ISSA offers tips for healthy heart

International Sports Sciences Association has offered tips for a healthy heartThe American Heart Month may have ended last week, but a sports association’s healthy heart tips continue to inform and educate about beneficial lifestyle choices.

The International Sports Sciences Association, the only nationally accredited fitness organization that educates and certifies personal trainers, has set out to contribute to raising awareness about heart disease and listed some simple steps that can prevent it.

They include getting 30-60 minutes of exercise each day, healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and oily fish, limited consumption of saturated fats, salt and alcohol, as well as quitting smoking.

Furthermore, people should have regular medical check-ups to get necessary feedback from their physicians that can help them stay on the right track, according to Dr. Sal Arria, CEO of ISSA.

He adds that a supervised cardiovascular fitness program can also be of great benefit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in both women and men in the United States.

In 2009, it is estimated that 785,000 Americans will have a new heart-related coronary attack, and about half a million will have a recurrent attack.
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Organization blasts administration on conscience protections

Family Research Council has blasted administration on conscience protections A Christian organization promoting traditional family values has criticized President Obama for plans to relax the enforcement of the amendments that protect healthcare providers’ right of conscience.

The Family Research Council (FRC) has said that a move against the enforcement of the Church, Coats and Weldon Amendments would be a huge blow to religious freedom and First Amendment rights.

"[For the president to do so would] open the door to discrimination against the choice of healthcare workers who do not want to be complicit in abortion or other controversial practices," Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council wrote in a statement.

He added that relaxing the conscience protection regulation would "result in the government becoming the conscience and not the individual."

This is not the first interest group that has expressed criticism of the new administration’s moves on civil liberties.

In recent days, the National Shooting Sports Foundation responded to a statement by Attorney General Eric Holder that the administration would consider banning semi-automatic rifles by saying that it would have no effect on reducing crime, but would violate gun owners’ constitutional right to own the firearm of their choice.

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Greenspan: Banks need capital for recovery

Alan Greenspan thinks the economy could turn around next yearAlan Greenspan may be currently taking some heat as the man whose policies enabled financial institutions to lend irresponsibly, but he has faith in the U.S. market to recover within the next year – as long as banks receive the capital they need.

In an editorial on the Economist website, the former Federal Reserve chairman blamed the market depression on "fear not experienced since the early 20th century."

To help rebuild the market, Greenspan suggested that "temporary public capital injections" into financial institutions are needed and would be far more effective than "conventional fiscal stimulus."

As investors see more capital on banks’ books, their fear will subside and they will feel confident enough to begin lending to them again, he suggests.

Greenspan also predicted that over the next year, home prices will stabilize, helping banks to accurately judge the relative value of their toxic assets, which will in turn aid economic recovery.

"Human nature being what it is, we can count on a market reversal hopefully within six months to a year," he concludes.

Other economists have not been so hopeful in their forecasts for the U.S. economy, suggesting it could be years before it picks up again.
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Melamine found in cocoa products

Melamine has been uncovered in some cocoa productsThe FDA may have stated that melamine is safe in small doses, but food manufacturers seem to be playing it safe and recalling tainted products.

Melamine, a toxic chemical that has been linked to kidney problems, was discovered in G&J Gourmet Market cocoa products, according to parent company Dorsey Marketing Inc.

The items, which are sold in the U.S. at Big Lots and Shopko, have not caused any known injuries, the firm stated in a news release on the FDA’s website.

"No injuries have been reported and only a few samples have, in fact, been found to include melamine," the statement reads.

The products in question include G&J Hot Cocoa Stuffer, G&J His and Hers Hot Cocoa Set and certain flavors of G&J Cocoa.

Earlier this year, melamine was responsible for sickening and killing babies in China who were consuming the chemical through their baby formula.

There have also been trace amounts found in U.S. baby formula, but the FDA insists that doses are too low to cause any harm to infants.
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Could we be facing another Great Depression?

The economy needs to turn around fastInternational economists are warning that unless the U.S. economy sees signs of a turnaround in the near future, the country could be headed for a deeper recession – or even a depression.

The IMF’s top economist, Olivier Blanchard, told French newspaper Le Monde that the next few months are likely to be "very bad."

"It is imperative to stifle this loss of confidence, to restart household consumption, if we want to prevent this recession developing into a Great Depression," he said, according to Agence France Presse.

His comments come after the U.S. government announced that the country’s economy contracted by 0.5 percent in the third quarter.

If the GDP contracts during the fourth quarter as well, it will embody the traditional definition of a recession – two consecutive quarters of negative growth. There is little doubt that this criteria will be met.

During the third quarter of 2008, personal consumption fell by 3.8 percent, while exports and imports stalled and the construction industry suffered losses.

Gross domestic purchases, which reflect purchases made by Americans for all goods and services regardless of where they were made, also decreased by 1.5 percent, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.
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MRSA found to be common among ER workers

Nurses have one of the highest rates of MRSA infectionTwo recent reports reveal that the rate of MRSA positivity among emergency room workers is more common than previously thought.

