April 20, 2011

Dating Sites: Should They Be Held Responsible?

Following the filing of a suit against Match.com by a woman who claims that a date with a man she met through their service went horribly wrong and that she was raped, three primary questions have emerged: Are dating sites safe, should dating sites be responsible for checking for sex offenders, and when things go wrong should they be made to pay up?

From the Wall Street Journal:

You go on one of these dating sites, and meet a guy who seems alright. You meet up for a first date and have a good enough time. On the second date, however, things go horribly awry. The long and the short: he follows you home after the date and proceeds to sexually assault you.

Question: Do you have a valid cause of action against the dating site?

Although it now seems only logical and necessary that a dating site would be responsible for checking to see if a member is a sexual predator or has a criminal record, it's actually a big step forward in the world of online dating. As pointed out at PRWeb, two previous problems prevented this important safety procedure from happening: failings of the technology and the risk of bad PR:
In the past, the sex offender data quality and matching technology was too unreliable to trust. The chances of incorrect matching, either positive or negative, were far too high.

Perhaps due to the lack of accuracy, dating sites became afraid of the PR possibilities - and being called out for having sex offenders among their members, or incorrectly identifying members as sex offenders when they are not.

Now, companies such as MegansLaw.com provide extremely accurate, updated and complete sex offender data, as well as robust and rapid ways of matching membership databases. As such, many major dating sites have realized that the liability is likely far greater if they don't check for offenders.

To some, this is just common sense. The sex offender registry exists for a good reason, and people do not get placed on there without cause. To not use such valuable information in a logical and protective way, dating sites are risking a far greater liability. MegansLaw.com has been providing services to large social networks and provides a real time solution.

So with companies like MegansLaw.com now in existence, and with them extremely accurate, updated and complete sex offender data is readily available, it would seem that dating sites should indeed be responsible for checking members against sex offender and criminal record lists. And meeting people on sites that perform such checks is at least as safe as meeting strangers in person, and perhaps in some instances, safer. However,as suggested over at Pet Bird Interaction, the safety of dating online on dating sites really depends on the person looking for a date.
Many people who are up for mischief will usually want a quick relation and make fast moves to get them, so all you need to do is to not rush into anything and take each conversation slowly and think and get to know the person properly before committing to them. Also Google their name to find out any news available about them, this may seem as a sign of insecurity but its better than not knowing at all.
And, of course, you can always check at MegansLaw.com yourself.

As for whether or not a dating site should pay up when things go horribly wrong, for now that's up for a jury to decide. In the meanwhile it's a matter of opinion. What's yours?

Posted by Richard at 7:13 AM

April 19, 2011

Study: 'Weight Loss May Improve Your Memory'

memory.jpgNew research from Kent State University recently published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases indicates that losing weight not only provides a variety of health benefits, but may also help sharpen your memory.

Drucilla Dyess writes at HealthNews.com:

[...] John Gunstad, an Assistant Professor of psychology and lead author of the study, reported that results of the research indicate that weight loss may improve concentration and overall cognitive ability. He pointed out, "We've known for a long time that obesity is a risk factor for things like Alzheimer's disease and stroke, and more recent work really shows that obesity is a link to memory problems and concentration problems before that even begins." Gunstad then explained that his research team set out to answer the question, "If excess weight causes these problems, can losing weight help reverse them?"

For their study, the researchers analyzed the memory and attention of a group of 150 obese people having an average weight of 300 pounds. At the beginning of the study, each member of the group was given mental skills testing for assessment of baseline abilities of recall and attention. Following the assesment, a number of the study subjects underwent gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, while others did not. After a period of 12 weeks, mental skills testing was once again performed on each participant.

[...] Gunstad acknowledged that the study results raise even more questions regarding the link between obesity and brain damage that need to be investigated. He stated, "If we're able to identify what causes these memory problems in the first place and then changes after surgery to make the memory better, that's the key. Once we can find that, that might be an answer to better understanding how obesity's linked to Alzheimer's disease, stroke or even just memory decline that happens in older adults."

As Dyess goes on to point out, participants that underwent the bypass surgery improved to within or above normal range while those that did not have the bypass surgery experienced gradual memory decline. As a follow-up to these findings, the researchers plan to study people who lose weight by eating healthier and getting more active in order to see if behavioral weight loss produces the same changes in memory.

Odds are pretty good that the Gunstad and his fellow researchers will find similar results in their follow-up study on behavioral weight loss and memory, especially given that back in 2009 a group of German researchers reported a 30 percent reduction in caloric intake among overweight seniors significantly improved memory and thinking skills.

