Smaller Wine Glasses Could Help You Drink a Bit Less

If you’re trying to cut back on the amount of wine you drink, the solution may be as simple as using a smaller glass.

A study was conducted by the University of Cambridge at a British restaurant/bar over a 16-week period. During that time, researchers tracked customers’ wine orders, while changing the size of the restaurant’s wine glasses every two weeks. Sizes alternated between a 10-ounce size (which is standard at most restaurants), 12-ounce size (a bit bigger) and 8-ounce size (a bit smaller).

The amount of wine served in each glass remained the same – about 5.9 ounces or 175 milliliters. Results showed that when the wine was sold in the larger 12-ounce size, the restaurant sold 9.4% more wine than when it was sold in the standard 10-ounce glasses. Unfortunately, findings related to the 8-ounce glass size were inconclusive, according to researchers.

However, the study’s lead researcher, Rachel Pechey, who works in the University of Cambridge’s Behavior and Health Research unit, said a conclusion could be made. By increasing the size of wine glasses, people drink more – even though the amount of wine in the glasses remained the same. While the reasoning behind this is certainly not obvious, it could be that larger glasses change peoples’ perceptions about the amount of wine in front of them – causing them to drink quickly, and then go for another glass.

Similar, separate studies suggest that other environmental factors can affect the amount of alcohol consumed. For someone pouring his or her own glass, a wider glass was linked with more wine being poured. If someone holds his or her own glass vs. pouring the wine into a glass on the table, he or she is more likely to pour a larger amount.

Theresa Marteau, who directs the research unit at the University, suggests that people can limit the amount of wine they are drinking by using smaller glasses. She said that more research is needed in order to substantiate this idea, however.

If further research validates the study, there could be interesting ways to implement changes in restaurants – such as making it a requirement for wine glasses to be within a certain size.

The study’s findings revealed similar results by the same group of researchers who analyzed the size of plates and utensils in regards to the amount of food people consume (the size of plate can indeed affect how much someone eats). Even the color of a plate can affect the taste of food, other studies suggest.

Survey Reveals Substantial Support to Raise Smoking Age in U.S.

A recent survey shows significant support behind raising the minimum age for tobacco purchases across the nation. An increased legal age could lead to a significant drop in the smoking rate, according to a National Academy of Medicine report conducted in 2015. If the legal age is upped only a few years, to 21, the nation could experience a 12% decrease in smoking.

By increasing the age and essentially restricting tobacco usage, it’s inevitable that fewer Americans will take up smoking altogether – by not starting. If fewer adolescents start smoking, they’ll be much less likely to smoke as adults, preventing common tobacco-related side effects like cancer and heart disease.

The survey, which polled 4,800 adult Americans across all regions of the United States, asked participants if they were in support of raising the legal age to 19, 20, or 21. The majority of participants said yes – they were in favor of the change – and support even spanned across political parties. Dr. Adam Goldstein, lead researcher from the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Center, said most Americans can agree to the age change, regardless of their political stance.

When pollsters further analyzed the results, they noticed that women, Hispanics, non-whites, non-smokers, and participants older than 21 were more likely to support the age increase.

Responses varied in different parts of the country, but overall, the majority of states support raising the minimum legal age. 73% of people surveyed in 4 states in the south (including Texas and Louisiana) were in favor of the change, while 59% of participants in the Midwestern region (including Iowa and Kansas) were supporters. Dr. Goldstein is encouraged by the findings. He believes that policy makers can use the data to make advancements in their states – now that they know the public is in support of the change.

The increased legal age is already active in some states, like Hawaii, which upped the tobacco sales age to 21 on January 1st. New York City has increased their age as well, while many other cities are beginning to follow suit. Goldstein believes the survey data will increase momentum and help to motivate lawmakers. And, already, smoking rates are dropping. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported a 2% decrease in smoking rate from 2014 to 2015. This may not sound like a big change, but it’s the largest decline the nation has seen in over 20 years. 

Drawing Blood Without Needles Could Become Standard for Care

A small San Francisco start up called Velano Vascular is garnering attention lately for its fully FDA-approved device called a PIVO, which draws blood through IVs already inserted in patients.

