Time to Think About Your Flu Vaccine

Time to Think About Your Flu VaccineInformation from Flu.Gov – The 2012-2013 flu vaccine, shot or spray, should be received as soon as it is available. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. Seasonal flu vaccines have a very good safety track record.

The flu vaccine is available by shot or nasal spray. It is especially important to get the vaccine if you, someone you live with, or someone you care for is at high risk of complications from the flu. Mild reactions such as soreness, headaches, and fever are common side effects of the flu vaccine. If you experience a severe reaction such as difficulty breathing, hives, or facial swelling, seek medical attention immediately.

What does the 2012-2013 flu vaccine protect against?
Flu vaccines are designed to protect against three flu viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce the seasonal flu vaccine.

The 2012-2013 flu vaccine is made from the following three viruses:

    A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
    A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
    B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus

The 2012-2013 flu vaccine will not protect against the H3N2v flu, associated with exposure to swine, which resulted in more than 300 flu cases in 2011 and 2012.

When should I get the vaccine?
Get the vaccine as soon as it is available in your area. Flu season usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as late as May. Early immunization is the most effective, but it is not too late to get the vaccine in December, January, or beyond.

How should I get the vaccine?
There are two types of vaccine, the flu shot and the nasal spray. Both protect against the same virus strains.

The flu shot is:

    Made with inactivated (killed) flu virus
    Given by needle
    Approved for use in healthy people older than 6 months and people with chronic health conditions
    Available in 3 types:
    -Regular, for people 6 months and older
    -High-dose, for people 65 and older. This type contains a higher dose vaccine, which may lead to greater protection against the flu.
    -Intradermal (given with a small needle and injected in your skin), for people 18 to 64

The nasal spray is:

    Made with weakened live flu virus
    Given with a mist sprayed in your nose
    Approved for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49, except pregnant women

How long is my flu vaccination good for?
The flu vaccine will protect you for one flu season.

How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines (the flu shot and nasal spray) cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Does the flu vaccine work right away?
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. In the meantime, you are still at risk for getting the flu. That’s why it’s better to get vaccinated early in the fall, before the flu season really gets under way.

Is the vaccine safe?
Seasonal flu vaccines have a very good safety track record. Although there are possible side-effects to vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration closely monitor the safety of seasonal flu vaccines.

Should I get the flu vaccine if I’m not feeling well?
If you are sick with a fever, you should wait until your fever is gone before getting a flu shot. However, you can get a flu shot if you have a respiratory illness without a fever, or if you have another mild illness.

The nasal-spray flu vaccine can be given to people with minor illnesses, such as:

    a mild upper respiratory tract infection, with or without a fever.

    If you have nasal congestion, you should consider waiting to get the nasal-spray flu vaccine. Nasal congestion may limit the vaccine’s ability to reach the nasal lining.

    Are there side effects?
    Mild side effects usually begin soon after you get the vaccine and last one to two days. Possible mild side effects of the flu shot include:

      Soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site
      Fainting, mainly in adolescents

    Possible mild side effects of the nasal spray include:

      Runny nose
      Muscle aches

    Serious side effects usually begin within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving the shot. Possible serious side effects of vaccination include:

      Difficulty breathing
      Swelling around the eyes or lips
      Racing heart
      Behavior changes
      High fever

    If you experience any of these reactions, seek medical attention immediately.

    How can I report a serious reaction to the vaccine?
    Contact your health care provider immediately if you have a serious reaction to the flu vaccine. Your health care provider should report your reaction to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). You can also file a report yourself. All serious reactions should be reported, even if you aren’t sure it was caused by the flu vaccine. VAERS uses this data to help identify serious reactions that may need further investigation.

    If your reaction results in a serious injury, you may qualify for compensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). VICP provides compensation for vaccine-related injury or death claims for covered vaccines given on or after October 1, 1988.

    Can I get the flu from the vaccine?
    No, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal spray. The flu shot contains inactivated (killed) flu viruses that cannot cause illness. The nasal spray contains weakened live viruses. The weakened viruses only cause infection in the cooler temperatures found in the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas in the body where warmer temperatures exist.

    Will I need to pay for the vaccine?
    Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines, but you should check with your insurance company before visiting your health care provider. Under the Affordable Care Act, many insurers are required to cover certain preventive services, like the flu vaccine, at no cost to you.

    If you do not have insurance or if it does not cover vaccines, help is available.

    Is there anyone who should not get the vaccine?
    Talk to your health care provider about vaccination if you have:

      A severe allergy to chicken eggs
      A history of severe reaction to a flu vaccination
      A moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (you should wait until you are better to get the vaccine)
      A history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS)

    Here is a video that explains how influenza pandemics occur:

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Have Your Kids’ Senses Adjusted to School?

Have Your Kids' Senses Adjusted to School?Used with permission, courtesy of News in Health.

When setting off for kindergarten or first grade, a child may feel prepared with a backpack loaded with crayons, pencils and paper. But a good start in the classroom depends on more than just school supplies. Healthy hearing, vision, speech and language are key to success at school. If a child has problems in these areas, the sooner they’re spotted, the better they can be treated.

Sometimes problems with senses, speech or language can fly under the radar. A child with a lazy eye or a little hearing loss might get along just fine at home or in daycare. But when children get to school, minor difficulties may start to catch up with them. They may have trouble focusing and flourishing in the classroom. NIH-funded scientists are searching for better ways to recognize and treat these types of problems as early as possible.

Permanent hearing loss used to be caught around age 2. Now newborns are screened for hearing loss before leaving the hospital. When problems are diagnosed, most children are fitted with hearing aids in the first few months of life.

But hearing problems can also arise in older kids. “Some children can be born with normal hearing and develop hearing loss later for various reasons,” says Dr. Mary Pat Moeller, who studies childhood deafness and language development at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Nebraska. Head injuries and meningitis are just a few conditions that can lead to later hearing loss.

“We rely on normal hearing to pick up concepts and learn new words,” Moeller says. But a noisy classroom can be tough for kids who can’t hear well. “Children with undetected hearing loss may look like they have attention deficits. They may miss what they’ve been told because they’re just not hearing clearly,” Moeller says.

