Thursday, April 26, 2012

Electronic Medical Records - The Pros and Cons

In this digital age, more and more bulks of information which used to be paper-based, from library catalogs to telephone books, are digitized and stored in a central location for easy access. The idea of EMRs started about 40 years ago.

The main proponents of EMRs cite the following advantages:

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(1) The use of EHRs supposedly reduces errors in medical records. There is no doubt that handwritten records are subject to lots of human errors due to misspelling, illegibility, and differing terminologies. With the use of EMRs standardization of patient health records may eventually become acheivable.

Electronic Medical Records - The Pros and Cons

(2) Paper records can be easily lost. We have heard how fires, floods and other natural catastrophes destroy physical records of many years, data which are lost forever. Digital records can be stored virtually forever and can be kept long after the physical records are gone. EMRs also help keep records of health information that patients tend to forget with time, i.e. inoculations, previous illnesses and medications.

(3) EMRs make health care cost-efficient by consolidating all data in one place. Previously, paper-based records are located in different places and getting access to all of them takes a lot of time and money. In a systematic review, Kripalani et al. evaluated the communication transfer between primary care physicians and hospital-based physicians and found significant deficits in medical information exchange. The review recommended the use of EMRs to resolve these issues and facilitate the continuity of care before, during and after hospitalization. EMRs translates into better treatment for patients. Take the example of one asthma center's experience with EMR: "A major benefit associated with EMR implementation was the increase in the number of children who were hospitalized with an asthma exacerbation and received an asthma action plan upon discharge. Prior to the EMR system, [only] 4% received an asthma action plan upon discharge. After implementation of the EMR system, 58% received an asthma action plan upon discharge."

(4) EMRs can save lives. VeriChip, developed by VeriChip Corporation is the first one of its kind ever approved by the US FDA. It enables rapid identification of at-risk patients and access to their medical history, thereby enabling rapid diagnosis and treatment especially in emergency situations. Classic examples are people with diabetes and/or heart problems who have high risk of collapsing and having attacks. VeriChip is also useful in vehicular accidents and other trauma incidents where the victims aren't capable of answering questions. In cases of large-scale catastrophes, VeriChip facilitates tracking and identification of victims. According to a coroner in Mississippi, VeriChip helped identify victims during the Hurricane Katrina incident.

Earlier this year, Google Health was launched, an online personalized health records service. Google Health is based on the principle that since it's the patient's medical record, the patient should control it, decide what should be in it, and who gets access to it. One of the features of the service includes records from hospitals and pharmacies that are Google Health-enabled or are registered Google Health partners.

The HealthVault is another online health information storage service offered by Microsoft with features similar to Google Health. Keith Toussaint, senior program manager with Microsoft HealthVault recently stated " leading hospitals like Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are actually integrating their systems with both us and Google -- because some people like one or the other. It's a Coke or Pepsi thing."

What are the disadvantages of EMRs? Not surprisingly, privacy rights advocacy groups are the main opponent of EMRs. Here is what they have to say:

(1) EMRs threaten our privacy. In this day and age when people's mantra is "I need my privacy", not many people are comfortable about having their entire medical history recorded and digitized for almost just anybody to see - in other words, incursion into people's privacy. The confidentiality of doctor - patient relationship is still sacrosanct. Besides, medical data can be used against a person in some cases - be it for a job application, insurance coverage or a college scholarship. Although it is against the law to discriminate against people with illnesses and disabilities, it is a fact of life that the fitter you are, the more competitive you are in the job market. The planned incorporation of genetic data in EMRs further adds to people's fear of incursion into their private sphere.

(2) EMRs can lead to loss of the human touch in health care. In the process of digitalization, the interpersonal aspect in health care may be lost. In handwritten hospital charts, doctors and other health care practitioners may write what they think and they feel based on their personal observations in their very own words. EMR is simply about ticking off boxes and crossing out things in electronic forms. The doctors are forced to think in categories and can seldom express a personal opinion on an individual case. Because of the lack of flexibility of many electronic reporting systems, cases of misclassification of patients and their conditions have been reported.

(3) EMRs are not that efficient. Despite efforts in digitalization and standardization, EMRs are actually far from being standardized and not as efficient as it is purported to be. It often happens that one clinic's EMR system is not compatible with that of a general practitioner or another clinic's system, thus belying the claim of added efficiency. In addition, not all users of EMRs are satisfied with the current state of the art. Although the objective is mainly efficiency and healthcare quality, one study showed that nurses in the Netherlands are not completely satisfied with their EMR implemented in 2006-2007.

(4) EMRs are not safe and secure. Google Health and HealthVault are quick in assuring patients of the safety of their online health accounts. Access to the patient's account is only possible using log ins and password. In addition, HealthVault assures that "all health information transmitted between HealthVault servers and program providers' systems is encrypted" and that Microsoft does it best to use the "highest standards of security to safeguard consumer health information from theft, loss, or damage."

However, there are cases wherein passwords and encryptions do not seem to be adequate as data protection tools. Stories of data hacking, stolen identities and blackmail abound. Even high security databases such as those run by banks and credit institutions are often compromised. This impression was aggravated by the many well-publicized incidences of data loss or breach. A few examples are listed below:

November 26, 2007, Canada. Hackers accessed medical information on HIV and hepatitis from a Canadian health agency computer. - September 22, 2008, UK. The National Health Service (NHS) reported the loss of 4 CDs in the mail containing information on 17,990 employees. - September 30, 2008, US. The company Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana confirmed breach of personal data, including Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses of about 1,700 brokers. The data was accidentally attached to a general email.

