IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date: Febuary 1, 2011
I cannot tell a lie: I covet a cherry tart!
According to tradition, George Washington, in honor of the era's passion for
honesty, could not tell a lie.
To illustrate this virtue, one of Washington's biographers published the
story of the cherry tree. According to the legend, Washington's father
found his favorite cherry tree cut down. When asked about it, Washington
supposedly said, "I cannot tell a lie, father, I cut it down with my
In tribute to the Father of Our Country, whose birthday is February 22,
here is a cherry tart.
Cherry cream cheese tart
1 graham cracker crust
1 8-ounce cream cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 15-ounce can of pitted tart cherries
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Whipped cream and mint sprigs for decorating edges.
Soften cream cheese in its foil wrap in warm water. Place the cheese and
1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl and stir until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract
and beaten eggs. Spread mixture over crust. Bake 10 minutes and cool.
Drain cherries and take out 1/3 cup of juice. In a saucepan, combine,
and corn starch, the 1/3 cup of sugar and almond extract. Stir in cherry
juice and heat until mixture comes to a boil.
Add cherries. Cook two minutes and stir in butter. Cool to room
temperature. Spread over cream cheese layer. Decorate outer edge with
whipped cream and artfully place mint sprigs around the circumference
for garnish. Refrigerate until served. It can be frozen.
How to treat a painful rotator cuff and shoulder
Your rotator cuff is made of muscles and tendons that run between your
upper arm and shoulder blade. They facilitate shoulder movement and hold
together the ball-and-socket joint connecting your upper arm and
Pain is the most common symptom of rotator cuff problems. It can occur
when you move in certain ways, particularly in overhead movements like
combing your hair or putting on a jacket, or when you lift something
An injury can be caused by repetitive overhead motions, like painting a
wall or ceiling, or more intense movements, like in playing tennis or
Pain from overuse often feels better after a couple days of self care.
That includes rest and avoiding movements that aggravate the shoulder,
especially repetitive overhead activities.
Ice the shoulder, applying a cold pack wrapped in a cloth for 15 to 20
minutes at a time. Do it three or four times a day to reduce pain and
Take over-the-counter pain medications to ease the pain. Talk to your
doctor if the shoulder doesn't improve.
You can strengthen your rotator cuff muscles and keep them limber with
daily exercises: 1-Move your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder
blades together. 2-Gently stretch your arm cross your body and hold,
then do the other arm. 3-Holding on to a chair seat, bend down, dangle
your arm and circle it for range of motion. Then do the other arm.
Food labels can aid in food buying
Only 61 percent of shoppers check the labels on food
they buy. The American Dietetic Association says if buyers did, this,
they would buy foods with less total fat, fewer calories, and less
Only 51 percent of shoppers check the ingredient
list, 47.2 percent look at serving size, and just 43.8 percent consider
health claims when buying a food product.
February 22: The birthday of George Washington,
Father of Our Country Though the story about George Washington cutting
down a cherry tree and confessing to the deed was a myth created by a
biographer to illustrate his honesty, integrity and courage, he had all
of these qualities.
Today, his likeness is found on currency, stamps,
sculptures and paintings. Manufacturers consider his image public
property. Many schools, bridges, towns, our national capital, and even a
state have been named after him.
The Washington Monument was built in his honor between 1848 and 1884. It is the world's tallest stone structure, the world's tallest obelisk, and is the tallest structure in Washington D.C.
His likeness is carved in stone with those of three other presidents on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; the mammoth display is called the Shrine of Democracy.
He was awarded a posthumous promotion to the rank of six-star General of the Armies in 1976.
The U.S. Senate reads Washington's Farewell Address every year, a tradition dating back to 1862, when it was read to boost morale during the Civil War.
In Virginia, the Presidents Day holiday is known only as George Washington Day.
At Mount Vernon, Washington's 500-acre estate, three days of special events mark his birthday
Alexandria, Virginia, Washington's hometown, stages historic demonstrations, including a Revolutionary War skirmish.
February is American Heart Month
In 2010, Heart Month focuses on women and heart disease.