Screening for hearing loss in school-age kids is a familiar process. Children wear headphones and raise their hands as they hear a series of tones. Some 5% to 10% of school-age children don’t pass these tests. Kids with hearing loss can be fitted with hearing aids.

Children learn language by listening to others and engaging in conversations. But kids with hearing loss can miss out on some of this experience. Moeller and her colleagues are studying how children with hearing loss develop language. Early results from this NIH-funded research point to several factors that can help. These include the quality and fit of hearing aids, how often kids get speech and language training and how often parents have conversations with their children.

A different source of language problems is a disorder called specific language impairment. The condition affects an estimated 7% of children in kindergarten. Kids with specific language impairment have trouble learning new words and engaging in conversation. They might produce grammatically incorrect sentences like “What he want for dinner?” or they might have a small vocabulary. “Both of those are fundamental to being able to communicate with the teacher, to understanding what the teacher is saying to them, and to forming social relationships with their peers,” says Dr. Mabel Rice, an NIH-funded researcher who studies childhood language disorders at the University of Kansas.

For example, a child with specific language impairment might not understand that “It’s time to put your things away now” means “Put your things away.” Children who don’t understand complicated sentences can seem like they’re disobedient, Rice says. More complicated grammar is also good for making friends. Saying “I would like it if you’d come play with me” might attract more playmates than “Come over here.”

In the past, parents were sometimes blamed for a child’s language disability. They might have been faulted for not reading enough to their children. But research suggests that specific language impairment has other roots. The disorder tends to run in families, which hints that genes play a role. Rice led a study of over 300 people, including children with specific language impairment and their families. The scientists identified a gene that’s also linked to dyslexia and other learning disabilities. The finding might eventually lead to better understanding and treatment for these disorders.

Kids don’t usually grow out of specific language impairment. Their language improves, but they can continue to struggle with subtleties even after they enter the workforce. “It is very important to identify these kids, particularly at school entry or before school entry,” Rice says. Many school districts screen children for specific language impairment before kindergarten. Language therapy can help children catch up.

Poor vision can also cause trouble in school, and the problems may go unnoticed. About 1 in 10 preschoolers has a vision problem, but kids don’t always tell others about their symptoms. Kids might even think it’s normal to see double or for things to be blurry. But poor eyesight can cause headaches and hinder reading. Some children with vision problems might seem to have attention difficulties, since eyestrain and headaches can make it hard to stay on task.

The most common cause of vision impairment in children is amblyopia, or lazy eye. It often arises if the eyes point in different directions, or if one eye produces a better image than the other. The brain starts to shut down signals from the weaker eye. Treatment encourages use of the weaker eye, sometimes by putting a patch over the other eye. NIH-funded research has found that treatment for amblyopia is more effective if begun when a child is young.

Some children are farsighted—they have trouble focusing on up-close items. It’s less common for youngsters to be nearsighted, with problems focusing on faraway objects like the chalkboard.

To catch problems early, NIH funded a study of thousands of preschoolers to find the best ways to screen for impaired vision. “How often screening is done and what screening is done varies widely from state to state,” says Dr. Marjean Kulp, a vision researcher at Ohio State University.

The study evaluated different tests and identified a few that could best detect vision problems, even when performed by people who aren’t vision specialists.

Screenings only identify potential problems, and they don’t catch everything. Children should have regular exams by an eye care professional.

Early detection and treatment of hearing, vision and language problems can give kids a better learning experience.

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Tips to Healthy Eating on a Tight Budget

Tips to Healthy Eating on a Tight BudgetFood prices are on the rise, but there are many tips to help you eat healthy even if you are on a tight budget.

    -Prepare foods that will stretch into more than one meal, especially if you are using expensive food items. For example, making stews and casseroles will help those pricey packages of beef, poultry or fish go further.
    -Buy vegetables and fruits when they are in season.
    -Compare the cost of using a coupon to a store’s generic brand.
    -Avoid processed and convenient foods like frozen dinners, chips and instant mixes.
    -Nonfat dry milk is the least expensive way to buy milk, but make it early so it has plenty of time to chill.
    -Never shop when you are hungry or in a hurry!

Other ways to save money on your grocery bill are less traditional.

    -Plant edible plants and trees in your flower beds.
    -Plan menus and create a shopping list before you shop. You’ll find some items can be purchased using a bulk discount.
    -Use leftovers for a meal the following day. Whenever I make a pot roast, you know there will be a hearty beef stew served the next evening for supper.
    -Check your current inventory before shopping. Don’t buy what you already have.
    -Buy whole items and cut them up yourself.
    -Experiment by substituting beans or vegetables for meat. In some dishes you’ll never even notice. You’ll save money, fat and extra calories!

If you are struggling to put food on the table, consider programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program found and school meal programs for children.

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Science is Closer to Developing a Universal Flu Vaccine

Science is Closer to Developing a Universal Flu VaccineImage found HERE.

A News In Health study suggests potential hurdle to universal flu vaccine development may be overcome.

Press Release – In the quest for a universal influenza vaccine, one that elicits broadly neutralizing antibodies that can protect against most or all strains of flu virus, scientists have faced a sobering question, “Does pre-existing immunity generated by prior exposure to influenza virus or vaccine hamper production of broadly neutralizing antibodies? If so, then a universal flu vaccine might work best (and perhaps only) in very young children who have had limited exposure to influenza viruses or vaccines.”

Now, in studies using mice and ferrets, investigators from the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have shown that broadly neutralizing influenza antibodies can indeed be elicited by a prime-boost vaccine regimen, even when the animals had pre-existing immunity to influenza. The vaccine regimen consisted of a DNA vaccine prime followed by boosting with an inactivated seasonal vaccine. It did not matter if the pre-existing immunity was due to exposure to a flu virus or if it followed vaccination with standard seasonal influenza vaccine. Influenza-immune ferrets inoculated with the prime-boost regimen were protected against challenge with unmatched influenza virus strains. If the same effect is found in studies in people, it might be possible to develop vaccines that give long-lasting flu protection to people of all ages, according to the researchers. Several clinical trials to examine the ability of first-generation universal flu vaccines to generate broadly neutralizing antibodies are either under way or planned at the VRC.

