Posts tagged with "The Huffington Post"

Summer BBQ safety: Stay away from sausages and hot dogs, and grill at lower temperatures

May 24, 2019

Memorial Day Weekend in the United States is, first and foremost, a time when we remember those who gave up their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. But it also is traditionally the occasion when many Americans fire up their barbeques and break out the burgers and buns.

And what could be more wholesome and fun than having a delicious meal—cooked outdoors and shared with family and friends?

It turns out that there may be plenty of activities that would lead to better outcomes, now that we have been forced to examine the relationship between grilling and cancer risk, The Huffington Post reports.

Research suggests that meat— including beef, pork, poultry or fish—forms carcinogenic chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) when charred or cooked over high heat, as on a grill (it’s what you think of as “grill marks”). In laboratory experiments, these chemicals have been “found to be mutagenic—that is, to cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer,” according to the National Cancer Institute.

The formation of HCAs and PAHs varies by meat type, cooking method, and “doneness” level (rare, medium, or well done). Whatever the type of meat, however, meats cooked at high temperatures, especially above 300 ºF (as in grilling or pan frying), or that are cooked for a long time, tend to form more HCAs. For example, well-done, grilled, or barbecued chicken and steak all have high concentrations of HCAs. Cooking methods that expose meat to smoke contribute to PAH formation .

Theodore M. Brasky, a cancer epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, told HuffPost that there is a “wealth of data” about the effects of HCAs and PAHs on other animals, on which many of the studies have been conducted. But when it comes to humans, that data is less concrete.

“Studies in people are in some ways more complicated because it’s difficult to control all aspects,” he said. “But there is nevertheless a lot of evidence from epidemiological studies that show that healthy individuals who report eating well-done or barbecued meats tend to have higher occurrence of cancers of the GI tract (especially colon cancer) over time, after taking into account other factors.”

Kirsten Moysich, an expert in cancer prevention and public health from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, shared a similar sentiment with the online news outlet. “Some studies have shown that individuals who eat a lot of grilled meat are at higher risk of colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancer, but others have not shown these associations,” she said.

Moysich and Brasky both pointed to what might be a worse culprit at your barbecue than an open flame: processed meat like hot dogs and sausages, which contain cancer-causing additives and chemicals.

The International Agency for the Research of Cancer has designated processed meats as a ‘group one’ carcinogen, meaning that there is convincing evidence that they are carcinogenic to people,” Brasky said. “They estimate that 50 grams (approximately two ounces) of processed meat consumed daily is associated with 18% increased colorectal cancer risk.”

Even by these numbers, you’d have to be eating a hot dog every day to up your risk exponentially, says HuffPost. But if you are concerned about coming into contact with potentially harmful foods or cooking methods, there are ways to avoid and lessen the risk altogether.

Moysich recommends “removing charred areas on the meat and turning meat over frequently.” She also suggests grilling vegetables and fruits, which do not produce HCAs and “are linked to a reduced risk of cancer.”

Brasky recommends something we could all stand to do in both grilling and life―slowing down. Cooking the meat at a lower temperature for a longer time means an even grill and less opportunity for charring. “Be mindful that meats should not be charred, and that if you can allot additional time to cook outdoors, you’ll be able to lower the grill temperature to below 300̊ [Fahrenheit],” he said.

The American Institute for Cancer Research also notes that marinades are a great way to create a barrier between the meat and the flame to decrease the amount of HCAs. The organization suggests trimming the fat off the meat or even pre-cooking it a bit before it goes on the grill.

Just as is the case with many things in life, Moysich offers a reminder that the best practice of all is to be mindful about how often you’re doing something ― whether eating processed meat, grilling or otherwise.

“Bottom line? Everything in moderation,” she said. “People should not be worried to eat grilled meat, but balance this indulgence with vegetable consumption, a brisk walk, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Sicker than a dog: Bearded men carry more germs than their ‘best friends’

May 22, 2019

Based on results of a survey performed in 2016 among a cohort of over 8,500 women by researchers in Australia, the fair sex prefers men who exhibit pronounced male secondary sexual traits, such as facial hair. Indeed, a light stubble was judged the most attractive overall; and full beards were deemed the sexiest by women looking for long-term relationships.

But, although facial hair increases the appearance of masculinity and social dominance—and may help a guy to attract a mate—it actually may not be healthy for either partner!

In fact, a more recent study out of Switzerland suggests that bearded men actually carry more germs than a dog’s fur, The Huffington Post reports.

Researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic near Zurich, Switzerland, wanted to determine whether evaluating humans and dogs in the same MRI scanner would be hygienic.

They did so by comparing the bacterial load in colony-forming units (CFU) of human-pathogenic microorganisms in specimens taken from 18 bearded men and 30 furry dogs.

