Social media poses risk to ‘intellectually disabled’.


People with intellectual disabilities are more likely to fall prey to the social media predators, according to a recent study.

A first-of-its-kind study co-authored by a Michigan State University scholar finds that adults with Williams syndrome, who are extremely social and trusting, use Facebook and other social networking sites frequently and are especially vulnerable to online victimization.

Roughly a third of study participants said they would send their photo to an unknown person, arrange to go to the home of a person they met online and keep away online relationships from their parents.

“You have this very social group of people who are vulnerable in real life and now they are seeking a social outlet through the internet, communicating with people they know and don’t know,” said co-author Marisa Fisher. “They don’t have the training or the knowledge to know how to determine what is risky behavior.”

Nearly 86 percent of adults with Williams syndrome use social networking sites such as Facebook nearly every day, typically without supervision, the study found. Participants also share a large amount of identifiable information on their social network profiles and are likely to agree to engage in socially risky behaviors.

While the internet provides an opportunity to enhance the everyday lives of adults with Williams syndrome, it also poses threats that are arguably more dangerous than those they face in the real world, the study concludes.

“It’s time to start teaching individuals with Williams syndrome about safety, both in the real world and online,” Fisher said. “This includes what personal information they should share, how to set privacy settings and how to decide whether an ‘online friend’ should become an ‘offline friend.'”

Do Trees Sleep?


Observations with laser scanners show that trees have a day-night rhythm too..

 

The idea of an oak or a spruce tree taking a snooze seems a bit bizarre. But for the first time, scientists have observed physical changes in trees that correspond in some ways to sleep in humans and animals, or at least to our day-night rhythm.

Researchers from Austria, Finland and Hungary used laser scanners to scan two trees and scrutinize a cloud of millions of different points across their surface area. From that, they learned that trees actually move overnight, a phenomena that scientists dating back to Charles Darwin have observed in smaller plants.

“Our results show that the whole tree droops during night which can be seen as position change in leaves and branches”, Eetu Puttonen, a researcher from the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, explained in a press release. “The changes are not too large, only up to 10 centimeters for trees with a height of about 5 meters, but they were systematic and well within the accuracy of our instruments.”

To filter out effects from weather and location, the researchers studied one tree in Finland and another far away in Austria, under calm conditions with no wind. The leaves and branches drooped gradually, with the droopiest position achieved a couple of hours before sunrise. In the morning, the trees regained their original rigidity within a few hours.

But Another researcher, András Zlinszky of Hungary’s Centre for Ecological Research, said that the drooping effect probably is caused by the loss of internal water pressure within the tree’s cells, a phenomenon called turgor pressure.

“It means branches and leaf stems are less rigid, and more prone to drooping under their own weight,” Zlinsky told the British publication New Scientist.

Turgor pressure is influenced by photosynthesis, which stops once the sun goes down, Zlinsky explained.

Israeli life expectancy ranks among world’s highest.


With projected lifespan on the rise globally, WHO says people born in Jewish state in 2015 set to live 8th longest on average.

Illustrative photo of an elderly couple taking a walk in the Jerusalem Forest. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
With global life expectancy on the rise, Israelis born in 2015 are projected to live among the longest on average on the planet, according to statistics released Thursday by the World Health Organization.

Global life expectancy increased by five years between the turn of the millennium and 2015, the sharpest increase since the 1960s. There remains significant disparity between wealth nations and poorer ones, with 29 high-income states averaging over 80 years and 22 Sub-Saharan African countries averaging under 60, the UN body said.

Israel ranked eighth overall with 82.5 years on average, coming just behind Italy and Iceland. Japan ranked first overall with an average life expectancy of 83.7 years. The United States had an overall average of 79.3 years.

Israeli men born in 2015 were projected to live fifth longest on average, with 80.6 years, and Israeli women ninth overall with 84.3 years.

The WHO didn’t provide statistics for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Japanese women were expected to live the longest on the planet, with an average lifespan of 86.8 years. Swiss men were projected to outstrip the rest on average, at 81.3 years.

Sierra Leone, in west Africa, held the other end of the spectrum for both sexes, with a mere 50.8 years for women and 49.3 for men.

