Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

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Monday, September 15, 2014

'Tis the Season for Pumpkin Spice ... Hold the Pumpkin?

I was astonished the other week when I saw pumpkins for sale outside the grocery stores. Upon entering the stores, I was surprised even further to see all the Halloween candy and decorations for sale.

Then finally, out come all the PUMPIN SPICE foods. Ugh.

Don't get me wrong. I adore pumpkin spice...when it involves real pumpkin, which is very healthy, abd when it includes actual spices, like cinnamon, which is also very healthy. But those popular pumpkin spice foods and drinks we are seeing everywhere contain neither.

They contain pumpkin spice flavoring, manufactured in a lab somewhere, and a lot...no, wait! A whole, whole lot of... you guessed it: SUGAR.

How crazy has the pumpkin spice craze gotten? First, I already mentioned how early in the season retailers are trotting out these products. Now consider the various processed food brands. 

Although I didn't check every ingredient list, it's probably safe to assume there is no real pumpkin in these products, but instead pumpkin flavoring and lots and lots of sugar. You've got your:


  • Eggo Waffles
  • M and Ms
  • Kraft Marshmallows
  • Oatmeal,
  • Oreo Cookies
  • Extra Chewing Gum
  • Milano Cookies
  • Chobani yogurt
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares
  • ...and of course the thing that started it all: PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES.

Starbucks was the first company to realize Americans can't get enough of pumpkin spice. Ten years ago they introduced their Pumpkin Spice Latte and their customers went bonkers over them.

They've sold over 200 million of the sugary drinks, making it their most popular seasonal beverage, beating-out all those unhealthy Christmas offerings like Eggnog and Peppermint Lattes.

Naturally, Dunkin' Doughnuts and McDonald's jumped on the Pumpkin Spice Latte bandwagon and have been experiencing enormous success with them. 


These products are very bad for your health! They project the illusion of goodness, home and hearth, evoking a feeling of wholesome nostalgia. But they are nothing more than sugar and artificial flavorings, which will destroy your body. 

McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Spice lattes contain high fructose corn syrup, fructose, potassium sorbate, and disodium phosphate. Starbucks' offering also contains potassium sorbate and lots of sugar and artificial flavors....NO PUMPKIN!

If you really have a craving for a pumpkin spice latte, make your own using real pumpkin, no chemicals, and very little sugar. There are lots of recipes online.

Here's one from the good folks at Betty Crocker:


2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tablespoons sugar (or less to taste!)
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have it, see below how to make your own)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat milk, pumpkin and sugar over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, the vanilla and coffee. Pour into 2 large mugs. For added flare, garnish each with whipped cream, dash pumpkin pie spice and a cinnamon stick.

Remember, pumpkin is a wonderfully healthy food. Canned is arguably better than fresh and it's affordable! Just make sure to check the pumpkin food you're eating actually contains pumpkin.

Or better yet, make it yourself!

posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 5:37 PM | Feedback (0)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lessons from the Death of Joan Rivers

Melissa Rivers is reportedly considering a medical malpractice lawsuit in connection with the death of her mother, legendary comedian Joan Rivers.

Despite her 81 years, Joan Rivers was in good health and was undergoing a routine procedure at an outpatient clinic on the upper east side of Manhattan when she went into cardiac arrest and later died.

Currently the New York State Health Department is investigating what went wrong, although so far, few details have been made public. However, medical experts have been speculating in the media that one or more mistakes may have been made related to her treatment, specifically the anesthesia used to sedate Rivers while an endoscope was used to examine her vocal cords.

If it turns out her death was due to negligence on the part of her medical caregivers, she would be among millions to have suffered a similar fate. In fact, medical error is the now the third leading cause of death in the Unites States. 

Although our country does offer the best medical care in the world, it is far from perfect. Patients need to become their own advocates and enter into medical treatment with wisdom and caution.

Consider the real-life story of Barbara Sheff Tocci, detailed in her recently released book,Practicing Medicine: I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

The healthy wife and mother developed an illness that led to a series of medical mistakes that nearly killed her. Improper treatments and side-effects to prescribed medications were only the tip of the iceberg.

One mishap after another developed into a nightmare that eventually caused a massive stroke, leaving her in constant pain and permanent disabilities.

Reading her story helps us understand how easy it is to blindly trust the wrong people. It illustrates the importance of doctors listening to their patients and why patients must insist upon being heard.

We can learn from her mistakes because what happened to her can happen to any of us and does happen to millions of others who enter into our healthcare system with fairly benign problems that cascade into catastrophic conditions.

