Thursday, January 31, 2013

Eat Early, Shed Weight, Spanish Study Says

Eat your big meal early, new research says. Now you're not only what you, but when you eat. That's according to a new study that says eating lunch as your main meal of the day, early--before 3pm, in fact--could help you lose weight.

The study, just published in the International Journal of Obesity, and carried out by researchers at Spain's University of Murcia, Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Tufts University in Medford, Mass, included 420 overweight men and women who lived in the Spanish seaside town of Murcia.  All were monitored for 20 weeks while restricting their calorie intake to about 1,400 a day.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Folic acid 'cancer risk' fears played down by study


Taking folic acid in pregnancy
Worries that taking extra folic acid might increase the risk of cancer have been played down by a major study.

Following Canadian research linking the vitamin with a small rise in cancer, the study in the Lancet journal looked at data from 50,000 people. It found no significant differences in those taking folic acid. Taken in early pregnancy, it reduces the chances of certain birth defects and there have been calls to add it to food in the UK.

Female smoking death risk 'has soared'

Woman smoking

Women smoking nowadays are far more likely to die as a result of their habit than they were in the 1960s, according to a new study.  Changing habits such as starting earlier and smoking more cigarettes have been blamed for the dramatically increased risks of lung cancer. The trends, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, show death rates in women have caught up with men. The study looked at data from more than two million women in the US.

Women have to work HARDER than men to lose weight and get fit

Experts are now warning that while exercise alone might be enough for men to lose weight, women also have to look at their diet to get the same results
Scientists have discovered that when it comes to the benefits of exercise, the odds appear to be firmly stacked against the fairer sex.  New research suggests that women have to do a lot more exercise to get the same health benefits as men, in terms of both diet and fitness.

Scientists at the University of Missouri who put obese men and women on the same fitness programme found men reaped significantly more benefits.  And experts are now warning that while exercise alone might be enough for men to lose weight, women must also address their diet to get the same results.

During the study, Professor Jill Kanaley and her colleagues looked at the heart rate and blood pressure of nearly 75 obese men and women with Type 2 diabetes.  They all followed a programme of aerobic (i.e. cardiovascular) exercise for 16 weeks. They all worked at an effort of 65 per cent, which was worked out based on each individual's ability.  Despite everyone exercising at relatively the same speed, the researchers found that men got far more benefit from the exercise than women.  Over the 16 weeks, women's recovery time did not improve, whereas men's did, indicating their fitness had improved. They also lost more weight.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sickening fog settles over Salt Lake City area

<p>               In this Jan. 9, 2013, photo, an inversion cloud covers downtown Salt Lake City.  A group of Utah doctors is declaring a health emergency over the Salt Lake City area's lingering air pollution problem. Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment planned to deliver a petition Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, demanding immediate action by elected officials. (AP Photo/The Deseret News, Ravell Cal)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has singled out the greater Salt Lake region as having the nation's worst air for much of January, when an icy fog smothers mountain valleys for days or weeks at a time and traps lung-busting soot.

The pollution has turned so bad that more than 100 Utah doctors called Wednesday on authorities to immediately lower highway speed limits, curb industrial activity and make mass transit free for the rest of winter. Doctors say the microscopic soot — a shower of combustion particles from tailpipe and other emissions — can tax the lungs of even healthy people. "We're in a public-health emergency for much of the winter," said Brian Moench, a 62-year-old anesthesiologist and president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, which delivered the petition demanding action at the Utah Capitol.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Japan's finance minister tells elderly they should 'hurry up and die' to help reduce country's rising welfare bill

'Hurry up and die': Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said the elderly should be allowed to die to sooner to cut the costs to the state of having to care for them
Japan's new finance minister has claimed that the elderly should 'hurry up and die' to help ease the cost to the taxpayer of caring for them, it has emerged.

Taro Aso made the controversial statement as he discussed how to deal with the country's emerging demographic crisis as its population continues to shrink while life expectancy soars.  Aso, who said he would hate to be a burden on the state, told the national council on social security reforms: 'Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. 'I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government. 'The problem won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.'

Long-term aspirin 'blindness link'

Sight with macular degeneration
People who regularly take aspirin for many years, such as those with heart problems, are more likely to develop a form of blindness, researchers say.

A study on 2,389 people, in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, showed aspirin takers had twice the risk of "wet" age-related macular degeneration. The disease damages the 'sweet spot' in the retina, obscuring details in the centre of a patient's field of vision.  The researchers said there was not yet enough evidence to change aspirin use.

