InHealth

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Searching for romance, top 10 men's health websites, and getting in a pickle... in a good way

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 3:29 PM

This is the perfect time to take on an ambitious kitchen project, like making your own beard-and-butter pickles.
  • This is the perfect time to take on an ambitious kitchen project, like making your own beard-and-butter pickles.

Finding romance
Researchers at Northwestern University are stumped. In an effort to effortlessly match up compatible students, they devised a questionnaire looking at more than 100 traits that research says are important in a match — including goals, political persuasion, values, creativity and assertiveness: 350 students filled it out. An algorithm based on their answers was used to predict who would be attracted to who, information the researchers kept to themselves while students participated in 4-minute speed dates.

After the dates, participants rated how attracted they were to others. The bottom line: Romance remains elusive. The algorithm “predicted zero percent of the matches,” says the study’s lead author, who adds, “I no longer have faith in matching algorithms.”


Top 10 men’s health websites
Men could use a little help with their health: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of American adult males are obese, nearly that many have high blood pressure, and more than half don’t meet daily activity guidelines. So the staff at Medical News Today selected 10 worthwhile blogs for men interested in taking charge of their health. Among the top are the well-known Men’s Health blog and some lesser-known offerings, including Bony to Beastly, a blog for guys trying to build muscle and gain weight,  and the Turek Clinics' blog for information on reproductive health and research.


In a pickle... in the best way
With outdoor air unsafe to breathe, this is the perfect time to take on an ambitious kitchen project. And what better way to preserve some of that distantly remembered summer sunshine than in a jar of crunchy pickles? If you’re a little nervous about trying, due to fears of inflicting deadly food poisoning on your family and friends, read about how to safely and efficiently create your own bread-and-butter pickles in the current issue of InHealth.
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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Resilience in the face of disaster, the new diet lowdown, and outdoor Spokane Symphony concerts

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 4:22 PM

How would you react to the kind of natural disaster that these Houston residents are facing this week? It's important to develop coping skills to contend not just with hurricanes and floods, but all the difficult situiations life throws at us. - THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • The New York Times
  • How would you react to the kind of natural disaster that these Houston residents are facing this week? It's important to develop coping skills to contend not just with hurricanes and floods, but all the difficult situiations life throws at us.

Being resilient
Ever wondered how you’d fare in a disaster situation like the scene that’s unfolding in East Texas? There are lots of reasons (think Windstorm 2016) to have emergency preparedness kits on hand and a plan in place in case disaster strikes. But it is also important to develop coping skills to contend not just with natural disasters, but also the difficult things that life throws at us, individually and collectively. Here are some tips on practicing resilience.


The new lowdown on diet
In the latest “definitive” research on what your diet should look like, there may be some good news for those who haven’t followed the previous “definitive” research on what your diet should look like.

Two new studies — big ones, using data collected from 135,335 people from 18 countries, aged 35 to 70, over the course of more than seven years — have produced some surprising results.

More fat may be better: The first study considered the effect of fat in the diet. Diets that included a moderate amount of fat (about 35 percent of total calories) and a relatively low amount of carbohydrates were linked with a reduced risk of mortality as compared to lower fat diets. And in contrast, diets high in carbohydrates were associated with a higher risk of mortality.

More cooked peas and broccoli may not be better: The second study looked at fruit and vegetable consumption. Researchers found three to four servings of fruits and vegetables a day were optimal, with additional servings offering minimal benefits. Fruits and raw vegetables were especially beneficial as compared to cooked vegetables. Note that juices, potatoes and legumes weren’t considered as servings in the study.

Both studies were published this week in the British medical journal The Lancet.


Symphony outdoors
Here’s the deal: Music is good for you. Getting outdoors is good for you. Mingling with your neighbors is good for you. Combine them all for a smashingly excellent ending to the summer with the Spokane Symphony’s annual Labor Day concerts.

Sat, Sept. 2 at 6 pm at Pavillion Park, Liberty Lake • Mon, Sept. 4 at 6 pm at Comstock Park, Spokane • Free • spokanesymphony.org • 624-1200 • Free
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Teens, smartphones and depression, experts recommend parenting books, and reasons to consider supplements

Posted By on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:19 PM

"Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy," according to a new article in The Atlantic.
  • "Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy," according to a new article in The Atlantic.

Feeling gloomy? Put down the phone!
The Atlantic features a story in its September issue (also available online) on the perils of smartphones in the hands of teens and younger kids. The conclusions are grim: "Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen [young people born between 1995 and 2012] as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones ... The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy. There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness."

Before throwing the phones into the lake, read about ideas for moderating screen time in InHealth.


