Tag Archives: Health

Get Up and Move

Sitting at your desk all day long is bad for your health – and your pants size. Many of you don’t have the luxury of finding the time to participate in a long, drawn-out exercise routine. How the heck can you improve your health if you don’t have enough hours in the day to get fit? New research shows that moving around for even sixty seconds at a time is good for your heart, your weight AND your waistline.

That’s right – I said sixty seconds at a time. Researchers found that the more breaks people took during the time they spent being sedentary, the smaller their waist circumference. Breaks didn’t need to involve physical exercise – they could be as simple as walking around the office. Dr. Genevieve Healy says that her findings highlight the importance of taking regular breaks throughout the day to just move around.

Don’t forget to stop by our software center today.

iHealth Keeps Track of Your Blood Pressure

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Lockergnome’s Kelly Clay gets a demonstration of the iHealth blood pressure monitoring system and iHealth blood pressure cuff for iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. iHealth works like a standard blood pressure cuff, measuring blood pressure from around your bicep, then charts the data on your iPad or iPhone with an integrated app so that you can track your blood pressure over time. Your iPhone or iPad sits on a mounting stand with a connected blood pressure cuff allowing you to easily sit next to any table top and take your blood pressure, which is recorded to the iPad blood pressure app.

The free app is fairly well-designed with a large central button you press to activate the cuff. After a few seconds, the results (date, time, pulse, and systolic and diastolic numbers) appear in large font on the screen, alongside a flashing graph that shows where you on on the blood pressure scale. Additional features track your history, delete a readout, open the FAQ, and share results via e-mail. The app also calculates your average and compares your risk of hypertension to World Health Organization figures.

The cost for the dock is around one hundred dollars, and well worth the price if you’re someone who suffers from high blood pressure.

San Francisco Bans Sugary Drinks

If you’re a person who is addicted to sugary soft drinks, I hope you don’t live in San Francisco. If you do, you may very well start a riot the next time you try to buy your favorite cola from a vending machine in the city limits. San Francisco’s mayor Gavin Newsom doesn’t feel you need to drink these toxic beverages. Instead, he wants you to choose a healthy alternative such as soy milk. The ban that was put in place in April is now starting to make its presence known throughout the city.

Thanks to @forrestkoba, I happened to read the article about the ban on drinks such as Coke and Pepsi in vending machines located on city property. Don’t worry… you can still purchase them in supermarkets and drink them in the secrecy of your own home. However, if you want to grab a cold can from a vending machine at City Hall, you’re out of luck. You could always “treat” yourself to some Soy milk, though!

All calorically sweetened beverages have been taken out of vending machines on city property. “That includes non-diet sodas, sports drinks and artificially sweetened water. Juice must be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners. Diet sodas can be no more than 25 percent of the items offered, the directive says.” There will be a lot of pure juices, waters and non-dairy types of beverages available, though.

The directive also takes aim at snacks which have a high fat or calorie content. “There’s a direct link between what people eat and drink and the obesity and health care crises in this country,” Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said. “It’s entirely appropriate and not at all intrusive for city government to take steps to discourage the sale of sugary sodas on city property.”

What are your thoughts? Do you agree that it is “not intrusive” when a city (or other) government steps in and mandates what you can and cannot buy to eat or drink when visiting city-owned properties? Do you feel that they are going a bit too far in exercising their plans to make the city’s residents healthier?

Leave Your Car at Home and Bike to Work Today

Today is National Bike to Work Day, capping off an entire week of pushing Amercians to be healthier while saving the environment from harmful gasses AND helping cut down on fuel consumption. Sounds like a pretty tall order, doesn’t it? It’s not such a stretch, though. Riding a bike for only thirty minutes per day can have a large impact on your health: the aerobic exercise strengthens the heart muscle at the same time that it helps keep weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure at healthy levels. It may also reduce arterial inflammation, which increases heart-attack risk, and slow the progression of heart disease.

You already know that riding a bike instead of driving a car (or taking public transportation) will save on your gasoline cost and reduce your carbon footprint. Did you know, though, that biking could keep your heart healthy? It can also help keep arthritis at bay. A recent study suggests that women with stronger thigh muscles are less likely to develop arthritis in their knees.