Taking low doses of aspirin every day does reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack in patients with cardiovascular disease. There are even suggestions it could prevent cancer. One in 10 people in the study, conducted at the University of Sydney, were taking aspirin at least once a week. On average the participants were in their mid-60s. Eye tests were performed after five, 10 and 15 years. By the end of the study, the researchers showed that 9.3% of patients taking aspirin developed wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared with 3.7% of patients who did not take aspirin.

Their report said: "The increased risk of [wet] AMD was detected only after 10 or 15 years, suggesting that cumulative dosing is important."Given the widespread use of aspirin, any increased risk of disabling conditions will be significant and affect many people."

Meningitis B vaccine gets European licence

A vaccine to protect children against one of the most common and deadly forms of meningitis has been licensed for use in Europe.

The Bexsero vaccine licensed by the European Commission is the first to cover meningococcal B meningitis - until now vaccines had protected against only some of the bacterial types involved. About 1,870 people contract meningitis B each year and one in 10 die. The UK is yet to roll out the jab.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which provides vaccination advice to the government plan to meet in June when they will discuss the vaccine and whether to add it to the list of vaccines routinely offered to young children.

Eating hot food off plastic plates can increase the risk of kidney stones
People who eat hot food (such as noodle soup) from melamine bowls may increase their risk of kidney stones
Its is a favourite of parents and picnic-goers the world over. But new research suggests that eating hot meals on melamine crockery could actually be harmful to health.

Taiwanese researchers have found that hot temperatures increase the amount of melamine we are exposed to - and this can increase the risk of kidney stones. They studied two groups of people who ate piping hot noodle soup. One group ate from melamine bowls, the other from ceramic bowls.

Urine samples were collected before the meal, and every two hours for 12 hours following the meal. Three weeks later, the volunteers consumed the same kind of soup but the type of bowl they used was reversed. Urine samples were collected again.  Total melamine levels in urine for 12 hours after eating the soup was 8.35 micrograms when the participants ate out of the melamine bowls versus about 1.3 micrograms when they ate out of ceramic bowls.

Rise of the FBIs (that's fat, bald and impotent men): Three-in-one sales of treatments soar as embarrassed blokes flock online
An increasing number of men are buying treatments for slimming, impotence and hair loss
The number of British men buying slimming, impotence and hair loss products has soared, new figures have revealed.

A British online pharmacy says these products now account for 25 per cent of its entire sales of more than £15m a year. And, in a new trend, it says men increasingly buying treatments for all three ailments in one order.  An analysis of 2012 sales figures by Chemist Direct found there was a 40 per cent rise in such orders from customers across the UK, compared to the previous year.

The most popular products include Regaine hair loss foam for Men, XLS-Medical and BioBurn slimming tablets, and Maxbido, the male sexual enhancer.  The biggest demand was in London and the South East, followed by the Midlands, and then the North East. In fourth place were customers in Scotland, followed by those living in the North West. Part of the rise in demand may be attributed to the recession, as increased pressure both at work and at home can cause stress, affecting a man’s sex drive, and causing weight fluctuation and even hair loss.  Last year a survey found that the South East was ‘Impotence Capital of England’

Saturday, January 19, 2013

'I could hear the surgeon talking as he cut into me. I tried to scream but I couldn't move': Mother describes horror of waking up during operation

Trauma: Sarah Newton, from Hinckley, Leicestershire, woke up during an operation but could not communicate with the surgeons to let them know
Trauma: Sarah Newton, from Hinckley, Leicestershire, woke up during an operation but could not communicate with the surgeons to let them know

A mother has described the agony of feeling a surgeon cutting into her stomach when she woke up during an operation.  Sarah Newton lay paralysed on the operating table as she listened to doctors speaking above her and felt every incision they made. Unable to move or scream, she resorted to counting each stitch and staple that was used to sew her wounds while she waited for the ordeal to end.  The 32-year-old spent 40 minutes trapped within her body, awake due to misjudged anaesthetic but paralysed by muscle relaxants, as unwitting doctors continued to operate.