Time to hit the books, parents
One this is clear: all this smoky air has curtailed our outdoor fun. While the kids reluctantly zero in on those summer reading assignments, parents can also learn some new tricks of the trade. Check out parenting books recommended by experts right here in the Inland Northwest in the latest issue of InHealth.


Should you take vitamin and mineral supplements?
Americans spend more than $30 billion on supplements each year, according to the latest research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many of those supplements aren't useful; some may even be harmful. But there are reasons to consider a supplement. The team at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter offers some advice.
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

New issue out now, West Nile virus arrives in North Idaho, and (surprise!) marijuana helps you mellow out

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 2:43 PM

The first case of local transmission of West Nile virus has occurred in Kootenai County, according to officials with the Panhandle Health District. "The virus was likely acquired through local mosquitoes,” says the PHD's Dave Hylsky.
  • The first case of local transmission of West Nile virus has occurred in Kootenai County, according to officials with the Panhandle Health District. "The virus was likely acquired through local mosquitoes,” says the PHD's Dave Hylsky.

New issue on stands now!
Ready to take on a challenge and learn something new? Read about Taking the Plunge and shaking up your routine in this issue of InHealth.


West Nile virus arrives in Kootenai County
The first-ever case of local transmission of West Nile virus has been recorded in Kootenai County, say officials with the Panhandle Health District. “While several cases of West Nile virus are reported each summer, all previously reported human cases have been directly related to travel outside the region. "In this case, the virus was likely acquired through local mosquitoes,” Dave Hylsky, PHD staff epidemiologist, explained in a news release. “It’s imperative that people take extra precautions to protect themselves.”

That includes using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and using window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of living areas.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What you need to know about West Nile virus.


Marijuana mellow

A WSU study has confirmed what many may already have surmised: using marijuana blunts the body’s stress response.

In a study of 40 daily marijuana users and 42 non-users, the non-users showed increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva when subjected to a laboratory-simulated stressful situation, while regular users showed no such increase.

“How do researchers provoke stress?” you may ask. Here’s how: They had subjects place their hands in ice cold water and count backward from 2043 by 17s, all the while giving them “negative verbal feedback” and showing the whole scenario live on a video screen.

So is the lack of a stress response good or bad? Researchers don’t yet know.

“Cannabis might have benefits in conferring resilience to stress, particularly in individuals who already have heightened emotional reactivity to stressful situations,” according to a WSU news release. Or it could be detrimental, when the body needs to mobilize its resources and deal with actual threats.
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Friday, July 28, 2017

More help, not more stuff; Medicaid director's husband doesn't accept it; aiding local women and children in crisis

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 12:17 PM

Dr. Seema Verna, right, the top U.S. official overseeing Medicaid, doesn't have to look for to find a doctor who won't accept Medicaid payments — her husband, Dr. Sanjay Mishra, left, a child psychiatrist in Indiana.
  • Dr. Seema Verna, right, the top U.S. official overseeing Medicaid, doesn't have to look for to find a doctor who won't accept Medicaid payments — her husband, Dr. Sanjay Mishra, left, a child psychiatrist in Indiana.

Help wanted

More stuff doesn’t seem to make people happier. But buying time just might. A Harvard study found that “paying to delegate household chores like cleaning and cooking is linked to greater life satisfaction.”

Read more about local families embracing the concept of fewer material possessions, and finding greater life satisfaction in the process.


Kids struggling
The current director of Medicaid, Seema Verma, has up-close knowledge of health care since her husband is a doctor. A child psychiatrist in Carmel, Indiana, Dr. Sanjay Mishra’s practice treats plenty of patients, just not any who are receiving Medicaid. Some kids in his hometown in need of help have had to travel long distances to find a provider willing to accept Medicaid payment.

Nationwide, there’s a shortage of mental health care providers, particularly for children, and a substantial percentage of them turn down Medicaid patients, saying reimbursement is too low, leading to long wait times and lengthy travel for children who are already suffering, according to Kaiser Health News.

“It would be better if Seema Verma’s husband were to accept Medicaid, not just for the appearance of supporting the program his wife oversees, but to increase access by one more provider,” said Paul Gionfriddo, CEO of Mental Health America, an advocacy group.

Read more about the shortage of mental health providers for children in the Inland Northwest in InHealth.


Win-win!

Drop off some much-appreciated toiletries and hygiene items at the Helping Hands Fundraiser at North Church Spokane, 8303 N. Division, on Saturday from 8:30 am to 4 pm. The items are destined for the Union Gospel Mission Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter. Bonus! There’s a yard sale, raffle, and more than 40 vendor booths for some fun shopping while you’re there.
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Strategies to delay dementia, more benefits of fruits and veggies, and checking out Camaros for a good cause

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 1:11 PM

New research shows that people who ate two additional servings of fruits and vegetables per day experienced "a boost in motivation and vitality."
  • New research shows that people who ate two additional servings of fruits and vegetables per day experienced "a boost in motivation and vitality."