Leave the car in the garage today. Dust off your bike, throw on your tennis shoes, and enjoy the scenery on the way to the office on this beautiful day.

You won’t need to grab a bike helmet to keep you safe as you browse the latest software and apps we have available.

Love is in the Air for Apple Fans

If you are an Apple fan, nothing would be worse than hooking up with the “perfect” person – only to discover that they are a Windows user. That is likely the biggest deal-breaker of all. Thanks to new service Cupidtino, you’ll never have to worry about this again. The site promises to bring Apple fan-boys and girls together in a relationship nearly guaranteed to last:

Die-hard Mac & Apple fans often have a lot in common – personalities, creative professions, a similar sense of style and aesthetics, and of course a love for technology. We believe these are enough reasons for two people to meet and fall in love, and so we created the first Mac-inspired dating site to help you find other Machearts around you.

This may sound like some sort of weird scam, but it’s very real. The site is set to go live sometime in June, but you can sign up to beta-test it now. I’ve read a lot of commentary about this studly service today, but none of them sum it up better than Mike over at TechCrunch when he said that “Apple fans can be annoying when they’re on their own. The thought of them breeding and creating little Apple fans, a whole family of hard core hipster Apple lovers, is just not a good thing. On the other hand, making sure that Apple fans only date other Apple fans is a good way of stopping them from spreading their Apple fan genes to the general population, I guess. So maybe this site isn’t all bad.”

My only question now is: How soon will we see a Windows-only (and Linux-only) dating site? Which of you are going to step up and start it?

Love of one platform or another is not required to grab some of the latest software and apps for your devices. We welcome all people!

How to Stay Healthy with the iPad

These days, the population is more health-conscious than ever before. Not only do we take care of ourselves better, we also take control of our healthcare. We question our providers. We research our fingers to the bone so that we understand what they’re telling us. We research to help find possible answers and treatments to suggest to our doctors.

Being able to have a wealth of health and medical knowledge at our fingertips is almost essential. That’s why the Carter’s Encyclopaedia of Health and Medicine app for the iPad is sure to be a huge hit with many adults.

The encyclopaedia was designed specifically for the iPad. It features 1,800 pages and more than 12,000 entries. The app moves beyond the limits of a physical book with a full text search, an interactive body diagram, browsing history and adjustable font size (like adjustable bed bases).

This app will cover definitions and explanations of most of the medical terms and health conditions you will likely ever need to know about. It is even detailed enough to contain most of the information a nurse or paramedical will need in their daily work life. It’s written in an easy-to-understand format so that it can be used by anyone with a basic high school education. You don’t need medical experience or training to make use of this app.

Carter’s Encyclopaedia of Health and Medicine will be available in the app store as soon as the iPad is officially released for an introductory price of $9.99. Credit to TUAW for surfacing this app.

Hard-Core Climbing with the Great Indoorsman

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There’s nothing like a good hike to get your blood pumping. Were you aware of the health benefits of doing something like this? You can burn calories, increase muscle tone, improve your circulation – and live longer!

I enjoy quite a few indoor activities, but one of my favorites is climbing. There’s just something magical about reaching the top. You look all the way down, and feel such a sense of accomplishment! Sure, you might be frustrated when you have to make your climb several times a day (or hour!) like I do. But each and every time you get to the summit, the sense of pride and wonder is there all over again. You’ve done it! You know you can keep going, but sadly – there’s nowhere left to go other than back down.

Let’s not discuss that whole running out of breath thing. I’m not old, and I’m not out of shape. I’m the Great Indoorsman!!

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Top Ten Resolutions for 2009

Why do people make resolutions for the new year? Many use it as a catalyst for accomplishing their goals. Many take the opportunity to try something new and improve their lives. I’ve put together a list of some of the most common resolutions people make. If you haven’t made your resolution list yet, you may find some ideas here:

  1. Quit Smoking. Several people I know were able to do this last year, and it is a good resolution to try and keep. There are some great resources online that can help you, and many state health departments sponsor programs as well. Here’s one – quitnet.com. You will feel better, breathe better, and your health will begin to improve sooner than you think. Your friends, family, car, clothes and computer will thank you for quitting. Those who love and care about you should support you. Good luck!
  2. Lose Weight. This isn’t just about the holiday pounds. Our society is getting heavier and heavier – are you? This is one of the most common resolutions people make, and it’s a good one. I’ve been working on mine for three months, and I’ve lost twenty pounds!! With determination, you can do a lot. There are many things you can do to get started. You can join a gym, order DVD workouts, join online support groups… the possibilities are endless. A great place to start would be something like Weight Watchers. They have calculators to help you keep track of what you eat, they have message boards for support, and it is a well-known name. There’s also places like Beachbody – programs that offer many options for exercise, diet and support all in one place. Keep at it, don’t give up. After all, if you don’t have your health, what do you have?
  3. Eat Healthier. Be specific in your weight loss, and be honest. You know, McDonald’s isn’t going to help you lose weight, and neither are those Christmas candies. You’d be surprised at how much money you save AND how much better you feel taking a homemade lunch to work instead of eating fast food. Make some conscious choices, and use the official Food Pyramid as your guide. Plan your menus and your meals ahead, don’t shop hungry and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how you can accomplish this goal.
  4. Exercise More. This one goes along with eating healthy and losing weight. You will receive better and longer lasting weight loss results, and improve your heart and lung function. Please remember to talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.
  5. Take Time for Family. Are you a workaholic? Do you remember the names of your children? What about birthdays and anniversaries – have you forgotten any lately? Life is short, and we need to make the most of it. You can’t take your job, your money or your computer with you when you die – but you can take your experiences and the love you share with your family. Make sure you let them know how important they are to you, and try to do it on a daily basis. If you don’t have children or you aren’t married, consider talking to your parents or extended family more often.
  6. Return to School. Did you leave college before you earned a degree? Did life happen before you had a chance to get a higher education? It’s not too late, you can take online classes, night courses, or some type of correspondence course for many areas of study. You can keep your day job! All it takes is some hard work and dedication. You may qualify for financial aid, grants, scholarships… you never know unless you try. If you don’t have your GED, what are you waiting for?!? Step up and improve your life, and finish your high school education. If you are still young and not of age, please stay in school. Work hard, earn good grades, and they will take you far in life.
  7. Stick to a Budget. With the state of the economy, I’m sure you are feeling the pinch. If you haven’t been laid off yet, you may want to think about keeping to a budget. Figure out your expenses, your income, your investments, and put them all in one place. There are applications like Quicken and MS Money, but there are also free programs that can help you too. You could also go “old school” and use a ledger book. The most important thing is to balance your checkbook and keep an eye on everything that goes in and out. How you keep track of that is up to you.
  8. Change Jobs. Working at Wendy’s and want to get more out of life? Well, now is your chance! If you put together some of the resolutions above, you can accomplish this. You’ll be able to budget your money, go to school and work at the same time, and get your exercise to work off those half price meals. Check your local Workforce Services or job board for things you may be qualified for. Don’t sit back and complain – be proactive and do something about it!
  9. Have Patience. Everyone could use more patience. Whether it be with your co-workers, your boss, your family, or your friends, try counting to ten once in a while instead of raising your voice or flying off the handle. Make sure your interactions with others are positive – make conscious choices to lift people up and not tear them down. Try listening to Tony Robbins or something, and improve your self-esteem. You’ll be surprised what an effect it can have on your relationships with others, your patience with them and the success you will have.
  10. Help Others. As you know, Ponzi and I always try to help those less fortunate. There are things you can do too, even if you don’t have a lot of money. Your local food bank will always accept donations, no matter what time of year it is. Hungry people exist every day, not just around the holidays. Non-perishable foods are the best, because they have a longer shelf life and can be easily stored. Donate useful items that you don’t use anymore – glasses, coats, shoes, blankets, and wearable clothing.

What resolutions have you set? How successful were you last year? Feel free to share your ideas, experiences and encouragement for the new year.

Oh, and by the way – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Top Physician Recommended Health Sites on the Web

Geek!This is Patricia L. Hale’s (MD, PhD) submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I’m Patricia L. Hale MD, PhD. After over 15 years of medical practice, I have found that more and more of my patients rely on the Internet for useful health information. The web can be a wonderful resource and most clinicians now use it regularly as well. Statistics show that web searches for health information s are one of the top searches by volume and most Internet users will use the web to search for health information at one time or another. Unfortunately there is a great deal of false and inaccurate or dated information on the web. There are schemes to sell products that are often a harmless waste of money but occasionally can be dangerous. So please avoid clicking on advertisements on web sites and go to one of the reputable sites listed below.