The researchers also compared the extent of bacterial contamination of an MRI scanner used by both dogs and humans with two other MRI scanners used exclusively by humans.

What did they find? It turns out all the bearded bros showed high microbial counts, The Huffington Post reports, compared with only 23 out of 30 dogs. In fact, seven of the men had so much beard bacteria they were at risk of getting sick, according to the BBC.

The jointly used scanner also had significantly lower bacteria counts than the scanners used only by humans.

“On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean, compared with bearded men,” study author Andreas Gutzeit told the BBC.

The study was published in February in Eur Radiol.

Research contact: andreas.gutzeit@hirslanden.ch

Warren: Congress must enact federal laws protecting abortion rights

May 20, 2019

Responding to a flurry of state-level anti-abortion laws, 2020 presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said on March 17 that Congress must pass federal laws to protect access to birth control and reproductive care, The Huffington Post reported. .

She posted on Medium, outlining the type of federal actions needed, should challenges from jurisdictions with anti-abortion laws lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that ensures a woman’s right to an abortion.

“Court challenges will continue. And the next President can begin to undo some of the damage by appointing neutral and fair judges who actually respect the law and cases like Roe instead of right-wing ideologues bent on rolling back constitutional rights,” Warren wrote. “But separate from these judicial fights, Congress has a role to play as well.”

The senator said Congress must create federal, statutory rights that parallel Roe v. Wade’s constitutional rights, according to the Huffington Post. These rights would include barring states from interfering in a provider’s ability to offer medical care or blocking patients’ access to such care, including abortions. This would invalidate state laws like those in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio.

Warren also proposed that Congress enact laws to preempt states’ efforts to limit the chipping away of  reproductive healthcare in ways that don’t necessarily violate Roe v. Wade. Such efforts include restrictions on medication abortion; and geographical and procedural requirements that make it nearly impossible for a woman to get an abortion.

Congress also must repeal the Hyde Amendment,  a 40-year-old policy that blocks abortion coverage for women under federally funded health care programs like Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, and the Indian Health Service, according to Warren. She added that conversations about reproductive health access and coverage should include immigrant women.

To ensure equal access to reproductive health care, Warren wrote, Congress must terminate President Donald Trump’s gag rule on abortion clinics and support Title X funding for family planning. She added that lawmakers must also prevent violence at clinics and discrimination based on women’s choices about their own bodies—adding that Congress must “ensure access to contraception, STI prevention and care, comprehensive sex education, care for pregnant moms, safe home and work environments, adequate wages, and so much more.

“This is a dark moment. People are scared and angry. And they are right to be,” Warren wrote. “But this isn’t a moment to back down ― it’s time to fight back.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Payless to shutter remaining North American stores

February 20, 2019

Just two months ago, Payless ShoeSource—a privately owned chain of discount shoe stores—pranked fashion influencers when it invited them to try on footwear at what looked like a high-end retailer called “Palessi.”

And it worked! According to The Huffington Post, “Sure enough, [the] influencers appear to have been completely fooled, praising the … look and quality of shoes marked as high as $1,800, but which normally [would] retail for $20 to $40.”

When they revealed their gag, not only did they earn an ovation from the red-faced fashionistas, but they received publicity nationwide for the brand—enough, you would think, to draw in large numbers of customers also looking for “luxury footwear.”

Not so much. The debt-burdened chain already had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017, closing hundreds of stores as part of its reorganization, The Huffington Post reported.

At that time, it had over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. It re-emerged from restructuring four months later with about 3,500 stores and about $435 million in debt eliminated.

Now, Payless has announced that it is heading back into bankruptcy—and that, this time, the company will close its remaining 2,500 U.S. and Canadian stores after completing going-out-of-business sales. In doing so, it will deprive 16,000 more workers of their jobs.

Payless simply had too much debt, too many stores, and too much corporate overhead when it emerged from the earlier bankruptcy, Stephen Marotta, who was designated in January as the company’s Chief Restructuring Officer to prepare for the bankruptcy, told Local10.com news in Miami on February 19..

The company will start shuttering its locations in March and should finish closing shop by May.

The company said in an email that the liquidation doesn’t affect its franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual. It lists 18,000 employees worldwide.

Research contact: @HuffingtonPost

Inspect the paprika before you pour it on: Your spice jars could be colonized by bugs

January 3, 2019

A dash of spice adds life to any meal—but when there is actual living matter in the spice jar, that’s a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, according to a recent report by The Huffington Post, we all should give our spices a close inspection before sprinkling them onto the entrée. They could be totally fine, but they also could be providing a cozy home—and a convenient food source—to a colony of insects.

