2010/03/31

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Easter eggs may be healthy, but only a few

BRANDENBURG, Germany (UPI) -- Easter eggs -- the dark chocolate kind -- in small quantities can lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk, researchers in Germany found.

Study leader Dr. Brian Buijsse of the German Institute of Human Nutrition and colleagues tracked 19,357 people, ages 35-65, for at least 10 years.

The study participants -- part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer -- had their blood pressure checked, height and weight measurements taken and they answered questions about diet, lifestyle and health.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, found those who ate the most chocolate -- an average of 7.5 grams a day, about one-quarter of an ounce or one square or two of a chocolate bar -- had lower blood pressure and a 39 percent lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who ate the least amount of chocolate.

"Small amounts of chocolate may help to prevent heart disease but only if it replaces other energy-dense food, such as snacks, in order to keep body weight stable," Buijsse said in a statement.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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CT scans: How much radiation is too much?

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration began meetings on the risks of CT scans for colon cancer screening as scientists said the agency ignored their concerns.

The meetings, which continue Wednesday, came after The New York Times reported government scientists got nowhere when they raised concerns to the FDA about possible dangers of routine use of CT scans for colon cancer screenings.

The meetings represent a reassessment of risks associated with radiology at a time when average lifetime doses of diagnostic of radiation have soared.

About 70 million computed tomography scans are performed in the United States annually, up from 3 million in the early 1980s, and up to 14,000 people may die every year of radiation-induced cancers as a result, researchers say.

The Times cited FDA documents showing that after an agency official recommended approval of an application by General Electric to allow the use of CT scans for colon cancer screenings, Dr. Julian Nicholas, who was a gastroenterologist under contract with the FDA, said approving the application could "expose a number of Americans to a risk of radiation that is unwarranted and may lead to" abdominal cancer. The application is still under review.

FDA officials then told him to change his view, Nicholas said.

"I was first ignored, then pressured to change my scientific opinion, and when I refused to do that, I was intimidated and ultimately terminated," he said.

Experts differ on use of CT scans, particularly for healthy patients.

Alberto Gutierrez, deputy director of the FDA office that oversees radiological devices, said it's hard to say what's the best direction on CT scans for colon cancer.

Arvind Gopalratnam, a spokesman for GE Healthcare, wrote in an e-mail that research had shown that "CT colonography can be a very valuable, noninvasive screening tool to help diagnose colorectal cancer at early stages and ultimately improve overall survival rates."

A CT of a patient's abdomen is often used instead of a conventional colonoscopy, which is performed with a long, flexible tube with a camera inserted in a patient's colon.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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Inflammatory bowel disease up in China

HONG KONG (UPI) -- A study of 79 children in China found an increasing diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease in the recent decade compared with the 1980s and 1990s.

Study leader Dr. Tam YH of the Chinese University of Hong Kong reviewed a group of children who had their first colonoscopy within a six-year period.

The most common reasons for the procedure were blood in the stools and for the possibility of inflammatory bowel disease.

The study, published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, found 23 children had colonic polyps and 13 had inflammatory bowel disease.

There were no complications by any of the study subjects, the study said.

It has recently been reported that there is increasing occurrence of childhood inflammatory bowel disease in Western countries.

Recently studies show an increase in childhood inflammatory bowel disease in Western countries, the researchers said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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Canada: Minority women lack doctor access

TORONTO (UPI) -- Immigrant women -- especially South Asian, West Asian or Arab women -- say they have trouble accessing healthcare in Canada, researchers found.

Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences found more than 50 percent of South Asian, West Asian or Arab adults say they were not very satisfied with their ability to get an appointment with a doctor for a regular checkup.

Nearly 40 percent of East and Southeast Asian and 34 percent of Aboriginal adults reported having difficulties when accessing a specialist compared with 22 percent of white Ontario residents.

The study also found that 15 percent of Canadian immigrants for less than five years do not have a primary care doctor, compared to 7.3 percent of Canadian-born men and women who say they don't have primary care doctor.

"Ensuring all Ontarians have equal access to care is important if we want to improve the health and well-being of men and women across the province," principal investigator Arlene Bierman, a physician at St. Michael's Hospital, said in a statement.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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Pet Astrology - A Unique Way to Understand Your Pet

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Cats & Dogs
For Indiana
Thursday April 1, 2010


Pomeranian

An intelligent, courageous, and loyal companion, beneath the Pomeranian's fur is a small but muscular dog, similar to a Chihuahua. Part of the spitz family, the breed is named for the Pomerania ...

Read more and see reader photos

Read about other cat and dog breeds



Pet Astrology - A Unique Way to Understand Your Pet
By Stella Simpson

Pet Astrology may sound like a very weird concept but there are many who believe in this concept. Some of them are of the view that the time and the date of birth make a significant effect on the behavior of the pet. Their mood and nature have unique characteristics which is different from the others. Therefore each zodiac sign has some features that determine the behavior of the pet.

So let us know as to how they will make an impact on the behavior and nature of the pet.

1. Aries - Pets that fall into this category are always active and touchy. They respond to the environmental changes in a positive way. Also they are oversensitive and soft hearted.

2. Taurus - These pets are very faithful and they can go to any limit to defend either there mates or the family members. In short they are family oriented pets. Once they get into fight they don't come out before a result is reached.

3. Gemini - As these pets are usually very intelligent therefore it is easy to train them. They are quick learners and also want to get lots of attraction from the people. They enjoy the company of the people whom they know and admire.

4. Cancer - They are too sensitive and gentle. They don't get attached easily to anybody but if they do so then it is long life attachment.

5. Leo - Leo pets love to be free and self dependent. It is a bit difficult task to train them as they don't want to learn or become leaders. Therefore they have a lazy attitude over everything.