The findings, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, indicate that the proportion of ER workers testing positive as MRSA carriers is higher than that of the general population, Reuters Health reports.

In one study, researchers at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Illinois collected nasal swabs from ER personnel and found that 15 percent tested positive.

The other research study, at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Emergency Medicine, discovered that 31.8 percent of nasal cultures were positive for the bug Staphylococcus aureus, while MRSA was present in 4.3 percent of those tested.

Nurses, nursing assistants, and radiology and respiratory technicians were most likely to test positive.

"The varying prevalence among the different healthcare workers was unexpected," lead researcher Dr. Brian P. Suffoletto told the news provider.

Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as many as 2 million people contract an infection in a hospital each year, with around 90,000 dying as a result.
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McConnell to Congress: Take caution before spending taxpayers’ money

Congress has promised a quick stimulus packageSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned Congress not to rush plans for an early 2009 stimulus package, in order to avoid "wasting" taxpayers’ money.

His comments come after one of President-elect Barack Obama’s advisers said that the total cost of an economic stimulus plan could reach $775 billion.

McConnell suggested that instead of immediate consideration, any proposals should be considered for at least a week by Congress and the public due to its enormous price tag.

"As a result, it will require tough scrutiny and oversight. Taxpayers, already stretched to the limit, deserve nothing less," he said.

Meanwhile, Representative John Boehner has also urged Democrats to be cautious about pork-barrel spending during these challenging times.

As an alternative to Obama’s plan to spend on infrastructure, Boehner has suggested increasing the child tax credit for families and cutting the capital gains, small business and corporate taxes.

Democrats said that a stimulus package will be a priority during Obama’s first 100 days in office.
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Natural remedy offers relief of common cold

Natural remedy offers relief of common cold In a climate where pharmaceutical drugs and traditional OTC medications can cause side effects and dangerous interactions, consumers are increasingly looking to alternative and natural products for relief of flu symptoms.

One such product, which is based on a pelargonium extract, has just been made available in the U.S.
Pelargonium sidoides is a medicinal plant native to South Africa that has a proven track record in treating upper respiratory tract infections.

The new product called Zucol is thus naturally safe and clinically proven to shorten the duration and reduce the severity of symptoms associated with the common cold.

Dr. David Riley, a clinical professor at the University of New Mexico Medical School and founder of the Integrative Medical Institute, says that given recent warnings about conventional cough and cold medications, the product provides an attractive alternative.

Side effects associated with some OTC cold remedies include rash, swelling, difficulties breathing, sleep disturbances, stomach bleeding and many other.

In recent months scientists have also issued a warning against using such medications in children under 6 years of age because they may cause dangerous reactions including hallucinations.

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Obama budget unrealistic, says RNC

Obama budget unrealistic, says RNCThe Republican National Committee has blasted the Democratic administration’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal as too lavish and based on unrealistic economic expectations.

Reminding Americans that President Obama promised to produce a budget that honestly accounted for the money the government would spend and would be free of gimmicks and deception, the RNC has set out to warn that the bill does not offer an accurate picture of the country’s financial situation.

Citing a wealth of research, the RNC claims that the economic forecasts in the budget are much higher than private forecasts.

In particular, it emphasizes that in order for the government to reduce the deficit to $600 million by 2012 the economy would have to grow by more than 4 percent a year.

However, most economists believe that it will fall by 2 percent this year and grow by between 2-3 percent during subsequent years.

The RNC also questions Obama’s predictions regarding the future direction of unemployment. While his administration assumes that it will stabilize at 7.9 percent in 2010, the committee cites expert opinions which suggest that it will far exceed 8 percent.

The Republicans have also expressed their dismay at the fact that the budget proposal will increase taxes on businesses and on individuals who make more than $250,000 a year.
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FDA approves drug from genetically engineered material

FDA approves a drug derived from genetically engineered animal milkThe Food and Drug Administration has issued its first approval for a medication that is produced using material from genetically engineered (GE) animals.

ATryn, as the drug is known, is an anticoagulant used for the prevention of blood clots in patients with a rare disease known as hereditary antithrombin (AT) deficiency.

It is formulated as a protein derived from the milk of goats whose genes have been manipulated by introducing a segment of DNA (called a recombinant DNA or rDNA) with instructions to produce human antithrombin in its milk.

Antithrombin naturally occurs in healthy people and prevents blood from clotting.

To preempt the expected criticism from the natural products industry, the FDA quoted scientists from the Center for Veterinary Medicine who said that based on their observations of seven generations of the GE goats they have not discovered any adverse effects from the rDNA or its expression.

According to the National Alliance for Trombosis and Trombophilia, about 1 in 5,000 Americans has AT deficiency, and these patients are at high risk for clotting during surgery and childbirth.

Until now, the only AT drug available in the U.S. was derived from human blood donors.

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