IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  July 1, 2010

Ribs on the grill are a summer tradition

Rib wars have existed in the United States and throughout the world since the recorded annals of civilized man, or at least partially civilized man.

Rib meat and rib sauce competitions are prolific. From the Carolinas in the East to deep in the heart of Texas, recipes for rubs and liquid basting sauces abound.

Many East Coast sauce recipes are vinegar-based, like the North Carolina sauces. Texas concoctions are sweeter and contain more tomato sauce. Rubs usually have a chili powder base with herbs. They often have smoke flavorings.

Here is a simple sauce that can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator . This recipe makes about one quart. It's in the North Carolina sauce category and can be used either as an over-night marinade or for basting after the meat is placed on the grill.

Simple rib sauce

3 cups brown sugar
3 cups white vinegar
10 dashes salt
10 grinds pepper
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
20 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
1 4-oz. bottle of honey.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a medium-size bowl. Ladle or brush sauce over the ribs while grilling. Allow the sauce to caramelize.

The ribs may be baked for about an hour, constantly basting with the sauce. Then turn the oven to the broil position for finishing. Carefully watch the meat until the sauce caramelizes and hardens on the top but don't let it burn or become too blackened.

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FDA makes new rules for asthma drugs

The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) should be used in conjunction with an asthma controller medication rather than used alone.

The specific drugs they say should not be used alone are Serevent, Foradil, Advair, and Symbicort. They are used to widen the bronchial passages and allow increased airflow to the lungs.

The new rules indicate they should be taken with an asthma controller medication such as an inhaled corticosteroid.

The rules are the result of an FDA analysis of several trials that found LABAs used alone can increase the risk of worsening symptoms rather than alleviating them.

An FDA spokesman said these drugs play an important role in helping some patients control asthma symptoms, but their review shows that their use should be limited, whenever possible, due to increased risks. Their other recommendations:

  • LABAs should only be used long term in patients whose asthma symptoms cannot be controlled solely with asthma controller medications.
  • They should be used for the shortest period of time required to control asthma symptoms.

    LABAs are also approved to treat people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the new rules do not apply to them.

    Patients shouldn't stop taking LABAs, but ask their doctors about the risks of taking them.


    Chuckles Corner

  • Drug-free back pain

    Drug-free back pain solutions aim at the effect of gravity on your At the Cleveland Clinic department of Sports Health and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, they say that even if you have been diagnosed with arthritis or a disk problem, the real cause of your pain could be gravity.

    Your spine is like a stack of blocks with a weight on top ... your head. A movement that takes the stack out of alignment, such as thrusting your head forward, causes imbalance.

    If your head is forward as you sit or walk, your shoulders become stressed. If your shoulders and upper back are rounded at the same time, your lower back is stressed. Whether you are standing or sitting, good posture is one key to freedom from back pain.

    Exercises help. To do shoulder blade retractions, stand in an upright position. Squeeze your arms straight back 30 or 45 times. Do it several times a day.
    Lower back pain is a signal that the spine is out of line. If the lower back muscles that hold you up are stressed by overuse, such as too much bending and lifting, they can lose their ability to stabilize the back.

    Sitting for long periods creates a high compression force on the lower back. If you sit with poor posture, you can overstretch back muscles to the point where the ability to stand or sit with good alignment is reduced.

    Prolonged sitting also causes hip flexors to shorten and tighten, pulling on the lower back muscles. The bridge exercise helps the mid back and thighs become stronger and more flexible. To do it, lie on your back with your arms at your sides with knees bent. Contract your abdominals, buttocks and back of the thigh muscles. Keep your back straight. Lift the pelvis off the floor and hold a second or two. Lift 12 times. Do it three times a day.

    The clinic's Arthritis Advisor says: During most of your daily activities, your head has to be aligned with your spine, and your spine needs to be in a neutral position.


    Hypothermia for cardiac arrest patients

    When the heart stops beating, oxygen-rich blood is no longer pumped to the brain, causing damage or death to brain cells. Doctors know that the rapid return of blood to the brain after resuscitation has the potential for causing additional brain damage.

    Now, cardiac arrest patients whose hearts are being restarted are candidates for hypothermia therapy, which cools the patient to about 90 degrees. Emergency medical physicians at the University of Alabama induce hypothermia in those patients. They are kept in a hypothermic state for 24 hours after resuscitation, then they are slowly warmed to normal temperatures over two to three days.
    Take me home.

    The treatment was used on a man in Concord Hospital near Pittsfield, New Hampshire. His heart had stopped seven times, but his doctors cooled his body to 92 degrees for a day after his heart surgery. Contrary to most predictions, he was able to return to his family a short time later, walking, talking and driving.

    Dr. Kenneth Deloge, who helped bring the treatment to Concord, says, "Restoring the heart is easy. Restoring the brain is hard."
    Who is this?

    At Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, a 34-year-old woman was about to deliver a baby when her heart stopped. Her son was born by C-section as doctors worked for 43 minutes to restart her heart.