“The world has made great strides in reducing the needless suffering and premature deaths that arise from preventable and treatable diseases,” Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, said in a statement. “But the gains have been uneven. Supporting countries to move towards universal health coverage based on strong primary care is the best thing we can do to make sure no-one is left behind.”

What is it Like to Have Sex with an Uncircumcised Man?


Sex and the Uncircumcised Man

A comedienne once said, “Women love circumcised men because like a good sale, circumcised men are ten percent off.” I have to say this statement isn’t completely true.

For those of you who haven’t seen an uncircumcised penis, just think of it as a flesh-colored hoodie covering the penis. The hoodie is also known as the foreskin or prepuce. On an uncircumcised man, this skin retracts when his penis is hard. However, with a flaccid penis, the foreskin can be retracted manually.

One of the incredible things about the foreskin is that it is extremely sensitive for the man, so sometimes 10 percent off isn’t necessarily a good deal. Wink. Wink.

I have slept with two men who had a little extra something. Both men were from Europe where circumcision is generally not practiced, but optional for parents when a child is born.

Now, the burning question is this: Is there a difference between uncircumcised versus circumcised while having sex? My experience tells me that it is easier to reach orgasm because there was a little something-something extra. The extra foreskin acts like a ribbed condom and give more friction, hence more stimulation in the vajayjay.

One of my girlfriends shrilled at the idea of having sex with a guy who was uncircumcised. Her complaint was that it wasn’t clean and the woman could get an infection.

But my experience counters her hypothesis, because the uncircumcised man was trained to clean his extra man parts efficiently, and to also wash after sex. The men with the hoodies knew that they needed to keep the area spotless to avoid infection and smell which would send any woman running for the hills.

Now, when it comes to foreplay and performing fellatio, the foreskin is very sensitive and should be treated delicately, but should also be an area of focus. Again, when the penis becomes erect, the hoodie typically peels back.

For those of you with a circumcised partner, a study performed at Michigan State University determined that “the most sensitive part of a circumcised guy’s penis is his circumcision.

Darius Paduch, M.D., Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Urology and Reproductive Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, a clinician-scientist at Weill Cornell Medical College, and a urologist and male sexual medicine specialist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, spoke with Shape.com.

“One way his foreskin can be a tool for your pleasure: When an uncircumcised guy’s foreskin retracts, it may bunch up around the base of his penis, providing a little extra friction against your clitoris. This is going to play a role [in pleasure] for women who have the clitoral pattern of arousal,” Paduch said.

While I have never had an issue with pain during sex with an uncircumcised man, Paduch adds this valuable information. “The uncircumcised penis is much glossier, a more velvety feel,” Paduch said. “So for women who aren’t lubricating well, they may have much less discomfort having sex with a guy who is uncircumcised.”

Paduch said that guys who have their foreskin intact require lubricant far less frequently during sex and masturbation, since the skin of their penis is naturally slicker.

So, sex with uncircumcised men equals a thumbs up and nothing to fear just because it may look different from what you might be familiar with.

The Legacy of Lisa Colagrossi: Raising Awareness Around Brain Aneurysms


Lisa Colagrossi

The Lisa Colagrossi Foundation was created by Todd Crawford in September 2015 to honor his late wife Lisa Colagrossi who died of a brain aneurysm in March 2015. Lisa had been a popular television journalist, known especially for working with ABC News.

Lisa had a severe headache when she went in to work one day, and seemingly without warning, she suffered a brain aneurysm. But the signs were there, if only she and Todd had been able to recognize them.

Lisa left behind two sons, Davis and Evan, and her husband Todd. Todd’s mission in life is now to help raise awareness about brain aneurysms, to help stop them and to save lives. He will be supporting life-saving initiatives and brain aneurysm research.

Response amongst professionals in business, medicine, athletics and other areas was quick and deep for the Foundation, due to the strong affection and esteem people had for Lisa.

Lisa and Family
Lisa Colagrossi and family

The Lisa Colagrossi Foundation’s goal is to raise awareness and increase education concerning brain aneurysm signs, symptoms and risk factors. Programs for promotion of early detection and neurological research for prevention and treatment are encouraged and cultivated.