In addition, there is criticism over Google Health not being a "covered entity under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the regulations promulgated thereunder (HIPAA)" under its terms and conditions and is therefore not subject to HIPAA privacy of individually identifiable health information. The HealthVault terms and conditions do not mention HIPAA privacy laws so it is not clear what its status is regarding this issue.

(5) VeriChip is not for humans. It is to be expected that although many of us are amenable to the use of RFID chips in pets, the idea of implanting similar chips in human beings is bound to raise hackles in humans, no matter what the US FDA says. A big opponent of the VeriChip and similar chips of its kind is the consumer advocacy group In a position paper, Spychip and many advocacy and consumer awareness groups see RFID tagging (be it on your person or on the items you buy) as a major threat to privacy and civil liberties. They see the tagging as some kind of "Big Brother" operation. Another group, the No VeriChip Inside Movement, likens VeriChip as "cataloguing" humans similar to the way the Nazis have tattooed numbers on the skin of concentration camp detainees. Popular Hollywood films on privacy incursions (e.g. The Net, Public Enemy No. 1) increased further people's paranoia about personal data.

Where do we go from here? Without doubt, we have the technology to make EMRs standardized and efficient. Google Health, Microsoft HealthVault and similar online personalized health information accounts are enabling patients to take control of their medical records. The main issues that need to be overcome are data security, protection of privacy and gaining the confidence of the patients. It doesn't seem evident that the use of RFID and similar tagging chips will become acceptable or popular anytime soon. However, we live in a digital world and we cannot hold back progress indefinitely. With improved technology and data protection tools, let us hope the EMR issue will be resolved soon.

Electronic Medical Records - The Pros and Cons

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Some Ethical Issues in Health Care - Requirements and Treatments

When it comes to health care ethical issues, there are almost as many ethical issues as there are health issues to be treated. There are laws in place to direct the behavior of almost every person in the health care personnel chain, from the nurse to the nurses aide who assists them and the doctor who ultimately gets to try and make the decisions to treat within the confines of the insurance system ruling over the life of the patient in question.

There are ethical issues that are clearly defined, such as the requirements for treatment decisions when a patient has a Medical Power of Attorney or a Living Will. Then there are thealth care ethical issues that don't have such clearly defined areas, such as whether it is allowable to withhold a possible lifesaving treatment from a patient only because their insurance will not pay for it.

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Health care providers must make their treatment decisions based on a great many determining factors, perhaps the most constraining of which is the insurance reimbursement regime. If doctors and other health care providers could just treat their patients and have only that to worry about, what a wonderful world it would be. But doctors have to constantly worry about whether or not they and possibly the facility where they practice will be paid by the insurance companies. The next most important factor which affects health care providers ability to provide the care patients truly need is whether or not the patient has been truthful with the information they have given to the health care provider, and whether or not they have had access to health care to establish and maintain their health care needs.

Some Ethical Issues in Health Care - Requirements and Treatments

Ethical concerns also come into play with patients whose family constellations are unclear. A patient who has a spouse has a straightforward next of kin when decisions have to be made. When a patient is separated from their spouse, and even perhaps has a new significant other, the next of kin can be much more difficult to determine, and protecting all health care providers-doctors, hospitals, etc from the liability risk of allowing the person who does not have a legal right to make decisions for a patient is a necessity. The health care ethical issues presented by these kinds of situations are very delicate.

One important ethical concern in health care is the need to protect oneself from the very real danger of the transmission of communicable diseases in bodily fluids. Especially in cases where a patients history is not available, health care providers have the right and the responsibility to protect themselves from viruses and bacteria that may be present in the body fluids of patients to which they are exposed taking care of these patients. However, this must be balanced with the possibility of making patients feel accused or uncomfortable by these same protective measures.

One last important health care ethical issues, especially in this day in age, is the protection of private, personally identifying information. Patients records used to be kept in public places where almost anyone could read them-filing pockets outside their doors, for instance. This kind of situation is not longer allowed, and records are more closely guarded nowadays, and many hospitals now rely on records kept entirely on computers.

Ethical issues are a part of almost every field, but health care has a special place in the system, where people are trusted with making those who are sick feel better, those who are injured able to return to their prior lives, and those who have chronic conditions and those who love them more able to cope with the demands of living with those conditions.

Some Ethical Issues in Health Care - Requirements and Treatments

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Friday, April 20, 2012

How Water Aerobics Can Help With Fibromyalgia Condition

The physical condition fibromyalgia is typified by aches and pains in joints, tendons and muscles. This condition was believed to be psychological rather than physiological - it has now been established that significant chemical changes occur in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Fibromyalgia is not linked to injuries, disease or poor muscle repair ability of the body. Sufferers also do not face greater risk for types of musculoskeletal diseases - the precise cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but may be as a result of stress and pain levels seem to be more evident while resting than during periods of activity.

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Exercise is an excellent way to decrease pain caused by fibromyalgia and in particular aerobics which helps reduce symptoms in sufferers while improving quality of life.

How Water Aerobics Can Help With Fibromyalgia Condition

Aerobic activities increase pulse and respiratory rates - activities can be walking, cycling, running, and swimming however water aerobics seems to be more beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferers than other exercise types.

Aerobics increases muscle strength, decreases morning muscle stiffness, reduces potential injury risks, improves sleeping patterns and decreases pain.

Water aerobics appears to add more impact and value to exercise routines as it helps cushion the joints and muscles while supporting the body and increases resistance and workload required by the muscles to gain the desired effects, also promoting better balance, reducing pain perception and helping relaxation.

