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Son’s marathon run fights Alzheimer’s disease – Foster’s Daily Democrat

Posted: March 31, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Shawn Sullivan

SANFORD, Maine Brady Flanagan will have a strong wind at his back when he runs in the Boston Marathon in a few weeks: his love for his father and his desire to raise awareness about and funds for the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

His father, Brian Flanagan, 66, has struggled against Alzheimer's for several years now. The early onset of the disease prompted him to retire in his late 50s, and he now lives at an assisted-living facility in Wells.

"He's very far along," Brady said in a recent interview with the Sanford News.

Chances are, you know Brian Flanagan. He grew up in Dover, N.H., and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

He and his wife, Marlene, raised their children, Michael, Brady and Andrew, in Sanford, Maine. He taught at Sanford High School in the 1970s and served as vice principal there in the 1980s and 1990s. He also owned and operated Flanagan's Driving School for years.

He continued his career as a vice principal at Bonny Eagle High School and was the long-time principal of Somersworth High School in New Hampshire during the years leading up to his retirement.

In honor of his father, Brady, 34, is running in the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, to raise awareness and funds for The Alzheimer's Association. On its website, http://www.alz.org, the association describes Alzheimer's disease as "a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks." The disease does not yet have a cure, but treatment for its symptoms are available and research continues. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and "it's creeping up," Brady Flanagan said.

Brian Flanagan is at the point where he recognizes faces but does not necessarily remember people's names. In one scene in a promotional video that Brady has made for his fundraising efforts, Brady asks his father if he knows his name. Brian Flanagan takes a moment and then replies, "Bob." His son gently corrects him though he's off-screen, you can hear the love and affection in his voice and says, "Close. Brady."

Brady started running in honor of his father shortly after the diagnosis. He said he struggled with feelings of hopelessness common in people who have loved ones struggling against an incurable disease and wanted to do something to show support and hopefully make a difference. The Boston Marathon will be the third marathon in which he has run; the other two were in Chicago and New York City. In his video, he called Alzheimer's disease "ruthless" and spoke of the pain of watching someone close to you slipping away.

Brady said he knew the disease was beginning to take hold in his father when "it started taking away things he loved doing." Brian Flanagan loved sports and driving and, indeed, Brady misses talking about the New England Patriots with him. Brady and his mother and brothers noticed even more of a change when Brian moved from "being a contributor to conversations to being a listener." An Irishman, Brian always enjoyed telling stories; as his disease progressed, however, those stories started getting shorter. Brian also stopped taking walks, something he did throughout his life for exercise.

There's one thing Alzheimer's has not taken away, however: Brian's sense of humor. Brian is seen laughing and smiling in his son's fundraising video, and Brady reports that his father is fitting in well at the assisted-living facility, to which he moved in January.

"He's still happy as a clam," Brady said.

Brady and his wife, Andrea, live in Boston. He said that he and his family continue to be moved by the response of his hometown of Sanford and of others as he raises funds and awareness in these weeks leading to the marathon.

"It has drawn my family together and has prompted people to tell stories about (my father)," Brady said. "He's had a positive impact on a lot of people."

To contribute to Brady Flanagan's fundraising efforts, visit online at https://www.crowdrise.com/alzheimersassociationboston2017/fundraiser/bradyflanagan.

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Son's marathon run fights Alzheimer's disease - Foster's Daily Democrat

Community members gather to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease – WEAU

Posted: at 2:44 pm

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Community members gathered Wednesday to learn more about Alzheimer's disease.

The event took place at the Eau Claire Golf and Country Club in Altoona. Lisa Wells, a dementia care specialist, gave a presentation to community members, businesses and organizations on how they can be trained to become more Alzheimer's and dementia friendly.

Wells says it's important for the community to be aware of the disease.

"When people are aware, when they understand about the disease, it really helps people who are living with that disease. Because, think about it, if you were diagnosed with this disease how hard it might be to go out in the community knowing that what if I forget my words, what if I can't find the restroom, what if I have trouble with my credit card or money, is somebody going to be there to help me? Is somebody going to understand what I might be experiencing? said Wells.

Wells says the Aging and Disability Resource Center is a great resource for people who are concerned about their memory.

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Community members gather to learn more about Alzheimer's disease - WEAU

Introducing performance-inspired nutrition: Whey more than you think – DesMoinesRegister.com

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Natalie Hoefing, Special to the Register 12:02 a.m. CT March 31, 2017

Strawberry Banana Performance Inspired Smoothie Bowl(Photo: Special to the Register)

Performance Inspired Nutrition was started when entrepreneur, actor and producer Mark Wahlberg and former 25-year GNC veteranTom Dowdwere inspired to supply their loved ones with trustworthy products built on a better, all-natural brand.

Protein is critical to building and maintaining muscle mass. Athletes, the elderly, those looking to lose fat mass and the ill or injured have increased needs for protein. Performance Inspired Whey Protein contains 25 grams of protein per serving, plus it has probiotics and fiber to help you digest and keep you from feeling bloated.

The current recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8 grams/kg of body weight. Many people who could benefit from extra protein.

Are you an athlete?Athletes needs vary based on timing, duration and intensity of activity, which is why Performance Inspired Nutrition came out with Ripped Whey Protein. Not only does it contain the same 25 grams of natural protein as the original, it also contains caffeine to enhance performance and 4 grams of the amino acid leucine per serving. Leucine is the key amino acid for building muscle, and you would have to drink four cups of milk or eat 6.75 ounces of chicken to get close to that amount of leucine. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine have recommended athletes consume 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.

Looking to lose weight?If youve been cutting your calories to lose weight, there is a good chance you are losing muscle along with fat. However, studies show that eating more protein, or at least 1.2 grams/kg of body weight per day, in conjunction with resistance exercise, reduces the amount of muscle lost during dieting. This is especially important since more muscle burns more calories at rest.

Over the age of 65?As we age, there is a natural loss of muscle strength and function. Studies show that someone over the age of 65 needs more protein to maintain muscle and protein balance than someone who is younger. This may be because we become more resistant to muscle building as we age. Therefore it is important for the aging population to continue weight training and increase their protein intake to 1.2 to 1.6 grams/kg of body weight per day.

