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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Strokes in young people: John Singleton's case shows it's possible

By Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, CNN

Filmmaker John Singleton, 51, died Monday after having what court filings described as a "major stroke" on April 17, according to a statement from his family. Singleton, the first black filmmaker nominated for the best director Oscar, was best known for films like "Boyz n the Hood" and "Poetic Justice."

In March, 52-year-old actor Luke Perry had a "massive stroke" that ultimately led to his death.

Strokes are the fifth cause of death for adults in the United States and the leading cause of disability, according to the American Stroke Association. Yet Singleton and Perry's deaths have stunned Hollywood and the public, serving as a reminder that strokes can occur even at a relatively young age.

Strokes can happen in young age

"Although stroke often affects older individuals, it is not only a disease of the elderly," said Mitchell S.V. Elkind, chairman of the American Stroke Association Advisory Committee. "There is evidence that stroke rates among young people are increasing in the United States, and this requires additional research."

A 2017 study showed that between 2003 and 2012, the rates of hospitalizations after ischemic strokes for adults 35 to 44 increased by 41.5% for men and 30% for women. The researchers also found a near-doubling of the risk factors among men and women who were later hospitalized with ischemic strokes.

Ischemic strokes occur when either a blood clot or a plaque obstructs a vessel carrying blood to the brain, preventing the delivery of oxygen. Strokes can also be hemorrhagic, when a blood vessel has ruptured and the blood that spills into or around the brain creates swelling and pressure, damaging the brain tissue.

Ischemic strokes account for an approximate 87% of all strokes, according to the American Stroke Association, which emphasizes the importance of understanding risk factors.

The risk factors

Risk factors fall into two categories: modifiable, or those that can be treated and improved; and non-modifiable, or those that are outside a patient's control.

Among modifiable risk factors, high blood pressure poses the biggest threat for stroke, according to the American Stroke Association. Other modifiable factors are smoking, diabetes, a diet high in saturated fats, high cholesterol, physical inactivity and obesity.

The non-modifiable risk factors include age, gender and race. Women are known to be at greater risk than men, and African Americans are known to be at greater risk than Caucasians, in part because of higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The early signs

The association also notes the importance of early recognition. Spotting the early signs of a stroke and getting help quickly can reduce long-term effects.

To identify these early signs, the organization recommends using the F.A.S.T. acronym: If you see Face drooping, Arm weakness or Speech difficulty, it's Time to call 911.

Other symptoms include sudden numbness in the legs, sudden confusion or trouble seeing, sudden dizziness or loss of balance, or a sudden severe headache.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Tragic Story of Ricardo Tillman, Jr


By Johnakeshia Thompson

This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.

It’s been 19 years, but Ricardo Tillman, Sr. still cherishes the memories of his son.
Tillman says not a day goes by that he and his wife don’t think about their son or talk about him. His son, Ricardo Tillman, Jr., was stabbed on March 19, 2000, and died from an infection related to his wounds several weeks later. Ricardo, who went by ‘Rico,’ was 20 years old and a standout football player at Jacksonville University.

Hoping to solve the murder, Tillman Sr. speaks about his son every chance he gets in hopes to find the person responsible. He believes that someone knows who stabbed his son, and he will continue to fight for justice.

Memories are treasures for the elder Tillman, especially their mutual love of football. He has video footage of Tillman Jr. stating that he wanted to be a pro-football player. Tillman, Jr. played football from little league to becoming captain of Jacksonville University’s football team. Tillman said his son wanted to attend Jacksonville University because its football team was new. He also wanted to help lead the team to a championship.

The Jacksonville Dolphins played their inaugural football season in 1998. As a team captain, Rico Tillman caught a 65-yard pass from Garrett Cooper to score the first touchdown in Dolphins history. JU defeated Davidson 19-14 in that first game. Tillman led the Dolphins in the 1998 season with 33 receptions for 550 yards and 3 touchdowns. That first touchdown pass held as his career long reception.

Tillman remembers his son for being very protective over people he loved. He believes this overprotective characteristic is part of the reason Rico is no longer living.

Rico was stabbed outside of Jazzco nightclub on March 19, 2000, at 3 a.m. after breaking up a fight involving some of his team members. Rico’s best friend and former quarterback, Gary Cooper, called the Tillmans to notify them of the incident. Over the phone, Rico told his father that he was okay.
He was admitted into Shands Hospital and, according to his father, was released three days later. His mother flew up to Jacksonville from Miami to care for her son. She noticed that his back was swollen and he was running a fever, so she took him back to the hospital.