Married lawyer, 58, 'had affair with divorce client then billed her for times they had sex'

A lawyer has been suspended after admitting to an affair with a client - and billing her for time they spent having sex, it was revealed last week.  Attorney Thomas Lowe had a six-month relationship with the woman he was representing in a divorce case. The 58-year-old, who is married, began an affair with his client after complimenting on her appearance and talking about her sex life. The pair embarked on an affair and met up on numerous occasions to have sex. Documents obtained from Lowe's office in Burnsville, Minnesota revealed that on the dates he was having sex he billed the women for his time and coded their liaisons as 'meetings' or 'drafting memos'. Lowe, from Eagan, Minnesota, eventually broke off the affair after several arguments with the woman in a bid to save his own marriage.
Illicit affair: Minnesota attorney Thomas Lowe, 58, has been suspended from practising law after he had a sexual relationship with a vulnerable client... and billed her for the time
Illicit affair: Minnesota attorney Thomas Lowe, 58, has been suspended from practising law after he had a sexual relationship with a vulnerable client... and billed her for the time

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Horsemeat found in burgers: Where's the beef?

 Wild horses are caught in the hills and taken down to the village of Sabucedo

Horsemeat found in burgers is just one of the strange things found in burger products throughout Ireland and the UK. Apparently, pig meat was found in alarming percentages, according to a recent study on food safety. So, where's the seriously?

According to a Jan. 15 report from Yahoo News, a random study was conducted on meat supply in both regions and the results were a bit startling, to say the least. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said tests conducted on salami, beef burger and beef meal products in retail stores showed traces of animal products other than beef. Horsemeat DNA was found in 37 percent of burger samples, while -- get this -- pig DNA was found in a whopping 85 percent of products. Investigators say the non-beef products were found in everyday products like cottage pie, beef curry pie and even lasagna.

Sugar intake linked to weight: NZ study

CUTTING back on sugar can help people make a small but significant fall in weight, an Otago University-led study says.

The study, commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO), found that reducing free sugars in the diet produced an average weight reduction of 0.8kg, while increasing sugar intake produced a corresponding increase of 0.75kg. The findings were the result of researchers studying numerous international studies of the impact on body weight of free sugars - sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus those naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices. "It seems easier to overeat if your diet includes lots of sugary foods and drinks. When you overeat you gain weight," said Dr Lisa Te Morenga of Otago's Department of Human Nutrition, one of the study's lead authors.

Some migraines tied to women's heart risk

WOMEN who suffer from migraines accompanied by visual disturbances such as flashes of light may be at increased risk of heart attacks and blood clots, researchers said Tuesday.

The study involved 27,860 women, of whom 1,435 had migraine with aura, as such disturbances are called. Over the course of the 15-year study, there were 1,030 cases of heart attack, stroke or death from a cardiovascular ailment, said the report from the American Academy of Neurology. "After high blood pressure, migraine with aura was the second strongest single contributor to risk of heart attacks and strokes," said study author Tobias Kurth. "It came ahead of diabetes, current smoking, obesity, and family history of early heart disease."

ER visits tied to energy drinks double since 2007

 Energy drinks
Many people do not realise how potent energy drinks can be. Three energy drinks is the equivalent of 15 cups of coffee, a doctor says.

A NEW government survey suggests the number of people seeking emergency treatment after consuming energy drinks has doubled in the US during the past four years, the same period in which the supercharged drink industry has surged in popularity in convenience stores, bars and on college campuses.

From 2007 to 2011, the government estimates the number of emergency room visits involving the neon-labelled beverages shot up from about 10,000 to more than 20,000. Most of those cases involved teens or young adults, according to a survey of the nation's hospitals released late last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The report doesn't specify which symptoms brought people to the emergency room but calls energy drink consumption a "rising public health problem" that can cause insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat and seizures that are severe enough to require emergency care.

Several emergency physicians said they had seen a clear uptick in the number of patients suffering from irregular heartbeats, anxiety and heart attacks who said they had recently downed an energy drink.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New outrage in India as schoolgirl raped in toilets

THOUSANDS protested in the holiday state of Goa after a seven-year-old girl was raped in a school toilet, sparking fresh outrage in India following a deadly gang-rape on a bus. Crowds began gathering outside the Deepvihar High School in the city of Vasco da Gama on Monday night after news of the attack emerged, prompting police to arrest the headmistress on charges of neglect as well as appeal for calm. A massive manhunt has been launched to trace the attacker, thought to be in his early 20s, who managed to get into the premises despite security guards posted at the school gate.

 India Gang Rape
The rape of a seven-year-old schoolgirl who was dragged into the school toilets and sexually assaulted during a break in class has sparked new protests in India. Source: AP

Japan Scientists Breed Salmon From Surrogates

Photo illustration obtained January 13, 2011 shows a Fraser River sockeye salmon in the North Pacific Ocean. Japanese scientists have successfully bred a type of salmon using surrogate parents of a different species.

