Obamacare Causing Labour Pains


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Unions Give Obamacare Thumbs Down

Unions Give Obamacare Thumbs Down

After initially supporting health care reform, labor leaders now feel betrayed.

Three years ago, labor unions were some of the largest and most vocal supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now, America’s most powerful union leaders are shying away from Obamacare. The assertion is Obamacare will negatively impact workers and create inequality over time.

Since the introduction and subsequent launch of health care reform, union leaders have requested special provisions from the administration. With a focus on how health care reform implementation may lead to the destruction of current union health care plans constructed to comply with the Taft-Hartley Act (enacted June 23, 1947).

More than 15 million union workers participate in the collectively bargained, multi-employer insurance plans. This health insurance allows laborers including electricians and builders, to work for a variety of participating employers and keep their health insurance intact. Plus the existing plans have unique provisions related to repetitive stress caused by different types of work.

The ACA leaves existing union labor plans vulnerable. The laws allow small businesses to opt out of providing worker insurance coverage and forces union members to government marketplaces. When there, those workers may be entitled to financial subsidiaries to offset premium cost. Union leaders are concerned that union workers who stay with their existing plans will have to pay higher premiums because group enrollment is expected to decline.

Union grievances first went public July 2013. James P. Hoffa, the General President for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters wrote a letter to Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. He stated that Obamacare would destroy member’s health benefits, and the infrastructure necessary to support the 40-work week.

Labor union research released on Ralston Reports, indicate that unions and service industry workers think the problems with ACA run deep. According to the report, Obamacare will increase income disparity in a number of ways; less free market competition, a reduction of full-time union jobs, and a financial burden on low-wage workers.

Opposition is strong because union organizers believe the Obama administration broke health insurance reform promises. When the President initially pitched reform to the public, there were assurances that consumers could keep their current health plans if they choose. Without special consideration for the union health insurance network, the administration’s pledge is meaningless.

White House administration is aware of the labor concerns. However, there are no plans to make the union requested changes without a motion from Congress.



Natural Energy Boosters


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Natural Energy BoostersEnergy can be tough to muster, and processed drinks appear to be the solution. Over the past decade, energy drinks brimming with caffeine and other stimulant have evolved to become a billion dollar business. Despite the popularity of said beverages, there are health risks associated with consuming the drinks and knowing what natural options are available can help you make an educated decision when it comes to getting some extra vitality.

Energy drinks have existed for decades. However, at the beginning of the 21st century the business started to boom. By 2017, the energy drink market will be a $21 billion industry. Despite the growing popularity of the liquid elixirs, you need to know the health risks linked to the refreshment options.

In America, heart disease causes 1 of every 4 deaths, and while energy drinks are not the main cause they can contribute to the problem. At  the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America research showed how consuming energy drinks negatively impact the well being of healthy adults. Study results showed that when the study group sipped on energy drinks, within an hour they experienced an increase in heart contraction rates. The mix of caffeine, sugar and other stimulating ingredients present in the beverages strained the left ventricle.

The Food and Drug Association is currently investigating the risks of energy drinks. So what can you do to feel rejuvenated and minimize your risk of heart issues now? Fortunately plenty.

Exercising is nature’s energy booster. Moving your body will stimulate blood flow and get your heart pumping in the most natural way. A 20-minute stroll should do the trick.

If you choose to take that walk in the sunshine, you will feel extra refreshed. By taken 10 minutes to sit in the sun, you will get a natural boost in your serotonin levels. The compound is a mood regulator and improved mood can help increase energy.

When you cannot get away from your desk, sipping on green tea is a much smarter option than reaching for a processed energy beverage. Green tea is brimming with antioxidants that can help reduce gum inflammation and fight cancers. The beverage also contains caffeine, the main ingredient in the majority of energy drinks. With green tea, you will maintain control over what you ingest and will not have to worry about unsavory additives like the ones in manufactured energy drinks.

Success in entrepreneurship requires much energy, but dying for a dream is not worth it. Until I learn the full truth behind energy drinks, I will try a more natural approach to secure my get-up-and-go. How about you?



