it does not behave like gas and seep into everything. Rather, it is more like sand carried by the winds, and thus it is hard to predict where it will settle, according to the Canadian Department of National Defense.

Those concerned about a nuclear attack should have a plan for their family’s survival, which includes knowing the warning signal, having a battery-powered radio and locating the nearest shelter ahead of time.

The source also recommends having at least 14 days worth of emergency supplies, including water and non-perishable food in tightly sealed containers, and a first aid kit.

Skills such as an ability to prevent and fight fires as well as knowing how to get rid of radioactive dust are also critical.

The latter involves carefully removing outer clothing before you come inside if you suspect it is covered with radioactive fallout. Do not shake the clothes inside the house or shelter.

If water is available, it is good to wash thoroughly, particularly exposed skin and hair, without scrubbing the skin to avoid rubbing in the radioactive particles.

Hamburg confirmed as head of FDA

Hamburg confirmed as head of FDA The Senate has confirmed Margaret Hamburg to lead the Food and Drug Administration, as the agency finds itself in a crisis on account of recent outbreaks of foodborne illness and drug recalls which prompted accusations of a lack of oversight.

According to the Associated Press, the 53-year-old bioterrorism expert and former assistant health secretary under President Clinton has said the development of a vaccine for the swine flu will be her priority, followed by an overhaul of the food safety system.

The latter will mean a shift from "chasing outbreaks after they have broken out" to preventing them from occurring in the first place.

When the FDA nominations were announced earlier this year, they faced a barrage of criticism from many quarters.

Among the most vocal critics of Hamburg’s nomination was the Catholic League whose president Bill Donohue has denounced her opposition to sex education that stresses abstinence over safe sex.

Meanwhile, the nomination of Joshua Sharfstein as deputy chief of the FDA has invoked bad memories among food, pharmaceutical and medical device groups.

Sharfstein worked under Representative Henry Waxman of California who has been known to be tough on drug companies, including cracking down on medication use for illnesses not approved by the FDA and criticizing pharmaceutical companies for gifts handed out to physicians.

Herbal supplement sales increasing, study says

Herbal supplement sales increasing, study says According to a newly released report, dietary supplement sales in the U.S. increased in 2008, reaching an estimated $4.8 billion.

The report, published in the nonprofit American Botanical Council’s quarterly journal HerbalGram, found the five top-selling herbal supplements of 2008 were flaxseed oil, wheat and barley grass, stevia, aloe vera and milk thistle.

Meanwhile, the top-selling herbal singles of 2008 were cranberry, soy, garlic, saw palmetto and ginkgo.

Mary Ellen Lynch, director of consumer insights for SPINS, a market research firm, and a co-author of the report, suggests there is an opportunity for herbal products to move outside the category and into the mainstream food and beverage market.

"For example, the antioxidant turmeric has this potential due to its link to multiple health benefits that align well to the mainstream consumer’s growing interest in health and wellness," she says.

Others have suggested the escalating costs of health insurance and deteriorating quality of mainstream healthcare are also prompting people to turn to nutritional supplements to manage their health.

NIA predicts precious metals prices will rise

NIA predicts precious metals prices will riseDespite the recent stock market rally and a better-than-expected job market report, the National Inflation Association (NIA) has continued to warn of the dangers of impending inflation.

New Fed estimates suggest the nation’s industrial production fell in April by the smallest amount in six months. This, combined with the fact that April jobs cuts were the fewest since October and the stock market rallied by 33 percent in recent weeks, has prompted some commentators to talk about a cautious economic recovery.

Not so, says NIA. It believes the improving labor market situation is due to the addition of non-productive government jobs, many of them temporary, and the stocks’ rally has been fueled by inflation.

As a result, it encourages Americans to get rid of the dollar and switch to precious metals as the safest way to store and protect wealth.

"In our opinion, the current bubble in the U.S. treasury market is bigger than the dot-com and real estate bubbles at their peaks combined," the organization said in a statement.

"When the U.S. dollar starts to crash, we believe the boom in precious metals will be bigger than the dot-com and real estate booms combined," it added.

Meanwhile, quoting official statistics, Bloomberg has reported consumer prices were unchanged in April as both food and energy costs declined to offset gains elsewhere.

In addition to that, over the past year average prices fell by the largest amount in more than a half-century.

Obama proposes further tax hikes

Obama proposes further tax hikesIn his quest to finance the upcoming healthcare reform, President Obama has said he will propose some $58 billion in new taxes on securities dealers, life insurance products and Americans with valuable estates.

The announcement follows earlier plans to raise as much as $1 trillion in tax revenues over the next decade, the administration’s pledge to go after individuals who may shelter their income in offshore tax havens and to close loopholes allowing U.S. corporations to avoid paying some of their taxes.

Predictably, insiders who represent industries which may be affected by the latest move have expressed their disapproval.

"Seventy-five million American families rely on the products offered by life insurers for their financial and retirement security," said Frank Keating, president of the Washington-based American Council of Life Insurers and the former Republican governor of Oklahoma.

"This is absolutely the wrong time to make it more expensive for families to obtain the security and peace of mind our products provide," he added.

Other recent tax proposals which provoked much criticism include the planned increase in taxes paid by Americans making more than $250,000 which some say will negatively impact the philanthropy sector.