Performance Inspired Nutrition is one of the few supplement companies that contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients. Performance Inspired Whey Protein powder isnt just for your post workout shake. Try mixing it in oatmeal for a high-protein breakfast choice, blending it into pancake mix for high-protein pancakes, adding it into a fruit smoothie for an antioxidant- and protein-packed snack, or mixing it with yogurt for an evening treat to aid in muscle protein synthesis overnight. No matter how you use it, you can feel good about giving your body the quality protein it needs.

The information is not intended as medical advice.Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Serves 2

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

All you need

All you do

Nutrition facts per serving: 250 calories, 4.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 90mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 18g sugar, 22g protein.

Daily values: 0% vitamin A, 45% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 4% iron.

Source: Hy-Vee Dietitians

Natalie Hoefing(Photo: Special to the Register)

Hy-Vee dietitian Natalie Hoefing, RD, LD, received her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from Iowa State University.Natalie is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy affiliate.

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Introducing performance-inspired nutrition: Whey more than you think - DesMoinesRegister.com

Human Nutrition Faculty Offer Tips to Reduce Sugar, Sodium and Solid Fats – University of Arkansas Newswire

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Courtesy of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Suggestions for National Nutrition Month include limiting sugars, sodium and solid fats to reduce the risks of heart disease.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. March is National Nutrition Month, and faculty from the University of Arkansas human nutrition program in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences have suggestions to help you limit added sugars, sodium and solid (saturated and trans) fats from your diet.

Diets high in sugar, sodium and solid fats can raise blood pressure and lead to heart disease. Too much sugar can stimulate the liver to put more harmful fats in the bloodstream. Too much sodium may increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease. Saturated and trans fats can raise cholesterol levels in blood.

Diets high in sugar may promote the development of metabolic disease, said assistant professor of human nutrition Jae Kyeom Kim. Fructose is a major form of sugar naturallypresent in fruits and vegetables. What matters is how much fructose, or any sugar, you consume.

To limit sugar:

Generally, it is not a problem if fructose is consumed through fruits and vegetables because their levels are not abnormally high. A medium sized banana contains about five grams of fructose whereas a 20-ounce soft drink, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, has about 35 grams of fructose, in addition to another 30 grams of glucose. Since soft drinks are normallyconsumed with other dishes, it can easily add more calories and sugars. Fructose, a major dietary sugar, directly disrupts lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and indirectly promotes positive energy balance (more calories consumed), which increases body weight and fat accumulation.

To limit sodium:

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, said human nutrition instructor Nancy Buckley. In the U.S., about 70 percent of sodium we eat comes from processed foods. About 15 percent comes from salt added while cooking and at the table, and 10 percent from natural contentin foods.A person can reduce sodium in their diet by reducing the amount of processed foods they eat.Choosing low sodium products, rinsing canned beans and vegetables, and making your own spice blends, leaving out the salt, will also reduce sodium.Spices, herbs, citrus and chili peppers can add flavor to foodsin place of salt. It is important to read nutrition facts labels to compare sodium content and chooseproducts lower in content.

To limit saturated and trans fats:

Good examples of leanprotein are skinless chicken andfish that can be baked, broiled or pan-fried in a little olive oil, said Sabrina Trudo, associate professor of human nutrition and holder of the 21st Century Endowed Chair in Human Environmental Sciences. Cuts of beef and pork can be trimmed of visible fat.Leaner cuts or extra lean ground meat may induce sticker shock, however, you typicallyget more actual meat and proteinper pound instead of fatand will experience less cooking loss. You get more for your money.

Trudo also suggests plant-based proteins such as quinoa, legumes and soy. Quinoa is cooked and served similar to rice, but is high in protein. Examples of legumes, which are typically an inexpensive source of protein, are black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lima beans and lentils. Soy options include edamame and soy nuts.

Lean protein sources are important because animal foods, the typical protein source in the U.S., can be high in saturated fat, said Trudo. It's the saturated fat that can negatively impact cholesterol levels in blood, leading to cardiovascular problems.

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help consumers make informed food choices, and develop sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for the month is Put Your Best Fork Forward, emphasizing the idea that everyone can make healthier food choices.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Editor-selected comments will be published below. No abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, spam or material of a similar nature will be considered for publication.

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Human Nutrition Faculty Offer Tips to Reduce Sugar, Sodium and Solid Fats - University of Arkansas Newswire

Chrono-nutrition: Matching your food to your internal clock – Seattle Times

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Whether youre struggling to adjust from jet lag or Daylight Saving Time or just missing some sleep, balanced nutrition can help you recover.

If youre still recovering from losing an hour of sleep when we switched over to Daylight Saving Time, imagine what can happen when you are perpetually operating at odds with your internal clock. When and what you eat can affect this.

Your circadian clock runs on a 24-hour cycle that lets your body perform specific functions at appropriate times, which is important for surviving and thriving. Clock genes keep the master biological clock in your brain your central clock running according to your personal chronotype, while exposure to light synchronizes your clocks cycle with your environment. Your central clock controls things like your nervous system, core body temperature, blood pressure, secretion of melatonin (the sleep hormone), cortisol (the stress hormone), growth hormones and your sleep/wake cycle. Jet lag is what happens when your clock and your environment become temporarily desynchronized.

About 20 years ago, scientists discovered that the rest of our bodily functions including blood sugar and cholesterol, hormones, digestion and immune system responses are governed by peripheral clocks. Your peripheral clocks get signals from your central clock to help them stay synchronized, but other things can easily reset them. This is where nutrition comes in: The main thing that sets our peripheral clocks is when we eat (feed) and when we dont (fast).

When our central and peripheral clocks become desynchronized, trouble ensues. Many shift workers and time-zone travelers experience digestive distress because they are eating at unusual times, desynchronizing the central and peripheral clocks. Over time, this can affect how your body uses calories, leading to weight gain. It can also contribute to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Does everyone who lives in the same time zone have the exact same chronotype? No. Some people are early birds, some are night owls, and other people are somewhere in between, but the overall variation is only a few hours on either end. If you cant honor your chronotypes ideal sleep schedule (our modern world favors early birds) or you push your natural tendencies too far (night owls who stay up until the wee hours), your central clock may become desynchronized.

Research suggests that night owls have unhealthier behaviors, including poor sleep and less-nutritious diets, and are at higher risk of developing diabetes. Past research has found that night-owl types eat more after 8 p.m. and delay breakfast. A recent study found that night owls ate more sugar in the morning, while early birds ate more fiber. In the evening, night owls ate more sugar, fat and saturated fat. Thats on weekdays. On weekends, those differences were even bigger.