The Sour Side of Sugar


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Sugar Isn't Always Sweet

Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet

Sugar is the world’s most popular sweetener; it can be found on tabletops and in processed foods including pasta sauce, veggie burgers, and soda. Aside from making things sweet, high sugar consumption is linked to physical conditions including obesity and diabetes; the sweet stuff also can cause neurological and mental health problems.

In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death. Estimates suggest that, by the end of 2014, 5.2 million Americans will have the disease. Sugar may be the fuel flaming the upcoming Alzheimer’s crisis.

The relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and high blood sugar is real and is spurred by insulin resistance. Diabetes is a disease caused by the body’s inability to maintain a stable sugar level in the blood. High blood sugar is one symptom of type 2 diabetes (T2D), a disease spurred by inactivity and diets brimming with bad carbohydrates and sugar. The T2D and Alzheimer’s connection is caused by insulin signaling malfunctioning and leading to impaired thinking. That can lead to permanent neurological damage, the kind present in Alzheimer’s patients.

While Alzheimer’s typically takes effect after age 65, sugar is causing the younger set mental health issues now. With over 40 million American adults suffering from anxiety, it is the country’s most common mental health issue. Excess sugar consumption may exasperate symptoms and make it challenging to cope with stress.

Anxiety sufferers can experience symptoms such as shaking, headaches, digestive issues and high energy. In two separate studies, scientists watched how rats reacted to a sugar binge. In 2008, sugar fed rats displayed anxiety symptoms. The following year, rats were fed sucrose were compared to critters who were fed honey; the sugar-high rodents were more likely to have anxiety than the honeyeaters.

Depression is another mental disorder impacting the nation; one out of every 10 Americans have dealt with a general sense of malaise during their lifetime. The sweet stuff can trigger a reaction.

Sugar highs happen, ask anyone who has started the day with a baker’s dozen of one treat or another. After digestion all nutrients, including glucose, are dispersed throughout the body including the brain. The brain needs even levels of glucose to do its’ job, and uneven sugar levels have been linked to depression.

While the simple sugars in foods like apples, beets and honey are easily digested, nutritious, and provide a natural energy burst, the sugars in processed foods do not promote the same benefits. Refined foods such as white rice, white flour, and sugar are simple carbs that can contribute to health issues such as blurred vision, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, night-sweats, memory loss, chronic inflammation, thirst and mood swings. Make sure to choose your next snack wisely!



Betty White, National Treasure and Animal Lover


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We Love Betty White, Because She Loves Critters

We Love Betty White, Because She Loves Critters

Actress Betty White is a national treasure. For decades, the bubbly gal has been in front of a microphone or camera making audiences laugh. She also is a vehement animal rights activist who takes that role very seriously. Whether she knows it or not that animal love helps keep her vibrant.

White has been an animal lover for her entire life. In an interview with Smithsonian, White sited a lifelong passion for all types of critters. Because her love for animals was “embedded” into her personality, she longed to be a zookeeper as a child. Because of her professional success entertaining people, she has been able to fulfill her dream of benefiting members of the animal kingdom.

Her commitment to protecting animals is rumored to have kicked in the 1970s. At that time, she produced and hosted a syndicated series, “The Pet Set.” The show high-lit the relationship celebrities had with their pets.

Soon after, Betty also became a trustee of the Morris Animal Foundation. That organization launched in 1948 as a way to transform the health of animals.

Fueled by those animal-centric opportunities, Betty joined the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association board of directors in 1974. She acted as a Zoo Commissioner for years and is currently listed as a member of the GLAZA Foundation.

Her commitment to animal well-being still continues. Betty still makes sizable donations to her favorite causes. In addition to making cash donations to the Los Angeles Zoo, she is a committed supporter of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

At age 92, Betty is still going strong. In addition to animal activism, acting on “Hot in Cleveland” and hosting “Off Their Rockers,” she is also a New York Times bestselling author. One of her books, Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo shares engaging stories regarding White’s relationship with some of her animal friends.

Betty’s zest for life is only one factor that helps keep her going. Aside from supporting ocean and zoo animals, Betty has continually opened her home to various adoptive pets during her lifetime. It is the role of a pet owner that helps her continue to thrive because of the health benefits linked to that behavior.