The PIVO, derived from “peripheral intravenous catheter,” would mean relief for inpatients who need daily blood draws – oftentimes requiring more than one poke if veins are problematic. Chief innovation officer of Intermountain Healthcare Todd Dunn said the device offers compassion for patients, and he recommends it become the new standard of care. Intermountain Healthcare, a hospital system in Utah that contains 22 centers, is studying the device.

Velano Vascular’s co-founder, 39-year-old Pitou Devgon, M.D., first considered the invention while hearing complaints from an elderly patient who was upset at the constant poking of needles for blood draws. After a full week in the hospital, bruises on her arms revealed her discomfort. When she already had an IV, she asked, what was the point of more needles?

Devgon slowly realized an idea the elderly patient helped bring to light – a tube that inserts into the existing, larger IV tube that is specifically for drawing blood. While the IV catheter is unable to draw fluids out of a patient, it works well to inject fluids into a patient. The PIVO allows for a clean blood draw, and is thrown away afterwards. Devgon was eventually introduced to Eric Stone, fellow co-founder of Velano and a health-care entrepreneur, who helped bring his idea to life.

Many children’s hospitals are attracted to the device, as children tend to have an extreme fear of needles, and PIVO could give them a more pain-free hospital experience. PIVO was granted funding from the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, a unit of the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Griffin Hospital in Connecticut are also supporting Velano financially.

With the additional support of institutional investors such as Safeguard Scientifics, along with the support of individuals like Becton Dickenson (one of the largest needle manufacturers in the world), Velano has received $8.5 million in funding.

For Stone, developing the PIVO was personal. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 25 years ago, and spent many days and nights having blood drawn in hospitals. He believes that the PIVO will become a new standard of care, and will come in contact with every patient who exists at some point in their lives. 

The Best Techniques for Getting Babies to Sleep

Researchers recently tested common techniques for improving babies’ sleep, and found that both are effective and lead to no long-term risks or developmental complications.

The researchers focused on two common sleep methods: “graduated extinction” and “bedtime fading.” Graduated extinction is also called “controlled crying,” and involves letting babies soothe themselves to sleep without intervening every time they cry. Bedtime fading involves pushing back a baby’s bedtime so that they fall asleep more quickly.

Results show that both techniques helped babies fall asleep more quickly, and controlled crying helped babies sleep more soundly with fewer disruptions throughout the night.

Even more significantly, the researchers discovered that neither sleep technique negatively affected the babies’ emotional development or their ability to socially and emotionally bond with their parents. These results are important, because many parents hesitate to use sleep techniques for fear of upsetting their child or damaging the child’s development.

Controlled crying in particular worries parents, because it requires parents to ignore their baby’s cries so the child can learn to self-soothe. Many parents express concern that this technique will cause emotional damage or cause their child to have attachment issues. However, the research team in this recent sleep study suggest that these worries are unfounded.

The study included 43 babies aged 6-16 months and their parents. According to the parents, all of the babies had problems sleeping. Researchers divided the parents into three groups: one group was told to practice controlled crying, one group practiced bedtime fading, and the third acted as a control and changed nothing about their babies’ sleep habits.

Parents in the controlled crying group were instructed to wait a few minutes before responding to their baby’s nighttime cries. After waiting, parents could comfort their baby but not pick up or hold the child. The parents gradually increased the wait time between hearing their child’s cries and responding.

Parents in the bedtime fading group were told to push back their baby’s bedtime by 15 minutes for a few nights. If the baby continued to have trouble falling asleep, the parents could push the bedtime back an additional 15 minutes.

After three months, researchers found that the babies in the training groups fell asleep an average of 10 to 13 minutes faster than the babies in the control group. The control group babies experienced little to no change in their sleep habits.

The researchers also found that babies in the controlled crying group woke up only once or twice per night by the end of the study. When the study began, the babies in this group were waking up an average of three times per night.

The sleep training also had positive effects on stress levels for the babies and their mothers. Moms in the study experienced a decline in their stress levels after one month. Babies in the sleep training groups also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to the control group, according to saliva samples taken by the researchers.

The study also tested for the possibility of any long-term negative effects of the sleep training techniques. A year after the study began, children from all three groups showed similar emotional and behavioral development, as well as attachment to their parents.  The researchers are confident that sleep training is a healthy and effective way to treat babies’ sleep problems. 

Taking Aspirin After a Mini-Stroke Could Reduce Further Symptoms

A new study suggests that people who take aspirin after experiencing a mini-stroke have a significantly lower risk of experiencing a major stroke than people who don’t take aspirin.

