IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  November 1, 2003

Cost of Whitening Teeth

Dentists surveyed by the American Dental Association say tooth whitening is the fastest-growing part of their practices. For $400, the patient gets a special tray that fits over teeth. For two weeks the tray is filled with whitening gel and worn twice a day.

The result can be a change of five to seven shades.

  • For $1,000, you can get "power whitening." A whitening agent applied to the teeth is activated with a special light. The process takes about an hour, and results in an eight-shade improvement.
  • For $40, you get two shades lighter in two weeks by applying Proctor & Gamble Whitestrips to your teeth twice a day.
  • For $15, you get a couple of shades whiter by applying Colgate-Palmolive's Simply White gel for two weeks.

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    For better bicycling, breathe right

    Bicyclists put a great deal of emphasis on what they eat and drink before riding. But they think breathing comes naturally, and there's little you can do about it. Cycling expert Richard Ries says that's not true. Good breathing can make a big difference in your performance. Even recreational riders ride faster, farther, and more comfortably by breathing well. Here's how to practice breathing right:

  • Push out the abdomen first while inhaling, then in the same breath let your chest rise.
  • Forceful exhaling evacuates waste products from the lungs more completely. Think of blowing out a match held at arm's length while keeping your mouth wide open. Or purse your lips and force the breath out of your lungs.
  • Practice rhythmic breathing by coordinating with pedal movement.
  • Ride in the morning when pollution levels are low or in rural areas with little traffic.
  • More information: Bicycling Science by Whitt and Wilson, MIT Press.

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    Survival in the Wilds

    If your SUV got stuck or disabled in the forest, how would you survive your off-road excursion? David Alloway, author of Desert Survival Skills (Univ. of Texas Press) suggests these items. You'll know which ones will be useful for your particular trip:

  • Duct tape, a few feet rolled up.
  • Matches and a lighter.
  • Magnesium bar and flint for starting fire (as a backup).
  • Tinder Cubes and a plastic bag.
  • Compass and knife.
  • Signal mirror and whistle.
  • Fishhooks, sinkers, brass swivels.
  • Snare wire for catching game.
  • Dental floss (many uses, fishing line, etc).
  • Tweezers, needles, pocket comb.
  • Bouillon cubes, tea bags, and sugar.
  • Pencil and paper.
  • Potassium permanganate   (purifying water, starting fires, antiseptic.

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    Beef - It's what's up ... again

    After years of switching to poultry and fish, Americans are back at the meat counter in droves. The American Heart Association says it's OK, but it's best to choose lean cuts and limit portion size. Beef tops the food list when it comes to protein content. In addition, it has B vitamins, iron, and other minerals. Consider these benefits:

  • Beef stamps out anemia, the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S. Fatigue, caused by anemia, is the primary reason people see a doctor.
  • It perks up your zinc reserves, which keeps the immune system working well.
  • It provides the full bouquet of B vitamins, including B12 for tissue repair; B6 for immunity; niacin required by the skin, nerves, and digestive system; and thiamin that the body uses to convert blood sugar into energy.
  • When buying beef and other meats, keep grades in mind. Select grade has the least fat. Choice has more fat than select and is the most common grade in supermarkets. Prime is the fattiest and is usually found in restaurants or specialty meat counters. For the leanest cuts in any grade, look for "loin" or "round" in the name, such as sirloin and round steak.

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  • You could still save a life with CPR

    Even if you haven't taken a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), knowing some of the basics could prepare you for an emergency, say doctors at Harvard Medical School.

  • If a person has collapsed, and you suspect a heart attack, check to see whether the person is unconscious. Shout to or shake the victim. CPR is for one whose heart has stopped and who has lost consciousness.

    If this is the case:

  • Call 911 or have someone else do it. Don't delay. Every minute the heart is stopped reduces chances of survival by 5 to 10 percent.
  • Begin CPR. The goal is to keep the brain and heart alive until a defibrillator arrives. It puts oxygen into the blood. Chest compressions help keep the blood flowing, especially to the brain.
  • Tilt the head back and listen for breathing. If there is no normal breathing, pinch the nose and cover the mouth with yours. Blow until you see the chest rise, probably two breaths that take 2 seconds each.
  • Pump the chest if the victim is still not breathing normally, coughing, or moving. To do chest compressions, push down 1 1/2 to 2 inches, 15 times, at a rate faster than 1 pump per second. Continue the pattern of 2 breaths and 15 compressions until help arrives. To learn more about CPR, visit Learn CPR, a Web site by the University of Washington School of Medicine. They make the process less intimidating for the untrained.