The following are my top 5 safe web sites containing the best tools and resources for health related information:

  • Medline Plus – Specifically designed for the public by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, this site has a tremendous amount of detailed information on a variety of health topics. There is information on over 750 conditions, diseases and wellness recommendations. Information on drugs and supplements along with the latest medical news and available clinical trials is also included. There are over 165 interactive tutorials and actual videos of many common surgical procedures (for the very curious). There are links to a number of highly respected medical organizations, patient support groups and medical centers that include local resources. Podcasts are also available addressing many common medical issues. The information is available in over 40 languages and continually updated. Overall this is my top recommendation as a great place to start any search for health information.
  • Mayo Clinic – This site has been voted as one of the top sites for health information on almost every list in the past five years or more. It remains a leader in providing high quality, well researched health information to the public. There are tutorials, reference materials and links on a multitude of health topics. The site also includes the opportunity to ask questions of Mayo Clinic’s world renowned clinicians. There are podcasts as well as an excellent free weekly e-newsletter.
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) – You may think the CDC is only interested in disease outbreaks but they also have an excellent site for the public. This web site containing useful health information that is easy to search and includes a broad range of topics. This is the best site for information on air pollution and home contaminants such as radon or mold. One of the more unique features is the inclusion of links to data and statistics from around the United States allowing you to see what health issues you may have a higher risk for due to where you live. The site is available in multiple languages and includes podcasts, email updates and other features.
  • Merck Source – This site contains one of the most complete sets of free access to reference materials for health topics on the web. It also has a companion site available free to clinicians that carefully matches information to what is on the public site geared for patients. There are links to a number of top medical center resources including the Harvard Health E-Newsletter. A unique feature is free access to the A.D.A.M. Symptom Navigator which is an interactive tool that is actually fun as well as educational. Although the site is supported by a pharmaceutical company, there is no advertising and the site is carefully balanced to provide high quality and unbiased medical information.
  • U.S. Dept. of State Tips for Traveling Abroad – If you are planning on international travel this site is for you. It contains information on what immunizations may be required as well as very useful health and safety information for travel. You can also register your travel plans so you can be contacted if there is a family emergency in the U.S. or a crisis where you are traveling. The check list for what to do to prepare for your trip is also very helpful.

That’s it! Those are my top five sites. There are many other useful health resources on the web but it is very important to be sure they are run by reputable medical authorities and contain accurate and safe information. If you are going to use a general search engine to look for health information you should stick to Google as they actually have a medical director who is helping to continually modify their search algorithms to move safe and accurate health related results to the top. One of the best ways you can be further reassured that the web site you are exploring is safe is to look for the Health on The Net Foundation (HON) seal of approval. HON has strict criteria for approval of health related web sites and checks regularly to be sure their rules are followed. You can click on the seal and get the latest information on the status of the web site or go to the HON web site for a general search of participating sites. HON requires that every web site include the medical background and qualifications of those who provide the information on the web site and also when the web site was last updated.

I hope this list is helpful and you have a wonderful and safe holiday season! Remember to always look for HONcode accredited web sites.

Luke Skywalker's Prosthetic Arm

Granted, I haven’t felt like a true Star Wars fan since the prequels concluded… but this is an interesting point of inspiration. I usually only hear how Star Trek has influenced real-world science and technology. Shawn McClendon just sent me these three links:

But what do they have to do with Star Wars?

Here are links to three sources concerning a new prosthetic device designed by DEKA and modeled after The mechanical arm worn by Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films. My wife, who is currently studying Occupational Therapy. She found it interesting, and thought that I might as well, not only because I am disabled, but because I have forever been a science fiction fan, and more so a Star Wars fan. She was also the wonderful person who introduced me to your show, and it occurred to me, that I could not possibly be the only SW fan, nor the only disabled fan of your show, and thus I thought to share. Its the first time I’ve ever contacted you, and so I’m not certain of the etiquette of such things, so thank you in advance for your patience, and I do hope you enjoy the information. The first is a rather detailed demonstration video. That I thought was the best bit.

So, what other pieces of tech (and advancements in health science) have been inspired by Sci-Fi?