On April 10, 2000, Rico Tillman passed away due to a staph infection.
The family sued Shands Hospital for negligence. They also sued Jazzco because the onsite cameras weren’t working.

Losing a son, friend, and brother was a hard experience for the Tillman family. Tillman Sr. says that his son was more like his best friend. Rico would often call to get advice. He is glad he had the chance to tell his son that he loved him.

On November 15, 2004, Jacksonville University honored Ricardo Tillman Jr. and retired his #8 jersey. Prior to the retirement ceremony, players handpicked by the coaching staff were awarded the number to wear for the season. Those players selected showcased above average football skills paired with outstanding character. JU hands out the Rico Tillman Award, the highest athletic award at the school, each season.

His younger sister, Prinsetta Myers, was 12 years old at the time of his death. Although she was very young, her brother’s sense of humor, love for football and music will be memories she will never forget.

The family says that they will continue to seek justice for their beloved Rico.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Rico Tillman Jr., please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New Study Finds That Dogs Can Smell Cancer With Incredible Accuracy

New Study Finds That Dogs Can Smell Cancer With Incredible Accuracy by Diana Bruk

Dogs provide us with unconditional love and support, remind us to be grateful and present, and keep us walking and healthy well into our golden years. But it turns out, there’s another skill dogs have that can improve our lives tremendously. New research presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, suggests that dog’s highly evolved sense of smell can identify cancer in blood samples with about 97 percent accuracy.

Whereas humans only possess six million smell receptors in their noses, dogs have 300 million, which means they’re about 10,000 times better at detecting odors than humans. To conduct this new research, Heather Junqueira, the lead researcher at BioScentDx, and her colleagues used a form of clicker training to teach four beagles to distinguish between the blood samples of healthy patients and those with malignant lung cancer. Although one of the beagles was unmotivated to take part in the experiment, the other three managed to correctly identify the lung cancer samples 96.7 percent of the time and the normal samples 97.5 percent of the time.

“This work is very exciting because it paves the way for further research along two paths, both of which could lead to new cancer-detection tools,” Junqueira said. “One is using canine scent detection as a screening method for cancers, and the other would be to determine the biologic compounds the dogs detect and then design cancer-screening tests based on those compounds.”

The new study builds upon previous research, including a 2017 study that found a trained golden retriever and pitbull mix could identify the presence of lung cancer through breath samples with an extremely high accuracy rate. Prior to that, there was a 2013 study that found that trained dogs could detect breast cancer through blood samples 97 percent of the time. Then there’s the 2011 study involving a black lab named Marine who was 97 percent accurate in detecting colon cancer among loose stool samples, which made her success rate even higher than the tests doctors do.
In many of these studies, what was especially impressive was the fact that the dogs could detect cancer while it was still in its very early stages, which could make them even more useful than lab testing when it comes to detection. “Although there is currently no cure for cancer, early detection offers the best hope of survival,” Junqueira said. “A highly sensitive test for detecting cancer could potentially save thousands of lives and change the way the disease is treated.”

And cancer isn’t the only disease that dogs can assist in detecting. For more on this, check out this new study about how dogs can smell seizures before they start.

Monday, April 8, 2019

It's not your imagination, there is more bacon on fast-food menus—here's why

It's not just your imagination. Just about every fast-food chain, from McDonald's to Carl's Jr. to Burger King, is introducing more bacon items to their menus.
The number of restaurant menus across the U.S. that feature bacon has grown by 5% in the last 10 years. Bacon was found on 68.1% of fast-food menus in 2018, according to Datassential. By 2022, the number is expected to jump to 69.8% of menus.

The fatty meat has always been popular with consumers. A&W Restaurants, one of the oldest fast-food restaurants, claims to have invented the bacon cheeseburger all the way back in 1963. Dale Mulder, the restaurant's chairman, put the item on the menu after customers kept asking for bacon on top of their burger patties.

Over the last 15 years or so, the ingredient has fully made the switch from a breakfast staple to a food that U.S. consumers will eat at any time of day. Since then, it has become a go-to for restaurants to jazz up their dishes. Bacon bits can be found at supermarkets and on top of salads, while restaurants use whole slices of the fatty meat to wrap asparagus, pizza and every food in between.
Now fast-food chains are using bacon to lure customers through their doors without the hassle of real menu innovation. For example, Burger King added bacon to its cheesy tater tots as a way to add something new to the limited-time offer.