    With little hope of a favorable outcome, doctors cooled her body to 91 degrees for 24 hours, then gently rewarmed her for 12 hours. Without knowing what happened, she woke up, asked the nurse for a telephone and called her husband. He answered and ask who was calling.

    He and relatives were in the waiting room deciding who would bring up the baby after his mother died.

  • About 500 of the 5,000 hospitals in the United States offer hypothermia therapy, says the American Heart Association.


    Drinks have calming effect

    New relaxation beverages can take the edge off stress and anxiety. They haven't been tested in clinical trials, but some ingredients have been shown to be beneficial.

    They contain herbal, plant or hormonal therapies, and they are designed to calm you without impairing your ability to function as alcohol does.

    Some contain kava root, an ingredient in Mary Jane's Soda, said to prevent road rage, public speaking jitters and date anxiety. It gets a high grade for treatment of anxiety from National Standard Research Collaboration, a scientist-owned group that evaluates natural therapies. The FDA says it should be used cautiously, especially by people with liver damage.

    Dream Water and some others contain melatonin, a hormone which aids sleep. Other beverage companies market the fact that their drinks don't contain it.

    Vacation in a Bottle uses L-Theanine, an ingredient in green tea, to relax you without putting you to sleep.

    At Massachusetts General Hospital, they say people should work to change the causes of stress rather than look for a quick fix.


  • Half of all births still unplanned

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of 'the pill'

    It's been called a birth-control riddle. Though the birth-control pill and various devices have been available for 50 years or more, almost half of all pregnancies are still unplanned.

    One in every two American women aged 15 to 44 has had at least one unplanned pregnancy in her lifetime. Among unmarried women in their 20s, seven in 10 pregnancies are unplanned, according to a government survey.

    Many unplanned pregnancies produce cherished babies. But some pregnancies are aborted or miscarried.

    Why are the numbers so high?

    About 48 percent of unplanned pregnancies involve contraceptive failures. Population experts say rates would be far lower if more women used IUDs and implants that prevent pregnancy for years at a time. IUDs are safe.

    The ParaGuard is only toxic to sperm and lasts up to 12 years. The Mirena releases a small amount of progestin that blocks ovulation. It lasts up to five years. Both are 99 percent effective.

    No protection

    In 52 percent of cases, couples used no birth control at all. A survey of single men and women by the Guttmacher Institute showed that more than 80 percent said it was important to avoid pregnancy right now. But about half said they usually used no protection.

    Morning-after pills are available without a prescription even to teenagers. The pills decrease the risk of pregnancy due to unprotected sex.

    History of contraception

    Using a receptacle, such as a sponge, cap or condom, to contain sperm goes back to caveman days. It's shown on a cave drawing in France from 12,000 B.C. Over time, caps were made of paper, animal intestines, leather and linen. Linen, or a scooped out lemon half, were said to be favorites of 18th century ladies' man Giacomo Casanova, says a Wall Street Journal story.

    Charles Goodyear paved the way for present-day condoms when he patented the vulcanization of rubber in 1843


    Aspirin, the pennies-a-day miracle drug

    It was about 2,500 years ago that Hippocrates was treating headaches, pain and fever with a special concoction. It was a powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree.

    By 1829, scientists discovered the compound in willows that gave pain relief and called it salicin. Salicin was later developed into the usable form we have today ... Aspirin.

    It works by blocking the prostaglandins, chemicals that sensitize nerve endings to pain. Aspirin also reduces the ability of platelets in the blood to stick together and create blood clots.

  • The heart saver: By reducing the formation of blood clots, aspirin reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • If more people in the United States who are at risk for a heart attack would take low-dose aspirin every day, there could be up to 45,000 fewer heart attack deaths each year, according to researchers at Stanford University.
  • Aspirin is not for everyone. To an adult who has not had heart problems, popping a baby aspirin every day might seem like an inexpensive way to protect health. But it's not that simple.
  • Cardiologists at New York University say the effect of aspirin should be judged against a higher risk of bleeding, including bleeding in the brain and in the stomach.
  • The American Medical Association now suggests that older people with no clinical cardiovascular disease, including those diagnosed correctly or incorrectly with peripheral artery disease (PAD), might not gain any protection from a daily aspirin.
  • Aspirin does work very well in helping to prevent a second heart attack or a second ischemic stroke. Cardiologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say it definitely helps.

    The low-dose aspirin is also good protection for a patient who has received a stint or had bypass surgery.

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    How to avoid heat stroke

    If you become overheated when spending hours outdoors in hot weather, you could lose your ability to sweat. That can cause heatstroke, in which body temperature can rise to 104 degrees. It can cause brain damage or cardiac arrest.

    To keep your cool and avoid a heat stroke, drink a lot of fluids, about a half ounce per pound of body weight daily. Water and sports drinks are better than carbonated drinks. Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.

    If you experience dry mouth, dizziness, nausea and fatigue, you need to take action immediately. Find a cool, shaded area. Get in front of a fan or get into your car and turn the air conditioner on high. If you don't feel better in a few minutes, have someone take you to a first-aid station or emergency room.