Women Closing Gap with Men on Alcohol Consumption

A new U.S. government report concluded women are catching up to men with the use and the abuse of alcohol.
Researchers examined data ranging from 2002 to 2012. Reported alcohol consumption in the 30 days prior to the survey rose from 45 percent to more than 48 percent among women but fell from 57 percent to 56 percent among men.
They found that all the categories began narrowing between men and women over time. These categories included the number of days they consume alcohol a month and driving under the influence. Men still drink more alcohol; however, the differences between men and women are less than they used to be.
The average number of days women consumed alcohol each month rose from 6.8 to 7.3. For men, that measure fell from 9.9 days to 9.5 days each month.
Not entirely surprising, binge drinking rates among college students age 18 to 25 remained unchanged. But women in the same age group who were not in college increased binge drinking. There was a significant drop in binge drinking among men in this age group not in college.
Binge drinking is defined as consuming more than five drinks on any one occasion for men and more than four drinks on any one occasion for women.
The difference increased rather than decreased in only one area during the study. The prevalence of combining marijuana use with alcohol consumption among 18-25 years old men went from 15 to 19 percent. The same measure for women remained at 10 percent.
The reason for the increase in alcohol consumption among women isn’t clear from the study, and the narrowing gap between women and men is also unclear. They do not seem to be influenced by pregnancy, marital status, or employment. The researchers called for additional studies to pinpoint the trend and its causes so they could craft or improve alcohol abuse prevention and treatment efforts.

Women face greater risk of health problems related to alcohol consumption than men. These include heart disease, liver inflammation, neurotoxicity, and cancer.

Watching Too Much Television Leads to Early Death

According to a new study, too much time in front of the television is a leading cause of death in the United States.
Background information provided in the study states 92 percent of households in the United States have televisions in their homes, and 80 percent of Americans watch 3.5 hours daily of television, on average.
TV is the most prevalent manner to spend sedentary, leisure time. The researcher’s hypothesis is that the amount of time spent watching TV is indicative of a person’s overall physical activity--or lack thereof. The results of this study join a growing amount of research supporting the idea that sitting too much is detrimental to health.
Researchers followed over 221,000 individuals from age 50 to age 71 for 15 years. At the start of the study, no participant had any chronic disease(s).
The more time spent in front of the TV, the more likely a participant was to die from cancer, diabetes, flu/pneumonia, heart disease, Parkinson’s, or liver disease, according to the study’s findings.
Risk of early death was 15 percent higher for individuals who watched 3-4 hours each day and 47 percent higher for individuals who watched more than seven hours. Researchers took into account risk factors like alcohol intake, calorie intake, health problems, and smoking.
However, this study proved only association between TV viewing and early death by these diseases.
The death risk was associated with both inactive and active individuals in the study. Exercise was not found to eliminate risks with sitting and watching television for extended periods of time. Rather time spent sitting must be replaced with active time.

This study joins others regarding the risks to our health of sitting too much.

Benefits of Exfoliation for Skin During Cold Winter Months

Exfoliation is the act of scrubbing away dead skin cells on the scalp and body. Exfoliation and pore cleaning are common beauty regimens that are great in the wintertime when low humidity, arid rooms and cold air add to the havoc on the body.

Dry cells left on the surface of the body cause itchy, tight, dull and flaky appearance. Flaked epidermis can develop red patches and is vulnerable to cracking and injury. Bathing isn’t enough to get rid of the red patches or flaky cells. In fact, bathing and washing in excess can aggravate the situation worse. The trick is to draw out moisture from deep inside and help the epidermis rejuvenate naturally.

Regular soaps are also drying agents that can cause more dead cells, however there are soaps especially made to help draw out moisture and lubricate the surface area.

Hydroxyl Acid Exfoliant and Scrubs

There are many things people can do to speed up the exfoliation process. Hydroxyl acid exfoliant and salt scrubs all help increase the benefits of cleansing agents. Some preparations can be applied to a cold wearer and others need to be applied to a warm or damp surface to be useful.

Some need to be repeated regularly, applying once a week to a cold wearer, or once a week to a warm body. Olive oil is a common home products that can help the body keep its supple, soft appearance, although many commercial scalp and body products increase the likelihood of a glowing complexion and provide collagen stimulation.