ARTICLE: C-H Wei et al. Elicitation of broadly neutralizing influenza antibodies in animals with previous influenza exposure. Science Translational Medicine DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004273 (2012).

WHO: NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to comment. Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D, director of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center, and the senior author of the paper, is also available.

NIAID conducts and supports research, at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide, to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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Cheese Recall, Possible Health Risk

Cheese Recall, Possible Health RiskForever Cheese Inc. is recalling all Ricotta Salata Frescolina brand, Forever Cheese lot # T9425 and/or production code 441202, from one specific production date due to possible Listeria Monocytogenes contamination, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The cheese was sold to distributors for retailers and restaurants in CA, CO, D.C., FL, GA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MT, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, VA, WA between June 20 and August 9, 2012. Products were sold to supermarkets, restaurants and wholesale distributors.

The cheese in question is Ricotta Salata brand Frescolina from one production date coded 441202 on the original wheel. There have been 14 reported illnesses in 11 states which may be related to this.

The potential for contamination was noted after illness was reported in connection with eating cheese. Each and every distributor and retailer are being contacted in an effort to recall any and all remaining product in the marketplace.

If you believe that you have purchased any of this cheese please contact your distributor or retailer for a full refund.

If you have any questions please call Forever Cheese (888)930-8693, from 9 am – 5pm EST and mention “Recall”.

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Why do we Fear Accidental Discoveries?

Masai Tribe enjoys communication too

Masai Tribe enjoys communication too

In a certain roundabout way this story is a follow up on the Lance and Neil Armstrong story from last week that mis-directed a number of angry Democrats to bombard me with emails on intentionally misquoting Obama, just because I blame the heavy hand of government rules and regulations on why we are losing our grip on the reality of life’s challenges. But I also had dozens of supportive reactions from readers who understood that not everything these days is about politics and who commented affirmative on my belief that Lance Armstrong got a unacceptable raw deal being “officially” stripped of his 14 years of titles and victories. They understood that the story was about an astronaut who pledged to face life’s challenges and a sports giant no longer willing to take the abuse from a semi-governmental organization and take his life back; a life he already had once almost lost to cancer.

In fairness of course, the intention of that essay had been two-fold. One to promote the realization that government has now effectively strangled the individual human search for creative solutions to life in favor of collective control through endless rules and regulations and two, that in the polarization process of our current society, we’d rather be ignorant and accusing, than exploring options and opportunities on a much bigger scale. Lance Armstrong went from a terminally ill cancer patient to a super human…huh how did he do that and can I get something pretty please?

And that brings me to something our human race constantly chooses to overlook or rather buries in prison terms and  penalties: The Fact that Accidental Discoveries, also called Disruptive Technologies/Innovations, almost always the result of individual efforts, have changed the course of the world and the human race more often than any scheduled collective research.

Besides in real technology, there are also numerous examples in bio-technology that are considered accidental discoveries. Take Penicillin, Viagra, Aspirin, Ritalin, Warfarin yes even Coca Cola; they are all unintentional discoveries, mostly done by individuals, yet because these discoveries were unscheduled and unintentional, they were given the collective stigma of unreliable and possibly dangerous and consequently covered by a burden of proof only pasty white lawmakers in small square cubicles can come up with. Now it’s okay to protect us “innocent citizens” against potential harm from untested findings, but to “protect” us against innovations and discoveries that upset the so called natural flow of business for banks, power companies, pharmaceutical companies etc. is a bad idea, at least in my opinion. Especially because in today’s world many of these innovations become stigmatized with untruth and badly written media publicity.

Here are some examples how accidental (unintended) discoveries came about.
During the 1920’s, cattle were dying of uncontrolled internal bleeding. A chemical compound in spoiled hay, coumarin, was identified as the culprit. Coumarin, shortly thereafter, was renamed Warfarin and sold as rat poison. But then…an accident of fate occurred…
In 1951, a U.S. Army inductee tried to commit suicide by swallowing Warfarin – but he didn’t die!  Re-examination revealed medicinal functions and Warfarin was soon approved for medical use in humans as an anticoagulant, a blood thinner, to prevent stroke and heart attacks. DuPont Pharmaceuticals quickly patented Warfarin under the brand name Coumadin and made billions!

Alexander Fleming didn’t set out to discover penicillin – a drug that combats infections and cures diseases. He was merely growing bacteria in a petri dish. But by an accident of fate, he had left a petri dish uncovered, and when he returned to it the next morning, he discovered that mold (penicillin) had killed the bacteria. And that seemingly random, innocent accident of fate, had the ultimate effect of extending the average human life span from 45 years at the turn of the 20th century, to about 80 years today.

You’ve heard how Coca Cola started out as a health syrup. Viagra was the side effect of clinical search to cure Angina, a heart condition and high blood pressure. Human trials were very disappointing but, the trial volunteers were reporting an unusual side effect – no erectile disfunction there! Viagra was born and became one of the most prescribed drugs in history.

Another remarkable example is the drug Ritalin, which doctors indiscriminately seem to prescribe for kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders these days. Ritalin is a drug that entered the market place more than 50 years ago designed to treat adults with depression. It didn’t do too well in that function, contrary to its effect on over-active children and recently scientists found that it works as a cognitive enhancer, making people without ADHD smarter and more alert! If this topic interests you, here is a reference link to Prof. Barbara Sahakian of the University of Cambridge.

Telltales of Our Historic Life span

There are many more examples of accidental discovery that have increased mankind’s life span to a remarkable 80 year on average these days.

For the vast majority of human history, life was hard and lifespans were short. For Greeks during the Classical period of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., the average person lived about 28 years.

Life spans then rose to about 30 years in Medieval Times. In the early 20th century, that’s only 100 years ago!!! in the developed world, our average lifespan rose to about 45 years.

Before the mass production of penicillin, which helped extend our current average life span to about 80 years, a broken bone that protruded through the skin resulted in death at least 50% of the time. Getting thrown from a horse, kicked by a cow or bitten by any kind of animal was a potentially life-ending matter.

Indeed, in the “olden days,” the only way to survive a nearly inevitable sequence of industrial and household accidents was with a strong inflammatory immune response from your own body or amputation. If individuals didn’t have the ability to mount a powerful inflammatory response, well, they were unlikely to live long enough to pass on their DNA. If you sneezed in medieval times, the “God Bless You” that accompanied the sneeze was essential a death sentence, because often the sneeze implied that you were infected by the black plague.