Pet ownership can help reduce blood pressure; stress hormones and can protect heart health. In White’s elderly-but-spunky demographic, the advantages go even further by preventing feelings of loneliness and depression, and can help minimize agitation in Alzheimer’s patients.



The Perks of Pets


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Look Into Those Eyes, Don't You Feel Better Already

Look Into Those Eyes, Don’t You Feel Better Already

Ask any pet owner and they will brag about how a furry, feathered or scaled friend improved their quality of life. That is because pet ownership is linked to numerous health benefits including lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels, relieving depression and boosting immunity. No matter what aspect of your life you are looking to improve, the right companion can help.

Being stressed is common and estimates suggest that 40 million American adults have anxiety disorders. While some people try to ignore feeling apprehensive, countless others fight their disease with treatments including prescription medication, acupuncture, and mindful meditation. Pet ownership is another remedy.

Pets provide an unconditional and uncomplicated love; that human/animal connection can lower stress hormone levels. Playing with a pet can help increase production of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. These hormonal changes help calm frayed nerves and emotions naturally.

Obesity and lack of physical fitness are other problems plaguing the country; approximately 35 percent of the nation’s adult population are obese or overweight. That health condition is linked to problems including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even death. Pet adoption is one of the best ways to help reverse this trend.

Horseback riding is great exercise and chasing kittens will burn calories. However, dog ownership can help tackle obesity, as dog owners are more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements than non-owners. Dog adoption will give a homeless critter shelter and force couch potatoes to start moving. The experience will force healthy lifestyle changes; dog walking is a necessary discipline for both human and canine.

Maintaining a social network can be challenging as illness, death, and relocation all impact friendships. While making new friends is always a possibility, that can take time. Adopting a pet is an instant way to feel needed and wanted.

Owning an indoor pet like a cat or a bird can bring life and energy into an otherwise stagnant and lonely environment. Tending for those critters can provide a distraction for any woes.

Having an outdoor pet like a dog can open up a whole new world of opportunities. Taking a dog for a walk is an attention magnet; dog lovers will often take the time to chat. Aside from hiking trails and city streets, like-minded pet owners can be found in dog parks, pet stores and pet training classes.

With animal shelters brimming with an excess of free critters, pet ownership is affordable and can contribute to the greater good of saving a life; annually shelters kill 2.7 million healthy animals. Adopting an animal will provide you with a mutually beneficial relationship that can improve your health, put a smile on your face and provide you with a new best friend.



Incarcerating the Mentally Ill


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The Mentally Ill End Up Behind Bars

The Mentally Ill End Up Behind Bars

Prisons play home to 10 times more mentally ill Americans than state psychiatric hospitals. Behavioral health regression is the norm as the mentally ill have a different way of processing the experience than the general prison population. That situation has recently been deemed unconstitutional.

There were approximately 356,270 inmates suffering from behavioral issues in 2012. Most of them do not receive the proper care in order to manage their conditions. As a result, they are often worse after the experience.

In California, the problem is so severe a federal judge ruled the treatment of mental ill inmates violates the Constitutional. There was a particular emphasis on the use of pepper spray and isolation as cruel and unusual punishment.

Both tools are commonly used to punish and control inmates in the general population. However, videotapes showed prison guards flooding the cells of mentally ill inmates with chemical grenades and pepper spray backed by a soundtrack of screaming.

Additionally, the case demonstrated that prolonged solitary confinement could result in serious psychological harm.

Despite most correctional facilities not having the equipment or abilities to make improvements, they are responsible for managing the problem. Plus, they are not able to dole out psychiatric medications.

A state survey called “The Treatment of Persons With Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails,” suggest overhauling the current system of laws and practices focusing on treatment. The current system requires jail officials to house the ill even though they do not have the skill set necessary for effective rehabilitation.

For centuries, the afflicted has been hidden away as a quick fix. According to the report, maintaining a functioning public mental health system and dealing with America’s mental health crisis is the ultimate solution.



Children Can Benefit from Medical Marijuana


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Marijuana is Nature's Medicine

Marijuana is Nature’s Medicine

Recently, cannabis role in society has come under review. Finally, the drug of choice for America’s counterculture is going mainstream, especially in regards to the medicinal benefits to children suffering from seizure disorders.