Many cooks have experienced the utter shock and revulsion of opening a jar—especially a container of paprika—to find it moving. Sometimes the culprits are tiny bugs; others, it’s wee little worms, or even insect eggs.

The HuffPost interviewed Jody. Green, a board-certified entomologist at Purdue University, to find out more. Green said that, although many spices invite insect invasion— including turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel and dry ginger—the creepy crawlies really seem to love spices made of peppers.

″Spices are rich in minerals and vitamins,” she told the online news outlet—and paprika and cayenne have the highest prevalence of insect filth, compared to other imported spices.”

Green noted that insects are “particularly fond of products derived from dried sweet peppers/chiles/red pepper—products like red pepper flakes, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne.” Indeed, she said, “The pepper family appears to contain the nutritional requirements necessary for multiple generations of stored product beetles to successfully sustain life.”

Paprika is especially prone to insect invasion because it is a spice that cooks in the United States don’t use very often. It sits in our spice racks for long periods of time, allowing insects to do their thing, unbothered. Specifically, the most common pests found in spices, particularly paprika and cayenne, are the cigarette beetle and the drugstore beetle.

Green described both of the beetle breeds as reddish-brown and “about the size of a sesame seed.” They’re active fliers, so it’s not uncommon to hear them hitting surfaces in your kitchen, if they escape the spice jar. Green explained that they live in dried tobacco and pharmaceuticals (as their name implies), but also pet food, cereal, spices, and dried fruit.

Sometimes your spices may look like they’re infested with tiny worms, but they actually are the same beetles, just in baby form. “These particular pests … undergo a complete metamorphosis (like a butterfly),” Green told the daily news outlet. “They have an egg, larva, pupa, and [an] adult stage. The worms that [you see in the] spice are the larval form. They are cream-colored, have three pairs of short legs, an orange head capsule, dense hair, and chewing mouthparts.”

Yuck! And since most of the spices consumed in America have been imported, and “it is not rare for imported product to be contaminated with ‘filth’ (i.e. insects parts),” there is every chance a product could have been infested after harvest, but before coming to a store near you.

However, she told The HuffPost, they also can “worm their way in” at the processing plant or in the store. “Cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles have been known to penetrate through packaging, tin foil, plastic, and sheet metal.”

To stop bugs from making a meal of your spices, here’s what Green suggested during her interview:

  • Inspect the product at the store. Look for damaged packaging. If the container is transparent, look for larvae and beetles inside.
  • Stick your spices in the freezer for four days (make sure your freezer is set at zero degrees Fahrenheit) before putting them in your spice rack or pantry.
  • If you’ve bought your spice in bulk, keep what you’re saving for future use in the freezer. Before freezing, divide it into glass containers that are airtight.
  • Practice stock rotation using the FIFO (first in, first out) rule. Use your oldest products first, and keep them at the front of your pantry so you’ll be more likely to grab them first. Then move on to newer products, which you keep at the back of the pantry and rotate forward when you’re ready to use them.
  • Clean up any spills in your kitchen as soon as they happen.
  • Commercial pheromone traps are available, but they’re species-specific and may not be good at decreasing the population, as they attract a single sex and the pests may have already mated.

Now go forth and inspect your spices with great trepidation.

esearch contact: jgreen17@unl.edu

A new leash on life: Senior dogs enjoy loving care at Vintage Pet Rescue

December 18, 2 018

High on the list of things that “shouldn’t happen to a dog” is being abandoned in old age, or being given up when an elderly owner is too infirm to continue providing a much-loved pet with the care it deserves.

Now Kristen and Marc Peralta, a couple who live in Rhode Island, are welcoming dogs in their golden age to live at Vintage Pet Rescue—a nonprofit that takes in elderly pooches from local shelters when they are unlikely to find a new home.

Indeed, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals senior dogs in shelters have an adoption rate of just 25%, while younger dogs have a 60% rate.

“We are committed to rescuing vintage [senior] pets from shelters and assisting owners who can no longer care for [them]. We give these animals love, attention, and medical care for the last months or years of their lives,” the Peraltas say on their website.

The two activists met at an animal shelter in Los Angeles in 2013, and discovered their shared love for senior dogs. After they got married and moved to the East Coast, they began rescuing dogs over the age of eight and bringing them to their spacious home, an old church in Foster, Rhode Island.

In 2017, Kristen turned the labor of love into a full-time gig, according to a December 17 report by the Huffington Post—and today, she oversees the care of 27 mostly senior dogs.

 “It breaks our heart to see senior dogs in shelters,” she told the online news outlet. “They’re just frail; they’re probably scared; [and] a lot of them have vision or hearing issues. Just seeing them, you just want to help.”