This year, the American Heart Association presents
"Go Red for Women," a movement providing information to women about
Traditionally, we think about men being the primary
victims of heart disease, but each year, it claims the lives of hundreds
of thousands of women.
The older you are, the more likely it is that you
will get heart disease. But healthy living at any age is the foundation
for disease-free later years.
In your 20s, health isn't on your mind, and you
believe there will be plenty of time later to think about it. Wrong.
Heart disease can develop at any age, so it's crucial that you make
health conscious-decisions that will benefit you now and in the long
run. Don't smoke, drink in moderation, and choose birth control methods
In your 30s, life is a balancing act between family,
work and yourself. But you're not a kid anymore. Now is the time to
build heart-healthy habits. If you avoid the conditions that put you at
risk for heart disease until you turn 50, you may never develop heart
disease. Check your family history, quit smoking, and avoid gaining
In your 40s, it becomes even more important to make
healthy choices. No matter what life brings, it's important to stay
happy and healthy so you can enjoy the years to come. Make healthy
lifestyle choices now that will benefit you in the long run. Eat well,
exercise, watch your weight, and get a checkup.
In your 50s, your body is changing and that affects
Check with your doctor too see if your numbers are
acceptable for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting
glucose, and body mass index. To get your estimated heart risk, go to
In your 60s, heart disease is more likely, but you
have the power to prevent it. Smoking is the most preventable cause of
death in the United States. It's never too late to quit. Keep an eye on
body weight, continue to exercise, and have your blood pressure checked.
Use these five tips to protect your kidneys
Each one of your two kidneys has about a million tiny
filtering units in it. That might seem more than enough to do a good
filtering job, but they have a lot to do and are easy to harm.
The kidneys remove sodium and water to maintain the
fluid balance in your body, and they eliminate urea caused by protein
They also work to fine-tune levels of calcium,
phosphorus and potassium, and they help to regulate the acid balance in
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or heart
disease, you have a high risk of killing off some of those million
filtering units. Smoking, being overweight and having high cholesterol
also threaten to break them down.
To save your kidneys, take these steps.
Carefully control diabetes, which is the most common cause of kidney failure. Talk with your doctor about how exercise, food, medications and stress affect your blood sugar, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic.
Make every effort to control hypertension. High blood pressure damages small blood vessels in the kidneys and can cause kidney disease.
Avoid taking too many pain killers. Long-term use of over-the-counter pain killers can damage the kidneys.
Eat with kidney health in mind. Avoid eating too much meat. Talk to your doctor if you already have kidney disease about how to achieve a low-protein diet. Reducing protein in your diet will slow the progression of chronic kidney disease.
If you smoke, quit now. Smoking and using other tobacco products makes kidney and heart disease worse. If you don't already have kidney or heart disease, smoking significantly increases your risk of both.
Women and gout
The inflammatory arthritis known as gout always used
to strike more men than women. Now, it's becoming more common in women.
Researchers say sugary sodas could have something to
do with the trend, according to Time magazine. A study of 79,000 women
shows that those who drank two or more sweetened sodas per day had more
than twice the risk of getting gout than those who drank sweet soda once
a month or less.
The painful condition is caused by a buildup of uric
acid, a by-product of the fructose in the drinks.
To protect your brain: Work up a sweat
Harvard researchers have come to some conclusions
about how much exercise will protect you from dementia. They say people
engaging in moderate to heavy physical activity are 45 percent less
likely to develop any kind of brain problems.
In the study, activities were categorized in three
Light: standing and walking.
Moderate: faster walking, housework, yard chores, climbing stairs and light sports, such as bowling and golf.
Heavy: major housework and intensive sports such as jogging.
One way the study was different from others: It
mainly focused on older people. Other studies included people of all
ages. This study shows that even for older people, moderate exercise is
Drugstores, doctors move to 'telemarketing'
As more doctors computerize patient records, it's
easy for their staffs to determine who should be coming in for a checkup
or who has missed a prescribed test.
It used to be telemarketers and fundraisers who put
out a robocall to contact you. Today, it's likely to be a message from
the doctor's office. Or it could be from the drugstore to say it's time
to refill your prescription. Dentists are also placing calls to remind
patients it's time for a checkup.