Regardless of your chronotype, late dinners or midnight snacks alter your fasting cycle and misalign your peripheral clocks especially if you partake of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Skipping breakfast has a similar effect. This may be one reason why eating a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner has been linked to healthier blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and less weight gain. Clock desynchronization or lack of sleep for any reason lowers levels of leptin, the hormone that helps suppress hunger, which can lead to overeating.

What can you do? The top two tips are to eat a balanced breakfast and avoid late- night eating. If you absolutely must eat later in the evening, life being what it is, go for a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat and eat just enough to satisfy hunger.

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Chrono-nutrition: Matching your food to your internal clock - Seattle Times

Google released a new fitness class booking service – Mashable

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Google released a new fitness class booking service
Reserve with Google is a new feature that lets you see and book fitness classes in the U.S. It was previously only available in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The site pulls together Google Maps and Google Search and puts them into a new ...
Google now lets you book fitness classesCNET
A Google search is all you need to book a fitness classEngadget
You Can Now Book Fitness Classes Straight from Google MapsShape Magazine
TNW -SlashGear -VentureBeat -Google
all 20 news articles »

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Google released a new fitness class booking service - Mashable

Fitness family continues to grow – Sandusky Register

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Sandusky Register
Fitness family continues to grow
Sandusky Register
SANDUSKY For the last five years, Tim Dorsey has made it his mission to encourage others to just keep moving. Since the best way to lead is by example, that's exactly what the fitness guru has been doing, as he continues to expand his gym, Tim ...

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Fitness family continues to grow - Sandusky Register

Adidas unveils All Day mobile app for fitness and training – Retail Dive

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Dive Brief:

Adidas has announced some details of its new All Day mobile fitness application, and is recruiting consumers to participate in a closed beta program before making the app generally available this summer.

The All Day app, which will integrate with the Adidas Chameleon HR fitness tracker, provides a variety of short-term training routines and practices called Discoveries, which are based on science and cover the four drivers of performance and well-being movement, nutrition, mindset and rest.

Adidas said 12 Discoveries will be available at launch, including clean eating tips from chef Candice Kumai, workout sessions from yoga teacher Adriene Mishler and celebrity trainer Stephen Cheuk, as well as a custom mix of music designed to help you sleep from DJ Nina Las Vegas. Discoveries will be available at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels of fitness.

Adidas earlier this month said it would open its mobile fitness app to leverage the contributions of third-party partners, and the All Day unveiling showcases the first example of that strategy to employ open source collaboration methods.

The apparel and footwear claims the All Day app "has been informed by the best thinking across sports, data and behavior science," a claim backed up by the fact that Adidas partnered with the American College of Sports Medicine, the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. Adidas is filling the All Day app with sport science research and insights from ACSMs expert network and working with long-standing partner EXOS, a company focused on methods for maximizing athletic performance, to bring training best practices and insights from elite athletes to the app. In addition, Adidas is working with Verily, an Alphabet subsidiary and Google sister company that is providing advisory support focused on healthcare and life sciences.

There is a lot more to the app to get into, but at the risk of losing ourselves and you in a jargon soup of sports science, let's just say that Adidas, like its biggest competitor Nike, is loading its app with a mix of straightforward capabilities and expert-driven content. These two companies and Under Armour have been battering one another on different levels and in different market segments shoes, apparel, the ability to land celebrity endorsers and partnerships with professional sports leagues and now the competitive battles are moving into the mobile app arena (and maybe the fitness tracker arena, too?).

That makes sense, as consumers are living in a mobile world, and expect to be able to fully engage with their favorite brands in that world not just be able to visit a website on their smartphones that has been formatted to fit the device, but have a true interactive experience that leaves them feeling like they have gained something. Adidas has decided the best way to make sure that happens is not to do everything itself but bring the best of what its partners can provide. All Day's initial partnerships seem like the start of that effort, but there are probably more to come. We'll see what this summer brings.

Adidas unveils All Day mobile app for fitness and training - Retail Dive

Chesapeake vies for $20000 grant to get fitness equipment for Northwest River Park – Virginian-Pilot

Posted: at 2:43 pm


The city is hoping to make ailing Northwest River Park and Campground a bit more fit, but needs some help to do it.

Starting April 1, as part of the National Recreation and Park Associations month-long Meet Me at the Park campaign, people can nominate Chesapeake to receive a $20,000 grant to install outdoor fitness equipment at the park. Other Hampton Roads cities are also vying for the grant, as well as others from across the country.

Kevin Kaul, Chesapeake's parks manager, said after an early March story in The Virginian-Pilot about Northwest River Park and its various needs, hes been approached by people asking how they can help. Not everybody can clear drainage ditches and trails, he said. The grant campaign is a cool idea in which people could easily be involved in creating something new at the park.

Parameters for the grant include a park improvement project or program that connects youth to nature, increases youth access to sports and/or inspires healthy living, said Lynn Jordan, a city recreation specialist.

Kaul said the money would be used to create a fitness area similar to one at Chesapeake's recently renovated Elizabeth River Park. It could have an assortment of equipment, like outdoor rowing and elliptical machines, and places to do pulls-up and leg lifts.

There have been increasing requests from people for things like that, Kaul said, and he hopes to find a spot with a view. Existing park amenities include disc and miniature golf courses, children's playgrounds, trails and boat rentals, in addition to the campground.

Kaul said the money can't be used to replace Northwest's rotting wood and aging infrastructure, but its an easy way for people to help the park.

Votes can be cast daily at http://www.nrpa.org/beinspired until the end of the month. The city with the most nominations gets the grant. Jordan said the winner will be revealed May 18.

Everyone who nominates a city will be entered into a drawing for a tablet thats been outfitted to be used outdoors, according to a press release. Norfolk, Portsmouth and Suffolk are also taking part in the campaign.

A Virginia Beach parks and rec spokeswoman said the city doesn't have a park submitted for consideration, but would support nominations that come from the public.

Meet Me at the Park is in its third year and is a collaborative effort with The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, to revitalize U.S. parks, according to a press release.

Visit Chesapeake's Parks, Recreation and Tourismwebsite for more information.

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Chesapeake vies for $20000 grant to get fitness equipment for Northwest River Park - Virginian-Pilot

Editorial: Cheers to museum, farmers, fitness challenge – Bloomington Pantagraph

Posted: at 2:43 pm


... to the McLean County Museum of History in downtown Bloomington for its newest permanent exhibit, Challenges, Choices & Change: Farming in the Great Corn Belt.