Since the Black Plague, science has discovered that inflammation is the most underestimated cause of disease and aging and when we’re talking about cancers, tumors, heart disease and a myriad of organ failures as well as neurological diseases, we’re essentially talking about how our immune system reacts to the normal effects of aging as if they were injuries. The aging process initiates inflammation, an immune response that in turn causes cellular stress, which increases the degree of chronic inflammation — which causes even more damage and death before our critical lifespan possibilities.

Yes our maximum life span is determined by the number of telomeres on our chromosomes. Let me visualize this as follows: If you think of a chromosome as a shoelace, the telomere then is the plastic tip at the end that keeps it from fraying and unraveling. We are born with a finite number of telomeres that theoretically allow us a maximum life span of about 120 years.

But as we suffer age related inflammation, we lose telomeres at an increasing rate. And when we have no more telomeres left… we die. So by reducing inflammation… the telomere loss is slowed… and life can be extended.

And that was the essence of the Armstrong story: accepting the challenge to extend life through means that may be unusual or periodically even illegal, but  with the potential to be readily accepted and even welcomed when unequivocal results show us a road to human longevity. But since ‘politicians’ have not found ways to sustain live financially, the immediate reaction is always to build roadblocks.

I have never been a “pill popper” in my life and even now when family and friends easily share “medications of comfort”, I decline. But frankly I’m tired of the small ongoing chronic pains and ever so slowly diminishing energy that many of us seem to accept as the price of getting older. These days I’m not that adverse to at least trying nutraceuticals that in my case are bringing about a remarkable change in everyday life.  And that was what my story about Lance and Neil Armstrong was all about: to come out of the corner of defeat and face the challenges and opportunities of life’s unstoppable advance into old age.

I realize also that there’s no such thing as a totally safe medicine, there’s no such thing as a medicine that we know absolutely everything about. Therefore there is some uncertainty and that persists over time. Any medicine -bioceutical, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical or completely organic – will disrupt and alter some fundamental biological process and may produce some unwanted effects on a variety of people with different molecular structures. Knowing that, the question than becomes, “what risks are you prepared to take for what benefit?”

Lance Armstrong knows what he wants from life. His decision not to contest the doping charges from a miserable organization like the USADA any longer, will allow both him and his charity “the Lance Armstrong Foundation” to finally move on after more than a decade of being harassed. That his sponsors and the public in general agree with his decision not to fight the USADA any longer, was never shown louder and more articulate than the day after the USADA wiped out 14 years of Armstrong’s career and barred him from the sport of cycling for life.  But guess what…the same day Armstrong was banned, the amount of donations to his foundation more than doubled to $78,000 from $32,300 the day before and the number of donations nearly tripled to 937 from 313 the day before. Corporate sponsors NIKE, Anheiser Busch, Oakley Sunglasses and Johnson Health Tech have publicly announced to stand by Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong Foundation, in a way expressing that many are getting fed up with overzealous officials who seem hellbound to put our life in their strangleholds.

The consensus is that Lance Armstrong had already served enough years of “jail” time (if he ever was guilty to the charges), even before the sentence was handed down. Lance finally threw off the shackles of stress and walked away. His world can only get better now.

Silent Heart Attacks More Frequent than Previously Reported

Silent Heart Attacks More Frequent than Previously ReportedWHAT: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more effective than electrocardiography (ECG) at identifying “silent” heart attacks, also known as unrecognized myocardial infarctions, according to a study performed by National Institutes of Health researchers and international colleagues.

Overall, the study found that silent heart attacks are more frequent than previous studies have reported, particularly in certain populations such as older adults with diabetes. Silent heart attacks appear to be much more common than those with recognized symptoms.

Prevalence and Prognosis of Unrecognized Myocardial Infarction Determined by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance in Older Adults” will be published Sept. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study involved 936 participants aged 67 to 93 years, enrolled in the Age Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study (AGES). Of the participants, 670 were randomly selected and 266 were selected because they were known to have diabetes. Because 71 of the randomly selected participants also had diabetes, the overall study population consisted of 337 people who had diabetes and 599 who did not.

Cardiac MRI indicated that more participants, both with and without diabetes, had silent heart attacks (21 and 14 percent, respectively) than recognized heart attacks (11 and 9 percent, respectively). ECG was less effective, detecting silent heart attacks in only five percent of the participants in both groups. Silent heart attacks identified by cardiac MRI were associated with a higher risk of mortality during the study period, while silent heart attacks identified by ECG were not. However, participants who had either form of heart attack were significantly more likely to die than those who had neither.

The analysis also found that people with silent heart attacks displayed many cardiovascular risk factors associated with recognized heart attacks, such as high blood pressure and evidence of atherosclerosis (a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries). Yet, fewer study participants who had a silent heart attack were taking medications such as statins or aspirin compared with survivors of recognized heart attacks (36 percent vs. 73 percent).

The study authors suggest that people who may have an increased risk for silent heart attacks, such as older people with diabetes, may benefit from following cardiovascular disease prevention methods, given the high prevalence of silent heart attacks and their association with increased mortality.

This study was conducted by researchers at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute on Aging; and the Icelandic Heart Association.

WHO: Andrew Arai, M.D., lead study author and chief of the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Branch in the NHLBI’s Division of Intramural Research, is available to comment on the findings and their implications for future epidemiological and clinical studies. For Dr. Arai’s complete bio, please visit: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/spokespeople/arai-andrew.html.

Co-authors Tamara Harris, M.D., M.S., chief, Interdisciplinary Studies of Aging, and Lenore Launer, chief, Neuroepidemiology, in NIA’s Laboratory of Population Sciences are available to comment on the AGES study.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics.

NIA leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The institute’s broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, aging and health, go to www.nia.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH… Turning Discovery Into Health

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National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

National Childhood Obesity Awareness MonthWhen I received the following press release about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, I ran across an article by Drew Brees about the subject. Yes, the NFL Quarterback! He also happens to be the Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Find his article HERE.