Image credit - Elements4Health

Cross posted from Hyscience

Posted by Richard at 10:40 AM

April 14, 2011

Study Finds High Vitamin D Levels May Lower Macular Degeneration Risk

Vision with amd.jpgAge-related macular degeneration is a chronic, late-onset disease that degrades the eye's retina over time and results in degeneration of the macula, the central portion of the retina that allows for focused, precise vision. It is the leading cause of adult irreversible vision loss and affects about 8.5 million Americans aged 40 and older. Now, results of a study published this week by the Archives of Ophthalmology suggests that women with early-onset age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be able to prevent or slow the process of the ailment by taking high levels of vitamin D supplements.

From DoctorsLounge.com:

[...] Amy E. Millen, Ph.D., from the University at Buffalo in New York, and colleagues investigated the association between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and the prevalence of early AMD. Participants in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study had their AMD status assessed using stereoscopic fundus photographs. Baseline serum 25(OH)D serum samples from 1,313 women with ocular and risk factor data were evaluated, and odds ratios were estimated for the 241 women who developed early AMD.

The researchers found that there was no significant association between early AMD and serum 25(OH)D in the fifth compared to the first quintile. ... After adjusting for body mass index and recreational activity, the correlation was attenuated. Vitamin D intake from foods or supplements was associated with lower likelihood of early AMD in women younger than 75.

"Vitamin D status may significantly affect a woman's odds of developing early AMD. More studies are needed to verify this association prospectively as well as to better understand the potential interaction between vitamin D status and genetic and lifestyle factors with respect to risk of early AMD," the authors write.

Read more.

As I've previously noted, in order to get high levels of vitamin D one needs to take a supplement. As for which supplement to use, vitamin D3 is the recommended form. There are 5 forms of vitamin D. The two major forms are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms are present in human nutritional supplements. When our skin comes into contact with UVB radiation, it synthesizes only vitamin D3. Both of these forms are prohormones, precursors to the vitamin D hormone that goes on to perform all of the beneficial processes that have been mentioned. However, the vitamin D3 form is about 3 times more effective at creating the vitamin D hormone and its duration of action is longer that the D2 form. Supplementing with vitamin D3 would be the wiser choice.

I include D3 in my own supplement regimen and purchase it online from Vitacost (a company I have no affiliation with), which I have found to offer the most effective product for the most reasonable cost. If you include a regular vitamin-mineral supplement in your own daily routine, you should use a product that includes calcium and magnesium. It is also important to know that although most multivitamin supplements contain only 400-800 IU of vitamin D, and this is only 10 to 20 percent of what is necessary for optimal physiologic function. For people unable to obtain 20-30 minutes of full-body sun exposure on an almost daily basis, it has become clear that high-dose vitamin D supplementation (a dosage range of at least 3,000-5,000 IU per day) is necessary to ensure that physiologic needs are met, and so that optimal health can be obtained and maintained.

Interestingly, when your physician gives you a prescription for vitamin D he or she is giving you a form of vitamin D2 (brand names Driscol and Calciferol), which is not only vastly inferior to the over-the-counter preparation but is also far more expensive (Over-the-counter: $2 per month/Prescription: $70 per month). So be sure to take the effective human form, vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, not the prescription form - ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2.

Image credit - Wolf Eye Clinic (AMD - What you see)

Related:
Video: Entertaining Expert Lecture on Vitamin D
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked To Poor Physical Performance In Older Adults: Role Of Vitamin D In Cancer Treatment

Also posted at Hyscience

Posted by Richard at 2:01 PM

April 12, 2011

Good News For Older Shopaholics: Seniors Who Shop Frequently Live Longer

SC gals 3.jpg

A new study from Taiwan published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health indicates that elderly people who shop as frequently as every day are more likely to live longer than less frequent shoppers, with men appearing to benefit more from the activity than women. And it appears that this holds true even when the shopaholic seniors have one or two long-term medical conditions:

[...] Dr Yu-Hung Chang from the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan, and colleagues, studied nearly 1,850 elderly people aged 65 and over who were living independently at home and who took part in the nationally representative 1999-2000 Elderly Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT Elderly).

Participants answered questions about how often they went shopping, with responses ranging from "never" to "every day".

They also completed questionnaires that helped researchers assess their intellectual and physical function, and gave the usual demographic information such as financial status, employment status, age, gender, education, and ethnicity, plus lifestyle, health behaviors, and chronic disease/medical status.