The exhibit, curated by Susan Hartzold and Don Meyer, connects visitors to the county's rich agricultural history and its future.

For years, agriculture, insurance and education have been the underpinnings of McLean County's economy. The museum's newest exhibit celebrates the farmers and their farms have helped make the county what it is today.

... to, on a related topic, the various entities that celebrated the recent National Ag Day, including farm bureaus, insurance companies, schools and universities.

"If you ate today, thank a farmer" is a simple yet crucial way to understand the connection between a farmer's job and what it means to our community and the world in general.

Here in the Corn Belt, every day is Ag Day and we are grateful to the people whose work makes it possible.

... to the six-week fitness challenge announced by the McLean County Wellness Coalition's Workplace Wellness Subcommittee.

The program, for any county resident age 16 or older, tracks exercise minutes, shows new places to exercise and increases camaraderie, according to a story by reporter Paul Swiech.

A recent community health needs assessment revealed that 32 percent of county residents are obese, so the effort is needed.

... to American Red Cross, Bloomington and Normal fire departments, Home Sweet Home Ministries and O'Brien Mitsubishi for their April 8 program to offer and install free smoke alarms to families who need them.

... to organizers of the new Bloom Community School, a small elementary school that will let students learn in environments outside traditional classrooms.

Curriculum will be project-based. Bloom has partnered with entities like the McLean County Museum of History, the Children's Discovery Museum, West Bloomington Revitalization Project and University of Illinois Extension.

... to our dear newsroom friends and colleagues, Chuck Blystone, Bill Flick and Steve Smedley, who retired in March after a combined 109 years of service to The Pantagraph.

The newspaper is an institution made up of individuals. For 180 years, The Pantagraph had served our communities thanks to the dedication of dedicated employees like Chuck, Bill and Steve.

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Editorial: Cheers to museum, farmers, fitness challenge - Bloomington Pantagraph

Ashley Horner (and her butt) is going to extremes to help fund an orphanage in Haiti – ESPN

Posted: at 2:43 pm

By Kelaine Conochan | Mar 31, 2017 Special to espnW

Courtesy Eva Fuze.

More than anything else, Ashley Horner is concerned about the mental part of running 230 miles through Haiti.

This butt was built from thousands of squats. Thousands of deadlifts. And thousands and thousands of miles. This is Ashley Horner's butt.

On Monday, Horner and her butt will embark on a 230-mile run -- roughly the distance between Washington, D.C., and New York City -- along the rugged coast and mountains of Haiti.

Her goal on the impossibly difficult run is to raise funds for the Maison Fortun Orphanage, which provides education to more than 300 students and housing to more than 210 orphans in the modest town of Hinche, Haiti. She hopes to raise $28,000, enough to fund its elementary school for a full year.

"I'll just be counting on my team to feed me salt tablets and rub out my butt when it gets sore," says Horner, who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. "Mentally, I'm ready for it. I know I'm going to be sore, and I'm going to hurt, but other than that, it's all mental. I'm just going to go for it."

Hers, then, is quite literally a butt that won't quit.

Today, Ashley Horner is a strong, hard-working 32-year-old woman who owns and runs five businesses. She played for the Guam national soccer team in 2011 and is now a fitness pro with nearly 500,000 Instagram followers. Her body looks carved by the lightning of Zeus. She has sold more than a million copies of her fitness e-books. She's also happily married, with three young sons --Tripp (9), Cash (8), and Otto (2).

In the gym and in her career, Horner looks strong, stable, even splendid. There are no signs of the struggle that got her where she is today. But you can feel it. It drives her.

Courtesy Eva Fuze

Ashley Horner hopes to fund the elementary school at Maison Fortun Orphanage for an entire year.

Despite her success in sports, Horner struggled with body issues growing up in the small town of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. "I hung out with skinny girls who were cheerleaders, and I was this athletic girl who had the big legs, the big butt," she says.

Then Horner's father got cancer. She dropped out of college at Northeastern State University to be home with her family, where she watched her dad fight for his life, enduring pain and suffering until he passed. It changed her. Made her appreciate her body. Made her understand what a gift it is to be strong and resilient.

She turned her grief into strength, a strength used to rebuild her life, to get past the pain. "Among that chaos in my life, that's when I really found fitness and started to embrace that I am a strong female, physically. I wasn't meant to be skinny," she says.

But then came a string of bad relationships. "I found myself as a single mom. I wasn't making any money or having any help from anybody. I had the kids full time," she says.

Horner remembers when she couldn't pay her rent. When her electricity got cut off. "I don't know how my car didn't get repo-ed."

"One relationship really stripped everything from me," she says. "I didn't have a dollar to my name, and I knew at that point that I had to be successful."

Working her butt off was the only option.

"Through all the madness and the craziness, the one thing that centered me was training," she says.

And when friends and strangers asked her for fitness advice, she figured out how to turn her passion into her livelihood, writing and selling fitness e-books.

She made her first million dollars while still in her 20s. She and her boys moved seven times, each stop a new opportunity to meet and inspire the people she trained, helping them to find beauty in their strength. She even created the Unbroken Foundation, which raises funds to provide housing and services to women and families who have suffered domestic violence.

After all the hurt, the loss, the turmoil, Horner built herself up and tried not to look back. "When I hit rock bottom, I had to figure it out. I had to figure out for myself how to be a successful female."

For centuries, the people of Haiti were ravaged by colonialism, slavery and political corruption. And you want to talk about rock bottom? How about cities being leveled by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010, killing some 220,000 people and leaving another 2 million homeless.

After the devastation of the earthquake, thousands of children and families sought refuge in Hinche. Rather than placing the children in homes for adoption, Maison Fortun Orphanage houses them on-site, providing structure, consistency and classroom instruction that will allow the children to grow and develop in a loving, supportive environment, Horner said.

By focusing on education, Maison Fortun empowers these children to become leaders who can, in turn, raise up their whole community, Horner said. To build themselves. To help them find beauty in their strength.

Stop us if that sounds familiar.

But Horner had no prior connection to Maison Fortun. And is not even quite sure what drew her to Haiti in early December 2016, let alone that orphanage.

"I'd never been to Haiti. I didn't know anybody from Haiti. But for some reason, a few times a year I would go online and search for orphanages and Haiti," she says. "A small seed was planted in my heart, and I do not know why."