Press Release – September marks the start of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, a time for us to encourage America’s children to develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

All kids deserve to experience the positive health benefits of daily physical activity and healthy eating, and have those opportunities available to them.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed programs and resources to help children and parents, and they’re available in agencies including the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health’s We Can!! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® program.

In addition, through public-private partnerships, safe places to play and nutritious food options are being made available in neighborhoods and schools across America. Exciting new programs include the Partnership for a Healthier America and Olympic Team USA’s commitment to provide 1.7 million kids the opportunity to participate in free and low cost physical activity programs offered by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USOC National Governing Bodies for sport, and others over the next year. And, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a new farm to school grant programdesigned to educate children about food sources, and increase the availability of locally sourced foods in schools.

Over the past 30 years, the childhood obesity rate in America has almost tripled. According to the CDC, in 2010, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were already obese. Children and teenagers who are obese are more likely to become obese adults. Overweight and obese youth are at greater risk of developing serious adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

That is why HHS, with the President’s Council, supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal to end childhood obesity within a generation through her Let’s Move! initiative. Everyone has a role to play, parents and caregivers, school teachers and administrators, community leaders, local elected officials, after school programmers, and health care providers.

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents aged 6–17 years should spend 60 minutes or more being physical active each day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, released by HHS and USDA, provide nutritional guidance for Americans to promote good health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity. The guidelines recommend balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

Let’s work together to make the healthy choice, the easy choice! In coming weeks and months, HHS and the President’s Council will announce exciting initiatives that will go a long way towards ensuring that our nation’s children grow up to be healthy, fit and strong.

Learn more:

To learn more about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month or for tips on how to help your kids lead healthy lifestyle visit www.fitness.gov.

To learn more about NIH’s We Can, visit: nih.gov/wecan.

To learn more about CDC’s resources, visit: www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/.

To learn more about Let’s Move! visit: www.letsmove.gov.

To learn more about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 visit www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/.

To learn more about the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans visit www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx.

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The Hidden Dangers of Getting Inked

The Hidden Dangers of Getting InkedMany, if not most, of my friends sport some type of tattoo. Even my mother has permanant make-up, which is a tattoo, too. While over the years I have considered my own tattoo, I have always decided against the idea, mostly because I am not a fan of pain.

The following is a press release I received from the Centers for Disease Control alerting the public to the problems possible when tattoo artists dilute their inks with non-sterile water.

Even though I don’t have a tattoo, I love to look at my friend’s tattoos and discover their motives and the meanings behind this beautiful art form. I do however, have a great tattoo joke that I cannot share here on SearchAmelia, but if you see me on the streets be sure to ask about my “tattoo joke” and I just might share it with you, especially if I’ve had enough adult libations.

Centers for Disease Control – The practice of tattooing has been around for thousands of years. These days, 21% of adults in the United States report having at least one piece of permanent artwork on their bodies. Many people who receive these lasting tributes to loved ones, to pop culture, to religion, or to whatever they’re into, generally know what to look for when selecting a reputable tattoo parlor.

    Does the artist wear gloves?
    Does the tattoo shop sterilize their equipment?
    Did the artist open a sterile needle in front of you?
    Are things like inks and ointments portioned out for individual use?

If the artist can pass this mental checklist, most people feel pretty safe.

One question few people may consider, however, is “What exactly went into that ink you’re about to inject into my skin?” And even if the question was asked, there’s no guarantee that the artist could answer with any great certainty.

Concentrated tattoo inks may be made from products that were never intended to be used for tattoos. Tattoo ink manufacturers may use products such as calligraphy ink, drawing ink, or even printer ink to make the products eventually used for tattooing. These manufacturers often sell their products online, and while their states may require them to hold a business license, there is no regulation or oversight of the product itself.

The Importance of Water
While the thought of sharing ink with your office printer might be unsettling all on its own, a key ingredient of concern is the water that is used to either create the tattoo ink product or to dilute the product in the tattoo parlor. Artists will often use water to dilute concentrated inks in order to get the specific shade the client requests. They may also use pre-diluted “gray washes,” which are black inks blended to produce different color intensities.

Some tattoo artists and tattoo ink manufacturers may believe that using distilled or reverse osmosis (a filtration method that removes large particles) water is sufficient to safely create or dilute tattoo ink products, but this is not the case. Any kind of non-sterile water can contaminate the ink with potentially harmful germs, which can lead to infections in those tattooed with the ink. This was the case earlier this year, when public health officials in New York received reports of non-tuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) skin infections in at least 14 people who had been tattooed with the same pre-diluted gray ink.

In January of 2012, the Monroe County Department of Public Health received a report from a dermatologist that a patient had developed a persistent rash on his arm after being tattooed by a local tattoo artist. Biopsy and culture confirmed that he was suffering from an NTM infection, and the tattoo artist reported that other clients had complained of similar reactions.

The artist noted that the rash seemed to follow the lines created by a pre-diluted gray ink and wasn’t present on areas of the tattoo that were created with other colors. This was an important observation because NTM infections typically don’t spread—the rash-like infection is usually localized to the area that was exposed. Using a list of all of the clients the artist could remember tattooing with the same gray wash, the health department was able to identify 18 additional infections, 14 of which were confirmed to be NTM infections.

The Ink Thins – The Plot Thickens
After being notified of the situation in New York, CDC issued a public health alert to try to identify additional tattoo-associated NTM skin infections. Two previously identified clusters were discovered in Washington, one in Iowa, and one in Colorado, and all were related to inks likely contaminated by non-sterile water either during the manufacturing process or during dilution by the tattoo artist just prior to tattooing a client.

Image of individual with NTM infection

Click to Enlarge Image

Contamination of tattoo ink products by non-sterile water is an ongoing problem, and this group of identified clusters may represent a snapshot of what we could expect to find at any given time. Until tattoo ink manufacturers and tattoo artists fully understand the dangers of using non-sterile water to manufacture or dilute tattoo ink, these infections will continue to occur, and they can be far more serious than just an annoying rash.

NTM skin infections are very hard to treat, and often require 4-6 months of treatment with drugs that can cause serious side effects. While some people’s infections may resolve just from treatment with medication, others may require multiple surgeries to remove infected tissue and may lead to significant scarring.