This was the heartbreaking scenario for four older Chihuahuas who lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a woman named Linda, until her Stage 4 lung cancer, prevented her from keeping them, People first reported. Linda needed to move into her sister’s home in Rhode Island to receive care, as well as chemotherapy treatment, but the dogs couldn’t come.

Linda and her sister searched for a rescue that wouldn’t euthanize or separate the four pups, and they came across Vintage Pet Rescue. The Peraltas welcomed the chihuahua pack, and Linda is able to visit them often, as her sister lives just a few miles away.l

“I started out visiting the dogs every other day which was wonderful,” Linda told People. “[Kristin] accommodated me with my schedule and the dogs there are all happy, loved, and taken care of better than I can do myself.”

When she first started Vintage Pet Rescue, Peralta didn’t anticipate caring for animals whose owners needed care themselves, but she said she receives many requests for situations like this.

“We really wanted to be able to provide the dogs with an environment where they’ll be comfortable, living in a home cage-free,” she told the Huffington Post. “It then kind of expanded into helping people who could no longer care for their senior dogs—whether they were going into a retirement home or someone’s relative passed away. It’s not what we set out to do but it’s really nice. The owners can still be a part of their dogs’ lives.”

A life spent waiting on two dozen older dogs can be hectic, she told the news outlet. Peralta schedules vet appointments at least once a week, doles out individual medications and does a lot of bathing and petting. “Throw some social media and fundraising in there, and it’s busy,” Peralta said.

But the work is rewarding, and she thinks it’s helping to show more and more people just how special senior dogs are. “They all have such distinct personalities — every one of them is such a character,” she told HuffPost.

“You can just tell how much they appreciate you,” Peralta commented. “They’re thankful that they’re with you and you love them. It’s so special to know that you saved a dog’s life and that it’s going to have a happy rest of life because of you.”

Research contact@Kbratskeir

Is Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Goop’ duping readers by giving them the wrong ‘poop’ on products?

October 30, 2018

Goop, the lifestyle brand—and blog—created by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, has been reported to the U.K.’s trading standards and advertising watchdogs over allegations that it makes misleading claims about its products, CNBC reported on October 29.

The Good Thinking Society, a non-profit charity that campaigns against pseudoscience, confirmed to CNBC that it had submitted the complaint about Goop to the U.K.’s National Trading Standards and Advertising Standards Authority. The news was first reported by The Sunday Times newspaper on October 28.

The complaint, seen by CNBC, alleges that Goop’s “wellness” products are advertised misleadingly and make “potentially harmful” claims. It also holds that Goop’s advertising could encourage customers to “use products which could cause direct harm” and that some of the firm’s health claims about its supplement products are “unauthorized.”

Paltrow’s firm was founded in the United States in 2008, and opened its first pop-up store in the U.K. in September. The charity listed 113 examples of Goop’s advertising that it says are in breach of the law.

One of Goop’s products, called The Mother Load—A $90, 30-day regimen of vitamins for pregnant and post-pregnant women—promises to deliver 110% of the “daily value” of vitamin A for adults and children aged four and above, and 69% of the daily value for pregnant women.

That may seem promising—however, Britain’s National Health Service and the World Health Organization both recommend against taking supplements containing vitamin A during pregnancy. Indeed, the NHS website recommends that pregnant women “avoid taking supplements that contain vitamin A.”

Dr, Susan Beck, SVP of Science and Research at Goop, told The Huffington Post on October 28, “When used as recommended, goop’s the Mother Load supplements are safe during pregnancy. The Mother Load contains a very moderate 450 mcg (micrograms),” or 1500 IU (international units), “of vitamin A (preformed vitamin A as retinyl palmitate), which is less than the recommended daily intake of 600 mcg per day (per NHS).”

Beck added: “The Mother Load package contains a warning that pregnant women should not consume more than 10,000 IU vitamin A daily due to risk of birth defects. To provide you with more context — all pregnant women need vitamin A.”

Laura Thomason, project manager at the Good Thinking Society, said in a statement that she emailed to CNBC: “It is shocking to see the sheer volume of unproven claims made by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop about their products—especially given that some of their health advice is potentially dangerous.”

Thomason added: “Gwyneth Paltrow may well have good intentions, but she and her company sell products with claims that could clearly mislead customers. Just because Gwyneth has an Academy Award, it does not mean that Goop should be given an easy ride compared to other big corporations.”

This is not the first time—even this year—that Paltrow’s Goop has been the target of legal action. The blog settled a $145,000 lawsuit with California prosecutors last month over the advertising of a jade and rose quartz egg which it claimed could balance hormones and regulate menstrual cycles.

Research contact: @Ryane_Browne_