Any exercise program should be approved by a doctor who knows the specific needs and medical status of the person concerned. The services of a therapist or qualified instructor should be used initially and at a later stage it may be possible to continue alone with a program in a pool at home.

Begin slowly - 20 to 30 minute sessions twice or three times a week working towards sessions of 45 to 60 minutes. Be aware of any limitations and rest if fatigue is experienced during a workout by simply relaxing in the water - don't ignore pain and always listen to what the body is saying.

Hydration is important while swimming or doing water aerobics - sweating goes by unnoticed in a pool and warmer pools will make a person sweat more - always remember to avoid dehydration.

Numerous studies have shown that fibromyalgia sufferers benefit emotionally and physically from water aerobics. Studies in Spain (2006) and Norway (2001) found that water aerobics improved patient's emotional well being and physical functionality (beneficial in both short and long term programs).

Water aerobics will help fibromyalgia sufferers maintain better relationships with people they have contact with such as family, friends and employers as improved emotional and physical health makes it possible. Productivity at work also increases due to fewer sick days.

How Water Aerobics Can Help With Fibromyalgia Condition

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Breast Massage for Breast Enlargement

Breast massage as a method of natural breast enlargement and breast health has actually been used for years as a means of stimulating healthy breast growth and promoting breast tone, pliability and firmness.

Breast massage is one of the best ways to help create a more beautiful bustline by helping to shape, tone and promote growth of the breast and the area surrounding the breast. Not only can moderate breast massage help to make your bustline more attractive and sometimes even grow larger, but it is also an excellent way to keep in tune to your breast health by creating awareness of any fibrous areas of possible indications of breast cancer and some have even claimed moderate breast massage can help to prevent cancer.

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Breast massage has been used in beauty parlors and massage parlors, especially in Asia, as a means of healthy lymphatic drainage, breast growth promotion, and as a post operative therapy for women who have undergone mastectomies, breast surgery, or other trauma to the breast area, since it helps break down scar tissues as well as stimulate healing and tissue regeneration.

Breast Massage for Breast Enlargement

There has been much speculation that the practice of wearing a bra 12-15 hours per day by most women restricts lymph flow and healthy riddance of toxins, and apart from not wearing a bra, which is not an option for many women in today's societies, breast massage is the best way to help the lymphatic system drain these pent up toxins and help to prevent them from building up and contributing to cancer or other ailments.

By massaging the breasts on a regular basis, many women is Asia have claimed it has enhanced the shape, size and overall attractiveness of their breast, while also giving them a sense of oneness with their femininity, and promoting relaxation and peace of mind, as other methods of body massage do.

Many who practice breast massage for increased breast fullness and beauty also have utilized special herbal serums or creams formulated to further stimulate the breasts into "expanding", firming and toning, creating an overall larger look and correcting sagging, droopiness and other traits deemed unattractive by other individuals.

Believe it or not, the Thai government has recently reported it supports breast massage as a means for breast enlargement and breast health, so there really must be something to this phenomena.

Here are some guidelines for breast massage you may want to follow:

1.) Use a breast enhancing cream or lubricant - preferably a quality one with natural stimulating herbs and botanicals (see our reviews page for info on Benefil) - of your choice to help prevent friction and increase the enjoyment and relaxation of the massage for a more pleasurable and therapeutic experience. This can be an herbal mixture - there are some good ones out there that really do help to promote firmess and breast tone, while creating a larger and more rounded look.

2.) Light to moderate massaging using a gentle back and forth gentle "swishing" action is best. This can be in a counterclockwise circle around the breast to help promote maximum lymphatic drainage.

3.) To gain maximum benefit and therapeutic effects, breast massage should be practiced daily, as part of a routine - perhaps when fresh out of the shower, since the skin is still somewhat moist and the room may still be steamy, for a smoother massage which may be more easily lubricated since there will still be moisture in the air. If you prefer, even several times a day can be a great benefit. It depends on what fits into your schedule. A few minutes at a time should suffice.

Breast Massage for Breast Enlargement

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Male Enhancement Products Promoters and Their Sneaky Marketing Tactics

It is very nearly impossible to believe the lengths some of these male enhancement products companies will go to in order to sell what is usually an absolutely junk product or supplement. The way they operate these promotions must be profitable for them as many have been doing it for years and getting away with it.

The promotion of a product usually starts out as an innocent looking piece of mail in your mailbox. Just another non solicited piece of junk mail. The only difference between this and many of the others one gets is that there is usually (but not always) a three letter statement printed on the outside of the envelope. It says "sexually oriented ad", or "sexually oriented material". Many people throw these away without opening them, as well they should, because the contents inside if looked at with a discerning eye will reveal the fakery and puffery of this sort of promotional material.

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Often times the brochure contained within this envelope will be full color and usually professionally done. This adds an air of legitimacy to the libido enhancer being promoted. There will many times be pictures of and statements made by legitimate doctors with proper credit given to these professionals for their "statements" made about the general health and well being of erectile dysfunction sufferers. The problem that arises is that if one does not look closely at these "statements" made by the doctors even though they have been given proper credit is that most of the time the doctor or doctors that the statements are attributed to are NOT in fact talking about the product being promoted!

Male Enhancement Products Promoters and Their Sneaky Marketing Tactics

The brochure is put together in a way only to make one think that the particular product being promoted has all of this backing from the professional community when in fact it does not. Sneaky.... very sneaky.