Some are using their computers to tweet you a
reminder, and others are sending text messages on their patients'
The contact barrage has two goals. It gets patients
to pay attention to their conditions before they get more serious. A
patients' well-being is a doctor's concern.
The reminder calls also help doctors fill gaps in
their schedules. Today, some people are cutting costs by skipping
routine appointments, which is not a good idea. For most doctors,
appointments have declined since last year.
The number of appointments jumps during the flu and
cold season, making doctors' offices more crowded. But some of these
patients might not be there if they had taken their doctor's advice for
follow-up visits and tests or for seeing a specialist.
Healthcare reform and Uncle Sam may be responsible
for part of the calling programs. In 2011, Medicare begins pilot
programs recommended for preventive care called the Medical Home
Program. It involves computerizing records and using support staff to
monitor whether patients are filling prescriptions and keeping
appointments. Those who are forgetful or "too busy to go to the doctor"
are targeted. It's a way to get disengaged patients to take care of
Large drugstore chains, such as CVS routinely refill
monthly prescriptions, then call to say the medications are ready to be
New treatment for Alzheimer's, depression
A treatment primarily used to treat Parkinson's
disease is now showing promise for other conditions, such as Alzheimer's
disease and long-term depression.
Deep Brain Stimulation focuses on two areas in the
brain, and either site produces similar outcomes, according to the
Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Nebraska.
A surgically implanted, battery-powered device about
the size of a stopwatch is placed under the skin near the collarbone. It
delivers electrical stimulation through a thin wire that is placed in a
precise location in the brain.
All patients recommended for the procedure have had
unsatisfactory results from medications.
Vitamin D linked to diabetes
A study by Johns Hopkins University that reviewed
vitamin D levels in type 2 diabetes patients, found that more than 90
percent of the patients had insufficient levels of vitamin D. Those with
the lower vitamin D levels were more likely to have higher blood sugar
Participants ranged in age from 36 to 89
The finding suggests an active role of vitamin D in
development of type 2 diabetes. The doctors recommend that primary care
providers should screen for vitamin D deficiency in patients at risk for
type 2 diabetes.
Melanoma drug offers hope
An experimental drug named PLX4032 is giving doctors
hope for future treatment of melanoma, a virulent skin cancer that can
kill within nine months.
Among those patients with a mutation in a key gene
called BRAF, 81 percent saw tumors shrink with the drug. Doctors at the
University of Pennsylvania, who led the study, say this breakthrough is
not a cure, though it leads the way for future research. Tumor
regression with the drug is temporary but can extend life for a few
New medication raises hopes for heart disease
It sounds like dream come true. But in the future,
heart disease could be pushed from the top of the list as the leading
killer of Americans.
A new drug by Merck & Co., anacetrapib, has passed
its first test for effectiveness and safety. It is designed to raise
levels of HDL, the good cholesterol that is associated with lower
heart-attack and high blood pressure risks.
It did that dramatically by increasing HDL 138
percent. HDL acts as a kind of dump truck that hauls LDL away. At the
same time, it cut LDL, the bad cholesterol, by 40 percent in patients
who already had low levels. About 25 percent of patients in the study
achieved the LDL levels that people are originally born with, according
to USA Today.
"These are jaw-dropping changes", said Christopher
Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He
presented the findings at the annual scientific meeting of the American
Heart Association, and the findings were recently reported in the New
England Journal of Medicine.
Some researchers say the new drug "may turn back the
clock" on heart disease.
Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, the chairman of
Cleveland Clinic cardiovascular medicine says "this medicine could be as
big as statins." Statins, including Lipitor from Pfizer, Inc., have led
heart-disease treatment choices for the last two decades.
Merck is starting a 30,000-patient global study to
further prove the new findings. Even if the global study lasts only two
and a half years, because the drug is so powerful that it quickly proves
its effectiveness, it could be at least four years before the drug would
Researchers are taking special steps to assure
anacetrapib's safety. Previously, a promising drug by another
manufacturer was found to cause high blood pressure and heart attacks.
By the time anacetrapib is released for patients, Merck will have more
assurance that it safe is and effective.
The new medicine is the most promising in an entirely
new class of drugs.
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