"It does seem like bacon is a way to change up the flavors," said Darren Seifer, a food and beverage analyst for The NPD Group.In some cases, like Carl's Jr.'s bacon truffle-flavored burger and fries, bacon just works as a complement to other new flavors.

Fast-food favorites like McDonald's, Yum Brands' Taco Bell and Wendy's have had to raise prices to keep sales from declining as foot traffic across the industry falls. Bacon not only offers a way to lure customers back, it can also be used to justify higher prices for the value-focused consumer by emphasizing the amount of bacon — double or triple the usual serving.

"McDonald's is currently driving a great deal of excitement (and volume) around this popular ingredient," Charley Orwig, marketing director at Datassential, said in an email.
At the beginning of this year, McDonald's added bacon to its Big Mac and Quarter Pounder burgers and introduced cheesy bacon fries. Like many other fast-food chains adding more bacon to their lineup, McDonald's chose to offer the bacon-centric menu items for a limited time only.
Limited-time offerings can drive foot traffic and encourage customers to buy more than just the promoted item, so fast-food restaurants likely also see similar benefits, according to Seifer.

To get customers excited for its bacon additions, McDonald's held a "Bacon Hour" that gave away free bacon to customers with any order. Wendy's used the lure of a free Baconator cheeseburger to get customers to order their food through third-party delivery service DoorDash. All they had to do was spend $10 and they would score a free burger without a delivery fee.

The ironic part of bacon's popularity is that it comes as consumers are increasingly focused on health and wellness and are opting for low-calorie options or fewer processed foods. While packaged-food companies have tried to adapt by buying smaller, health-focused brands, changing consumer tastes has not stopped the fast-food industry from adding bacon, which contains high levels of saturated fat and has been linked to heart disease.

"Health at restaurants has a different meaning than what we think about when we think about health at home," Seifer said. "We're not looking for pure health when we go to quick-service restaurants."

Saturday, March 30, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Lose Belly Fat

5 Simple Ways to Lose Belly Fat

Rozalynn S. Frazier       


Excess weight in your midsection can be annoying—not only because it’s so darn tough to ditch, but because it also has an impact on your overall health. Extra belly fat ups your risk of issues such as heart disease and diabetes, and, according to certified strength and condition specialist Michele Olson, PhD, life is filled with sneaky little saboteurs that make putting on the pounds in this area way too easy.

“Due to changes in hormones, daily stresses, lack of sleep, coupled with possibly pregnancies, the fat women gain is often stored increasingly in the belly area,” explains Olson, also a senior clinical professor at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama.

And while you can’t exactly spot reduce, you can make lifestyle changes that can help you lose belly fat—and fast. Here, healthy-living pros offer their best science-backed strategies for winning the battle of the bulge.

 Clean up your diet
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: Abs are made in the kitchen. Unfortunately, if you regularly eat ultra-processed foods (think chips, store-bought baked goods, and candy), you won’t be able to see yours. “These foods are produced using sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, which in high amounts has been shown to promote visceral fat accumulation in the liver, leading to weight gain, inflammation, and related diseases,” explains Rachel Fine, RD, owner of To The Pointe Nutrition.

Instead, opt for eats that have healthy amounts of soluble fiber such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, avocado, and citrus fruits. Research reveals that an increase in these foods is linked to a decrease in visceral—aka belly—fat.

Slow down on spirits
Reducing alcohol intake can also help, says Fine. Alcohol contains about seven calories per gram—"just under fat, which equates to nine calories per gram.” And because alcohol is absorbed quickly, “when over-consumed, alcohol metabolism impairs metabolism of other macronutrients, such as carbs and fat, promoting…fat storage rather than breakdown,” she says.
 While you’re rethinking your drinks, limit your consumption of carbonated beverages as well, advises Vanessa Voltolina, RD, a New York City-based registered dietitian, noting that those fizzy drinks, though yummy, can cause belly bloat. (Sorry LaCroix!)
Instead, stick to water, which Emily Incledon, RD says can act as an appetite suppressant, as well as help flush out your body to decrease the feeling of being bloated.