Another thing about these promotions is that they make all kinds of wild claims about how this "new" herbal product is so much better than anything else available and that thousands and in some cases "more than a million" men have benefitted from it. The only problem is that when doing an internet search for this product or the founders or president of the company as noted in the brochure you will find absolutely nothing about them. Many times you will not even find a company website, and in most cases when you do find a website it is only a one page site with essentially the same order form that is in the brochure.

These promotions are what is called "hit and run" promotions. Many times the company is only around long enough to turn a profit and then they are gone. They always have a real nice sounding "money back guarantee", but whenever someone requests a refund they get stalled and delayed or promised their money back, but it never arrives.

Male Enhancement Products Promoters and Their Sneaky Marketing Tactics

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Creating Your Own Personal Mantra

To understand the importance of creating a personal mantra, one must first understand what a mantra is. To many a mantra is a way of life. It is the way that you live in order to bring into your life all that you desire. This can be as simple as a personal ritual that you do everyday that helps you feel more successful and confident to face the day and not only go after what you want but helps you achieve it.

This ritual or mantra can be actions that are spiritual, mental, verbal or physical. It is agreed by many that a mantra is a verbal word or phrase that means something to the individual. A verbal mantra is a phrase that repeats to you what your goal is and how you will attain that goal and you repeat it to yourself over and over again. A mantra is a gentle reminder to the brain that there is purpose to your action. The purpose is for you to attain your goals.

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A mantra is considered an ancient sacred formula comprised of spiritual energies that take form in words. A mantra helps to establish a very deep and harmonious connection between the individual and nature. This connection allows us to delve into the divine energies thereby increasing the power of our soul so that we are able to live a masterful life. Having a mantra is the most important element in truly bringing change into your life. Your mantra helps you take control and accept responsibility for your life, and it is through this acceptance change takes place.

Creating Your Own Personal Mantra

While mantras are becoming popular there is a little known fact about mantras that is often over looked. A mantra should be specifically chosen for each individual person in order for that mantra to be effective for that person. You can create your own mantra to meet your needs at the moment. A traditional method for finding your personal mantra you take the date of your birth and the time you were born with the numerical value of your full name. Each element is then broken down into numerical values. Each numerical value has a vibrational frequency. The correct mantra for you will have the same vibration as your birth date, time and full name.

The traditional method above is the best method for creating a mantra that will best meet the needs of your soul and well being and allow for spiritual growth. To create your own personal mantra you need to keep a few important elements in mind as you go through this process.

First and foremost you will want to come up with a phrase in words that you will really use when you are talking about what it is you wish to come true. Consider the difference between the following, if you were a millionaire would you really walk around and tell everyone you were a millionaire? Wouldn't it be more conducive to success to say something like, "I am a money magnet," or possibly even say "Money flows abundantly into my life."

The second step in creating your own mantra is to make it a declaration of what you want to achieve as if it already has happened. If getting the big promotion is the goal you want to achieve instead of saying, "I want the promotion," you simple state, "The promotion is mine." You repeat this to yourself through out the day each and every day. If you focus on wanting the promotion the fact is that you will always want the promotion but you will not ever get the promotion. The universe will continue to provide to you the what it is you celebrate... wanting or having... the decision is yours.

If your marriage is the focus of you intent and a faithful, strong marriage is what you want your mantra is then, "I have a strong and faithful marriage." Live life as if it is so and it will be. This infuses the mantra through each and every cell in your body, there is a different feeling associated with wanting something and knowing that you have it.

The third element for your mantra is that it needs to be positive. The focus of you intent needs to be on what it is you want, not what you don't want. Taking a look at the above example with a strong and faithful marriage, you would not say I don't want my spouse to cheat. While in your head it means the same thing, what you are focusing on is cheating and that will be what comes into your life then.

Your personal mantra should be vibrational specific to you based on your birth date and time and the numerical breakdown of your full name. As you create the phrase for your mantra remember to use words that are used in conversation, make it a declarative statement and make sure that it is positive.

Creating Your Own Personal Mantra

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Plyometric training is the enhancement of explosive power. Explosive power is the ability of the muscle to produce maximum strength in the shortest period of time. Since there is seldom time to produce this kind of maximum strength in most sporting events (apart from perhaps powerlifting), it's obviously a benefit to be able to do so - and particularly for bodybuilders.

Plyometric training combines speed, strength, and change of direction to allow the muscle to react quickly and with maximum power. Most weightlifting is fairly static and isolative. Imagine taking that power and effort, and pushing it out into an enhanced, total body range of motion to harness more power! This is how to picture plyometrics.

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Plyometrics are becoming more and more popular as a means to enhance an already strenuous workout in the gym with resistance exercise. Go into any Gold's or World or Powerhouse Gym and see at least 2 or 3 trainers putting their clients through the paces with balance disks, steps, stairs, and medicine balls, as a supplement to the weights.


Whether you're a bodybuilder who needs more detail or you also compete in a sport such as boxing or soccer, plyometrics can create strength, agility and elasticity through the promotion and practice of balance. Working with weights in a static manner can only accomplish so much. Working with dynamic exercises, movements and equipment that can expand a range of motion in many different directions, will greatly enhance the scope and potential of any physique.

Plyometrics is also a means by which any bodybuilder can unleash explosive power. This is of particular benefit during an off season phase where squats and other powerlifting basics are what is driving a mass cycle.

A lot of plyometrics incorporate balance oriented movements or exercises that work the proprioceptors within the length of the body. Proprioception is what keeps our bodies balanced. Throw the body off balance and it will find its perfect balance. That's because proprioceptors within the spinal column and back of the legs, are constantly seeking balance as you walk, run, lift, or just stand.