When rooms have low humidity, a humidifier helps keep air quality better for the inside and outside of the body. Even with air improvements, the skin is still vulnerable, and anti-aging products are helpful at any time of the year. Even though wintertime is the most part of the year that people think about needing to relieve dryness, it is also a good idea in the summer time.

Other Benefits of Exfoliation

People sometimes try to combat these issues with moisturizers. Cold weather can make moisturizer disappear quickly, and cause it to lose its effectiveness. Along with looking better, providing anti-aging properties, removing dead cells, giving people a glowing complexion and increasing cell turnover, exfoliation improves circulation to the upper layers of the body. It is what gives the face and other areas of the body a youthful, healthy glow.

By avoiding washing in excess and using hydroxyl acid exfoliant agents, olive oil, salt scrubs or other collagen stimulation products people can relive itchy and red areas, prevent moisture and moisturizer absorption and get better pore cleaning.

Improving Cell Turnover and Circulation

Exfoliation products help the body look better, but most are best used with warm water. The heat of warm water further opens pores and allows dull, tight epidermis to feel better, and reduces moisturizer absorption and the havoc cold weather causes.

Talk Therapy May Alleviate SAD Symptoms

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression people experience based on how long the sun is out each day.
New research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests talk therapy trumps light-box therapy in preventing relapses of SAD.
In the 1980s, doctors discovered people were more apt to be depressed in the winter, when they were exposed to less sunlight.
Light therapy, the daily, timed exposure to artificial light, has been the SAD treatment of choice.
This latest study compared effects of light therapy and talk therapy in treating SAD. In the study, 177 participants who had SAD underwent six weeks of either talk or light therapy.
Those receiving talk therapy receive cognitive behavioral therapy, meant to teach individuals to challenge their negative thoughts and avoid behaviors like isolation that can negatively affect mood.
After the first winter of treatment, all participants showed similar relief from their symptoms. After two winters, though, only 27 percent of the talk therapy group experienced depression symptoms, compared with 46 percent of the light therapy group.
The light therapy group also exhibited more severe depression symptoms, according to the findings. Some individuals find it difficult to continue light therapy long-term. The treatment must be used continuously for to be effective. Submitting yourself for at least 30 minutes a day to light therapy for up to five months can be a burden.
By the second winter in the study, just 30 percent of light therapy participants were still using the equipment.
Talk therapy, on the other hand, proved preventative. Talk therapy teaching coping mechanisms and basic skills that allow participants a sense a control over their symptoms, providing long-term benefits.

Researchers agreed talk therapy results are promising to preventing and treating SAD. More research must be done on behavioral therapy and the treatment of SAD, but this study’s findings are very positive.

Study: Sleepwalkers Don’t Feel Pain While Sleepwalking

Not all sleepwalkers experience pain when they are injured while sleepwalking, according to a study published in Sleep.
When awake, sleepwalkers face increased risk for migraines and headaches.
Researchers examined 100 sleepwalkers as well as 100 people who slept normally. The sleepwalkers were 10 times as likely to experience migraines and four times as likely to experience headaches.
Of the 100 sleepwalkers, 47 suffered at least one injury while sleepwalking, and 79 percent of those 47 felt no pain at time of injury, according to the findings.
The lack of pain felt was the most surprising result of the study; this study was the first to come to this conclusion.
One participant even suffered broken bones after he jumped out from a third-story window during a sleepwalking episode. He did not feel the pain until he woke up. Another participant walked and fell from his roof while sleepwalking. He broke his leg but did not wake and feel the pain until the next morning.
Researchers believe this study could lead to an understanding of sleepwalking mechanisms. It’s possible the dissociative state of arousal alters pain perception, consciousness, and sleep-wake behavior.

As many as 4 percent of adults in the United States experience sleepwalking episodes, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Secondhand Smoke Can Cause Tooth Decay

If you’d like your kid to grow up cavity-free with a good smile, don’t smoke around him or her. Exposure to secondhand smoke even at 4 months old can increase their risk for tooth decay by 3 years old, researchers say.
In a recent study, children whose parents smoke are twice as likely as kids whose parents do not smoke to have cavities. Tobacco use during pregnancy though, was not a factor in the study. Data was collected for nearly 77,000 kids born from 2004 to 2010. The participants were examined at birth, at 4, 9, and 18 months, and again at age 3.
The mothers of the participants also completed surveys regarding smoking at home, their child’s exposure to it, and their family’s dietary and dental care habits.
Based on the survey responses, about 55 percent of parents smoked and 7 percent of kids were exposed. Of the 77,000 kids, there were 13,000 cases of cavities.
Exposure to secondhand smoke is common; 40 percent of kids worldwide are exposed. It remains a largely unsolved health problem.
In the study published in BMJ, researchers proved an association between cavities and exposure to secondhand smoke. The study’s findings do encourage education on the harms, particularly for dentists. The opportunity for dentists to educate their patients on the risks is huge.

