Posts made in September 2021

Staying put: Over 80% of seniors do not intend to sell their homes

September 30, 2021

For older Americans, a home signifies much more than just a place to live. New data from American Advisors Group (AAG), a provider of home equity solutions, shows that seniors’ homes not only have a great deal of monetary worth, but also significant sentimental value.

To find out more, AAG recently conducted the Importance of Home Survey among over 1,500 participants ages 60-75.

“Our studies have shown that seniors in this country have a strong attachment to their home[s] and the pandemic only strengthened that bond,” said AAG Chief Marketing Officer Martin Lenoir. “It’s no secret that many seniors have built substantial equity in their homes after years of ownership, but what is interesting is that very few want to sell their house to obtain that money. For seniors, the comfort, safety and independence of their home outweighs the desire to move and that’s why we’re seeing so many older Americans interested in reverse mortgages.”

Among the key findings of the survey are the following:

  • The majority of America’s seniors do not intend to sell their homes and have no plans of ever moving. Fully 82% of seniors say they want to live in their homes for the rest of their lives.
  • Seniors indicated that they want to remain in the comfort of their own home, with 92% saying they would prefer to live their later years in their current home instead of moving to an assisted living facility.
  • The desire to live in one’s home ties closely to a feeling of safety. More than four in five seniors (83%) say they feel safer at home than anywhere else.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic strengthened how seniors feel about living at home. Half of America’s seniors (50%) say that the pandemic made their desire to live at home stronger.
  • America’s seniors see value in their homes that goes beyond finances. Nearly two in three (62%) seniors say they have an emotional attachment to their home.
  • For many of America’s seniors, owning a home signifies more than just having ownership of a property. More than one-third (40%) of older Americans said their “independence” is the most important benefit of living in their home.
  • Family life is another substantial reason that seniors have an emotional attachment to their home. Over half of seniors (56%) say their home reminds them of their family.
  • Seniors are communicating their desire to stay at home to their children and close relatives. More than two in three seniors (68%) have told their families where they would like to live for the rest of their life.

To read the full results of AAG’s Importance of Home Survey, visit the link below:

Research contact: @aagreverse

‘We want to be the Nike of brain health’

September 30, 2021

A new mission-driven startup founded by Maria Shriver and one of her sons with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Patrick Schwarzenegger, casts a spotlight on cognitive wellness, Food Business News reports.

 Los Angeles-based MOSH (which stands for Maria Owings Shriver Health) is debuting a line of protein bars formulated with adaptogens and nutrients linked to brain health. A percentage of sales supports Alzheimer’s research. 

Shriver—an award-winning journalist, author, and former First Lady of California—is a force in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, which a decade ago claimed the life of her father, American diplomat, politician and activist Sargent Shriver. Following his diagnosis, she penned the children’s book “What’s Happening to Grandpa?” and produced the documentary series “The Alzheimer’s Project.”

 She published the groundbreaking Shriver Report—revealing that Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately affects women—and subsequently launched the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, a nonprofit organization advancing gender-based brain health research.

 “We’ve learned so much in my two decades of advocacy about what actually impacts our brain health,” Shriver told Food Business News. “When I got involved with Alzheimer’s, people were only looking in one space; they were looking at plaques and tangles, and they were researching men.

 “Now,” says Shriver, “we know so much of what we do on a day-to-day basis starting in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, particularly with women who are perimenopausal and menopausal. How you sleep, how you exercise, and what you eat have a big impact on your brain functioning at its best.”

 Shriver and Schwarzenegger partnered with brain health experts and nutritionists to develop the protein bars, which are available in peanut butter, chocolate and peanut butter chocolate flavors. Ashwagandha, lion’s mane mushroom, collagen, medium-chain triglyceride oil, vitamins B12 and D3 and omega-3 fatty acids are among the brain-boosting ingredients included in the recipes.

 Nutrition plays a role in delaying or preventing cognitive decline. Recent research suggests the ketogenic diet may help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, Shriver noted. She also cited research examining the effects of sugar on brain health.

“That’s why this bar is formulated with zero added sugar,” she said.

 Shriver, who often relies on protein bars to fuel her busy lifestyle, said the company plans to launch “a whole slew of products” in the future.

 “We want to be the Nike of brain health,” Schwarzenegger added. “We want to get consumers shopping in different categories that are good for brain and body—whether that is protein bars, whether that is hydration, whether that is different protein powders or supplements.”