Make sure you exercise
Great news: Working out is good for more than just adding years to your life, boosting your brain health, and reducing stress levels—it can also help you rein in your gut. In fact, research in the journal Cell Metabolism reveals that exercise specifically helps reduce visceral fat.
The key to losing belly fat with exercise, though, is making sure your sweat session is intense. You’ll want to be working at 85% of your max heart rate at least, says Olson. “The higher your heart rate, the higher the release of epinephrine into the bloodstream and cells,” she explains. “A positive side effect of epinephrine is that it also activates greater release of abdominal fat into the bloodstream to be used for energy.”
So what type of exercise is best when it comes to burning belly fat? Olson recommends intense weight training, Tabata interval training, sprint-style cardio, and kettlebell exercises. Of course, a little ab work won’t hurt either—especially moves (like dead bug) that target the transverse abdominus, the deep core muscles that act like a girdle for the waist, cinching you in all over.

Just relax

Stress, which can come in many forms, can wreak havoc on your health. Whether it’s something you consider to be a “big” deal, like working on a project to meet a crucial work deadline, or something smaller, like someone cutting you off on your morning commute, your body treats it all the same way—by enacting your fight or flight response.

“As your body’s perception of stress increases, cortisol, often called the stress hormone, is released from the adrenal glands,” explains Nana Yaw Adu-Sarkodie, MD, a board-certified family physician practicing home-based care in Baltimore. “Normal levels are released when you wake up in the morning or during exercise. Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol and other stress hormones, leading to increases in sugar in the bloodstream, weight gain, digestive issues, depression, and a host of other health effects.”

A study in Psychosomatic Medicine confirms the link between stress and weight gain, revealing that women who are most vulnerable to the effects of stress are more likely to have excess abdominal fat and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. One reason could be that women tend to eat more, especially sweets, on days they are stressed, according to a study in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Which is why it pays to keep your cool. One way to do so: practicing mindfulness. According to a 2011 Journal of Obesity study, women who experienced the greatest reduction in stress by effectively mastering stress-reduction techniques tended to lose the most deep belly fat. So go ahead and take some deep breaths, hit the mat for some anxiety-relieving yoga, or open up one of those guided-meditation apps. Your belly will thank you in the long run.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Dangers of Belly Fat

Personal Health

The Dangers of Belly Fat

If your waist measures 35 or more inches for women or 40 or more inches for men, chances are you’re harboring a potentially dangerous amount of abdominal fat.

If you do nothing else today to protect your health, consider taking an honest measurement of your waist. Stand up straight, exhale (no sucking in that gut!) and with a soft tape measure record your girth an inch or two above your hip bones.
The result has far greater implications than any concerns you might have about how you look or how your clothes fit. In general, if your waist measures 35 or more inches for women or 40 or more inches for men, chances are you’re harboring a potentially dangerous amount of abdominal fat.
Subcutaneous fat that lurks beneath the skin as “love handles” or padding on the thighs, buttocks or upper arms may be cosmetically challenging, but it is otherwise harmless. However, the deeper belly fat — the visceral fat that accumulates around abdominal organs — is metabolically active and has been strongly linked to a host of serious disease risks, including heart disease, cancer and dementia.
You don’t even have to be overweight or obese to face these hazards if you harbor excess fat inside your abdomen. Even people of normal weight can accumulate harmful amounts of hidden fat beneath the abdominal wall. Furthermore, this is not fat you can shed simply by toning up abdominal muscles with exercises like situps. Weight loss through a wholesome diet and exercise — activities like walking and strength-training — is the only surefire way to get rid of it.

Until midlife, men usually harbor a greater percentage of visceral fat than women do, but the pattern usually reverses as women pass through menopause. Few females seem to escape a midlife waistline expansion as body fat redistributes and visceral fat pushes out our bellies. Even though in my eighth decade I weigh less than I did at age 13, my waist is many inches bigger.
Here’s why visceral fat cells are so important to your well-being. Unlike the cells in subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is essentially an endocrine organ that secretes hormones and a host of other chemicals linked to diseases that commonly afflict older adults. One such substance is called retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) that was found in a 16-year study of nurses to increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease. This hazard most likely results from the harmful effects of this protein on insulin resistance, the precursor to Type 2 diabetes, and development of the metabolic syndrome, a complex of cardiac risk factors.
The Million Women Study conducted in Britain demonstrated a direct link between the development of coronary heart disease and an increase in waist circumference over a 20-year period. Even when other coronary risk factors were taken into account, the chances of developing heart disease were doubled among the women with the largest waists. Every additional two inches in the women’s waist size raised their risk by 10 percent.
Cancer risk is also raised by belly fat. The chances of getting colorectal cancer were nearly doubled among postmenopausal women who accumulate visceral fat, a Korean study found. Breast cancer risk increases as well. In a study of more than 3,000 premenopausal and postmenopausal women in Mumbai, India, those whose waists were nearly as big as their hips faced a three- to four-times greater risk of getting a breast cancer diagnosis than normal-weight women.
A Dutch study published last year linked both total body fat and abdominal fat to a raised risk of breast cancer. When the women in the study lost weight — about 12 pounds on average — changes in biomarkers for breast cancer, like estrogen, leptin and inflammatory proteins, indicated a reduction in breast cancer risk. 