Evidence against secondhand smoke continues to mount. It puts kids at risk for breathing difficulties, heart disease, and now, it appears, for cavities as well.

Depression, Find the Cause that May Surprise You

Could depression really be all in your head? New research reveals that brain inflammation may be to blame for your depressed feelings. Those who are depressed have 30 percent more markers of inflammation compared to those who do not. The study, which was performed by the University of Toronto’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health, used PET scans to measure immune cell activation and inflammatory responses. Those who were severely depressed were found to have the highest amount of inflammation. In the past, researchers had found that inflammation associated with other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease and other chronic illnesses could trigger inflammation in the brain and depressed feelings.

This is the first link between inflammation in the brain without other illnesses and a depressed mood. While this new research shines a powerful light on what causes this perplexing, often disabling illness, we also know that it is a complex mental condition that involves biological changes such as hormones or variations in brain chemistry and environmental and genetic factors. Some people may have a single trigger, such as a job loss or death in the family, while others may experience a cycle, such as those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

 Other factors in feeling blue can include diet, lack of sleep, too much sitting and cold weather or temperatures where you live. Smoking, excessive drinking and a poor diet can make it worse. Even social media can play a role in our mental and emotional wellbeing. If you are feeling depressed, you can take steps to feel better. Many people find relief in simple lifestyle changes. Try to spend some time outside in the sun every day, preferably while being physically active. Eat a nutrient-rich balanced diet, and kick the bad habits that may be holding you back.

 Evaluate your sleeping habits to identify those things that could be keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. Find a hobby, learn something new, get involved in your community and spend some time doing something you really love. Changing your lifestyle can help you feel better but may not be enough for all depressed people. You may benefit from anti-inflammatory supplements, such as vitamins A, B6, C, D, E and K. Talk to your doctor about prescription medications. Because about 25 percent of people experience no relief from the first medication they try, let your doctor know if your medication does not seem to be working within a reasonable amount of time.

Spreading the Gift of Appreciativeness and Finding Happiness

The holiday season is one of the most anticipated seasons of the year for many people. There are many different types of celebrations happening during the five week span between the end of November and the beginning of January. Most of them involve some sort of gift-giving traditions. Those traditions have become more and more commercial through the years, to the point where our ancestors probably wouldn’t recognize the festivities as the same ones they enjoyed. Part of giving a gift is honoring the ideals behind the celebration itself. It is a time to look around and take stock of what we have, be appreciative for the many blessings in our lives and for sharing with those who are less fortunate. It doesn’t take more money, but it does take a little more effort.

 Giving Gifts That Matter Because the holidays are so busy, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Holidays add to the everyday stress we already feel; we’re busy enough with school, family chores and work. Life can just get in the way and make it hard to find the time to really think about special gifts. That makes it easy to forget the reason we are giving people gifts in the first place when we just grab the first shiny object that we see and toss it in a cart.

 What we sometimes fail to understand is, even if taking the time to stop and look at the bigger picture, and find special presents that have deeper meanings for those we love means buying fewer gifts, it will be worth the time spent. Appreciating Each Gift Having a few less gifts will help family members, especially younger children in the family, learn to be more appreciative. Instead of going from gift to gift in an almost mechanical process of opening and discarding each item, they can learn to really enjoy and be appreciative of the gifts they receive. Teaching younger family members to appreciate their gifts and to be grateful is one of the best gifts we can give them. Setting an example for the youngest family members by always taking the time to write out thank you cards, and to show gratitude with an embrace or hug when receiving gifts gives them the foundation to build on and learn from as they become adults.

 Giving Gifts That Give Back Another way to spread joy, instill values and find happiness for our own lives is by giving gifts that give to others. We all have problems, but when we really step back and take stock of our lives; we have it pretty good compared to many who are less fortunate. It’s easy to see how lucky we are. The gift of time; time spent at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or even visiting hospitals and nursing homes on the holidays can spread support, love and friendship that is worth far more than any toy, piece of jewelry or sweater will ever give. Taking the time to share with someone in need is the best way to express our love for each other, help out people and give them the gift of happiness on the holidays.