Horner's journey will begin the moment she lands in Port-au-Prince, where she'll hop in a van and drive to the outskirts of the capital city. From there, she'll run up the coast to Saint-Marc and continue on to Gonaives before heading inland to Plaisance. From Plaisance, she'll head to the north coast of Cap-Haitien before taking the valley pass, an unpaved side road, to Saint-Raphael.

Then it's onward to her destination, to Hinche, where Maison Fortun's students will run the last mile with her.

Courtesy Eva Fuze

Ashley Horner still is unsure why she gave her heart to Haiti.

A small crew will accompany Horner in a van carrying her provisions. She'll rely on them for physical, mental and emotional support throughout her run. They'll be provided with a purified water supply to prevent cholera or other diseases that are commonly caused by Haiti's contaminated water, but ice will be scarce at best. They'll also pack plenty of sunscreen, bug spray to prevent Zika, and the copious amount of food she'll need to fuel her trek.

"I plan on eating the whole time," Horner says. That includes the standard runner fare -- goos, chews, bars -- as well as some calorically dense junk food that will convert to fuel quickly. "During these long runs, my body wants Oreos and Pop Tarts and anything that's high sugar content."

Remember that butt? The one that won't quit? Well, Horner's plan is to run continuously for the full 230 miles, stopping only to change clothes and maybe -- maybe -- for a couple of naps. But there are so many variables and unknowns that will impact even the best plans. "If I need sleep," she says, "I'll sleep in the van."

Conservatively, it will take Horner three full days to complete the run, with temperatures likely in the mid-to-high 80s. "One of my concerns is heat exhaustion," she says casually. "And I will change clothes at least twice a day to stay as dry as possible and avoid chafing or blisters. But I'm going to be sweating buckets."

And what about her feet, which will carry her for 72 hours or more? "The last time I did something like this, my feet swelled more than two sizes. So, I usually wear a size 8, but I have shoes all the way up to a 9.5."

Some, naturally, say she's crazy. "I'm not doing this for them -- I'm doing this for the children at the orphanage," she says. "Whenever it gets rough, I'll just think of them. Even now, I can see their faces. That just makes it all worth it."

Horner knows the journey will be long and hard. But she is ready for it. She welcomes the pain.

"I'm going to be sore, I'm going to hurt. The thing is that with pain, it goes away. There's an end. The pain and suffering will stop."

Ashley Horner (and her butt) is going to extremes to help fund an orphanage in Haiti - ESPN

104-year-old man celebrates birthday at fitness center – WGRZ-TV

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Dr. Charles Hurwitz, a staple at the Evelyn Rubenstein Community Center, celebrated his 104th birthday with family and friends. Hurwitz works out on the treadmill and stairmaster three times a week at the center.

KHOU.com Staff , KHOU 11:08 AM. EDT March 31, 2017

Friends and family celebrated Dr. Charles Hurwitzs 104th birthday at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center on March 30, 2017. Hurwitz is a staple at the community center where he works out on the treadmill and stairmaster three times a week. (Photo: Christine Di Stadio/KHOU.com, Custom)

HOUSTON - Friends and family gathered at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center Thursday to celebrate a 104-year-old mans birthday.

The guest of honor was Dr. Charles Hurwitz, who is a staple at the community center where he works out on the treadmill and stairmaster three times a week.

Hurwitz was born on April 1, 1913, in Springfield, Mass. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and earned his masters degree at the University of Wisconsin. He went on to get his Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Hurwitz is also an Army veteran who served in the Philippines in World War II. He married Jean Parker in 1950 and has four children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The centenarian worked as a research scientist at the VA Hospital in Albany, N.Y. from 1950 until his move to Houston in 1998 where he continued his research at Texas Childrens Hospital.

Community center staff, family and friends on Thursday sang Happy Birthday to Hurwitz and celebrated with cake.

I got a basket of apples when I turned 100, Hurwitz said. Im overwhelmed by this!

Photos: 104-year-old celebrates birthday at fitness center

2017 KHOU-TV

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104-year-old man celebrates birthday at fitness center - WGRZ-TV

Home Health Aides Fear They’ll Lose Hard-Won Insurance Coverage – NPR

Posted: at 2:42 pm

Celeste Thompson, 57, a home care worker in Missoula, Mont., examines a pill bottle in her home. Thompson cares for her husband, and worries that if she loses her Medicaid coverage she won't be able to afford to see a doctor. Mike Albans for Kaiser Health News hide caption

Celeste Thompson, 57, a home care worker in Missoula, Mont., examines a pill bottle in her home. Thompson cares for her husband, and worries that if she loses her Medicaid coverage she won't be able to afford to see a doctor.

For more than two decades, Celeste Thompson, 57, a home care worker in Missoula, Mont., had not had regular contact with a doctor no annual physicals and limited sick visits. She also needed new glasses.

Like many others who work in the lower rungs of the health care system, a category that includes nursing aides as well as direct care and personal care assistants, she has worked hard to keep her clients healthy by feeding them, dressing them and helping them navigate chronic conditions.

Workers like Thompson often don't have health insurance. Many home health agencies, 80 percent of which are for-profit, don't offer coverage, or their employees don't consistently clock enough hours to be eligible.

The average annual salary for home health workers is $20,000 a year. Industry revenues approach $100 billion annually and are projected to grow.

"It's a social justice issue. We have a workforce that is the backbone of long-term [care] services, and they themselves don't have coverage," says Caitlin Connolly, who runs a campaign to increase home care wages at the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy organization.

That all changed for Thompson in 2015, when Montana opted in to the Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal low-income health insurance program. Thompson, who was making about $10 an hour, immediately signed up.

Vision care was among the first things she focused on. She had not visited an eye doctor in nine years a problem because her job includes keeping track of patients' pill bottles and making sure they take the right medications.

"I had to use a magnifying glass to see small print," says Thompson, who now wears bifocals. Her doctor has warned her she may need a stronger correction soon.

The Trump administration's attempt at replacing the Affordable Care Act would have reined in Medicaid spending in states like Montana. But the bill failed to get enough support in Congress and was withdrawn March 24. Many Republicans say repeal is still a priority, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could change key regulations affecting the current law right now, without Congress.

The lack of clarity means that Thompson and many other home-based caregivers don't know what's going to happen to their insurance coverage.

From 2010 to 2014, about half a million of these workers gained new health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, estimates PHI, a New York-based nonprofit that researches this slice of the labor force and advocates for improved working conditions, in a March issue brief.