So what should people do?
Because tattoo inks are injected directly into people’s skin, CDC recommends that ink manufacturers produce sterile inks. To protect their clients, tattoo artists should do the following:

    Don’t use inks or other products that are not intended for tattooing
    Don’t dilute ink before tattooing; if dilution is needed, use only sterile water
    Don’t use non-sterile water to rinse equipment (for example, needles) during tattooing
    Use aseptic technique during tattooing (e.g., maintain hand hygiene, use clean disposable gloves properly)

To reduce their risk of infection, consumers should:

    -Use tattoo parlors approved/registered by their local jurisdictions
    -Request inks that are manufactured specifically for tattoos
    -Ensure that tattoo artists follow appropriate hygienic practices
    -Be aware of the potential for infection after tattooing and promptly seek medical care if skin problems occur
    -Notify the tattoo artist and FDA’s MedWatch program if you have a problem after getting a tattoo.
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New Health IT Video for You

New Health IT Video for YouU.S. Department of Health & Human Services – A new, short animated video for consumers explains how widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and other health information technology (health IT) is giving our health care system a 21st century upgrade: improving the way we communicate with our doctors, making sure health information is available when and where’s it’s needed, and helping us manage our health and wellness outside the doctor’s office.

Watch the video to learn more about the benefits of health IT and other consumer e-health tools and the value of having secure, electronic access to your health information so you can make sure all your doctors are on the same page and that you get the best care.

This new video is one of several efforts by ONC’s newly created Office of Consumer eHealth to help convey the benefits of health IT and other consumer e-health tools to spur patients and families to ask for electronic access to their health record, and to use technology to better manage their own health or that of a loved one.

The goal of the video is to spark conversation with patients and their health care providers about how they can leverage technology to improve their care and to increase awareness about HealthIT.gov, a great resource for patients and families to learn more about health IT, including the benefits, your rights to access your health information, and tools that are available to help you manage your health.

Increased adoption by health care professionals of electronic health record (EHR) technology is transforming health care, converting the information in paper records into a digital format that can be available when and where it’s needed. There are also a plethora of tools and resources available to help you manage your health and health information. We hope to empower all Americans with greater access to their health data, tools to take action with that information and to shift attitudes so patients and providers work together as partners to improve care.

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Understanding Rosacea

Understanding RosaceaContributed by: NIH News in Health

Some people think of a rosy complexion as a sign of good health. But red patches on the face may point to something more troubling, a long-lasting skin disorder called rosacea.

Rosacea (pronounced ro-ZAY-she-ah) may start as redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead. It might even look like an outbreak of pimples. But over time, the condition can worsen. Inflammation can make affected skin swollen and sensitive. Red, thick, bumpy skin may appear on the face, causing discomfort and distress. Up to half of people with rosacea also develop eye problems. Eyelids may become inflamed, and vision impaired.

Rosacea affects an estimated 14 million Americans. The causes of rosacea are unclear. The condition tends to run in families, so genes likely play a role.

Although anyone can get rosacea, lighter-skinned populations are at greater risk. People who blush frequently may also be more vulnerable. It usually first strikes in middle age, when people are between 30 and 60 years old. Women are 3 to 4 times more likely than men to develop rosacea, especially during menopause. But rosacea symptoms are generally more severe in men.

Rosacea symptoms can come and go, flaring up for weeks or months and then subsiding. Over time, the facial redness can deepen and become more permanent.

People are often embarrassed by rosacea flare-ups. “The physical appearance can be debilitating for people, causing them to lose work or to have low self-esteem,” says Dr. Richard Gallo, a skin expert at the University of California, San Diego. “Many psychological problems are the consequence of having this red, puffy face.”

Things that cause flare-ups are called triggers. Although they vary from person to person, common triggers include hot foods or beverages, spicy foods, alcohol, extreme temperatures, sunlight, stress, exercise and hot baths.

To identify and then avoid triggers, Gallo says, “take a very careful record of the things that you eat and the things you are doing. Then also record when your rosacea is flaring, and see if you can put the two together.”

Because rosacea tends to worsen over time, early detection is critical. There’s no test for rosacea, and several other conditions can have similar symptoms. Your doctor needs expertise and experience to make a diagnosis. A dermatologist, a physician who specializes in skin disorders, can aid with rosacea detection and care.

Although there’s no cure for rosacea, medical treatments and lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms. Antibiotics taken orally or applied to the skin can lessen redness and bumps. For more serious cases, laser surgery can remove visible blood vessels, reduce redness or correct thickened, bumpy skin.

NIH-funded scientists continue to search for new insights into rosacea. Gallo and his colleagues have found that some people with rosacea have high levels of inflammation-causing chemicals in their skin. The researchers are using this knowledge to develop experimental therapies that are now being tested in clinical trials.

If you have troubling facial redness, talk to a dermatologist or other health care provider. Taking steps early on will help to control and reduce the symptoms of rosacea.

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West Nile Virus Advisory for Florida

West Nile Virus Advisory for FloridaPublic Service Announcement – Nationwide, West Nile Virus (WNV) activity is high, particularly in Texas. The number of cases in Florida is typical for this time of year, with most cases reported in Duval County. Although mosquito-borne illnesses can occur anytime due to the semi-tropical climate, July through September is the peak months for WNV activity in Florida. It is particularly important to use good mosquito-bite prevention practices this time of year, even for short periods of time.

WNV infection is a potentially serious disease spread by mosquitoes, however, less than 1% of people bitten by an infected mosquito will develop severe disease (inflammation of the brain – encephalitis or the covering of the brain – meningitis). People 50 years and older or with underlying illnesses are particularly at risk for severe illness or even death.

Approximately 80% of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all, while 20% have symptoms such as headache, body aches, fever, rash, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. County health departments will assist confirmatory testing at Florida Department of Health (DOH) laboratories and will also alert local mosquito control to help ensure appropriate mosquito control and surveillance actions are implemented.

To prevent mosquito-borne diseases, the Florida Department of Health recommends practicing DRAIN and COVER.

Stop mosquitoes from living and multiplying around your home or business.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites and the diseases they carry.

Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

    DISCARD: Old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that are not being used.
    EMPTY and CLEAN: Birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
    PROTECT: Boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that do not accumulate water.
    MAINTAIN: The water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

Cover your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellant.