 He said the protein bars had been in development for a year and a half. The team tested various iterations with scores of consumers. Supply chain disruptions and pandemic restrictions further delayed the launch.

 The bars, featuring packaging design inspired by a brain scan, are sold at Proceeds from each purchase are donated to Women’s Alzheimer Movement.

 Research contact: @FoodBizNews

Judge upholds New York City’s vaccine mandate for educators

September 30, 2021

A vaccine mandate for more than 150,000 teachers, custodians, school aides, cafeteria workers and other school staff in New York City can proceed as planned, a federal appeals panel ruled on Monday evening, September 27—a decision that reverses the temporary block put on it over the past weekend, reports U.S. News.

Unions representing the city’s teachers and principals had been urging Mayor Bill deBlasio to delay the vaccine requirement as concerns mounted that the country’s largest public school system could find itself with a shortage of 10,000 teachers and staff overnight.

While more than 90% of teachers and 97% of principals are already vaccinated, the mandate was expected to cause staffing shortages in a handful of schools where a significant portion of school staff remain unvaccinated—especially in and around Staten Island.

A judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit granted an injunction on a temporary basis this past weekend and referred the case to a three-judge panel to review on an expedited timeline. Their decision wasn’t expected until Wednesday.

The New York Times first reported the panel’s decision to support the mandate.

It’s not the first time the vaccine requirement has been challenged. Indeed, a state Supreme Court judge batted down a separate lawsuit filed by a group of smaller unions representing school employees—ruling last week that state and federal courts have historically upheld vaccination requirements.

The challenges to the city’s vaccine mandate are just the latest legal skirmish over COVID-19 safety protocols playing out in states and school districts across the country. And they come at a time when the Biden Administration is leaning on vaccines as a way to allow schools to stay open while the highly contagious Delta variant causes transmission and hospitalization rates to spike, including among school-age children.

The latest data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association show that nearly 29% of the cases recorded in the week leading up to September 2 were contracted by children. And after declining in early summer, cases in children have been increasing exponentially, with over half a million cases added in the last two weeks.

Research contact: @usnews

A new mixed-income housing complex near San Francisco comes with its own farm

September 29, 2021

Have you ever wanted to live on a farm, but without having to do all of the hard work or needing to drive an hour to reach a major city?

In San Francisco, a mixed-income apartment complex has gone up in the neighborhood of Santa Clara that comes with its own 1.5-acre farm, managed by a professional urban farming company, which also welcomes help from residents, Good News Network reports.

The Agrihood building consists of 361 units—181 of which are priced below market rate. Specifically, 10% are reserved for moderate income renters, and 165 for low-income seniors and veterans. The complex also comprises 30 townhomes and features a central 1.5-acre organic farm that can produce 20,000 pounds of food every year.

Each week the produce is brought to an on-site location and sold at a deep discount for residents. The full list of produce is posted on Agrihood’s website, and includes superfoods, comfort foods, orchards, perennial foods, and native foods.

“Our goal throughout this endeavor has been to provide the affordable housing that we urgently need in Santa Clara through a truly creative, community-driven process,” says the brochure.

“Not only are we providing a really unique living experience for the residents that live on the property, but we’re also taking a very deliberate approach to encouraging the health and wellness of our residents by incorporating the farm, hopefully, into their daily and weekly lifestyles,” Vince Cantore, who is vice-president of Core Companies, the firm leading the Agrihood project, told Fast Company recently.

Attempting to address the housing shortage in San Francisco, Agrihood is actually built on the site of what used to be one of the many orchards that covered Santa Clara in decades past.

Urban farming and gardening are growing in popularity, with some cities, parks, or neighborhoods attempting to include community gardens, forest gardens, or urban farms into development plans.

It’s a critical way that urban areas can increase food security, reduce the carbon footprint that food racks up during transportation, and increase access to healthy food for low-income communities in food deserts.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

The new ‘milk carton’: Gas stations post ads on their fuel pumps in search of missing children

September 29, 2021

Missing children used to appear on milk cartons across the United States. as part of the National Child Safety Council’s awareness campaign, which ran from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, before the AMBER Alert system was created in 1996.

Fast forward to 2021, and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has recently revived the milk carton idea for modern times, using today’s technology, reports Campaign US.