A mini-stroke is also called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), and people who experience them are 1,000 times more likely to experience a major stroke than people who didn’t have a mini-stroke. 

After analyzing data from 56,000 people, the researchers found that taking aspirin immediately after a mini-stroke decreased the risk of a subsequent major stroke by 70 percent.

The study was led by Peter Rothwell, a stroke expert at the University of Oxford. Rothwell said that his research team discovered that immediately treating a minor stroke can decrease both the risk and the severity of a future major stroke.

These findings are significant mainly due to the lack of knowledge about mini-strokes. Rothwell said that most public health campaigns that seek to educate people about stroke risk only focus on major strokes. Because of these campaigns, people are more likely to get medical help after a major stroke, but are far less likely to seek treatment after having a mini-stroke.

Some people don’t seek help at all after a stroke or mini-stroke, or they delay seeing a doctor for several days. Delaying or never getting treatment dramatically increases a person’s risk of experiencing another stroke.

Based on the results, Rothwell suggests that doctors immediately provide aspirin to mini-stroke patients rather than waiting for further tests or evaluations.
Aspirin is also a helpful option for people who cannot immediately access medical care. If they can at least take aspirin, they can improve their chances of making a healthy recovery.

The study suggests taking one 300 milligram dose of aspirin after experiencing mini-stroke symptoms, even if the symptoms seem to be improving.

Mini-strokes and major strokes share many of the same symptoms, including:
  •        Numbness or weakness in the muscles, particularly on one side of the body
  •        Difficulty speaking
  •        Difficulty understanding speech
  •        Dizziness
  •       Double vision
  •       Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes

Mini-stroke symptoms generally last only a few minutes, but could last as long as 24 hours. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical care and take aspirin if available.

Worries About Water Intake May Be Unfounded

If you are concerned about your daily water intake, your worries may be unwarranted. A new study has found that most Americans are taking in a healthy amount of water every day.

Data collected between 2009 and 2012 for the U.S. National Health Nutrition Examination Survey showed that the average adult man consumes approximately 117 ounces of water each day, or just over 14 cups. The average adult woman takes in about 93 ounces each day, or about 12 cups.

Kirsten Herrick and Asher Rosinger from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention led the study. Herrick and Rosinger stated that in 2004, the recommended daily water intake was 125 ounces for adult men and 91 ounces. Their study’s findings prove that the average American adult more than meets these standards on a daily basis.

The study did note that not all of the water intake came from plain drinking water. The study’s data showed that about 30 percent of men’s daily water intake came from plain water, and 34 percent of women’s intake came from plain water. The remaining fluid intake is a result of other liquids, like coffee, sodas, and juices, and some comes from food.

Antonella Apicella, a nutritionist from New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital cautioned that while drinks like soda and juice can provide some of the body’s required water intake, these beverages contain considerably more calories than plain drinking water. Reliance on these drinks as the main form of hydration can lead to weight gain and other health complications. The best and healthiest way to hydrate is through plain water.

The study noted differences in water intake across various demographic groups. Adults over the age of 60 generally consume less water than their younger counterparts. The study also found that white adults showed greater water intake than black or Hispanic adults. Physical activity was also a factor: as a person’s activity levels increased, so did their water intake.

Dana Angelo White, a sports dietitian and professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, stated that hydration needs are different for each person. She says her usual baseline recommendation for water intake is to consume half your weight in ounces. This number should increase if you regularly exercise.

However, just as not drinking enough water can be a problem, over-hydrating can also be dangerous, Apicella warned. Over-hydration can result in hyponatremia, or low blood sodium concentration. 
When hydrating, do your best to keep track of how much plain water you drink and supply your body with plenty of electrolytes.

The Tech Epidemic: Half of Teens Admit Being Addicted to Smartphones

A new poll, conducted by Common Sense Media, reveals that 50 percent of teens in America think they’re addicted to their phones. The poll included 1,240 interviews with parents and children ages 12 to 18. 59 percent of the parents involved in the poll thought their teen was addicted to their phone.

Holland Haiis, an expert in digital addiction, says that technology is the addiction of the 21st century. While it’s common for most children, teens, and adults to spend time on technological devices like phones or computers, Haiis says that if your child prefers playing on these devices to being outside or hanging out with friends, then the technology becomes a problem.