Here's a great beginning Plyometric workout, focusing on the legs, that you can combine with your regular resistance workout. You'll need a partner for some of it:

Squats (without weight) in squat cage holding side bars 1 x 75

Squat-Leaps 1 x 15

Instructions: Keeping a good squat position, get down to a parallel-to-the-floor squat frame and keep legs tight during the full 75 reps. Believe us when we tell you, that you will NOT need weight here. We doubt you could make it to 100 - which is the number you should target prior to the squat-leaps. Immediately following this leg wobbling set of squats, do as many squat-leaps up to 15 as possible.

Hamstring curls or Stiff-legged deadlifts 1 x 50

Lateral Box Leaps 1 x 20

Stair run 2 x 30 steps sprint

Instructions: If doing hamstring curls, use enough weight to keep a light resistance on the legs. If stiff-legged, use just a light pre-loaded bar of 15-20 pounds for 50 reps. Keep tight form throughout sets of either of these.

Immediately run stairs up 30 steps, and down (many gyms have stairs) - if not use an aerobic step apparatus and go up down up down up down up down, alternating feet as quickly as possible. Then immediately go to box leaps. Make sure your first try is using an 8-12 inch step that is about as wide as it is tall. With both feet together, leap from side to side to side to side for 20 reps.

You may think to yourself... I'm not sure this will increase my mass. Well, just wait! It not only can increase mass, but it can reshape the mass you have and make you more functional, explosive and dynamic in the gym. When you become quicker and more explosive, you'll be able to turn the heat up on your workouts and your intensity will bring you enhanced development.


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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Learn About the Latest Milk Thistle Promotions

Let's face it. It's not unusual to see milk thistle promotions. Companies seem to be "slashing" prices, sometimes by a significant amount. It almost makes you wonder why.

If a supplement is popular, sells well and works well for people that use it, then reducing the price wouldn't make sense, unless the markup was a lot higher than it needed to be in the first place. When you see an ad saying "70% off", it stands to reason that the retail price was 70% higher than it should have been.

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Some supplement companies work to provide the highest quality ingredients for the most affordable price. But, that's unusual. Most are concerned mostly about profits.

Learn About the Latest Milk Thistle Promotions

One reason that companies may be running milk thistle promotions right now is because more people are learning that the single-ingredient supplements are not the best investment. When it comes to silymarin, the active component in milk thistle and research has proven that very little ends up in the bloodstream, unless it is taken with other absorption-enhancing nutrients.

If silymarin does not make it to the bloodstream, then there is no point in taking it. No matter how little it costs, it's still a waste of money.

Studies indicate that a 560-700mg dose is necessary to overcome the poor absorption or "low bioavailability" of silymarin. Although high doses are not known to be toxic, they are not recommended, either.

It is always important to follow the supplement manufacturer's dosage recommendations, regardless of what you read about mega-doses. More is not always better. Basic nutrients like vitamin E are toxic at high doses. It stands to reason that a super high dose of any plant extract could be toxic, too.

All of his explains why there are so many milk thistle promotions going on, right now. Companies are trying to get rid of their stocks of single-ingredient supplements, before they come out with something "new and improved". That's probably their plan.

The new and improved supplement will probably contain lecithin, a fatty substance found in soy and other plant foods. One study showed that 10 times as much silymarin was absorbed into the bloodstream, when it was taken with lecithin. Lecithin supplementation may be beneficial to your health, too. Not just because it enhances the absorption of silymarin.

Many of us believe that increasing our nutrient intake by taking dietary supplements is good for our health and our appearance. We keep up with the latest news about preventative medicine; staying out of the doctor's office by caring for our own healthy.

But, we are not tempted by milk thistle promotions and other bargain-basement deals. We know that good supplements are not cheap. Natural ingredients cost more than synthetic ones. Finding and combining the extracts and nutrients that are proven to be most beneficial to a person's long-term health is not an inexpensive undertaking.

So, before you decide that the latest milk thistle promotions are too good to pass up, learn more about what it takes to make a good supplement.

You can learn more insights by visiting my web site and discovering more natural ingredients I personally use daily.

Learn About the Latest Milk Thistle Promotions

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Psychosocial Factors That Promote Successful Aging

There are several psychological and social factors that have been linked to increased individual life expectancy and quality of life in older adults. While the majority of attention in the life extension and successful aging field has focused on physical factors such as exercise, diet, sleep, genetics and so on, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that psychological and sociological factors also have a significant influence on how well individuals age (Warnick, 1995).

Warnick (1995) believes that adjusting to the changes that accompany late adulthood and old age requires that an individual is able to be flexible and develop new coping skills to adapt to the changes that are common to this time in their lives. Aging research has demonstrated a positive correlation between someone's religious beliefs, social relationships, perceived health, self-efficacy, socioeconomic status, and coping skills among others to their ability to age more successfully. The term successful aging has been defined by three main components: "low probability of disease and disease related disability, high cognitive and physical functional capacity, and active engagement with life" (Rowe & Kahn, 1997).

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Baltes and Baltes (1990) suggested that the term successful aging appears paradoxical, as aging traditionally brings to mind images of loss, decline, and ultimate death, whereas success is represented by achievement. However, the application of the term, successful aging, they argue forces a reexamination of the nature of old age as it presently exists. "An inclusive definition of successful aging requires a value based, systemic, and ecological perspective, considering both subjective and objective indicators within a cultural context" (Baltes & Baltes, 1990).