6. Virgo - They prove to be good companion and have large number of amazing features.

7. Libra - They have a cool attitude and so can easily adjust themselves in any environment. So they make a good family atmosphere where everybody loves them. As they are lazy they tend to put up weight.

8. Scorpio - Scorpio pets are selfish but at the same time they are loyal also.

9. Sagittarius - Because of their wonderful nature they are loved by all. They are intelligent and also fun loving. As they are quite active so it may become a problem if people are not used to that.

10. Capricorn - They have tender hearts and always remain as they are even also when they grow old.

11. Aquarius - It may sometimes become very hard to handle them.

12. Pisces - These pets can very well read the minds of their masters. They have the ability to understand the moods of people. They have a calm nature so is the most suitable pet for a family.

This was all about pet astrology. Hope you would have had fun reading it.

========

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mental_floss "History Lessons":: Issue 239 Thur., April 1, 2010


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Issue 239 :: Thursday, April 1, 2010
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Greetings, Flossers! by Mangesh - Thursday, April 1, 2010

History of the United States
Every kid in Delaware knows the story of the state's most-famous patriot Caesar Rodney. Instead of getting an excuse note from his doctor, Rodney decided to ride eighty miles, with a fever, through a vicious thunderstorm, to cast a vote in Philadelphia. It turns out that Rodney was the tie-breaker, and ultimately the deciding vote that Delaware should join the other colonies in declaring independence from the crown. For his effort, he's now on the back of the state quarter.

When Neil Young fell ill in 1969, he kept strumming his guitar. To write one classic song with a fever would be amazing. Instead, Young wrote three --"Cinnamon Girl," "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down by the River" -- all while nursing a 103 degree temperature!

This weekend, when I caught an awful flu, I tried to determine how to channel my sickness into greatness. Should I pour all of my energy into national politics or rock music? In the end, I decided to use my few hours of coherence to edit Chapter 6 of our upcoming The Mental Floss History of the United States. Will my line edits and grammatical changes to Chapter 6 get me on the back of Delaware's quarter? Probably not. But the section did turn out pretty great. You'll have to wait till October to read the full thing. In the meantime, here are some facts that might interest you:  

-To allow his brother to urinate while suffering from kidney stones, Ben Franklin invented the first flexible urinary catheter used in North America.

-During the Civil War, the citizens of Winston County, Alabama, refused to join up with the Confederacy. Instead, they declared themselves the Republic of Winston and defied Confederate authority to the end!

-Nathan Forrest, who's mainly known today as the first Grand Wizard of the Klan, was a complicated character. Towards the end of his life, he was invited to speak to an African-American civil group, where he accepted a bouquet of flowers and talked passionately in favor of civil equality and against African-American job discrimination.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful week ahead.
Best wishes,
Mangesh


E-mail Jason and Mangesh, here.


-------------
PS: Before I sign off, I want to wish a slightly belated Happy Birthday to our incredible research editor Sandy Wood. If it weren't for Sandy, our magazine would be both less interesting and less factually accurate. Here's hoping this year is even better than the last.
------------


Runnur

"As seen in the NY Times: RUNNUR is Made for Movement. If you love the functionality of a 'Fanny Pack,' but dread it's fashion stigma, RUNNUR is for you!"

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Our insanely interesting fact:
The funky looking Smart Car was partially designed by the Swatch company. In fact, Smart was short for Swatch Mercedes Art.

Email Us A Fact Can you out-trivia us?

Send in your fascinating one-sentence submissions, along with your full name and address to beatourfacts@gmail.com. This week's winners will receive T-shirts from the mental_floss store.

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Last Issue's Theme was "Motherhood." The winners (and their facts) are:
1) The female European cuckoo lays her eggs in another bird's nest so she doesn't have to take care of them.
-Raydra Hall
2) The General MacArthur's mother rented a hotel room across the street from her son's dorm room at West Point so she could keep tabs on his study habits. If she didn't see him in his room studying in the evenings she would call the Resident Assistant and demand to know his whereabouts.
-Mike Milford
2) Beulah Bondi played Jimmy Stewart's mother 5 times. (4 times in film and then again on his TV show!)
-Karen Lopez
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4 Serious Things that happened on April Fool's Day
By Stacy Conradt
1. Let this be a lesson to us all: If you want people to take your death seriously, don't die on April Fool's Day (to be safe, the days leading up to April 1 should also be avoided). When the media reported the death of King George II of Greece on April 1, 1947, the public largely thought it was fake. But he had really died of arteriosclerosis.
 
2. What started out as a joke actually hurt the Korean stock market in 2003. A bunch of Chinese and South Korean websites picked up on the joke that Bill Gates had been assassinated and reported the news, whether they had been suckered in or were just playing along. People believed it was true and reacted - the result? The Korean stock market dropped 1.5%.
 
3. Back in the day when Sega and Nintendo were bitter rivals, no one would have thought that their hit characters Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario would team up in a game. But that's exactly what happened when "Sonic and Mario at the Olympics" was announced in 2007. Sega and Nintendo announced it via a joint press release a couple of days prior to April 1, but fans just assumed there was no way it could be true. But it was, and it was so successful that a sequel is planned to honor the 2010 Winter Olympics.
 
4. While Google's known for its April Fool's gags, this incident was no prank: in 2007, the company sent an e-mail out to its employees at a NYC office warning that a python was loose in the facilities. Definitely sounds like a prank, I know, but it was true: an engineer kept a ball python named Kaiser in his cube and Kaiser escaped. The e-mail to employees apologized for the awkward timing and assured them that this was no April Fool stunt.
 
To read Stacy's full list, click here. And for amazing facts, 140-characters at a time, follow us on Twitter.

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