TLCF privately funds programs for awareness, education, research and support concerning brain aneurysms.

An estimated 6 million people have a brain aneurysm and 30,000 rupture each year here in the United States, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). One aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes, with about 40 percent of these being fatal.

Of those who do recover from a brain aneurysm, 4 out of 7 will be disabled in some way.

Any age can be vulnerable to brain aneurysm. Most commonly, aneurysms occur in people between 35 and 60 years of age.

Extreme headaches, fainting, light sensitivity, loss of consciousness, nausea, seizures and vomiting may be symptoms of brain aneurysm.

Often, sufferers assume they’re having a bad migraine and expect it to pass. But it doesn’t.

Those at high risk for brain aneurysms are African Americans, people who have high blood pressure, people who smoke and women of all races.

Lisa Colagrossi Foundation

TLCF aims to raise awareness about the early signs of brain aneurysms so lives can be saved. These signs include an excruciating headache, neck pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, fainting, loss of consciousness and seizures. To learn more about The Lisa Colagrossi Foundation and how you can help raise awareness, visit: tlcfound.org/

Can Chinese Wolfberry Help with Diabetes?


Chinese wolfberry, also called goji berry or Lycium barbarum, is a plant commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. The berries of this plant are bright orange-red and are usually full of tiny yellow seeds. Wolfberry is considered to be a “superfruit” with a high nutritional value. The berries contain at least 11 essential minerals plus trace minerals, seven vitamins, and 18 amino acids. In addition, the seeds contain omega-6 and omega-3 acids which are powerful antioxidants.

Wolfberries and vision

Of particular interest for people with diabetes are the vision-preserving nutrients found in wolfberries, which contain one of the highest levels of beta carotene by weight among all edible plants. These berries also contains a vitamin A component or caroteinoid called zeaxanthin, which researchers believe has a role in preserving vision. Researches in China report that the carotenoids in wolfberries tend to concentrate in the retina of the eye, adding to the benefit of these nutrients in promoting eye health. This may be significant for patients with diabetic retinopathy. This condition, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the United States, occurs when excess sugar in the blood prevents tiny blood vessels in the eye from carrying crucial nutrients and oxygen to the retina.

Wolfberries and sugar

Wolfberries also contain polysaccharides or long-chain sugar molecules. These are a primary source of fermentable fiber which can help stabilize blood glucose levels and stimulate immune functions.

Chinese Wolfberry has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is recognized for nourishing and strengthening the eyes, liver, kidneys, and blood. Other nutrients found in Chinese wolfberries include:

Calcium – provides strength for teeth and bones
Potassium – contributes to lower blood pressure
Iron – carries oxygen in the blood.

Zinc – required by the body to make proteins and is critical in cellular function
Selenium – a significant antioxidant mineral
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – essential for supporting metabolism for energy
Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant providing protection from free radicals

Chinese wolfberries are rarely found as fresh berries away from the areas where they are grown. They are often sold as dried berries which may be soft like raisins or hard. Dried wolfberries are usually cooked before they are eaten and may also be made into herbal tea.

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Many nutritional supplements are available claiming to contain wolfberries, including juices, powders, and pills. Before you purchase these products, research them carefully to be sure they do not contain other ingredients or sugars that can offset the beneficial properties of the wolfberries. Wolfberries or lycium can also interact with other medications including blood-thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin). Be sure to talk with your doctor about any supplements you are taking.

Hamman-Rich Syndrome: Facts, Symptoms, and Treatment


Hamman-Rich Syndrome is also known as acute interstitial pneumonia. It is an uncommon type of pneumonia for which researchers have not yet found a cause (idiopathic). It affects otherwise healthy individuals. The underlying condition may worsen without symptoms appearing for a long period of time, but when the symptoms do manifest they come on very suddenly and “acutely”.

The condition received its name from the doctors who discovered the disease in 1939, Drs. Hamman and Rich.

Acute interstitial pneumonia has similar symptoms to acute respiratory distress syndrome, and may be misdiagnosed as such.