Given that two-thirds of American women are overweight or obese, weight loss may well be the single best weapon for lowering the high incidence of breast cancer in this country.
Perhaps most important with regard to the toll on individuals, families and the health care system is the link between abdominal obesity and risk of developing dementia decades later. A study of 6,583 members of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California who were followed for an average of 36 years found that those with the greatest amount of abdominal obesity in midlife were nearly three times more likely to develop dementia three decades later than those with the least abdominal fat.
Having a large abdomen raised dementia risk in the women even if they were of normal weight overall and lacked other health risks related to dementia like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Among other medical problems linked to abdominal fat are insulin resistance and the risk of Type 2 diabetes, compromised lung function and migraine headaches. Even asthma risk is raised by being overweight and especially by abdominal obesity, a study of 88,000 California teachers found.
Over all, according to findings among more than 350,000 European men and women published in The New England Journal of Medicine, having a large waist can nearly double one’s risk of dying prematurely even if overall body weight is normal.
All of which raises the question: How best to shed abdominal fat and, even more important, how to avoid accumulating it in the first place?
Chances are you’ve periodically seen ads on the internet for seemingly magical ways to reduce belly fat. Before you throw good money after bad, let it be said that no pill or potion has been scientifically shown to dissolve abdominal fat. You have to work at it. And that means avoiding or drastically limiting certain substances in your diet, controlling overall caloric intake and engaging in exercise that burns calories. 

Perhaps the worst offender is sugar — all forms and especially fructose, which makes up half of sucrose and 55 percent of high-fructose corn syrup. One of the best ways to reduce your sugar intake is to stop drinking sodas and other sweet drinks, including fruit juices. Limiting alcohol, which may suppress fat-burning and add nutritionally empty calories, and avoiding refined carbohydrates like white bread and white rice are also helpful.
Make sure your diet contains adequate amounts of protein and dietary fiber, including vegetables, beans and peas and whole grains.
Get enough sleep — at least seven hours a night. In a study of 68,000 women followed for 16 years, those who slept five hours or less were a third more likely to gain 32 pounds.
Finally, move more. In a major national study, inactivity was more closely linked to weight gain and abdominal obesity than caloric intake. 

Jane Brody is the personal health columnist, a position she has held since 1976. She has written more than a dozen books including the best sellers “Jane Brody’s Nutrition Book” and “Jane Brody’s Good Food Book.”

Onyx Fitness Training

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

6 Ways Water Benefits Your Body That You Never Even Thought Of


6 Ways Water Benefits Your Body That You Never Even Thought Of

Cailyn Cox

We all know the importance of drinking water, and quite simply put, if you don't drink enough fluids, you will die. But do you know the exact reasons you should be drinking water, other than the age old saying that "it's good for you?"

Well, there's a lot of reasons why it's good for you, from improved brain health, to helping dissolve fats and soluble fibers, and below are six ways in which water benefits your body (that you may not have thought of before).

It helps maintain your body fluids: The body is made up of around 60 percent of water, which is used to conduct a number of different things. According to WebMD, these include regulating body temperature, the creation of saliva, digestion of food, and the absorption and transportation of nutrients across the body.

It can keep you full: Now we're not suggesting you live off water, but water, when combined with food has the ability to make you fuller, quicker. Which can result in you eating less, and therefore losing weight.

Helps your skin look radiant: Your skin helps prevent the loss of water, but when you are dehydrated your skin can appear wrinkly and dry — having enough water will, therefore, keep you looking radiant.

Promotes brain function: Your brain is made up of mostly water, so when you drink a lot of water your brain can function to its full potential, helping you to focus better and improving your concentration levels. Lack of water results in several issues, including struggles to focus, memory loss, and problems with your sleep.

Eliminates dehydration related illnesses: Headaches, joint pain, and cramps are often caused by dehydration, so drinking water will help to alleviate these symptoms. Dehydration can also cause fatigue and weakness.

Flush out waste: The digestive system needs water in order to function.

Onyx Fitness Training

4624 Hollywood Blvd

Hollywood, Fl 33021 

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