Information about E-cigarettes

The use of e-cigarettes, also known as "vaping" has increased exponentially in recent years. These devices were originally marketed as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes. They were also marketed as a way for smokers to perhaps quit smoking. There are both positive aspects and drawbacks to the e-cigarette craze, but many people in the medical field still warn against the possible health effects associated with them. 

There are so many risks involved with smoking yet people still do it. This addiction can lead to several diseases such as cancer of the throat and mouth, emphysema, and myeloid leukemia. This insidious disease is a fast moving and fast growing cancer that affects the bone marrow and the blood. It is rare and often isn't caught until later stages because the symptoms are similar to other illnesses, including the flu. After diagnosis, treatment often includes chemotherapy and perhaps a stem cell transplant. Neither methods are pleasant and both often require long bouts of hospitalization. 

If you want information on the effects of what's actually within the liquid cartridges in e-cigarettes, the area is still a little unclear. There haven't been too many studies on these devices, but researchers from a study associated with the U.S National Institute of Health have warned that teens who use them are at higher risk to becoming addicted to nicotine. And while the e-cigarettes may not have all of the other cancer causing chemicals in them, they certainly do have nicotine - and that's certainly just one danger of cigarettes. 

Basically the only real way to avoid illness associated from nicotine use is to avoid it altogether. "Smoking" an e-cig or vapor cigarette still allows for a risk of disease and serious illness. The only real way to to cut the number of deaths associated with tobacco use is to just never start smoking at all, no matter if it's regular cigarettes or e-cigarettes. However, if you must smoke, it may be beneficial to switch to e-cigarettes to help you kick the habit and/or to lower your risk of developing some diseases. It is a risk that only you know for sure if you want to take - just be sure to be an informed consumer.

Benefits of a Homemade Herb Garden

Gardening is a good way to enjoy nature, help younger family members learn about food, and create a beautiful landscape. When people think about gardening, they usually think either vegetables or flowers. Herbs are a third of the garden varieties that have many great health and wellness benefits. Here are just five of the many benefits of a homemade herb garden.

1) Easy to Do – There are many types of herbs, and some do require a little experience to get them to thrive. Many, however, are simple to start and grow into big, healthy plants. Of the easiest, several are among the most popular store-bought herbs: sage, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, parsley, mint, chives, cilantro, oregano and tarragon. 

Herbs can be used fresh, but like vegetables, the extra produce that can’t be used immediately can be preserved. Rather than freezing or canning, herbs are most often dried and ground into powders or flakes. Drying them is easier than most vegetable processing, and anyone can learn how to do it quickly.

2) Financially Beneficial – Anyone who has priced herbs in the store, fresh or dried, knows that it is expensive to buy them. The seeds, however, are relatively cheap, and it doesn’t even take a lot of time to create and maintain an herb garden. Growing your own herbs will save money quickly and you can feel great knowing the food you are making is healthier for you and your family.

3) Herb Gardens are Beautiful – You can grow an herb garden just about anywhere. If you need to save space, you can even grow them indoors. There are inventive ways to add a touch of beauty and class with a healthy twist by adding trellis herb gardens, window box herb gardens or even unique designs in barrels and PVC structures designed to create an eye-catching display of lush foliage. Herb gardens create a beautiful backdrop for any room, and add a lot of curb appeal to the outside of a home while giving you all of the health benefits of eating fresh cut herbs added to your recipes.

4) Great Hobby – Taking the time to smell the herbs, and breaking away from boring routines like watching television or sitting around playing video games is healthier all around. Growing a herb garden gets you moving, helps you enjoy learning new things and provides you with additional sources of health such as the supplies for aromatherapy. Working in a garden is stress relieving and watching the beautiful plants grow, knowing that you made it happen is empowering and makes you feel proud. Growing herbs is a good hobby for everyone in the family, and offers educational value for even the youngest members.

5) Healthy Food Source – The most important benefit of growing your own herb garden is that it is healthier for you and your family. You can be sure that the herbs you grow are pesticide-free and at their peak nutritional value. Herbs are good for you and packed full of flavor. Growing them also makes you feel good about yourself. You can even spread the joy by sharing with neighbors and friends.