Pneumonia results when tissues of the lungs become inflamed in reaction to infection. Interstitial pneumonia, by comparison, is a long-term condition that affects the connective tissue of the lungs. The inflammation is caused by the build up of white blood cells and plasma in the alveoli (the tiny sac that facilitate the carbon dioxide/oxygen exchange in the bloodstream). With interstitial pneumonia, the inflammation also extends into the bronchioles – small airways that branch off into the lungs.

If the inflammation lasts long enough, the fluid hardens into scar tissue (fibrosis). If there is enough scar tissue, over time alveoli will be destroyed and the space filled with cysts. Over time, the bronchi and the walls of the bronchi widen, or are destroyed resulting in the lungs shrinking.

Sixty percent of those with acute interstitial pneumonia die within six months of the appearance of symptoms.

Symptoms of Hamman-Rich Syndrome

As stated earlier, symptoms of Hamman-Rich Syndrome or acute interstitial pneumonia are similar to those observed in acute respiratory distress syndrome, which are:

– shortness of breath
– rapid, shallow breathing
– crackling or wheezing sounds in the lungs
– cyanosis (blue tinge) to the skin
– heart and brain function issues (rapid heart rate, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness) because of long-term reduced oxygen supply

Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute Interstitial Pneumonia.

Diagnosis of acute interstitial pneumonia is usually confirmed through CT scans, lung biopsy, and tests that measure pulmonary function.

The goal of treatment is to prevent complete respiratory failure and keep the patient alive and comfortable until the condition resolves. Treatment often involves use of a ventilator in the event of respiratory failure, and administration of corticosteroids (although it is not known how effective these medications are).

For those who survive, lung function will improve over time, but the condition may return

 

Genetically Engineered T-cells Show Promise in Treating Multiple Myeloma


Genetically-engineered t-cells can cure multiple meyloma

If genetic engineering sounds a little creepy to you, akin to lab-produced glow-in-the-dark worms and mutant humans with superpowers, I know some really cool researchers who might change your mind.

These researchers, led by Dr. Aaron P. Rapoport , the Gary Jobson Professor in Medical Oncology and Director of Gene Medicine/Lymphoma at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, are using genetic engineering to get some pretty impressive results for people suffering with difficult-to-treat multiple myeloma (MM), a type of cancer that starts in bone marrow.

Although about 35 percent of patients benefit from standard treatment, i.e. longer life, less pain and fewer complications, there is virtually no cure for multiple myeoma. Rapoport says standard treatment is effective — at least for a while, but in many MM patients it eventually stops working and there is a recurrence of disease.

Unfortunately, standard treatment is less effective for people with aggressive MM, who realize limited benefits for short intervals. The disease is marked by a high prevalence of infections such as pneumonia, bone pain, hypercalcemia (elevated calcium in the blood), renal failure and spinal cord compression.

That’s where genetic engineering comes in.

Genetic engineering, technically known as recombinant DNA technology, is a fairly new concept that’s increasingly becoming an important tool in treating HIV-AIDS and cancer. Perhaps, in the future, conditions such as hemophilia, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and a form of inherited high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia).

Researchers are investigating right now to determine whether or not recombinant DNA technology will slow or cure these diseases.

There are two main ways in which genetic engineering is being used.

In the first, researchers pluck genes from one type of organism, say algae or sheep for example, and combine them with genes from a second organism — like you and me.

We’re not talking science fiction animal-human hybrids here.

These engineered genes can be coaxed to make human hormones such as insulin, or human proteins capable of fighting hard-to-treat hepatitis and the AIDS virus.

The second option is gene therapy. Doctors replace defective or missing genes with normalized genes capable of slowing or stopping the disease progression—and in a best-case scenario, curing them.

In the phase-II clinical trial , Rapoport’s team has engineered T-cells in 13 patients with difficult-to-treat multiple myeloma, or in people with recurrent or high-risk disease.

“Gene therapy is taking the bull by the horns and retraining the cells rather than relying on standard vaccine treatments alone with less response rate,” Rapoport said.

“Four of the patients in the study had previous stem cell transplants without getting results. So while this treatment is still in the early stages, we are feeling encouraged by the outcome.”