The nation’s relationship with marijuana is evolving at a rapid speed. Both Colorado and Washington have laws in place supporting recreational marijuana use. Additionally California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Hawaii, Colorado, Nevada, Vermont, Montana, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Michigan, and New Jersey all have passed laws that eliminate criminal penalties for medical marijuana use.

More changes are looming on the horizon as parents and medical advocates are actively supporting marijuana decriminalization as the drug has shown promise in helping children with epilepsy.
Children born with Dravet Syndrome can never outgrow the disease. Also called severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy or (SMEI), the disease is rare and cannot be treated by traditional medicine. Children enduring the disease have their first seizure by their first birthday, eventually other types of seizures can occur.

Research has indicated that certain marijuana strains can help in managing the condition. One survey of parent of children with medically resistant epilepsy has indicated that marijuana strains low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol can help subdue the influx of electrical and chemical activity that causes seizures. Proof supporting the marijuana/epilepsy connection is hot news.

In Ohio; parents Scott and Nicole Nazzarine are spearheading the medical marijuana movement. Their daughter, Sophia, was diagnosed with having epilepsy when she was only 8 months old. By age five, Sophia has already had multiple surgeries to assist with her condition; the Nazzarines say they cannabis oil provides relief naturally.

Although medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, confusion about the laws prevents needy parent from securing cannabis for their children. Two moms, Belinda Phillip and Rebecca Brown, have made the news as they have both gone on record saying they have seen how cannabis oil has helped reduce seizure severity and quantity in their children.

In addition to the medical marijuana grass roots movement, medical professionals and politicians are also getting into the action. In February 2014, the Epilepsy Foundation announced their support for increasing cannabis research and access to the drug.

At around the same time, eighteen Congress members wrote President Barak Obama requesting that the drug become reclassified. For decades, cannabis has had a Schedule 1 classification in relation to the Controlled Substance Act. That label has the drug categorized as having no medicinal value and is a major hindrance to making medical marijuana legal to use on a national level.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said that the Obama administration would be willing to work with Congress to change the laws.



Blinded by Hindsight


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Dear Reader, I hope you approve this literally visual. -F

The Road of Hindsight Leads Nowhere

You are where you are now because of your past. The opportunities you had, the choices you made and all past decision have led you to this very moment. Hopefully, you are living in the now without misgivings.

However, when individuals are not happy with their present, reflecting on should’ve, would’ve, could’ve moments is common. That reflection can be accompanied by regret and misery and can contribute to a never-ending cycle of self-inflicted torment. That is because, when disappointment strikes, it triggers a sense of loss. Those “only if” moments can be debilitating, and is as authentic as enduring any trauma.

Paying mental penance for decisions of yesteryear is one way the human mind tries copes with the discomfort of regret. Fantasizing about different decision and the possible outcomes is part of the bargaining process, a stage in the Kübler-Ross model. Passing that stage will help you accept loss, including missed opportunities.

While it may be mentally soothing, some thoughts may weigh heavier than others. Finding ways to get over those past regrets is essential. Your personality is linked to your past, and acknowledging poor judgment can be the impetus to move forward.

Next time your inner voice steers you wrong, you can work on changing your inner dialogue in order to get back on track. Attempting to be in the moment is arduous, but it is grounding and can help.

Getting wrapped up in yesterday is oppressive. First, try to recognize the main cause for your sorrow. Do you regret saying no to that job? Miffed that you married wife #2? Are you in denial about saying that thing to your coworker? By pinpointing the exact cause of your sadness, you will be able to free your mind of other negative chatter and focus on the core issue.

If there is anything you can do to make amends, try. Seek out forgiveness from yourself and others. Take steps to prevent the same mistakes from happening by improving your actions, being honest, and repairing damage done. The technique is cathartic.

Try changing your inner dialogue from one of insults to one of compassion and kindness. Don’t blaspheme yourself. Back then, there were reasons for your choices, and you are much smarter now so let it drop.

Everything in life is a learning opportunity. Instead of harping on the regret, acknowledge what you have learned from the experience. That unique wisdom is what enriches your life, capabilities and well being.

Even with the effort, there may be times when those negative thoughts reappear. Take a moment to acknowledging that was then, but this is now. By embracing your history, you will have the ability to welcome your current circumstances.