... The researchers concluded that their findings showed shopping predicts survival and that very frequent shopping may favour men more than women.

... They conceded that perhaps the ability to shop is just reflective of a person's health, and frequent shoppers are just healthier people, but they also said it could work the other way around: frequent shopping itself may benefit health, for instance by increasing the opportunity to buy food, take an interest in your diet and health, meet companions, and also take exercise in a way that is easier and requires less motivation than formal methods.

More details on the result of the study - here.

Image credit - Missouri Aging Services

Cross posted from Hyscience

Posted by Richard at 4:04 PM

March 9, 2011

Pain Killers Lead to Disorientation

About a third of cancer patients taking opioid painkillers experience cognitive problems such as confusion, disorientation and forgetfulness, a new study finds:

One third of opioid-treated patients with cancer had possible or definite cognitive dysfunction. Lung cancer, daily opioid doses of 400 mg or more (oral morphine equivalents), older age, low KPS, shorter time since cancer diagnosis, and absence of BTP were predictors for cognitive dysfunction.
more here

Posted by tim at 2:14 AM

February 10, 2011

Drinking Daily Diet Soda Linked to Heart Disease, Stroke Risk

Diet soda.jpg Those diet sodas you drink every day may be cutting down on calories, new research suggests that they also might be boosting your risk of heart disease and stroke:

In a nine-year study of more than 2,500 people, those who drank diet soda daily were 48% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die from those events, compared with those who rarely or never drank soda.

There was no increased risk of cardiovascular disorders among daily drinkers of regular soda, says study researcher Hannah Gardener, ScD, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The analysis, presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference (ISC), took into account a host of cardiovascular risk factors including age, sex, smoking, physical activity, alcohol and calorie consumption, metabolic syndrome, and pre-existing heart disease.

Still, the study doesn't prove cause and effect. And even though the researchers tried to account for risk factors that that could skew the results, they couldn't tease out everything, doctors caution.

However, there are drawbacks to the study. Read more ...

Posted by Richard at 5:44 PM

February 9, 2011

Study: Lack of Sleep Found to Be a New Risk Factor for Colon Cancer

Inadequate sleep has been associated with higher risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and death. Now, according to the results of a new study, you add colon cancer to the list.

ScienceDaily reports:

sleep_lady.jpgIn a ground-breaking new study published in the Feb. 15, 2011 issue of the journal Cancer, researchers from University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, found that individuals who averaged less than six hours of sleep at night had an almost 50 percent increase in the risk of colorectal adenomas compared with individuals sleeping at least seven hours per night. Adenomas are a precursor to cancer tumors, and left untreated, they can turn malignant.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to report a significant association of sleep duration and colorectal adenomas," said Li Li, MD, PhD, the study's principal investigator, family medicine physician in the Department of Family Medicine at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "A short amount of sleep can now be viewed as a new risk factor for the development of the development of colon cancer."

[...] Although why fewer hours of sleep may lead to colon cancer is unknown, Dr. Li said some of theories include that less sleep may mean less production of melatonin, a natural hormone that in animals has been linked to DNA repair, or that insulin resistance may underlie the link between sleep disturbance and cancer development.

Read more ...

Related:
10 foods that can help you sleep better tonight
How to select sleep-inducing foods
5 Foods That Help You Sleep
Melatonin for Treatment of Sleep Disorders

Posted by Richard at 4:42 PM

A 'Vegetable Viagra'?

Is there really such a thing as a "vegetable Viagra" that can boost a man's attractiveness to women AND increase his lovemaking ability?

Well, apparently there is indeed such a vegetable - it's celery. And it costs a heck of a lot less than Viagra:

celery.jpegThe study which was conducted stated that when a man eats celery it increases his hormones making him sweat thus this is one way of getting a woman' attention. The vegetable celery which is other terms is known as the 'Vegetable Viagra' helps in the form of lovemaking.

Researchers on this stated that, "The vegetable celery contains androstenone which is a naturally occurring steroid therefore bringing up the concentration to increase pheromone secretion in a male." They also state a warning saying that the consumption of the Vegetable Viagra, Celery has immediate results in the case of lovemaking and thus in gaining a woman's attention all he has to do is chew on a bunch of celery like a rabbit to improve his sex drive and please his woman.

And celery has other benefits as well, like helping to lower cholesterol and even preventing cancer.