Cancers can develop when T-cells — specialized “killer cells” produced by the human immune system — lose their ability to target harmful “invader” cells (in this case, cancer cells) they are designed to seek out and destroy, in keeping the body disease-free.

Rapoport and his team add a new gene to each patient’s T-cells and infuse the immune system with vaccines. The new gene effectively retrains the existing T-cells to recognize a new target present on the myeloma cells and do their job, that is, attacking cancer cells. It also builds an army of new potent T-cells equipped to destroy or neutralize the cancer cells.

Days later, the supercharged genes are injected back into patients. At day 100 after treatment, 10 of the 13 patients in the trial are in remission or very close to it — a 77 per cent response rate — and the others showed drastic reduction in their cancer, Rapoport said. By contrast, standard MM treatment alone gives a response rate of between 33 and 69 percent.

Rapoport said that the clinical trial is still recruiting patients.

Emotional Abuse: The Invisible Marriage Killer


Emotional Abuse: The Invisible Marriage Killer

Physical and verbal abuse are forms of “visible” abuse. Scars and bruises, raised voices and demeaning and hurtful words are signals to others that something is not quite right in the relationship. It’s also easier for a wife to see and recognize that’s she’s being abused.

Emotional abuse, however, is much more insidious and not quite as visible. Certainly, a wife’s self-esteem and spirit are battered along with her body in the case of physical and verbal abuse, but a husband can kill his wife’s spirit without even raising a hand or voice against her. For this reason, many women don’t even know they’re being abused, or if they do it’s a long and difficult battle not only to work to repair the damage done themselves, but to get the abuser to recognize the harm that he’s done.

What is Emotional Abuse

“Emotional abuse is any nonphysical behavior or attitude that controls, intimidates, subjugates, demeans, punishes or isolates another person by using degradation, humiliation or fear” .

“Nonphysical behavior or attitude” can safely be interpreted to mean neglect, invalidating another’s thoughts and feelings, and refusing to acknowledge the needs of the other (whether intentionally or not). Over a period of time, this kind of emotional climate in a marriage can squeeze the life out of a marriage and out of a wife.

There is a difference between experiencing or inflicting emotional hurt and being emotionally abusive—it is important to make this distinction. Abuse is a cycle. It is not a once-in-a-while event that happens and hurts someone else. In many “ordinary” hurtful cases, apologies can be offered if truly sincere and heal the rift that the hurt has caused. Many hurts are unintentional, and if they were, there is (hopefully) remorse on the part of the person who inflicted that hurt, once the anger, frustration, etc., calms down and cooler heads prevail. With emotional abuse there is none of this.

Like other forms of abuse, there can be apologies and promises to never do it again, and there is hope in the beginning that behaviors and attitudes will change—often referred to as the “honeymoon phase”—but somewhere in the back of many a wife’s mind, she knows that it’s only a matter of time before the abuser settles back into old routines.

The Profile of an Emotional Abuser

At the heart of an emotionally abusive husband is his need to ultimately be in control. He feels inadequate and harbors distorted beliefs about women and marriage, usually learned from an abusive father or other dominant male influence, or sometime due to lack of decent male role modeling in how to treat women. In many cases, but not all, an emotionally abusive husband can be manipulative and heavy-handed in keeping his wife “under his thumb”. The abusive husband is “self-referenced”, which means he only sees and considers things from his point of view; he deliberately refuses to or is incapable of looking at things from another’s perspective. “Selfish” and “self-referenced” are two different words and can be described this way: the “self-referenced person would give you the shirt off his back, but he doesn’t know you need it. The self-referenced person frequently violates the marriage partnership by acting without thoughtfully considering his partner’s point of view and needs” (Amy Wildman White). The abusive husband is also emotionally dependent on his wife; that is, his feeling of self-worth comes from being married. Most emotionally abusive husbands are unable to look at and examine themselves and why they engage in such spirit-killing behavior against a person they have avowed to love and cherish.