Psychosocial Factors That Promote Successful Aging

With medical advancements and improvements in living conditions people can now expect to live longer lives than ever before. But, the prospect of merely living longer presents many problems. This fact has led researchers to investigate the psychological aspects of aging, with a goal of making the additional years more worth living. There is a great deal of information that leads us to be hopeful about the prospective quality of life in late adulthood and old age.

Religious beliefs, spirituality, and church participation have been the focus of numerous studies involving older adults. Various studies have associated religiousness with well-being, life satisfaction or happiness (VanNess & Larson, 2002). Although it will be necessary for future research to more clearly specify which dimensions of religious participation are beneficial to which outcomes (Levin & Chatters, 1998), it appears that certain aspects of religious participation enables elderly people to cope with and overcome emotional and physical problems more effectively, leading to a heightened sense of well being in late adulthood.

It is commonly known that suicide rates are higher among elderly people, and there is evidence that persons who engage in religious activity are more than four times less likely to commit suicide (Nisbet, Duberstein, Conwell, et al: 2000). The inverse association between religiousness and suicide rate in elderly individuals may be due to the fact that religious beliefs help elderly people cope with or prevent depression and hopelessness, which are established risk factors for suicide (Abramson, Alloy, Hogan, et al: 2000). The relationship between religiousness and successful aging is an extremely complex one. This makes it difficult to pinpoint which factors of participation in a religious organization lead to the increased sense of well-being, satisfaction, and happiness. It is possible that religiousness exerts its beneficial effects by creating positive emotions that stimulate the immune system. Or, it may provide access to social and psychological resources that buffer the impact of stress and aid ones ability to effectively cope (Ellison, 1995).

Membership in religious organizations also provides older individuals with a social network from which to draw emotional support and encouragement, while enhancing one`s ability to adapt to change and buffer stress (Levin, Markides, Ray, 1996). Research has shown that social networks, such as those commonly found in religious organizations are associated with positive health outcomes in older adults, including lower risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and functional decline (Seeman, 1996). The relationships that are fostered within the church or religious group serve for many as a replacement for the social groups that they engaged in at work before retirement. In addition, the attitudes that are learned from religiously committed peers may benefit ones health through encouragement of healthy behaviors and lifestyle lowering the risk of disease (Levin & Chatters, 1998).

One of the common threads that has been found to correlate with successful aging is the individual's socioeconomic status, particularly education and income levels (Meeks & Murrell, 2001). The relationship between education level and subjective well-being has been demonstrated consistently. Meeks and Murrell (2001) found that education did have direct effects on negative affect, trait health and life satisfaction. Their research concluded that higher educational attainment is associated with lower levels of negative affect, which is related to better health and increased life satisfaction (Meeks & Murrell, 2001). This may be due to the fact that "individuals with higher education levels benefit from the opportunities and resources related to educational attainment that produce accumulated success experiences and contribute to superior functioning in later life" (Meeks & Murrell, 2001). It is also possible that more educated people develop superior methods for problem solving and coping with change. Higher education levels have been shown to provide individuals with better occupational opportunities and social status through adulthood and greater financial stability during the transition to retirement. This establishes education level as ones foundation for successful aging (Meeks & Murrell, 2001).

Material wealth and income have been shown to have a direct relationship to subjective well-being (Andrews, 1986). For many, the sense of well-being is especially effected by their feelings of income adequacy as they move into retirement. Many individuals face retirement with great anxiety due to the lack of sufficient savings to replace their income. The reality of living on a small fixed income limits the lifestyle and ability to adapt to the changes of late adult medical needs for many elderly people. People with greater resources at retirement have access to greater variety of opportunities and activities (Jurgmeen, & Moen, 2002). In addition, the access to surplus income allows for more recreation and less stress from financial concerns. This notion that wealth and well-being are related is also supported by a microeconomics theory that states that an increase in the income level of a society would lead, other things being constant, to greater well being (Easterlin & Christine, 1999).

However, it is important to keep in mind that increases in individual income levels are relative to the changes in one's reference group (Lian & Fairchild, 1979). Increases in income are considered to be relative. In other words, if an individual's gains in economic status outpace the gains of the reference group then the individual will likely experience a greater sense of satisfaction. On the other hand, if their gains are equal to the average in their reference group, there will likely be no change. If the increases are less than the reference group than the result will be less satisfaction. Therefore, it may be important for many older adults transitioning to retirement to have adequate savings or other income in order to maintain or exceed their previous financial status.

The relationship between education and income to successful aging is a complex one that involves numerous external variables. But it seems that there is conclusive evidence that both education and income levels help to prepare an individual for the changes that they will face in old age and "influence on their ability to view aging as an opportunity for continued growth as opposed to an experience of social loss" (Steveink, Westerhof, Bode, et al, 2001).

One of the most important aspects of how well individuals age is related to their ability to develop and maintain strong relationships and social support systems (Rowe & Kahn, 1998). It is also important to mention that solitude, or a lack of social interaction, is considered a major health risk factor (Unger, McAvay, Bruce, et al, 1999). Recent studies suggest that the effects of social ties on the risk of physical decline in elderly are greater in men than women. These studies also report that there is a strong relationship between social support or social networks to the probability to cardiovascular and all cause mortality for men (Berkman, Seeman, Albert, et al,1993).