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    Sinus Infections

    When you have a cold, you probably know that antibiotics won't help. Antibiotics only kill bacteria, and colds are caused by viruses. But when a cold settles into the sinuses, something else can happen. Fluids in the warm, dark sinus cavities are a perfect place for bacteria to grow. Even if an illness starts out viral, it could become "superinfected" with bacteria and require antibiotic treatment.

    Doctors at Harvard Medical School say sinusitis is the term for any inflammation of the membranes that line the nasal sinuses. But sinusitis is often used to mean bacterial sinusitis, rather than inflammation of the sinuses.

    Diagnosing whether a sinus infection is viral or bacterial is difficult. In both types, pain and colored mucus are present. In a viral infection, however, pain tends to be generalized. Pain from bacterial sinusitis tends to be in one spot. Otolaryngologist Dr. Jo Shapiro describes it as "like having a toothache in your face."

    Duration may be the leading clue for diagnosis. If you've been sick for more than a week, or if symptoms get worse after five days, a bacterial infection has piggybacked on a viral one, and antibiotics are needed.

    To treat your own sinus infection:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Take hot showers. Inhaling hot water vapor loosens secretions.
  • Use a decongestant spray for up to four days.
  • Take a decongestant pill or syrup that contains pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Triaminic, others). If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure ask your doctor if it's OK to take it.

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    Dress for (cold weather) success

    For those who work or play outside in cold weather, dressing to avoid hypothermia is as easy as one, two, three layers of clothes.

    First: Wear a wicking layer to draw moisture away from the body. Polypropylene or polyester are smart choices.

    Second: Wear insulation next. Wool or polyester such as fleece will stay warm when wet and keep moisture from seeping through to the inner layer.

    Third: Use a wind-repellant material on the outside, such as Gore-Tex or specially treated nylon and polyester fabrics. It should have zippers and vents to help regulate temperature without having to add or remove clothing. The ski patrol in Colorado recommends wearing one more layer than you think you'll need.

    Use the same system on your legs, and layer your feet as well. Polypropylene boot liners wick away moisture, and wool socks are a good choice. Mittens are warmer than gloves, although they limit finger use. Be sure to wear a hat, because you lose a lot of heat through the head.

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  • Quotes

    Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. It is better to be alone than in bad company.

    - George Washington

    Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers. It comes from being open to all the questions.

    - Earl Gray Stevens

    It is our duty to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.

    - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

    Never walk away from failure. On the contrary, study it carefully and imaginatively for its hidden assets.

    - Michael Korda

    The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?

    - Pablo Casals

    A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.

    - George William Curtis

    There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way.

    - Christopher Morley

    Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.

    - Anthony J. D'Angelo

    The will to win is not worth a nickle, unless you have the will to practice.

    - Unknown

    What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.

    - Aristotle

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    Q & A

    Q: How do I find a personal trainer who is certified in my area. I live in Norfolk, Virginia. How do I know if he or she is up to date with their certifications? What is an average per hour training fee? Thank you for your time.

    A: Ask your local gym if there are any independent trainers on staff or if they can recommend any. Feel free to ask to see their credentials. If they are IFA certified, you can check their currency online at our website at Instructor Verification. The going rate varies by location and ranges between $30 and $60 an hour.

    Q: I am 12 years old and everyone makes fun of me because I am short. Is there anything that I can do to make me taller. Thanks.

    A: Height is something that we cannot do much to significantly change. However, there are certain recommendation both for teens and adults that can have some effect. All Ayurveda. has some good information regarding height increases without drugs. In addition, your height will increase naturally over the next few years.


    Did You Know?

    1. The 1980 movie Somewhere in Time, which was based on Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return was filmed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Michigan and was influenced by the real-life actress Maude Adams. Each year members of the cast, crew and movie fans gather at the Grand Hotel for three days in October in period celebration of the movie. See INSITE

    2. Alexander Graham Bell is most noted for the invention of the telephone, of which recognition now goes to an Italian. However, Bell is credited with many other inventions. In 1919, he designed built and operated a hydrofoil (HD-4), which was clocked at 71 mph. It was intended to be used as a German sub chaser in WWI. See the website at Bell Hydrofoil.

    3. You can now visit many libraries online. They will open in a new window. The Louvre, The Vatican, The Smithsonian. Here's a list of Museums Around the World