ToSreach its goal, the organization partnered with GSTV, a national media network in 26,000 U.S. gas stations, on ADAM (Automated Deliver of Alerts on Missing Children). The program is named in memory of Adam Walsh, the 6-year-old son of America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh; and brother of Callahan Walsh, executive director, Florida, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Adam Walsh was abducted from a mall in Hollywood, Florida in 1981 and later found murdered.

ADAM—created in partnership with data analytics company LexisNexis Risk Solutions—distributes missing child posters from NCMEC to targeted screens at gas stations in specific geographic search areas. Once a child is recovered, the images are taken down to protect the family’s privacy and replaced with images of another missing child.

Gas stations are a strategic location to advertise, as missing children are often spotted there as predators stop to refuel. Tips from ordinary citizens have been proven to be the most effective method for recovering missing children.

“We want to show the images of missing children in the places where they’re likely to be found to increase the probability that someone will recognize them and make that call,” Callahan Walsh recently told Campaign US.

NCMEC has worked with GSTV, which reaches 96 million people in the U.S. monthly, since 2019. Over that time period, campaigns have delivered over 600 million impressions across thousands of stations in 48 states—adding up to more than 2 million hours of airtime. Nearly 500 missing kids have been located at fuel retailers and convenience stores in the past six months.

“We take a lot of pride in being able to have a platform that we can leverage and do good,” said Violeta Ivezaj, senior vice president of Business Operations at GSTV. “It’s not just about advertisements and entertaining, but taking the opportunity to engage our viewers at a time where they’re extremely attentive. There isn’t a whole lot to do when you’re pumping gas.”

GSTV is recruiting employees from GSTV’s more than 40,000 fuel retail partners as well as trade associations for convenience stores, manufacturing partners and major oil companies. Staff also receive alerts at locations where there is a high likelihood of a predator who has abducted a child stopping to refuel.

“A light bulb went off and we thought, ‘What if all of the clerks and the people working at these stations are receiving the same alerts to their phones,’” said Dan Trotzer, executive vice president of Industry at GSTV. “They became the eyes and ears in their communities looking out for the safety of our kids.”

Research contact: @CampaignLiveUS

Republicans block government funding, refusing to lift debt limit

September 29, 2021

Senate Republicans have blocked a spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown this week and a federal debt default next month—moving the nation closer to the brink of fiscal crisis as they refused to allow Democrats to lift the limit on federal borrowing, The New York Times reports.

With a Thursday, September 30, deadline looming to fund the government—and the country moving closer to a catastrophic debt-limit breach— the stalemate in the Senate represents another bid by Republicans to undercut President Biden and top Democrats at a critical moment.

Republicans who had voted to raise the debt cap by trillions when their party controlled Washington argued on Monday, September 27, that Democrats must shoulder the entire political burden for doing so now, given that they control the White House and both houses of Congress.

The GOP was calculated to portray Democrats as ineffectual and overreaching at a time when they are already toiling to iron out deep party divisions over a $3.5 trillion social safety net and climate change bill, and to pave the way for a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure measure whose fate is linked to it.

The package that was blocked on Monday, which also included emergency aid to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees and disaster recovery, would keep all government agencies funded through December 3 and increase the debt ceiling through the end of 2022. But the bill fell far short of the 60 votes needed to move forward in the Senate on Monday.

The vote was 48 to 50 to advance the measure. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, was among those voting “no,” a procedural maneuver to allow the bill to be reconsidered at some point. But there were no immediate details about next steps.

The resulting cloud of fiscal uncertainty marked yet another challenge for President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders, who are facing a daunting set of tasks as they press to keep the government funded, scrounge together the votes for the infrastructure bill—also slated for a vote on Thursday—and resolve their disputes over the broader budget plan.

Without passage of the legislation, Biden’s agenda and his party’s fortunes would be in peril, a prospect that Republicans appeared to relish, The Times said.

“We will not provide Republican votes for raising the debt limit,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, repeating a warning he has issued for months. He added, “Bipartisanship is not a light switch—a light switch that Democrats get to flip on when they need to borrow money and switch off when they want to spend money.”

“This isn’t your typical Washington fracas,” Schumer said, adding, “it’s one of the most reckless, one of the most irresponsible votes I have seen taken place in the Senate.”

Research contact: @nytimes

The ‘dark side’ of bodybuilding

September 28, 2021

Big biceps, toned abs, and cut calves: Those are the muscular manifestations of a perfectly sculpted body. But is bodybuilding actually good for your health?