    CLOTHING: If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active (especially at dusk and dawn), cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.
    REPELLENT: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
    BABIES: Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than two months.

Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.

    Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

WNV can cause high rates of mortality in certain families of birds, especially crows and jays. Report dead birds to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via the following website: www.MyFWC.com/bird.

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s Environmental Public Health website at www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html Or go to CDC at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

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Fernandina Pirates Club Out to Draw Blood

Fernandina Pirates Club Out to Draw BloodAmelia Island, FL – The Fernandina Pirates Club, Inc. members are out for blood, literally. You may remember the Fernandina Pirates finished 2nd to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the district last year for the number of useable pints donated to the Georgia Florida Blood Alliance, and this year these Pirates want to win!

Saturday, August 25, 2012, the Pirates will have buses from the Blood Alliance in the Publix parking lot on Sadler Road, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Wicked Wanda, the club’s Blood Drive Chairperson has pillaged and plundered to find some of the hottest tickets in town.

All donors will be entered into a raffle drawing for the following admission tickets:

    -Jaguars vs. the Atlanta Falcons pre-season tickets for August 30, 2012
    -Amelia Island Blues Festival tickets
    -Amelia Island Museum of History tickets
    -Amelia River Cruises tickets
    -Island Falls tickets
    -Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens tickets

The Sons of the American Legion Squadron 54 and the VFW Post 4351 Men’s Auxiliary will be providing melon slices, hot dogs and drinks for the first 100 donors.

Walk ups are always welcome, but appointments can be made at IGiveBlood.com until the 24th of August.

Having received a Resolution from the Board of County Commissioners of Nassau County as well as a Proclamation from the City of Fernandina Beach Commissioners recognizing the club for their ongoing community service and charitable work, members of the Pirates Club truly are our community’s “Goodwill Ambassadors to the World” as designated by both local government entities.

For more information please visit FernandinaPirates.com.

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Using Technology to Manage Your Meds Video Contest

Using Technology to Manage Your Meds Video ContestDo you use technology to help you manage your meds? Share your story on video to win! First prize is $3,000.00!

The Managing Meds Video Contest invites you to create short (less than two minutes), inspiring videos sharing a personal story about how you use technology to take your medications effectively or to support individuals (loved ones or patients) to take their medications as directed.

Taking medications as prescribed, the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time, can improve quality of life and prevent hospitalizations, disability, and death. Yet, studies show that many people don’t fill their prescriptions, stop taking their medications earlier than directed, or use them in ways that are inconsistent with instructions—taking less than directed, splitting pills or skipping doses.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help people to manage the complexity associated with taking their medications.

If you are a consumer or patient, you can participate by creating a video demonstrating how you can use technology to manage your medication regimen. For example, you could describe:

    -Electronic tools such as mobile apps (e.g. MyMedList) that help you keep track of the meds you are taking and when it’s time to take them, or that notify you when it’s time to refill a prescription so you don’t run out
    -Logging on to your provider’s online portal to view your current medication list and sending a request to update the list to reflect which meds you are no longer taking or that may not appear because they were prescribed by another doctor.

If you are a health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse or pharmacist, you can also participate by demonstrating how you:

    -Use health information technology (health IT), such as e-prescribing, secure messaging and electronic health record systems, to prescribe patients the right medication and dosage, and to support them in taking their meds as prescribed.

Enter to Win or Spread the Word to Encourage Others! The deadline is October 1st!

To enter, you won’t need highly specialized equipment; a standard video recorder or phone with a video function will work. We encourage you to help us spread the word about the contest (#ManageMeds)! The contest is live and we are accepting submissions through October 1st.

If you win, your story could appear on HealthIT.gov alongside other people whose health IT stories have helped motivate and inspire others to adopt technology and use it to improve their health! For inspiration, check out the winning videos from the Beat Down Blood Pressure Video Challenge.

To learn more about this challenge and others, please visit: ManagingMeds.Challenge.gov. All challenges will be featured on www.challenge.gov.

This is the fourth in a series of 2012 Health IT Video Contests that are generating authentic personal stories from the public about how they are benefiting from advancements in health IT. These stories are one way the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is working to encourage individuals to play a more active role in their health through the use of health IT and consumer e-health tools.

There are serious consequences for patients and their families from not taking medications as prescribed. As C. Everett Koop famously said, “Drugs don’t work in the patients who don’t take them”. This is especially the case for people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes for whom not taking medications results in greater risk of hospitalization and 50-85% higher mortality. Taking the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time can alleviate symptoms, delay disease progression and prevent complications. Tell us how you are managing your medications with consumer e-health tools and other health IT and inspire others to do the same!

About ONC’s Office of Consumer eHealth
This video challenge is one of many ways that ONC’s Office of Consumer eHealth is working to promote patient and family engagement in health through technology by improving consumer access to their electronic health information; spurring innovation to develop new ways to take action with that information; and shifting attitudes so people feel comfortable using new tools and health information to be better partners with their health care providers in their health and health care.

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Mackie’s Zumba Fitness Anniversary Party

Mackie's Zumba Fitness Anniversary PartyMany of you have heard me rave about Zumba Fitness on my Facebook page as well as here on SearchAmelia. With our one year anniversary of “Team Teaching” Zumba Fitness Classes, at CLUB 14 FITNESS, with my youngest daugher, Ally, I thought what better time than now to fully explain our journey to better health and the Zumba Fitness connection.

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote a basic article about Zumba Fitness, how it began and how it can help you get a full body workout. But after one year of teaching and receiving a second license for Zumba Gold, there is much more to this story, and I want to share it with you.

Some of you I have met in the past couple of years and don’t know the whole story, so let me give you a little history first just to put this article into its proper perspective.

Judie at a very unhealthy weight

Jumbo Judie at a very unhealthy weight

I have lived in Fernandina Beach since 1990 and many of my friends and acquaintances have known me, seen me, fat and unhealthy for most of that time.

It was February of 2010 when CLUB 14 FITNESS became sponsors of SearchAmelia.com. Our entire family began visiting the gym and our son entered the Forever Fit Challenge. With his admission into the weight loss contest, we began to shop wiser, purchasing healthier, fresher and less processed foods. We grew to meet the staff there, and we were encouraged to continue visiting and working out on a regular basis. So, we did. While Alex was losing weight in tremendous fashion, the rest of the household was gradually losing pounds and inches, too.