A previous study performed in 2011 reviewed 18 studies and discovered that internet addiction could be affecting up to 26 percent of teens in the U.S. In many other countries around the world, internet addiction is considered a threat to public health, but in the United States, it is not recognized as a disorder. Common Sense Media stated that more research is needed to determine the scope of internet addiction in the U.S.

According the poll, 66 percent of parents feel that their child spends too much time on tech devices. 52 percent of teens agree that they spend too much time on phones, computers, and tablets.

About 80 percent of the teens in the survey said they checked their phone at least every hour, and 72 percent reported feeling a need to respond immediately to text messages or social media notifications. 36 percent of parents reported arguing with their child on a daily basis about their phone use, and 77 percent of parents feel that their child is regularly distracted by their devices and doesn’t pay attention during in-person conversations and interactions.

Terry Greenwald, a custodian at a high school in Alaska, referred to students as “zombies.” Greenwald says the students are usually late to class because they spend so much time shuffling through the hallways without looking up from their phones.

Janis Elspas, who founded a family-oriented advice blog called Mommy Blog Expert, says she’s had success instituting boundaries in her children’s phone usage. She suggests setting up rules when teens get their first phone, so they get used to following these rules as they get older. Elspas also had her teens get part-time jobs so they could be responsible for paying part of the phone costs. As silly as it sounds, Elspas says having no-phone rules at family dinners and other occasions help remind teens that they can survive without their devices.

Despite these disheartening results, the Common Sense Media poll also reported that 37 percent of teens said they are aware that excessive phone use is a problem, and they actively try to restrict the time they spend on their phones.

The addiction to technology wasn’t just a problem for teens. 27 percent of parents included in the poll said they feel addicted to their phones. 69 percent of parents admitted checking their phones at least hourly, compared to 80 percent of teens who reported the same behavior. 48 percent of parents said they often respond immediately to text messages or social media notifications.

56 percent of parents said they routinely check their phones while driving, but 52 percent said they actively try to limit their phone use.

Digital detox expert Holland Haiis recommended setting limits on phone use and time spent surfing the internet. She also suggested limiting the number of social media posts to five per week. This limitation often leads to less time scrolling through social media sites.

Haiis said that social media and texting can stimulate dopamine in our brains, which makes the activity feel more exciting and addicting. Instead of reaching for your phone for this fix, Haiis suggests going for a walk or getting some exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, which create the same feelings of stimulation and happiness.

Seven Reasons to Treat Yourself to a Facial

Feeling like your skin could use some TLC? Here are seven reasons why you should consider visiting a professional once a month to get a rejuvenating a facial:

  1. Skin aestheticians know how to clear your pores the right way. You may have all kinds of face creams and scrubs on your bathroom counter, but these products won’t get your pores 100 percent clear. Professional aestheticians have the tools and the experience to unclog your pores in ways you just can’t do yourself.
  2. A facial can help you say goodbye to breakouts. Dermatologists and skin aestheticians can clear up even the most tenacious forms of acne by providing targeted treatments. They know how to get rid of pimples the right way to reduce irritation and scarring. Exfoliation treatments provided by professionals can help prevent future acne outbreaks and ensure long-lasting clear skin.
  3. Facials take skin moisturizing to the next level. Even if you moisturize every day, your skin could always use some intense hydration. A professional aesthetician can evaluate your skin type and identify what kind of hydration treatment you need, while taking into consideration your skin’s natural levels of oil and moisture.
  4. Your skin will be smoother than ever. No matter what type of facial you get, you will always receive some intense exfoliation as part of the process. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from your face, leaving your skin feeling smooth and refreshed.
  5. A good facial always includes a calming massage for your face and neck. In addition to making you feel relaxed, this massage also increases blood flow to your face and neck, which helps tone your facial muscles.
  6. The more you know about your skin, the better. A visit to a skin aesthetician is a great opportunity to address any issues you’ve experienced with your skin. If the facial itself doesn’t clear up these problems, a good aesthetician can give you advice for how to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.
  7. A facial gives you some much needed self-care and relaxation. Not only will you feel more confident in your skin health and appearance, a facial gives you time to recharge mentally.

If you’ve had a stressful week, your acne has been acting up, or you just want to pamper yourself, do yourself a favor and get a facial. Your skin will thank you for it.