Posted by Richard at 2:39 PM

February 8, 2011

Adolescent Female Facebook Users More Prone To Eating Disorders

Although I seriously doubt that adolescent female Facebook users learning that using Facebook can result in them having an eating disorder will in any way be detered from using it unabated, nonetheless, a new study, conducted from the University of Haifa, showed that the more time adolescent girls spend in front of Facebook, the more their chances of developing a negative body image and various eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and exaggerated dieting:

[...] A group of 248 girls aged 12-19 (average age: 14.8) took part in the survey. These girls were asked to provide information on their Internet and television viewing habits. Regarding the latter, they were asked to give the number of popular shows related to extreme standards of physical image (the "Barbie" model) that they watched. The girls also filled out questionnaires that examined their approach to slimming, bulimia, physical satisfaction or dissatisfaction, their general outlook on eating, and their sense of personal empowerment.

The results showed that the more time girls spend on Facebook, the more they suffered conditions of bulimia, anorexia, physical dissatisfaction, negative physical self-image, negative approach to eating and more of an urge to be on a weight-loss diet. Extensive online exposure to fashion and music content showed similar tendencies, but manifested in fewer types of eating disorders. As such, the more the exposure to fashion content on the Internet, the higher a girl's chances of developing anorexia. A similar direct link was found between viewing gossip- and leisure-related television programs (the likes of "Gossip Girl") and eating disorders in adolescent girls. The study also revealed that the level of personal empowerment in these girls is negatively linked to eating disorders, such that the higher the level of empowerment, the more positive the physical self-image and the lower the chances of developing an eating disorder.

Read more ... ... and girls, consider yourself forewarned.

Cross posted to Hyscience

Posted by Richard at 8:50 AM

May 22, 2008

Obesity linked to quantity of sleep

Getting enough quality sleep can affect your weight and overall heatlh - and so can too much:

People who sleep fewer than six hours a night - or more than nine - are more likely to be obese, according to a new US study that is one of the largest to show a link between irregular sleep and big bellies.

The study also linked light sleepers to higher smoking rates, less physical activity and more alcohol use.

Posted by Richard at 10:35 PM

Study Says Celery's Brain-Saving Pigment May Fight Alzheimer's And Multiple Sclerosis

200%20calories%20of%20celery.pngIn a study using mice that suggested some plants help protect the brain, luteolin, a chemical in celery, reduced brain inflammation linked to Alzheimer's disease:

[...] The compound, luteolin, has been shown in previous studies to hinder inflammation in cells belonging to the lungs, prostate and gums. In this study, researchers used luteolin to block the inflammatory response of the brain's immune system, opening the door to potential treatments for diseases of the brain.

"When the body's nervous system is stimulated by pathogens, like a typical infection, the immune system conveys a message to the brain," said Rodney Johnson, professor of Animal Sciences and author of the study. "The immune cells located in the brain respond to that signal and produce more inflammatory molecules, which are thought to contribute to the exacerbation of neurodegenerative diseases.

"Luteolin has the ability to inhibit the production of these inflammatory molecules," Johnson said. "This could slow the progression of certain neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or multiple sclerosis."

Before you go stuffing your face with celery, know that it may not be enough to stave off Alzheimer's. In order to be able to eat enough celery to get to the comparable levels of luteolin used in the study you'd have to take a dietary supplement.

Posted by Richard at 10:21 PM

May 6, 2008

Secondhand Smoke Exposure Can Cause Cell Damage In 30 Minutes

smoke.jpgAccording to CDC data, cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, with more than 400,000 Americans dying from cigarette smoking each year (one in every five deaths in the United States is smoking related). Exposure to secondhand smoke (or environmental tobacco smoke) causes an estimated 3,000 deaths from lung cancer, alone, among American adults, and according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, exposure to secondhand smoke even for a brief period is injurious to health. They also found that the deleterious effects of the exposure remain in the body for at least 24 hours, much longer than previously thought:

According to the study, a 30-minute exposure to the level of secondhand smoke that one might normally inhale in an average bar setting was enough to result in blood vessel injury in young and otherwise healthy lifelong nonsmokers. Compounding the injury to the blood vessels themselves, the exposure to smoke impedes the function of the body's natural repair mechanisms that are activated in the face of the blood vessels' injury, the researchers report. Many of these effects persisted 24 hours later.

Study findings are reported in the online edition of the "Journal of the American College of Cardiology," and will appear in the Journal's May 6 print issue.

The results showed that brief exposure to real-world levels of passive smoke have strong and persistent consequences on the body's vascular system ...

Continue reading ....

Posted by Richard at 12:23 PM


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