By mid-summer, my daughter and I were fully immersed in attending group fitness classes at the gym on a regular basis, but not my husband. Sure Lawrence would go to the gym and spend time on an eliptical machine upstairs working on cardo, but it wasn’t until after Ally and I won the Le Tour de CLUB 14 FITNESS in July 2010, (We finished the course in only two weeks, much to the amazement of just about everyone on the planet!) that he became interested in trying a group fitness class.

Side Note: The Le Tour de CLUB 14 FITNESS was a four week contest in which you had to finish 13 cycle or RPM classes. If you have never taken an indoor cycle class before, the article I wrote about the Le Tour de CLUB 14 FITNESS, is a Must Read!

In the fall of 2010, the gym introduced Zumba Fitness classes to their schedule. The initial class was highly publicized and you had to sign up to attend. I signed my daughter’s name and my own on the sheet at the front desk. Ally was so mad at me for signing her up to attend. She wanted nothing to do with Zumba! Being the type of mother I am, I made her go with me despite her rather verbal objections.

Ally fell instantly in love with Zumba Fitness.

And so have 12 million others. Ten years ago, Zumba Fitness was a South Florida phenomenon, now there are “people taking Zumba classes weekly at 110,000 locations in at least 125 countries, said company spokeswoman Allison Robins”, according to a Los Angeles Times article by Cammy Clark.

Orlando, Florida hosted the 2012 ZUMBA Instructor Convention, August 9 – 12, 2012; among the celebrities spotted at the convention were Shaquille O’Neal, Paulina Rubio, Daddy Yankee, Vanilla Ice, Lil John, The Rockettes and more.

Ally loved the internationally inspired music, the moves and the rhythms. We would dance around the kichen to Zumba Fitness songs she purchased from iTunes. Ally even invited our Instructor/Mentor Jackie, to demonstrate a couple routines at her Sweet 16 birthday party. Ally was absolutely hooked!

Judie, before and after joining the gym

Judie, before and after joining the gym

Our oldest daughter’s son comes to visit Amelia Island from Indiana for a few weeks each summer and when we learned there was a basic Zumba Instructor Training in Atlanta, Georgia, where we had planned to meet our daughter to return our grandson, we decided to sign up for the class.

We planned to stay with a dear friend in Atlanta that weekend. I will always remember the date, July 28, 2011. It was the same day as our wedding anniversary. It was the same day as our good friend’s birthday. It was the day that changed our lives in a very positive way.

“Zumba Fitness is an effective interval-style, full body workout,” according to an independent study funded by a grant from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “In comparison with other exercises tested in the past by the University’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Zumba burns more calories than cardio kickboxing, step aerobics, hooping and power yoga,” the article added.

Over the past year we have grown tremendously in our abilities as instructors. We are stronger, quicker and more flexible. We are healthier!

Zumba Fitness offers several specialty licenses to their network of licensed instructors. Early this summer Ally and I both had the opportunity to add a Zumba Gold license to our repertoire. Directly from the handbook, “ZUMBA GOLD is a series of fitness programs specifically designed to take the exciting latin and international dance rhythms created in the original ZUMBA Program and bring them to the active older adult, the beginner participant, and other special populations that may need modifications for success.”

Ally and Judie go for the GOLD

Ally and Judie go for the GOLD

Our aging Baby-Boomer population is very young in spirit, but they may not be able to keep up in a high energy class. They want to exercise without feeling pain or getting hurt. “Every seven seconds a baby boomer turns 55,” according to ZUMBA, and “Boomers are rushing to the gym and dance classes in an effort to stay fit.”

The ZUMBA GOLD program is not only categorized by age. This is a lower impact class perfect for deconditioned participants with easy-to-learn choreography to get their bodies moving. Persons returning to the gym after illness, injuries or surgeries are also ideal candidates for ZUMBA GOLD.

One of the most emotional aspects of being a licensed ZUMBA GOLD instructor is the flexibility permitted to design appropriate workouts, such as the ZUMBA GOLD Chair Class designed for those with physical and/or psychological limitations that require most of their day spent in a wheelchair.

Zumba Fitness License ReceivedThe Zumba Fitness journey continues as we strive to obtain other specialty licenses such as ZUMBATOMIC, for kids ages 4 – 12; ZUMBA SENTAO, with its explosive chair-based choreography; and AQUA ZUMBA, a pool party workout for all ages, just to name a few.

As the one year mark is upon us, I remember we taught our first class at CLUB 14 FITNESS on August 18, 2011; we were subbing for the Zumba Fitness Queen Jackie Norton, it was a Thursday night.

This Saturday, August 18, 2012, we are scheduled to teach our basic Zumba Fitness class as we do every Saturday and Tuesday each week, but this Saturday will be no ordinary class!

This is our Anniversary Party!

We are throwing a party and YOU are invited to attend. Zumba is already a party atmosphere, but this time we are adding prizes, raffles, dance battles, refreshments and more!

If you have ever wondered what Zumba Fitness is all about, then this is the perfect opportunity for you to find out!

The class is FREE and will be held at CLUB 14 FITNESS, in the movie theater shopping center, beginning at 9:30 AM August 18, 2012. Plan to stay late if you can, we have a feeling the fun may last for more than one hour!

Here is a video preview of a Zumba Fitness class held Monday evening during “Launch Week” at CLUB 14, where they introduced new choreography and a new group fitness class, CXWORX.

Wear loose fitting clothes, comfortable sneakers and a smile. Bring water and a towel and Ally and I promise to bring the party favors.

For more information call CLUB 14 FITNESS at (904) 206-4414, visit our Facebook Event Page, check out my new Zumba webpage at judiemackie.zumba.com, or contact me directly at Judie@SearchAmelia.com or by calling (904) 583-0659. Ally and I teach on Saturdays at 9:30 AM and again on Tuesdays at 6:40 PM.

Remember, the video is only 5 or 6 minutes long, our normal class is for one hour.

“Zumba and the Zumba logo are trademarks of Zumba Fitness, LLC, used under license.”

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