Japanese scientists have successfully bred a type of salmon using surrogate parents of a different species, in a breakthrough that could help preserve endangered creatures, the chief researcher said Tuesday. Researchers froze the testes of the yamame salmon, a fish indigenous to Japan that lives its entire life in rivers, before extracting primordial germ cells and implanting them into otherwise sterile rainbow trout hatchlings. These primordial cells, called spermatogonia, were used by the fish's growing body to develop fully functional sperm in males and viable eggs in females, said Goro Yoshizaki at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Breastfeeding babies can reduce a mother's risk of ovarian cancer by two-thirds

Breastfeeding her baby can reduce a mother’s risk of ovarian cancer by nearly two-thirds, according to scientists. And the longer she continues to do it, the greater the protection against the illness. The research adds to evidence of the benefits of natural feeding as numerous studies have already shown it cuts the chance of  breast cancer. More than 6,000 patients a year in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and the illness accounts for about 5 per cent of cancer deaths in women. It is known as the ‘silent killer’ because symptoms for many sufferers, such as feeling bloated, are non-specific and the illness may not be diagnosed until it is fairly advanced.

'Breast is best': Breastfeeding her baby can reduce a mother's risk of ovarian cancer by two-thirds
'Breast is best': Breastfeeding her baby can reduce a mother's risk of ovarian cancer by two-thirds

Brain-boosting milkshake claiming to reduce symptoms of early dementia goes on sale in the UK

A brain-boosting milkshake that is said to reduce symptoms of early Alzheimer's has gone on sale in the UK today. The drink contains a mix of ‘memory boosting’ nutrients including those found in breast milk and herring. The ‘medical food’ comes after a decade of research into a formula food that might improve the brain function of people in the early stages of the disease.

The makers of Souvenaid claim it can help reduce the symptoms of early Alzheimer's
The makers of Souvenaid claim it can help reduce the symptoms of early Alzheimer's

Souvenaid, taken as a 125ml once-a-day drink, has ingredients that work together to boost brain cells important for memory. It contains omega 3 fatty acids, the nutrient found in fish, which is known to be good for the brain, with a daily dose equivalent to eating three or four herrings. The drink also contains two other compounds normally present in the blood - uridine, which is produced by the liver and kidneys and found in breast milk, and choline found in meat, nuts and eggs - B vitamins and other nutrients.

The camera you can swallow: New capsule could help detect early stages of cancer of the oesophagus

A swallowable camera-in-a-capsule could help doctors spot early signs of oesophageal cancer, research has shown.  The hi-tech transparent device is about the size of a large multivitamin pill. It contains a rapidly rotating laser that shines a beam of near-infrared light onto the wall of the oesophagus, or gullet, the pipe that carries food to the stomach. Sensors record the light reflections and produce detailed microscopic images that can reveal cell changes associated with Barrett's oesophagus, a pre-cancerous condition linked to heartburn and acid reflux.
 The hi-tech transparent device contains a rapidly rotating laser that shines a beam of near-infrared light onto the wall of the oesophagus, or gullet, the pipe that carries food to the stomach
The hi-tech transparent device contains a rapidly rotating laser that shines a beam of near-infrared light onto the wall of the oesophagus, or gullet, the pipe that carries food to the stomach

A string-like tether allows the device to be pulled back up and transmits images to a monitor. In tests on 13 unsedated volunteers, including six with Barrett's oesophagus, the capsule was able to image the whole gullet in less than a minute. A full procedure involving four passes down and up the oesophagus took just six minutes. Current screening for Barrett's oesophagus takes well over an hour and involves passing an endoscope - a flexible telescope - down a patient's throat.

Heroin use shouldn’t be a crime PM urged and dealers should be licensed to sell ‘legal highs’, say MPs and peers

The possession and use of heroin, ecstasy and crack cocaine should be decriminalised, a powerful group of MPs and peers say today. In a controversial finding, their report says giving criminal records to young drug users creates 'higher levels of unemployment, homelessness and relationship problems'. It also has little impact on drug use, according to the politicians, who include senior figures such as former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson and ex-MI5 chief Baroness Manningham-Buller. The study also calls for licences to be issued to allow drug dealers to sell so-called 'legal highs', which have flooded on to the market in recent years.