This gender difference could be explained by the fact that women devote a greater portion of their lives caretaking and developing friendships, so they are more accustomed to building and utilizing social networks. While men, in contrast, have devoted a greater portion of their lives to their careers, therefore, they have not developed the social networks or skills to utilize these networks that most women have (Unger, McAvay, Bruce, et al, 1999). In addition, social ties appear to be most important among elderly individuals with less physical ability (Unger, McAvay, Bruce, et al, 1999). It seems that people with physical disabilities have a greater need to develop friendships and support networks to assist them in coping with the limitations caused by their conditions. Friends and family provide them with a means to continue participating in social activities and complete the tasks of everyday living that they may be unable to accomplish on their own. This provides support for the belief that establishing strong social networks may increase not only quality of life, but quantity as well.

Social relationships and social support systems serve as protective factors in many ways (Bovbjerg & McCann, et al, 1995), (Krause & Borawski-Clarke, 1994). They benefit individuals by enhancing self esteem, providing encouragement, and promoting healthy behaviors. It is also possible that social networks may provide more tangible assistance such as food, clothing, and transportation. This type of assistance enables an elderly person to remain socially active even though they may not have the means to do so on their own. It is also important to distinguish the difference between receiving support and assistance from friends or relatives as opposed to agency assistance.

Possibly the most important source of social support comes from the family, which provides self-system mechanisms which increase an individual's subjective impression of life satisfaction. In addition families provide a system of support and interaction that may not be available from outside sources for some elderly people. All of these types of networks may prevent the degree of social isolation in old age, that is associated with depression and other psychological problems (Krause, 1991).

With all of the physical and psychological changes that people face in late adulthood i.e., decreases in vision, hearing, memory, etc., the ability to adapt to life circumstances that force aging individuals to move from one living style to another is an integral part of successful aging (Warnick, 1995). Simply maintaining the ability to perform the everyday tasks of living is not necessarily considered successful aging. Successful aging requires the maintenance of competence involving cognitive, personality, material, and social resources (Baltes & Lang, 1993). Adapting to these changes requires the use of flexible strategies to optimize personal functioning (Baltes & Baltes, 1990).

The strategies that one may employ to cope with the changes that accompany the aging process may be limited not only by the individuals ability to utilize a new strategy, such as learning sign language or walking with a cane, but also by their perception of their ability to do so. Many elderly people will avoid using new tools to adapt to change if they believe that they are unprepared to make such an adjustment (Slagen-DeKort, 2001).
Perceived self efficacy is defined as "peoples judgment of their capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to attain designated types of performance" ( Bandura, 1986). People who believe in their ability will set higher goals for themselves and expect that they will be able to achieve these goals. Self efficacy has been found to influence the adaptive strategies used by older adults (Slangen-DeKort, 1999).

There are two dispositions besides perception of self efficacy that influence individuals ability to cope, these are flexibility and tenacity (Slangen-DeKort, 1999). Tenacity is defined by an individuals persistence with which they are able to remain focused upon their goals in the face of obstacles. Flexibility refers to ones ability to readjust goals based on new information. The research of Slangen-DeKort et al (1999) concludes that self referent beliefs regarding personal competence influence adaptive behavior and the choice of adaptive strategies. "The direct effect, which is strongest, implies that even if a person appraises a certain adaptation as the most optimal one, this adaptation may not be adopted when this person perceives that the required efforts exceed his or her personal competence. In this case, a less optimal alternative strategy will be embraced." (Maddox & Douglas, 1973).

Given the enormous number of variables that are involved in determining how well an individual will age, it is impossible to point to one factor as being the most important. But, it is safe to say that ones ability to successfully age is determined to a great extent by their attitudes toward aging and growing old. These positive and negative attitudes will be the result of how effectively an individual is able to adapt to the physical, psychological, and social changes that will take place throughout adulthood. If someone is able to accept the changes of life and look forward to the challenges that they present with hope and desire to change, then they will be better prepared to face old age. In addition, the relationships and beliefs that are developed across the life span will be relied upon in old age as a resource for support and assistance in coping. Upon examining research on successful aging, it seems that many of the concepts that are applied to earlier developmental stages are equally important in old age.

For example, change, adaptation, personal growth, and cognitive function are aspects of development that may be as important in old age as they are in childhood development. In conclusion, it seems that the present and future of aging research may be used to develop medical and psychological interventions that will provide a more positive aging experience and well-being in old age.

References and Resources:

Abramson, L.Y, Alloy, L.B., Hogan, M.E., et al: (2000). The Hopelessness Theory of suicidality, in Suicide Science: Expanding the Boundaries. Norwen, MA., Kluwer Academic Publishers

Baltes, P.R., Baltes, M.M., (1990). Successful Aging: Perspectives from the behavioral sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press

Binstoek, RH. & George, L.B. (Ed.) (1996) Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences. San Diego: Academic Press

Bovbierg, V.E., McCann, B.S., Brief, D.J., Follette, W.e., Retzlaff, B.M., Dowdy, A.A., Walden, C.E., Knopp, RH., (1995). Spouse support and long-term adherence to lipid-lowering diets. American Journal of Epidemiology, 141,451 - 460

Bosworth, H.B., Siegler, LC., Brummett, B.H., Barefoot, J.C., et al; (1999). The relationship between
self-rated health and health status among coronary artery patients. Journal of Aging and Health, 11(4),565-584

Easterlin, RA., (1995). Will raising incomes of all increase the happiness of all? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organizations. 27, 35-48

Ellison, C.G., (1995). Race, religious involvement and depressive symptomology in a Sontheastem U.S. community. Social Science and Medicine, 40, 1561 - 1572

Ford, A.B., Hang, M.R, Stange, KC., Gaines, A.D., et al; (2002). Sustained personal autonomy: A measure of successful aging. Journal of Aging and Health, 12(4),470-489