Not All Seizures Epilepsy Related


Sometimes, brain cells misfire the electrical signals used to communicate. That can trigger a seizure. While typically, seizures are thought to be a symptom of epilepsy, occasional convulsions may be evidence of another disorder.

Epilepsy is a chronic disease directly linked to brain function. The illness affects over two million Americans and due to direct and indirect expenses, costs $15.5 billion annually. Moving and shaking are common symptoms associated with the medical condition. However, convulsions and an epilepsy diagnosis are not mutually exclusive.

Doctors use a broad, two-category classification system to diagnose patients with epilepsy or not. The two types of epileptic seizures are generalized (AKA local) and partial (AKA focal).

Not All Seizures are Created Equally

Not All Seizures are Created Equally

While non-epileptic seizures (NES) can mimic the symptoms of the brain-linked convulsions, they are in their own league. These tremors are caused by something other than electrical brain activity and are categories either as organic and psychogenic seizures.

Organic seizures have a physical cause. Finding that trigger can result in diagnoses and help define treatment options. Allergic reactions to medications, diabetes, fainting, neuromuscular disorders, ovulation and heart disease can bring about seizures, but they are not the only source of the symptom. When thoughts and feelings impact the way the brain works that can result in a psychogenic NES.

According to the Epilepsy Society, psychogenic NES is linked to trauma. Accidents, death of a loved one, stress, challenging relationships, being bullied, or physical or sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder all hold the potential of kicking off a non-epileptic episode.

Stress can manifest in many different ways, as a result, it is one of the biggest links to psychogenic NES. A study on Johns Hopkins in-patient epilepsy treatment has shown that more than a third of seizure patients had convulsions that were psychogenic in nature.

Although they can look incredibly scary, seizures usually pass quickly. Ignore whatever story you heard about spoons, WebMD recommends a hands-off approach. The situation will quickly remedy itself and human intervention can cause more harm than good.

While there may be no cause for concern, the first seizure should be considered a warning and seeking professional medical attention is advised. A trip to a neurologist is essential to categorize the condition. Treatment options depend on what is unearthed during the diagnoses process.



About Prostate Cancer


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Prostate Exams, A Worthwhile Pain in the Ass

Prostate Exams, A Worthwhile Pain in the Ass

The American Cancer Society estimates that combined, this year there will be 1,665,540 diagnoses and 585,720 total cancer deaths in the U.S. For men, prostate cancer is one of the biggest threats.

In America, cancer accounts for nearly one out of every four deaths. Those born with XY chromosomes are at an increased risk of specific types of cancer including lung and colorectal cancer. However, projections suggest that, in 2014, there will be 233,000 new prostate cancer diagnoses, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men.

The prostate is a gland is part of the male reproductive system and is no bigger than a walnut in healthy men. Not only does the organ responsible for adding the milky looking fluid to semen, the prostate also assists in ejaculation.

Prostate cancer is common in developing countries. Left unchecked the disease can cause discomfort, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. It also can eventually lead to death.

The Mayo Clinic knows of no direct cause of prostate cancer. Although men over aged 65 have greater odds of developing the disease, younger men are still at risk. Other factors including obesity, having dark skin and having a family history of prostate or breast cancer can increase the chances of the cancer forming.

What’s a man to do? Aside from managing well being by eating a nutritious diet, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, self-love may help.

Research has shown masturbation may help decrease the odds of developing the condition for men in their 50s. A study conducted the University of Nottingham in England followed the hypothesis, whether men with strong sex drives had a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. The findings revealed that frequent sexual intercourse had no impact on prostate health, but masturbation is a different story.

When men in their 50s masturbated one or more times per week, they had a 70 percent lower risk of prostate cancer than their non-stroking friends. Researchers suggest that, for older men, masturbation may help remove cancer-causing substance from the prostate gland. Sometimes clean-living and self-loving is not enough.

The majority of prostate cancers do not cause any symptoms; getting regular prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) screening is the best way to discover the condition. The guidelines vary with age and PSA levels. Evidence supports that PSA screening tests can lower prostate cancer mortality rates because catching the disease early on can allow doctors to deliver life saving solutions.