Most home care workers' gains came from living in states that, like Montana, expanded Medicaid. But even with Obamacare in place, many home health workers perhaps 1 in 5 remain uninsured. By contrast, about 8.6 percent of all Americans lack coverage.

Before Thompson got Medicaid, a sinus infection represented an unplanned expense. Seeing a doctor meant forgoing groceries. She would take over-the-counter pills and hope to get better. "I would go to work sick, and that's not good," she says, noting that her clients are frail and elderly. "But I couldn't afford to be off. I needed the money."

Many Republicans have long favored proposals to reduce federal costs associated with this state-federal low-income insurance program, saying that shifting funding from a per capita basis to block grants to states would make the system more efficient.

But many advocates for these workers take a different view, and the current air of uncertainty adds an extra layer of concern. Under the 2010 law, "at least we were on a path" to addressing coverage and access concerns, says Elly Kugler, the federal policy director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a coalition that represents home care providers. If it goes away, she said, it's not so clear how these workers will access health care.

The federal government only recently ruled that home care workers qualify for overtime pay and minimum wage protections.

And there's another rub: Most of the money paying for long-term home care comes from Medicaid and Medicare, PHI estimates. If either of those sources is squeezed, that will mean fewer people receiving home health care, and "that will translate to hours cut," Connolly said.

"My clients won't be able to afford me. I can't make a living. It's a vicious cycle," says Kim Thomas, 52, a home care worker in Durham, N.C. She makes $9.75 an hour and has 32 clients one of whom is almost fully paralyzed and needs help eating, dressing and moving. Her days start at 5:30 a.m. To make ends meet, she works nights at the local hospital. Thomas is diabetic.

For Thompson in Montana, the concern is similar. If Medicaid is revised or the health law repealed, she said, it's not just her insurance at risk but her livelihood. Her medical history puts her at high risk of endometrial cancer, and her doctor recommends screenings twice a year. But without insurance that's not feasible, she says.

"We don't have enough money at the end of the month to buy essential things, like deodorant," she says. "We go to the food bank four times a month. Without Medicaid, it would be really hard on [our family], trying to come up with the money to go the doctor."

Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Home Health Aides Fear They'll Lose Hard-Won Insurance Coverage - NPR

Leaders Take Control Of Their Health Information – Forbes

Posted: at 2:42 pm

Leaders Take Control Of Their Health Information
Your health is your greatest wealth. We know that. Unfortunately, the media has this way with words that gets people paying attention. Viewers probably can't even help it; when the news come on the TV, they sit and watch. We've been conditioned since a ...
Depression the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, WHO findsThe Independent
Young people and mental health: 'Since diagnosis, I have taken massive strides'The Guardian

all 54 news articles »

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Leaders Take Control Of Their Health Information - Forbes

Medicaid Expansion Becomes Trendy With Death of GOP Health Bill – NBCNews.com

Posted: at 2:42 pm

Eight in ten Hispanics who are currently not insured may qualify for Medicaid, the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or lower costs on monthly premiums through the Health Insurance Marketplace, according to the Obama Administration. JIM YOUNG / Reuters

It's a fast turnaround made by states that had resolutely resisted taking part on a major plank of the 2010 Affordable Care Act the expansion of Medicaid to cover more people.

Now that the GOP-sponsored American Health Care Act has

Not everyone thinks it is.

"The cost of expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare is irresponsible and unsustainable," Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in a statement explaining his veto.


Other governors and legislators are starting to waver, however, acutely aware that they are passing up billions of federal dollars and leaving many of their residents with no way to pay for medical care.

Medicaid is the joint state-federal health insurance plan for people with low incomes, the disabled, children and some elderly. Obamacare sought to get more people covered by health insurance in two main ways by offering individual, private policies that people could buy with generous subsidies, and by making states provide Medicaid to more people.

One big carrot the federal government would pay the entire cost of Medicaid expansion until 2016, 95 percent this year, gradually ratcheting that down to 90 percent of the cost by 2020.

But some Republican-dominated states balked and the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states did not have to do it. At last count, 19 states were opting out.


That left millions of people in a Medicaid gap people without employer-provided health insurance who make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid, and too little to qualify for federal subsidies to help buy private insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

And in some states, non-parents, no matter how poor, cannot get Medicaid at all.

About 73 million people are currently enrolled in Medicaid, about 11 million of them because of the Obamacare expansion. Medicaid is usually a cost-sharing program the federal government pays on average about 57 percent of costs and states pay the rest. But federal taxpayers are paying the full freight for those 11 million extra enrollees. Medicaid's total cost to the federal government was

As part of the failed American Health Care Act, GOP leaders proposed various ways to dial that back. They're worried in part by the open-ended federal obligation. The federal government pays each state for each Medicaid enrollee, with no control over how many that is.


Many states have become aware that they are losing out. The Urban Institute, Lewin Group and Rand Corp. have all issued reports showing

Public health experts point out that Medicaid does the heavy lifting in paying for the treatment of people addicted to opioids, the working poor, and four out of 10 children. Medicaid is the single largest payer of mental health services in the country, paying 25 percent of all mental health and 20 percent of all addiction care, the National Council for Behavioral Health says.

Nearly half of the 4 million births in the U.S. each year are covered by Medicaid. It covers the cost of nursing homes and other long-term care for elderly Medicare patients.

In Kansas, the legislature saw expansion as a way to cover 150,000 people.

"Without Medicaid expansion, more than 150,000 working Kansans will continue to go without access to health care," Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Democrat, said. "These Kansans earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford private care."

The Senate is holding off on a vote to try to override Brownback's veto.


But other states are encouraged. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, is trying to renew plans to expand Medicaid that have been stifled so far by his legislature.

"This is our money. We should bring it back," McAuliffe told reporters this week. "There are no excuses any more."

North Carolina has a new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, who is similarly encouraged. He said a state law banning Medicaid expansion violates his executive authority.

Even with huge federal supports, Medicaid expansion costs states. Now red states are hoping a Republican-led Health and Human Services Department will give them breaks that can make expanding Medicaid a little easier.


And HHS sent letters out earlier this month encouraging governors to apply for such waivers.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Monday his administration is exploring the possibility, including perhaps limiting minimum coverage provisions that detail what services Medicaid must provide.

Alabama governor Robert Bentley, a Republican, says he would be favorably disposed to having more power to decide what his state covers for Medicaid recipients and said in 2015 he was thinking about expansion, but he has also pushed to limit even further his state's already sparse Medicaid program.

Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota have also toyed with the idea.

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Medicaid Expansion Becomes Trendy With Death of GOP Health Bill - NBCNews.com

Hannity breaks with Trump on health care debacle – CNNMoney

Posted: at 2:42 pm

"Now in my opinion, it's not the Freedom Caucus that's responsible for the GOP failure in this case to repeal and replace Obamacare," Hannity said on his eponymous program. "Now this legislation was flawed from the beginning. It was created behind closed doors. Not one single member saw the bill until it was rolled out. And that made it a disaster."

Hannity's commentary came hours after Trump lashed out at the Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline conservatives and libertarians in the House of Representatives, for the demise of the American Health Care Act.

In a tweet on Thursday morning, Trump said the caucus "will hurt the entire Republican agenda," and suggested that members should face primary challenges next year.

Hannity said that Trump was off the mark with the tweets.

Related: Conservative media at crossroads early in Trump era

"Now I don't know who's telling the White House to focus their anger on the Freedom Caucus, but I do think it's misplaced," Hannity said. "Because the Freedom Caucus, I've talked to them, they want to make a deal, and they want the win for the president and the country."

The tepid disagreement was nevertheless significant coming from Hannity, who has been loathe to criticize Trump for anything. Through his radio and television shows, Hannity has acted as an unofficial surrogate both for the Trump campaign and the new administration.

After the AHCA was withdrawn from the House last week, Hannity insisted that it was "not President Trump's failure."

But Trump's criticism of the Freedom Caucus put commentators like Hannity and Laura Ingraham at odds with the White House.

Ingraham, a Fox News contributor who was a candidate to serve as White House press secretary under Trump, joined Hannity's program on Thursday, where she said the "White House was not as involved as it should have been" on the health care effort.

"It's ridiculous at this point to start pointing fingers at the Freedom Caucus," Ingraham said. "I don't understand Donald Trump's tweets at all about that today."

CNNMoney (New York) First published March 31, 2017: 8:46 AM ET

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Hannity breaks with Trump on health care debacle - CNNMoney

Health Scare Prompts Man To Start Overeating Healthier – The Onion (satire)

Posted: at 2:42 pm

ROUND ROCK, TXHaving recently learned from his doctor that he suffered from high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels that put him at serious risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke, 43-year-old Donald Fisher told reporters Thursday the unanticipated health scare had prompted him to start overeating healthier. This has been a real wake-up call for me, so from now on, Im sticking to eating only nutritious, low-fat foods well past the point of feeling full, said Fisher, explaining that he had already cut oversized portions of red meat out of his diet in favor of multiple hulking servings of lean proteins such as fish, beans, and baked chicken. Its not going to be easy, but if I can replace my regular afternoon snack of Doritos with a whole bag of organic kale chips and restrict myself to five or six helpings from just the salad bar when I go out to eat at a buffet, I should be okay. Ive really got to make these big changes; this is my health were talking about here. At press time, Fisher was attempting to slake a late-night bout of hunger with 900 calories worth of apples and peanut butter.

Health Scare Prompts Man To Start Overeating Healthier - The Onion (satire)

Health care workers may be at increased risk of thyroid cancer, study claims – Fox News

Posted: at 2:42 pm

Health care providers and others who work in the medical field and are around occupational chemicals may be at an increased risk for developing thyroid cancer. A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that occupational exposure to these chemicals, known as biocides, was associated with a 65 percent higher risk of developing thyroid cancer.


Biocides can be found in deodorizers, sanitizers, disinfectants and sterilizers, and though the researchers also looked at pesticides, they could not find a similar increased risk, Reuters reported. The study compared data on 462 adults with thyroid cancer in 2010 and 2011 to 498 people who didnt develop thyroid tumors but were similar and around the same age.


Participants were asked to report all jobs held for at least one year during their lifetimes, and provide details including title, duties, company name, type of industry and term of employment. Researchers calculated potential exposure to biocides and pesticides based on a state database of occupational contact with specific chemicals and pollutants, Reuters reported.

Biocides in the study were typically used in medicine or cleaning, and jobs most often associated with them were health care providers involved in diagnosis or treating patients; psychiatric and home health aides; and building cleaning works. Women with any occupational exposure to biocides were 48 percent more likely to develop thyroid cancer, while men had more than tripled odds, the study found.


Our study did not support an association between occupational exposure to pesticides and risk of thyroid cancer, but suggested that occupational exposure to other biocides might be associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer, lead study author, Dr. Yawai Zhang, an environmental health researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, told Reuters.

Though researchers were unable to determine what was behind the link, they hypothesize that the chemicals may alter thyroid hormones. The study had limitations including a five-year age band researchers used to compare people with thyroid tumors to similar healthy individuals. Reuters reported that its also possible the state data on occupational chemical exposure might not always reflect the level of exposure to certain biocides or pesticides by individual people in the study.

Regardless, Zhang said the studys results should encourage people to be cautious about biocide and pesticide exposure.

People should take caution when they apply pesticides or other biocides in work place or at home by wearing protective clothes or mask and washing hands afterwards, Zhang said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Health care workers may be at increased risk of thyroid cancer, study claims - Fox News

Tuberculosis Needs More Recognition As a Worldwide Health Threat (Op-Ed) – Live Science

Posted: at 2:42 pm

The tuberculosis bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is easily spread through coughing or sneezing.

Deliana Garcia is an expert in migrant health and tuberculosis, and the director of international relations, research and development for Migrant Clinicians Network. The organization advocates for funding and research on tuberculosis. Garcia contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices Op-Ed & Insights.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced its first-ever list of the antibiotic-resistant superbugs that pose the greatest threat to human health.

Yet, somehow, tuberculosis (TB) and the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium that causes it was left off the list.

TB is one of the deadliest diseases in human history. The M. tuberculosis bacteria that cause it can spread through the air when an infected person coughs. In its most common form, it causes fatigue, long-lasting coughing fits, weight loss, pain in the chest and night sweats. Those with HIV/AIDS or another disease prevalent in areas where TB is often found are particularly vulnerable to the opportunistic bacteria; TB is a leading cause of death for those with HIV/AIDS.