Glover, RJ., (1998). Perspectives on aging: Issues affecting the latter part of the life cycle. Educational Gerontology, 24(4), 325-330

Jungmeen, KE., Moen, P., (2002). Retirement transitions, gender, and psychological wen-being: A life course, ecological model. The Journals of Gerontology, 57B(3),212-222

Krause, N., (1995). Religiousity and self-esteem among older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 50B, 236 246

Krause, N., Boraski-Clarke, E., (1994). Clarifying the functions of social support in later life. Research on Aging, 16,251 - 279

Le Bourg, E., (2002). Are stress and longevity reaIIy linked in normal living conditions? Gerontology, 48(2), 108-111

Levin, J., Markides, KS., Ray, L.A., (1996). Religious attendance and psychological well-being in Mexican Americans. The Gerontologist, 36,454 - 463

Levin, J.S., Chatters, L.M., (1998). Religion, health, and psychological well-being in older adults: Findings from three national surveys. Journal of Aging and Health, W( 4), 504-53 I

Meeks, S., Murrell, S.A., (2001). Contribution of education to health and life satisfaction in older adults mediated by negative affect Journal of Aging and Health, 13 (1j, 92-119

Mitchell, B.A., (2002). Successful aging: Integrating contemporary ideas, research findings, and intervention strategies. Family Relations, 51(3),283-284

Nisbet, P.A., Duberstein, P.R, Conwell, Y, et aJ:, (2000). The effect of participation in religious activities on suicide versus natural death in adults 50 and older. Journal of Nerve Disorders, 188: 543-546

Parker, M.W., (2001). Soldier and family wellness across the life course: A developmental model of successful aging, spirituality, and health promotion. Military Medicine, 166(7),561-574

Rowe, J.W., Kahn, RL., (1997). ,Successful Aging. New York: Pantheon

Ryff, C.D., Marshall, V.W. (Ed.) (1999). The Self and Society in Aging Processes. New York: Springer Publishing

Seeman, T.E., (1996). Social ties and health. Annals of Epidemiology, 6, 442 - 451

Slangen-Dekort, Y.A. W., Midden, J.B.C., Aarts, B., Wagenberg, F.V., (2001). Determinants of adaptive behavior among older persons: Self-efficacy, importance, and personal disposition as directive mechauisms. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 53(4),253-274

Simonsick, E.M., (2001). Measuring higher level physical function in well-functioning older adults: Expanding familiar approaches in health ABC study. The Journals of Gerontology, 56A(lO), 644-670

Steverink, N., Westerhof, G.J., Bode, C., Dittman-Kohli, F., (2001). The personal experience of agjng, individual resourses, and subjective well being. The Journals of Gerontology, 56B(6),264-373

Tanaka, E., Sakamoto, S., Ono, Y., Fujihara, S., Kitamura, T., (1998). Hopelessness in a community populiltion: Factorial structure and psychosocial correlates. The Journal of Social Psychology, 138(5), 581-590

Unger, J.B., McAvay, G., Bruce, M.L., Berkman, L., Seeman, L., (1999). Variation in the impact of social network characteristics on the physical functioning in elderly persons. The Journals of Gerontology, 54(B), 245-251

Van Ness, P.R., Larson, D.B., (2002). Religion, senescence, and mental health: The end of life is not the end of hope. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 10(4),386-399

Warnick, J., (1995). Listening with different ears: Counseling people over sixty. Ft. Bragg CA, QED Press.

Psychosocial Factors That Promote Successful Aging

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Health Promotion Program - Benefits of Health Promotion in the Work Environment

Benefits of health promotion are not only for the workplace of a company it also touches the interest of the employees. There are various types of benefits that are transferred from the employee to their members of the family.

Teaching and supporting are the best feasible ways of communicating health tips to the employees. Already thousands of people get their health information from TV, Internet and magazines.

Health Promotion

Benefits of Health Promotion
Health Awareness -- Most of the employees like to follow these tips for the benefit of working together. Some of the areas of health awareness are such as awareness concerning alcohol and tobacco, recreation, fitness, nutrition, heart health, urology problem, diabetics etc. Also workplace safety areas and workplace health promotion are very effective. Workplace Health Promotion -- It will lead to a general shrink of health care expenses, health maintenance, health education and other preventive measures for various diseases. These are all crucial for generating a solid institution within an association. Workplace health promotion is having the strong evidence to supports the success of wellness programs or health programs. This type of inventions is making the important difference in the managerial structure. Health Programs -- Most of the popular companies would like to implement the wellness programs. They are encouraging not only their employees to improve their health lifestyle but the members of family as well. Mental health programs are part of health support on the workplace. It can function as a barometer to show the state of wellbeing of the employees. This is the significant factor for mental health programs. Positive Working Environment -- Company employees enjoy many of these types of strategies for they reduce behavioral problems and suicide rates. Stress management classes and/or mental health programs have resulted in a decrease of domestic aggressions due to a positive working environment for the employees. On social level there is an important reduction of child abuse and also spousal abuse.Generally the safety and health promotion or occasional health both help to reduce the number of disabilities and deaths at the workplace. Safety and health issue of employees are part of their workplace environment therefore wellness programs and common health promotion occurs in the work environment. Training workers while implementing wellness and safety procedures results in a significant decrease of injuries. As job injuries reduce, workers asking for a compensation claim reduce. To conclude workplace health promotion is an excellent tool for the company to show the employees that their health is the most important to the organization.

Health Promotion Program - Benefits of Health Promotion in the Work Environment
Health Promotion Program - Benefits of Health Promotion in the Work Environment

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