If hard drugs are decriminalised users would escape with a fine, confiscation and no criminal record
If hard drugs are decriminalised users would escape with a fine, confiscation and no criminal record

Why praising your child may do more harm than good: Psychologist claims 'empty' comments makes them unhappy

Praising children with phrases such as ‘well done darling’ may damage their confidence, a leading psychologist has warned. Stephen Grosz claims that comments such as ‘you’re so clever’ or ‘you’re such an artist’ could also hinder their future performance at school. He says that such ‘empty praise’ causes children to be unhappy as they feel they cannot live up to the false expectations. Instead he advises parents and teachers to bestow compliments less frequently and use phrases that congratulate children for ‘trying really hard’.
More harm than good: Praising your children can damage their confidence according to a leading psychoanalyst
More harm than good: Praising your children can damage their confidence according to a leading psychoanalyst

Emotions Pose Obstacle to Weight Loss, Psychologists Say

CREDIT: Dreamstime 

Sure, portion size and exercise are important factors for losing weight, but psychologists say emotions often pose some of the biggest challenges for those trying to shed pounds.

A survey of 1,328 licensed psychologists conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 44 percent said "understanding and managing the behaviors and emotions related to weight management" was essential for addressing weight loss with their clients. Forty-three percent cited "emotional eating" as a barrier to weight loss — just as many said "maintaining a regular exercise schedule" was key for shedding pounds.

FDA Lowers Dosages for Popular Sleep Meds

For people who need a prescription sleep medicine to help them nod off, less is now more.

CREDIT: Dreamstime
The FDA is requiring that manufacturers of widely used prescription sleep aids containing the active ingredient zolpidem lower the current recommended dosage for these medications. The drugs affected are Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar and Zolpimist as well as the generic forms of Ambien and Ambien CR. According to the FDA, new data show that blood levels of zolpidem may be high enough the morning after people take a sleep medication to interfere with the ability to perform activities that require them to be alert. Driving-simulation studies suggest that in some people, zolpidem levels may remain elevated enough to raise the risk of a motor vehicle accident.

Is Pregnancy After Weight-Loss Surgery Safe?

CREDIT: via Shutterstock 

Women who've had weight-loss surgery should wait at least a year before they try to become pregnant, according to a new review.

Some studies show an increased risk of premature birth among women who've had bariatric surgery (such as gastric bypass surgery) and get pregnant within one year of surgery, compared with women who conceive after one year. In addition, nutritional deficiencies can occur during the first year after surgery that could potentially affect the growing fetus, the researchers said. (According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(ACOG), women who've undergone weight-loss surgery are at an increased risk for deficiencies in iron, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D and calcium. Getting an adequate amount of these nutrients is important for the mother and baby.)

Hot Health Tech of CES 2013

The Hapifork monitors your every bite and provides feedback on how much you eat with it.
CREDIT: Hapilabs 

From earbuds that monitor your heart rate to forks that follow your every bite, some inventive new health technologies were introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 in Las Vegas this week. Here's a roundup of gadgets designed to promote well-being that were featured at CES 2013.

The fork that follows each bite

The HAPIfork is an electronic fork that keeps track of how often you move food from your plate to your mouth. If you're shoveling your dinner faster than one scoop every 10 seconds, the battery-operated HAPIfork lights up and vibrates like a cellphone, letting you know to slow down. The fork, which retails for $99, is also slightly smaller than a typical fork to encourage portion control.

There is evidence that slower eating helps dieters control their calorie intake. In a 2006 study, diners who ate slowly consumed significantly fewer calories than those who ate quickly. And a study from 2009 may have discovered why: People who ate slowly reported a greater sense of fullness than those who ate faster.

Mentally challenged US girl gang-raped in class as teacher stood few feet away

A mentally-challenged 15-year-old girl in New York was brutally gang-raped by two boys in her classroom with her teacher standing only a few feet away, a media report said on Sunday. The special needs student was allegedly sexually assaulted for 10 minutes as another student "hit her on the head whenever she tried to escape" during a science class at a school in Elmont, the Daily Mail reported citing the New York Post.

The girl's mother filed a lawsuit, alleging that the teacher ignored the assault even as one student danced on the desk while another attempted to sexually assault the girl. Judiciary never treated women with dignity, says former Supreme Court judge. Though the girl told a school social worker the next day, school officials failed to report the crime. She was the only girl in her class of 13 boys. The daily said the alleged attackers were residents of a home for juvenile delinquents. The girl's mother said her daughter was bullied for months. The school's executive director said an internal investigation was conducted as soon as they heard of the abuse and fired the teacher.

