National Parks Threatened by Climate Change

Thinking of planning a trip to a national park you’ve always wanted to visit? You may not want to wait. Experts say national parks from coast to coast are threatened, both their landscapes and wildlife, due to global warming.

“Many of the effects of climate change have been happening faster than anybody expected, and all the parks are in some way experiencing them, whether it’s drought leading to wildfires or coastlines that are vulnerable to sea-level rise,” reported Mark Wenzler, the director of clean-air and climate programs for the National Parks Conservation Association. Some parks are even at risk of losing their most iconic features; for example, the glaciers of Glacier National Park are melting and may disappear within the next two decades.

Threatened National Parks
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Katmai National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Ellis Island National Monument, New York and New Jersey
Everglades National Park, Florida
Glacier National Park, Montana

To read more about why these National Parks are endangered and what you can do to help CLICK HERE

Courtesy of AARP

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For a Quick Dessert: Baby Tiramisu

If you’re a fan of the classic Italian dessert Tiramisu, try this quick, lower-calorie variation the next time you need a dessert in a hurry. Both types of ladyfingers—spongy and crunchy—work well.

Ingredients
1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese, (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 ladyfingers, (about 1 3/4 ounces)
4 tablespoons brewed espresso, or strong coffee, divided
2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tip)

Preparation
1.Combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
2.Place 6 ladyfingers in a 9-by-5-inch (or similar size) loaf pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Spread the ricotta mixture over the ladyfingers. Place another layer of ladyfingers over the ricotta and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Tips & Notes
To melt chocolate: Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.

Nutrition
Per serving: 107 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 3 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 0 g fiber; 125 mg sodium; 29 mg potassium.

Courtesy of Eating Well

How BPA Exposure May Affect You

If you eat canned vegetables, microwave leftovers in a hard plastic container, or use a plastic baby bottle to feed your grandchild, you could be exposing yourself and others to Bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogen-like chemical that the federal government is concerned could cause health problems.

Reversing its long-standing contention that BPA is safe, last month the Food and Drug Administration announced that it has “some concern” about the chemical’s effect on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children. Researchers also have linked the chemical to sexual problems, heart disease and other health issues in adults.

BPA is used to make hard plastic bottles, liners in food cans and a host of other everyday items. One federal study found that more than 90 percent of Americans have traces of BPA in their urine.

The chemical doesn’t just pose a health threat to children, some experts say. Studies have linked it to heart disease, prostate problems, erectile dysfunction and breast cancer. Although it doesn’t build up in the body, researchers say exposure is so common that many Americans have a near-constant level in their systems.

FDA hints at more regulation

But health officials have yet to state publicly that BPA poses an immediate danger to humans.

“If we thought it was unsafe, we would be taking strong regulatory action,” said Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., the principal deputy commissioner of the drug agency, at a news briefing.

But in recent weeks the FDA also has refused to state unequivocally that BPA is safe. The agency is conducting its own studies on BPA and, Sharfstein says, it expects to have the results of that research in about two years.

In the meantime, he says, the FDA is “taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply,” by encouraging industry to stop producing baby bottles and infant feeding cups containing BPA and helping manufacturers find an alternative lining for cans.

While the FDA’s procedures may baffle some consumers, it actually marks a significant step toward enhanced regulation of BPA, says Fred vom Saal, professor of reproductive biology at the University of Missouri.

“The FDA reversing position is rare to say the least,” says vom Saal, who has been researching the chemical for more than a decade. “They are essentially acknowledging that … [their] last risk assessment on BPA was flawed and its conclusions were not based on logical interpretation of science. That’s big.”

What BPA does in the human body

The controversial chemical acts like estrogen in the body, throwing off the body’s regulation of those hormones, says William Lee, M.D., metabolic cardiologist at the Patients Medical Center in New York. It breaks down and binds to estrogen receptors, but the chemical is “much more potent” than estrogen hormones, says Lee. High concentrations of it disrupt insulin production, which in turn leads to excess triglycerides in the bloodstream. “And that means higher heart disease risk, liver damage, obesity, et cetera,” Lee says.