Quick and Easy Healthy Snacks

Veggie Flowers: Evenly slice one cucumber, then cut each slice in half. Evenly slice one carrot, then make triangle cutouts along the edge of each slice. Cut your favorite cheese into cubes and slide each cube onto a toothpick. Slide a cucumber onto each toothpick, with the rounded side down. Top each toothpick with a carrot flower and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies: Combine one cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar, and one egg in a bowl. Stir, then shape into patties and arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Place one Hershey’s kiss in the center of each patty, then allow to cool.

Sunny Day Smoothie: In a blender, add a half cup of orange juice, a half cup of chopped carrot, a half cup of frozen pineapple chunks, one cup of vanilla yogurt, and one tablespoon of honey. Blend, pour, enjoy.

Chocolate Bananas: Peel one banana and place on a plate. Melt semisweet chocolate in microwave-safe bowl then pour over banana. Decorate with nuts, sprinkles, or raisins.

Yummy Fruit Pizza: Cut a tortilla into 4-6 triangular pieces. Brush each side with oil, sprinkle with vanilla sugar, and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow slices to cool, then cover with layer of vanilla yogurt. Slice banana, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, or any other fruits, and arrange on tortilla slices. Sprinkle slices with cinnamon before serving.

Homemade Potato Chips: Thinly slice one potato. Sprinkle slices with salt water, arrange on baking paper and cover with another piece of baking paper. Microwave for 5 minutes, then enjoy.

Tasty Purple Popsicles: In a blender, combine ¼ cup blueberries, ¼ cup strawberries, ¼ cup raspberries, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, and ½ cup ice. Blend, pour into popsicle molds or plastic cups, then freeze.

Strawberry Summer Lemonade: Boil two cups of water and one cup of sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves, then add one tablespoon of grated lemon peel and one cup of lemon juice. Stir and let cool. Add one pint of pureed strawberries. Stir and refrigerate. Before serving, add two cups of sparkling water, stir, and add ice.

Fruity Squares: Break graham crackers into squares and spread with vanilla or plain yogurt. Top with chocolate chips, raisins, chopped nuts, or berries.

Easy Cheesy Crackers: Buy your favorite type of cracker. Peel string cheese into strips and arrange on crackers. 

High-Intensity Interval Training Can Improve Cardiorespiratory Health

Cardiorespiratory fitness is the fitness of your lungs and heart. To improve cardiorespiratory fitness, you have to up your intensity! HIIT training, or high-intensity interval training, requires you to alternate moderate-intensity exercises with high-intensity exercises to get and keep your heart rate up.  Incorporating HIIT workouts offer a safe and effective way to get fitter and adapt your body to more intense exercise.

HIIT workouts increase your cardiovascular fitness more quickly and greater than other kinds of exercise. In addition, it can save you time. You need only 25-30 minutes for an effective HIIT session. You still burn the same amount of calories as a longer workout. Some people also find HIIT workouts more fun and interesting than moderate-intensity options, since they are fast faced and the exercises change.

To create and use HIIT workouts effectively, you'll need to be able to distinguish between moderate- and high-intensity exercises. The easy way to tell the difference is using a talk test. You should be able to talk during moderate-intensity exercise but struggle to say more than a few words without taking a breath during high-intensity exercise.

Before incorporating HIIT routines, work out with moderate intensity for several sessions or until moderate intensity is comfortable for a minimum of 20 minutes. Once you reach 20 minutes, you can add a HIIT routine into your training. Moderate intensity exercise options include biking, walking, jogging, or using a machine like an elliptical.

When you plan to do a HIIT workout, starting with five to 10 minutes of relatively easy exercise to warm up your body. Then, switch to high-intensity work for 30 seconds before swapping back to moderate exercise for up to three minutes. Once you recover completely, repeat the process two or three times over the next 30 minutes.

Remember that working at a high intensity does not mean you should be exerting your maximum effort. If you experience discomfort or pain in your chest, lightheadedness, or severe shortness of breath, stop exercising immediately. If you experience unusual fatigue or joint or muscle pain, talk with your doctor about your symptoms.

As your body adjusts to the HIIT program, increase the frequency of the high-intensity intervals, up to five or six intervals per workout instead of two or three. In addition, you can increase the time of the interval to make it more challenging.