For many people around the world without access to the antibiotics that kill TB or to sufficient medical care to ensure they complete their lengthy treatments, TB is deadly. Here are four reasons TB should hold the No. 1 spot on the WHO's list:

TB should already be wiped off the planet, but we lack the political will and funding focus to deliver it a death blow. Instead, public health officials continue to make major missteps, like leaving it off of the WHO list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, when it should be center stage. This latest swipe at TB efforts undermines the years of work that TB advocacy groups have done to elevate the cause. [27 Devastating Infectious Diseases]

The WHO said it left TB off its new list because there are "otherdedicated programs"that target TB. The WHO's Global TB Program and Ed TB Strategy, as well as StopTB Partnership and the Global Fund for TB, HIV and Malariaare critical in elevating the message of the urgency around TB, but these programsare not enough. The WHO speaks for the world, and to be included in the list of the agency's world concerns is important.Leaving TB off this list makes it appear that it is less critical than the other bacteria listed and gives the dangerous impression that TB is under control.

We urge the WHO to include drug-resistant TB on its list, because new lines of defense are urgently needed to head off this surge of drug-resistant TB.

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Tuberculosis Needs More Recognition As a Worldwide Health Threat (Op-Ed) - Live Science

PHOTOS: People use massage tool as holistic treatment for pain – The Reporter

Posted: at 2:42 pm

Fit for Life, promotes healthy living through events, videos, photos and more. The initiative was created through a partnership between Digital First Media and the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Visit the website at pottsmercfit4life.wordpress.com for more stories including healthy recipes. Also like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MercFit4Life and follow our efforts on Twitter @MercFit4Life.

A local holistic professional is using a tool called the Fascia Blaster to help relieve her clients of pain conditions such as an achy back, neck tension or stiff shoulders. While many people contribute such pain to muscle problems, some say that the real issue is unhealthy fascia in the body.

Fascia is a connective tissue basically. Its all over your body, said Erica Hansen OMeara, a licensed massage therapist at Birds of Feather Holistic Wellness Studio in Lower Pottsgrove.

She said fascia is between the skin and the muscles as well as all around the internal organs of the body from head to toe. Unhealthy fascia is fascia thats bound up and tight instead of smooth and relaxed. OMeara said this can be caused by injuries or when someone stays in the same position for long periods of time such as people that work at a desk. She explained that the tension or ache causing pain may be because the fascia is tightly constricted.

Millions of people suffer from pain every year which can lead to increased healthcare costs, the need for rehabilitation and not being able to perform at work, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine website. The website stated that chronic pain is pain that persists and can last for weeks, months or years. Common chronic pain conditions include headaches, low back pain, arthritis pain and cancer pain.


An analysis of a 2012 National Health Interview Survey found that most American adults have experienced some degree of pain. The analysis also stated that severe pain is likely to lead to a worse health status.

OMeara said people with chronic pain may be under the assumption that its something they must live with but said that isnt true. She said there are ways for people to be proactive in self-care so they dont have to endure that pain anymore.

The National Health Interview Survey analysis stated that pain is one of the main reasons Americans look for holistic approaches such as mediation, yoga and massages. In addition to other traditional massage sessions, OMeara also offers sessions and workshops on fascia. She uses a tool called the Fascia Blaster that was invented by a woman named Ashley Black and is marketed as something that can reduce cellulite.

She said many of her clients that try the blaster for the first time originally do so to get rid of cellulite which are dimples or lumps on the outer skin layer. OMeara said Ashley Black wrote a book on the subject to compliment the Fascia Blaster tool she designed called The Cellulite Myth: Its Not Fat, Its Fascia.

The Fascia Blaster is a massage tool with several points thats used directly on the skin to help smooth out the connective tissue inside the body. OMeara said the great thing about the blaster is people can use it themselves at home. She said the blaster is a good tool to include in a self-maintenance routine. Using the tool on a regular basis combined with staying hydrated and exercising will help contribute to overall health, OMeara said.

She said although many clients originally try the blaster for cellulite, they soon start to notice additional benefits such as better posture, improved sleep and of course less aches in the body.

It (the Fascia Blaster) is for everybody. Whether you work out or dont work out, you have fascia, she said.

OMeara explained that leaving fascia tightly bound can affect more than the muscles. The connective tissue can also impact blood vessels, nerves and organs. She said people should think of fascia as plastic wrap that surrounds everything.

OMeara started using the massage tool on herself about a year ago because of the pain she felt after exercising.

My recovery after my workout used to be five days. If I had a leg day then it would hurt to go down the stairs, she said.

After OMeara started learning more about fascia tissue she realized that may be her problem and gave the blaster a try. After she saw success on herself, she started using the device on her clients. When OMeara offers a fascia series, all the participants take a before and after photo so they can see the physical changes such as better posture and muscle toning.

Clients that come in for a fascia session first warm up their body internally by doing a 15-minute workout such as riding on a stationary bike. The body is then warmed externally through a sauna blanket. That last stage involves using the Fascia Blaster but with a heated lamp still on the skin. OMeara said using heat along with the blaster is very important.

It just makes the fascia more malleable and easier to manipulate, she said.

OMeara said her clients have seen a lot of progress after using the blaster and that the tool has many benefits. She said the device can be used to improve circulation, get rid of migraines and other serious conditions like fibromyalgia.

Cheri Fox, of Perkiomenville, said her fascia session with OMeara really help especially since she sits at a desk all day. She would regularly have pain in her neck, shoulders and arms.

It completely cured that, Fox said.

She said before using the blaster, she was getting regular massages to relieve the pain and now the blaster makes those massages a better experience. OMeara said when people get a massage but dont feel they got that deep-tissue experience then its probably because their fascia is tightly bound. She said the Fascia Blaster compliments massages because it helps loosen the mussels. Fox said the blaster has increased her range of motion and shes able to do deeper yoga poses.

I just feel like its really cutting edge, Fox said.

Kim McQuillan, of New Hanover, has been using the blaster for about a month and said her body doesnt have as much water retention so shes less bloated. She also has more energy after using the device.

I love it, McQuillan said.

In addition to doing fascia sessions at the Birds of a Feather studio, OMeara also offers in-home sessions to clients in Chester and Montgomery counties. She offers regular free workshops on fascia. The next one will be held noon on April 23 at Birds of Feather. The address is 2093 E. High St., Pottstown. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/massagebyeo.

For more information about the Fascia Blaster, the science behind the tool and videos, visit the website http://www.fasciablaster.com.

For more healthy living stories including recipes, visit the Fit for Life website at http://www.pottsmercfit4life.com.

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