The Profile of an Emotionally Abused Wife

Women who find themselves in an emotionally abusive situation often have low self-esteems even though they may appear confident and in control of everything. An emotionally abused wife “looks to her husband’s acceptance of her as the measure of her worth”

Unlike a man, who typically finds his identity through work, and academic or athletic achievement, “[a] woman’s identity is often based on her relationships” (White) this makes her vulnerable to abusive relationships.

One of the most common characteristics of an emotionally abused woman is that she is unable to enjoy sexual experiences with her husband. This is due to the deterioration of the trust and the lack of friendship and intimacy over the time of the relationship. Add on top of this societies’, her husbands’ and the church’s views that she’s not a good wife if she doesn’t meet her husband’s sexual needs and she may feel perpetually trapped in her marriage. What many people (including counselors and pastors) fail to realize is that “[t]he wife in these situations experiences intercourse as an indignity, almost as rape, because the physical and the deeply personal, loving aspects of sex…[i]ntimacy and trust, which lay the necessary foundation for a woman to respond sexually, have been removed from the relationship” (White) and she is left to emotionally detach herself from the situation just to survive—at the cost of her soul and spirit.

Call to Action

It’s time to lift the veil from these situations and recognize how much a person’s soul and spirit can be damaged without physical and verbal abuse. Abuse doesn’t have to come in the form of acting out a form of punishment, or lashing out with temper and words. Abuse can also be withholding affection, or never saying a kind word. It takes a strong woman to stand up against what everyone is telling her is her duty and recognize that this kind of situation is not okay, and to talk about it until somebody listens.

If you believe you are in an emotionally abusive marriage—which can take many forms to keep a wife dependant on a husband (a virtual prisoner in her own house)—or you’re not even sure if what you’re experiencing is emotional abuse, please join us in the Marital Discovery and Recovery group and share your story.

 

8 Things Women Should Know Before Taking Emergency Contraception


You can get the pills from your local pharmacist without a prescription. However, ella is one ECP that still does require a prescription, which means you may need a doctor visit.

You should call ahead to the pharmacy to make sure they have ECPs in stock before you go. Some ECPs are available for purchase online if you want to buy it ahead of time to keep on hand for emergency use but take care in ordering from a reputable pharmacy.

8 Things To Know Before Taking Emergency Contraception

• Call your regular doctor or nurse practitioner, local family planning clinic, student health center or urgent care center to find out if they provide emergency birth control pills.

• Call your local health department. There are state-appointed clinics that can provide family planning assistance at low to no cost.

• Contact a Family Planning Center. Clinics such as Planned Parenthood provide confidential care and services to young women and teens.

4) When should I take the ECP?

  The medication should be taken within 72 hours (three days) of having unprotected sex and according to dispensing instructions. Emergency contraception can even be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but works best within the recommended 72 hours.

5) What are the side effects?

Unfortunately, there are quite a few possible side effects when taking this medication. Some side effects are, but not limited to:

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Lower stomach cramps

• Irregular bleeding

• Fatigue

• Headache

• Dizziness

• Breast tenderness

6) Do I need to see a health care professional after I take it?

  You do not need to see the your doctor or gynecologist after you take the ECP unless you are worried about being pregnant or haven’t gotten your period in two to four weeks.

If you’ve thrown up after taking the pill, call your doctor or pharmacist. Your menstrual cycle will be irregular and unpredictable anywhere from two to three cycles, so keep that in mind.

7) Will it affect my chances of getting pregnant in the future?

No. It is very important that you understand that ECPs are not to be used as a regular form of birth control. If used in a true emergency, the ECPs will not affect your chances of conceiving in the future when a pregnancy is desirable. However, experts suggest that if used frequently, your periods will continue to be irregular.

8) How do I get more information about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

ECPs should not be used as a regular form of birth control and do not prevent STDs.

• You can talk with your doctor or gynecologist about ECPs, birth control methods and STDs.

• You can log on to WomensHealth.gov.

Deciding to have sexual intercourse is a big decision; one that shouldn’t be taken lightly or feel pressured into. Every time you have sex, you are in essence taking a risk of getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Be sure that you are being responsible and informed about all the risks associated with sexual intercourse before you make your decision to be sexually active.