Remember this!

For the first time, scientists are endorsing some health strategies to reduce the risk for dementia and age-related cognitive decline. The catch? People should ideally start doing these things in their 40s, long before any signs of trouble. So what are the recommendations? 1) Control high blood pressure. This is more effective in preventing Alzheimer’s than age-related memory decline; 2) Get enough exercise. How much and what kind is still being debated, but walking 20 minutes a day may be enough to do the trick; and 3) Strive to get ongoing mental stimulation. “There’s growing evidence that the ways in which your brain is challenged all through your life matter,” says one researcher.

What’s out? There’s no evidence that supplements containing ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, or computer-based cognitive games or apps are effective deterrents.


Wanna get motivated?
Spend the next two weeks upping your daily intake of fruits and veggies, and you just might get a little more oomph in your step. Research shows that people who ate two additional fruit and vegetable servings per day experienced “a boost in motivation and vitality” in just 14 days. The study was conducted on 171 18-to-25-year-old students who were either told to eat their normal diet; personally handed two additional servings of fruits and vegetables each day; or given prepaid purchase vouchers and texted reminders to eat more fresh stuff.

Only the group that was physically handed more fruit showed improved psychological well-being; they were also the only group that actually consumed the most additional fruit and vegetables. No group showed improvement in depression or anxiety measures. Two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables are the USDA's current daily diet recommendation.

Check out great veggie recipes in the current issue of InHealth!


Cars and good causes
Head out to Mirabeau Park Meadows in Spokane Valley on Saturday to see a lot of shiny Chevy Camaros in one place. This year’s Inland Northwest Camaro Club Open Auto Show celebrates the club’s 50th anniversary and marks the show's 27th year. It’s free to look, $20 to enter a car. Proceeds benefit Spokane Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant, Coats4Kids, Hospice of Spokane and the Spokane Humane Society.

13500 Mirabeau Pkwy., Saturday, July 22 from 9 am to 4 pm.


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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spokane hantavirus death, hot times for your doggies and more

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 1:47 PM

It's the season for preventing heat-related injuries to your dogs.
  • It's the season for preventing heat-related injuries to your dogs.

Hantavirus death

The Spokane Regional Health District announced Thursday that a Spokane County man in his 50s died from complications of hantavirus, the disease spread by deer mice excrement and saliva. “We want to acknowledge how tragic this unexpected death must be for this man’s family and friends,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane Regional Health District health officer in a statement. “Although the reality is this type of death is rare in our area, we need to balance it with a message of precaution.”

The man is suspected to have come into contact with the virus in an Adams County barn. Health officials say precautions should be taken when cleaning or working in barns, sheds, warehouses and “summer cabins that have not been occupied.”

The health district has detailed instructions on cleaning up mice poop. Here’s the gist of it: Vacuuming is a no-no as it may make the virus airborne; to be really safe you have to open windows to air out the space for at least 30 minutes. Then don a half-face H.E.P.A.- filter air-purifying respirator, long sleeved work clothes and rubber gloves. Spray the affected area with a diluted bleach mixture, wait 30 minutes and clean up the droppings using paper towels and rubber gloves.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Playing it safe around the water this summer, new doctors face challenges, and solving a magical mystery in mother's milk

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 4:08 PM

Play it safe this summer: Keep an eye on your kids when it comes to kiddie pools, big pools, lakes — even bathtubs. - SWIMMINGPOOL.COM
  • SwimmingPool.com
  • Play it safe this summer: Keep an eye on your kids when it comes to kiddie pools, big pools, lakes — even bathtubs.

Swim safely this summer!

Sunny skies, perfect temperatures, and the weekend is in sight. Nothing sounds better than a day of boating, floating or swimming under cloudless skies. But for all the thousands of Pinterest-worthy summer outings, there are inevitably a few stories — and even one is too many — of summer fun gone desperately wrong. Drowning is the most common cause of death among 1-to-5-year-olds, writes Dr. Matt Thompson in a recent issue of InHealth. "What does that mean for parents? Be paranoid when it comes to bathtubs, kiddie pools, big pools and lakes. Use life jackets liberally and make sure they keep your kid afloat, should he or she lose consciousness."

The Spokane Regional Health district offers a coupon for a 25 percent discount on life jackets at area Big 5 sporting goods stores, as well as all kinds of tips on swimming safety. Remember: Drowning can be silent and swift, occurring in as little as 30 seconds.