Not really, experts say, according to a report by USA Today. In fact, they believe that striving to create this muscle-bound ideal—as bodybuilders and weight lifters often do—has the potential to cause serious consequences on a psychological level.

“Research has shown that sports and activities that have an aesthetic component to them, where the way one appears is part of how one is being evaluated or judged, tend to have higher rates of eating disorders,”  Dr. Sari Shepphird, a sports psychologist specializing in eating disorders recently told USA Today. “Not only higher than in the general population—but higher than even in other sports where the rates are already high.”

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to get in shape, the kind of perfectionism that is required in sports like bodybuilding is one risk factor in developing these issues, Shepphird says.

“It’s a sport that… a lot of people find… exciting and engaging and motivating, but you just need to make sure, overall, that it’s not beginning to affect your quality of life (or) your mental health,” she says.

Body builders or weightlifters run the risk of falling into the category of orthorexia, which is when someone is unhealthily obsessed with being healthy, explains Dr. Elizabeth Wassenaar, regional medical director at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver.

“They are really preoccupied with eating food or engaging in activities that it feels like will help drive them towards health, and then paradoxically actually end up becoming more unwell,” she says.

Indeed, Wassenaar points out, a gym goer who struggles with this may think that if the he or she works out enough and build enough muscle that the result will be peak health—but what happens is, they’re never satisfied.

 “That’s kind of the crux of the illness: (It’s) never enough,” Wassenaar adds, explaining that body dysmorphia can also be at play.

One specific type of body dysmorphia that is seen among bodybuilders is muscle dysmorphia, which has also been referred to as bigorexia or reverse anorexia.

The American Psychological Association defines muscle dysmorphia as “a form of body dysmorphia characterized by chronic dissatisfaction with one’s muscularity and the perception that one’s body is inadequate and undesirable, although objective observers would disagree with such an assessment.”

This condition often leads to excessive exercising, steroid abuse, and eating disorders, according to the APA.

But that doesn’t mean that everyone you see at the gym lifting weights has an eating disorder. “Going to the gym doesn’t cause the eating disorder, but when the preoccupation with an ideal body shape or weight becomes someone’s driving force, or when there’s an over emphasis placed on one shape or weight, then that can create a climate that contributes to disordered eating,” Shepphird says.

Wassenaar explains it can be difficult for people to recognize they have a problem with bodybuilding because these body ideals are “reinforced by our society that values the appearance of fitness.”

This reinforcement is amplified on social media, where people have access to a constant stream of imagery and often find themselves making comparisons.

“We live in a culture where eating disorders thrive because of the messages we’re exposed to,” says Claire Mysko, head of Youth Outreach for the New York City-based National Eating Disorders Association, or NEDA. “Social media heightens that exposure.”

“From the outside it may look like somebody is fairly muscular, because they spend a lot of time lifting weights… When they look in the mirror, they (may) not see themselves as appearing healthy or fit,” Wassenaar says. “Sometimes they will think that they have much smaller muscles than they do, and so they keep trying to look a certain way.”

And despite eating disorders being among the deadliest mental illnesses, second only to opioid overdose, athletes may be less likely to seek treatment for an eating disorder due, in part, to stigma, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Bodybuilder Rob Lipsett highlighted the stigma surrounding eating disorders in a YouTube video about his own experience, admitting he “really didn’t think it would happen to me.”

He admits, “This is kind of the dark side of fitness, and it’s something that people don’t like to talk about,” he says.

However, think about talking to a professional or contacting one of the associations for help if you are targeting the perfect body in your workouts, but never seem to be satisfied.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Doggy Bathroom reaches over 50% of its goal on Kickstarter in the first day

September 28, 2021

Doggy Bathroom is expanding with a miniature version of its industry-changing product—what it claims is  the only indoor potty solution for dogs, the Montréal based company announced in a release on PR Newswire on Monday, September 27.

After making its first appearance at Superzoo Expo in Las Vegas in August, Doggy Bathroom Mini launched on September 21 on Kickstarter and  already has raised over US$30,000—80% of its funding goal of US$35,000—and attracted over 221 backers worldwide in its first week. The campaign will run through October 27.

Doggy Bathroom says that it “has seen extraordinary success internationally ever since”— and has recently been awarded recogniton  in the form of a 2021 Pet Independent Innovation Award for Litter Box Product of the Year.