Potentially greater threat to older adults

BPA exposure could be more harmful to older adults than to younger adults, says Lee. “Once men pass age 40 estrogen levels increase naturally, and helping that process along is not necessarily healthy,” he warns.

For example, Lee says, men with prostate disorders tend to have elevated estrogen levels, so artificially boosting estrogen through BPA exposure could have negative effects on the prostate. Published in the November 2009 issue of the journal Human Reproduction, a government-funded study found that men in China who handled BPA at factories were four times as likely to report sexual dysfunction as factory workers who had no exposure to the chemical. Workers exposed to BPA were seven times as likely as others to have difficulty ejaculating, the study found.

Conversely, women lose estrogen as they age. So, Lee says, women’s bodies may mask the damaging effects of BPA, including an increased risk of breast cancer.

Courtesy of AARP

To continue reading CLICK HERE

Get Healthy For Free!

10 ways to get healthy (and stay that way) for free.

1. Don’t buy your next fitness DVD
Join the local library, for the workout DVDs. Most libraries have a big selection, the perfect antidote to a boring (and pricey) gym routine. And because the key to sticking with exercise is to keep it interesting, you can switch it up (cheaply) as often as you want.

2. Get a free skin checkup
The Skin Cancer Foundation will provide free skin screenings during its Road to Healthy Skin Tour from April to September 2010. Check SkinCancer.org this spring for availability in your area.

3. Order a free health calendar
Go to WomensHealth.gov/pub/calendar for the National Women’s Health Information Center’s 2010 calendar. It lists recommended health tests, reveals surprising symptoms of serious health conditions, and offers important advice on how to read drug labels and get a second opinion.

4. Get a free radon test
Radon, an odorless natural gas present in many homes, is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers. January is National Radon Action Month, so visit EPA.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html to check the availability of free or low-cost test kits in your state.

5. Do a smoke checkup
Some local fire departments offer smoke alarms (a potential lifesaver, considering up to 20% of the alarms installed in people’s homes don’t even work) for free or at discounted prices. Speaking of smoke: if you’re trying to stop smoking, call 800-784-8669 to find a coach who’ll help you kick the nasty habit for free. Quitting will not only save you money but also lower your risks for heart disease and cancer.

6. Create a medical family tree
Start planning a healthier future today by asking relatives about their health conditions and those of your ancestors. Then visit FamilyHistory.hhs.gov to create a free Family Health Portrait that reveals your risks. Raising health awareness this way can help lower your risk of major diseases.

7. Save $170 in the shower
That’s how much you can cut from your water bill each year by taking shorter, cooler showers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Your budget and your skin will thank you. Hot water causes blood vessels to expand, causing you to lose more moisture, says Jeannette Graf, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. To keep your skin soft and supple, limit showers to around five minutes and think warm, not hot.

8. Boost your immunity
To help keep winter colds at bay, get free samples of Emergen-C powdered multivitamin packs at EmergenC.com. Each packet contains 1,000 milligrams of vita-min C—more than 10 times your daily requirement—plus other antioxidants and energy-boosting B vitamins.

9. Try a new sport
You’ve always wanted to try cross-country skiing, right? As part of its anniversary sale Jan. 9, WinterTrails.org will help you try it for free at a location near you.

10. Talk it out
There’s a free self-help group out there for what­ever is bothering you, whether it’s physical or mental. Check Mentalhelp.net/selfhelp, a searchable database of about 1,000 support groups for people dealing with acne, addictions, allergies, breast cancer, headaches, infertility, eating disorders, OCD, parenting, and many more issues.

Courtesy of Health Magazine

For the full article CLICK HERE

Au Revoir, Adieu, Adios Michelle!

So Michelle, our marketeing specialist and warehouse manager, has left us here in the northwest. She is moving back to Michigan with her husband Jared and their dog-child Duke. We really appreciate all the work she has done here at Professional Medical: bringing the warehouse together, researching all those special order items to find our clients the best item at the best price, and designing our marketing tools. The best of luck to you Michelle! Enjoy those wild temperature swings, great lakes, and deciduous forest.

Michelle also has a blog, quite amusing I might add, at the following address…365 Holidays