New docs on call
The big day is almost here. On July 1, new interns will take to the halls of hospitals across America. These newly minted doctors will face many challenges — from breaking bad news to patients to battling insurance companies. And often, they'll be doing it all on very little sleep. New guidelines allow interns to work up to 28 hours in a row. Read about the wisdom behind the system in InHealth.


Magical mystery milk
Why in the world would human mother's milk contain multiple, highly specific, energy-filled compounds, called human milk oligosaccharides, that babies aren't even able to digest? Scientists puzzling over this mystery have reached a surprising answer, says the New Yorker. The compounds — which are the third-most abundant ingredient in breast milk, after lactose and fats — aren't there to directly nourish the baby at all; they're there to nourish one particular gut microbe called B. infantis. It's an interaction that may have long-term impacts on the baby's immune system and brain development.

Read more in the latest issue of InHealth.
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ProPublica exposes Big Pharma ripoff, Complete Eats rewards healthy choices, and dealing with hoops-related injuries

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 3:43 PM

Washington's Department of Health and Safeway have teamed up on a new program, called Complete Eats, that rewards healthy food choices by offering $5 rebates on $10 qualifying purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables. - WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
  • Washington State Department of Health
  • Washington's Department of Health and Safeway have teamed up on a new program, called Complete Eats, that rewards healthy food choices by offering $5 rebates on $10 qualifying purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ripped off by Big Pharma
Say you’re a big pharmaceutical company looking for a way to make some fast cash. How about combining two over-the-counter medications, available to consumers for about $40 a month, into a new “specialty” medication that gets billed to insurance at more than $3,000 for a month’s supply? It happened, and the drug earned the company, Horizon Pharma, $455 million in sales. You won’t want to miss this installment in ProPublica’s series on wasteful spending in health care.


Healthy eating rewards
Safeway is teaming up to offer $5 rebates on $10 qualifying purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables for participants in the Washington State Department of Health's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The new program, called Complete Eats, is aimed at rewarding healthy choices. “We are pleased to partner with Safeway to help our most vulnerable kids and families get fresh, accessible and healthful foods,” said state Secretary of Health John Wiesman in a statement. “Complete Eats exemplifies how much we can achieve when government and private industry work together.”

Read more about helping kids get a healthy diet in the current issue of InHealth!


Hoopin’ it up

As the ballers take to downtown Spokane's streets this weekend, there will be a lot of fun, but also some unfortunate ankle sprains, finger jams, and cuts. Here are tips on how to cope.


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Friday, June 16, 2017

Investigating the 'wanderlust gene,' a perfect storm for allergies, and the return of Summer Parkways

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 11:35 AM

Summer Parkways returns to Manito and Comstock Parks on Wednesday, June 21. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Summer Parkways returns to Manito and Comstock Parks on Wednesday, June 21.

Traveling genes
Ever feel an near-unstoppable urge to hit the highway? To take that freeway exit for no good reason other than to see where it goes? A desire to explore faraway lands? That almost primal call to travel may actually be in your genes. A “wanderlust gene” — DRD4-7R — has been identified in about 20 percent of the population, and is more prominent in North and South American populations; in other words, people whose ancestors have immigrated to new lands. In a report in Conde Nast Traveler, biologist Dawn Masler notes that the wanderlust gene affects dopamine levels in the brain: “Dopamine is the 'liking' hormone, and when you want to get more, it doesn’t sate you — you get hooked.”

Taking advantage of the ever-expanding knowledge of our genetic make-up is the goal of a new form of medicine being dubbed “scientific wellness.” How does knowledge of our DNA impact the way health care is delivered now, and what does the future hold?

Read about it in the new issue of InHealth.


Gesundheit!
Our weird spring weather has created a perfect storm for allergies: tree pollens were delayed by the cool, wet spring, and are now overlapping with grass pollens. “For people who aren’t allergic, this means a gritty sensation in the eyes, nose and throat. For those who are allergic, they’ve got an intense concentration of tree and grass pollen giving them cold-like symptoms,” says Tim Kohlhauff of WSU’s extension program in Spokane. A WSU news release reports the situation may start to improve when tree pollinating ends in late June; grass pollination continues through mid-July.


Summer Parkways returns

Mark your calendar for next Wednesday’s Summer Parkways in Manito and Comstock parks, a glorious, once-a-year glorious when roads are closed to traffic and filled with bikes, skaters and other human-powered transportation. Neighbors enjoying al fresco dining on their front porches, as well as information booths lining the route, add to the festive atmosphere.
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