Interested dog owners and potential backers can purchase a Doggy Bathroom Mini starter kit already and save up to 70%. The Doggy Bathroom Mini will retail for US$159/CA$179 for the starter kit, which includes the enclosure, base color of choice, pee pads, mats, rails and clips.

In comparison to the original doggy bathroom—designed for dogs weighing up to 20 pounds—the Doggy Bathroom Mini is made for mini pups and toy breeds under 10 pounds and less than 12 inches tall, including chihuahuas, pugs, toy poodles, pomeranians, shih tzus, and more.

The Doggy Bathroom can be used as a potty-training device for puppies, a seasonal solution for small breeds who cannot withstand extreme weather, or as an alternative for condo dwellers or those with limited outdoor access.

Doggy Bathroom was founded by Alain Courchesne, an award-winning designer based in Montréal, and was inspired after he adopted his Italian greyhound, Sterling. Fusing function and design Courchesne created a solution that is both sanitary and stylish. designed for both female and male dogs who lift their leg, the roomy doggy bathroom allows your dog to walk in, freely move around and use the bathroom easily, when they naturally need to.

Research contact: @doggybathroom

Biden: It’s ‘inappropriate’ to use executive privilege to shield Trump documents from January 6 probe

September 28, 2021

President Joe Biden generally does not expect to assert executive privilege to shield Trump-era records from being seen by a congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection attempt, the White House said on Friday, September 24, according to a report by CNN.

“We take this matter incredibly seriously,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a Friday press briefing. “The President has already concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege.”

“We will respond promptly to these questions as they arise,” Psaki added. “And certainly as they come up from Congress—and certainly we have been working closely with congressional committees and others as they work to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6, an incredibly dark day in our democracy.”

Later, Psaki said Biden was taking an “eye toward not asserting executive privilege,” but that requests would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The White House later attempted to clarify Psaki’s initial comment about exerting executive privilege being inappropriate. They say Psaki was referring to a previous decision by the administration not to assert executive privilege in the committee’s attempt to have former Justice Department officials testify about an attempt to oust then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

“The Administration believes strongly in the vital role this Committee is playing and will continue to work closely with it moving forward. Jen was referring to the Administration’s previous decision not to assert executive privilege in the matter of certain former DOJ officials who had been called to testify before Congress,” an administration official said. “The Administration will determine any future questions of executive privilege involving documents and testimony on a case-by-case basis, as Jen noted.”

Late last month, Trump threatened to invoke executive privilege in an effort to block the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot from obtaining a massive tranche of documents it’s demanding from several US government agencies—despite his successor having the ultimate say over whether the information can be shared.

Research contact: @CNN

Yellow fever: ‘It’s almost like these uniforms give these guys superpowers,’ as the Red Sox turn yellow

September 27, 2021

For the Boston Red Sox, the color of autumn is yellow. Ever since the unveiling of the team’s “City Connect” alternate uniforms over two games in mid-April, several players had politicked to wear them again—with outfielder Alex Verdugo proving particularly enthusiastic and persistent. Finally, at the start of the last homestand of the season, the team elected to wear them for a three-game series against the Orioles, The Boston Globe reports.

 Bryan Loor-Almonte, a Red Sox communications manager who’d been in charge of the outreach related to the launch of the uniforms in April, watched the game nervously.

 “The first one’s always the scariest,” Loor-Almonte told the Globe. “It’s one of those where I’m hoping we win the first game of this series because if we don’t, we’re probably never going to wear these until next April.”

 The Sox beat the Orioles, 7-1, then followed with two more wins to sweep the series. With the team on a five-game winning streak, the uniforms transformed almost instantly from novelty to staple.

 “I know it’s not white and red. I know we’re not the Yellow Sox. But we need wins right now,” said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “So if it’s yellow, it’s yellow.”

The team then swept two games from the Mets in the uniforms this past week—seven straight wins overall, five in the yellow-and-blues.

They planned to wear them on Friday night against the Yankees for the start of the three-game series, and almost surely will continue wearing them at least until they lose a game.

“We’re not superstitious. We just love routines,” said manager Alex Cora. “It just so happens at 6 o’clock, the uniforms are there. It’s part of our routine right now.”

Seven MLB teams this year worked with Nike to develop “City Connect” alternate uniforms for the season, with bold designs meant to celebrate the bonds between teams and their residences. The Red Sox introduced theirs April 17-18 — the weekend leading up to Patriots Day, the traditional Marathon Monday.

 Research contact: @BostonGlobe