Source: NDTV

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stomach Pump for Weight Loss? Experts Are Critical

stomach, acid fighters,
CREDIT: Sebastian Kaulitzki | Dreamstime 

For people who wish they could satisfy their food cravings without wearing them on their waistlines, a new device claims to have the answer, though experts are critical of it.

The gadget, called AspireAssist, sucks food out of the stomach before it has a chance to be absorbed by the body. The patient requires a procedure that places a tube in the stomach that connects to a port outside of the body. (The procedure does not require general anesthesia, although people are sedated with medication.) About 20 minutes after eating, people attach a device to the port, and "aspirate" the food they have eaten — in other words, empty the contents of their stomach. "Because aspiration only removes a third of the food, the body still receives the calories it needs to function," the company, Aspire Bariatrics, writes on its website.

Violent Crime Linked To Levels Of Lead In Air

An increase in violent crime in the 1970s and 80s is down to lead in the environment, research has claimed. A study in the US, which compared the level of crime and the earlier amount of lead in the atmosphere – from petrol, paint and other sources – found they appeared to be directly linked. Researchers discovered that in cities where the amount of lead in the air went up, the crime rate went up around 20 years later. When the amount of lead in the atmosphere came down, the number of robberies and attacks started to fall after about 20 years. The authors of the study believe there could be something in lead that makes children who absorb more of it, more violent when they grow up.

Cancer studies often downplay chemo side effects

Doctors relying on studies published in top journals for guidance about how to treat women with breast cancer may not be getting the most accurate information, according to a new analysis. "Investigators want to go overboard to make their studies look positive," said Dr. Ian Tannock, the senior author of the new study in the Annals of Oncology.

In two-thirds of the 164 studies Tannock and his colleagues scrutinized, that meant not listing toxicities - in other words, serious side effects, whether of chemotherapy, radiation or surgery - in the paper's abstract. Such abstracts summarize the findings, and run a few hundred words. That's important, said Tannock, of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, because "most of us are so damn busy, we only read the abstract and skim the tables and figures."

Saudi Arabia Beheads Young Sri Lankan Maid

Saudi Arabia Beheads Young Sri Lankan Maid
Saudi Arabia Beheads Young Sri Lankan Maid

A young Sri Lankan housemaid has been beheaded in Saudi Arabia for killing a baby who was in her care. Rizana Nafeek had denied strangling the 4-month-old baby in 2005 and the execution came despite global appeals to call it off because she was only 17 at the time. Rights groups said the death sentence was a violation of international codes governing the rights of minors. Appeals by the Sri Lankan government were also rejected and Nafeek was executed in the town of Dawadmy, near the capital Riyadh, on Wednesday morning.

One in 25 U.S. teens has attempted suicide: study

About one in 25 U.S. teens has attempted suicide, and one in eight has thought about it, according to a national study based on interviews with thousands of teens. Researchers, whose findings appeared in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, said those numbers are similar to the prevalence of lifetime suicidal thinking and attempts reported by adults, suggesting that the teenage years are an especially vulnerable time. "What adults say is, the highest risk time for first starting to think about suicide is in adolescence," said Matthew Nock, a psychologist who worked on the study at Harvard University.

The results are based on in-person interviews of close to 6,500 teens in the United States and questionnaires filled out by their parents. Along with asking youth about their suicidal thinking, plans and attempts, interviewers also determined which teens fit the bill for a range of mental disorders. Just over 12 percent of the youth had thought about suicide. Four percent had made a suicide plan and four percent had attempted suicide.

Congratulations, America! We’ve become a nation of healthier snackers.

Fresh fruit snack

Fresh fruit is the No. 1 snack in America, and it's particularly popular among children, according to a recent report. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

So says market research firm NPD, which has declared fresh fruit the most popular snack food in the country. Even better, the popularity of fresh fruit is continuing to grow.

Over the course of a year, Americans snacked on fresh fruit an average of 10 times more than they snacked on chocolate and 25 times more than they snacked on potato chips, according to NPD’s recent “Snacking in America” report. Fresh fruit, chocolate and potato chips were the top three snack foods identified in the report. Snacks now account for 20% of all “eating occasions,” the report says. (In case you were wondering, breakfast accounts for 28%, lunch for 25% and dinner for 27%, the market research firm says.)