In addition to it being a cautionary tale, Barbara's story is also inspirational. It's a story of faith and hope. Barbara shows us how, even after other people inflict devastating harm on us, we can take back our lives.

She shows us how she managed to grow both physically and spiritually in the wake of disaster. By following her example, we can too.

posted @ Friday, September 12, 2014 12:33 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Parents Beware: Outbreak 'Tip of the Iceberg'

Just as kids are beginning the new school year, a respiratory virus is sweeping the nation and it's expected to get worse. So far hundreds of children have been hospitalized, and the Centers for Disease Control say we will likely see many more.

Mark Pallansch, a virologist and director of the CDC's Division of Viral Diseases said this may be "just the tip of the iceberg in terms of severe cases."

So far, there are no reported deaths from the mysterious virus. Children's hospitals in the affected areas are reporting an average of a 15 percent increase in respiratory admissions.

The virus has been identified as Enterovirus D68. What's so baffling about this outbreak is that this particular strain of virus usually strikes in the bowels. This time, however, it's affecting the respiratory system, which is particularly dangerous for the millions of children who suffer from asthma.

Parents of children who have asthma or any other chronic condition, such as diabetes, need to be on high alert, as these children are most at risk for developing complications from EV D68. In fact, most of the patients admitted to the hospital already have asthma.

Infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with the EV D68 and become sick. The virus usually starts like the common cold. Symptoms include a cough, runny nose, and sneezing. But some young people will get a severe cough and have difficulty breathing and begin wheezing.

If this happens, parents should seek medical attention. They should also seek help if their child develops a fever or rash.

So far the virus is being seen mostly in the midwest, but the CDC says the outbreak is "unpredictable" and is "evolving." Twelve states have reported EV D68 outbreaks: Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Utah.

Since this is a virus, there is no specific treatment. Plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications will help ease symptoms in standard cases.

Patients who are hospitalized will likely receive assistance breathing and what's called "supportive therapy" to help their immune systems fight off the infection.

This virus spreads through close contact, much like the common cold. Parents are advised to teach their children basic hygiene.

The best prevention against bacterial and viral infections is to wash hands thoroughly (lathering for 20 seconds, or the time that it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice) and use hand sanitizer.

Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched, such as door knobs, television remotes, and kitchen items. Viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to two days.

Hugging, kissing, even shaking hands can spread the virus. Children should be taught not to share glasses and cups as well as silverware, and should avoid touching their mouth, eyes, or nose with unwashed hands.

Parents with sick children should keep them home to prevent spreading the virus. 

posted @ Tuesday, September 09, 2014 11:14 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

He Was Cancer Free in Three Months. Find Out What He Did

There is increasing hope in our battle against cancer. There are now more reasons than ever to make changes in our lifestyle to prevent getting it. Furthermore, those who have been given a diagnosis of cancer have every reason to employ alternative therapies to get rid of it.

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Russell and Marion Pyle. 

Russell was diagnosed with a type of bladder that would not respond to chemotherapy. The tumor was removed surgically. Doctors said other surgeries might be necessary, but the Pyles still need to wait three months for another biopsy to see where things stood.

Wisely, the Pyles didn't sit around worrying. The first thing they did was give this situation to God. Then they got busy online, learning the nature of cancer and what other people were doing to combat it.

They took that information and incorporated it into their lives. At the end of three months, Russell was cancer free.

Below is a synopsis of what they did, which can also be found in their new book, Healed, Healthy and Whole, as well as in my interview with them.


It didn't take long for the Pyles to learn that cancer looooooves sugar. The sugar we eat feeds cancer cells.

That is very bad news for most Americans, because the average person consumes 23 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which is insanely high, and sadly, just the tip of the iceberg.

 That added sugar doesn't even include all the other foods we eat that TURN INTO SUGAR as soon as we eat them, so they count as cancer fuel, too. These are carbohydrates, also known as starches, such as bread, hot dog and hamburger buns, tortillas, waffles, bagels, pizza crust, pancakes, muffins, corn chips, rice and so on.

If you cut these sugar-producing foods out of your diet, you simply deprive cancer of its food source, and starve it to death. This low carb diet, also called the Ketogenic Diet, is really gaining in popularity as more and more people are beginning to see how it kills cancer.



For optimum health, our body's pH should be balanced between acids and alkalines. The pH scale goes from 0 the most acidic, to 14, the most alkaline. Our blood is slightly above the middle, 7.

Just like a diet that is too full of carbohydrates can feed cancer cells, it appears that a highly acidic diet can have the same effect. Therefore, the Pyle's stopped consuming acidic foods and beverages such as coffee and many processed foods, and loaded-up on the more alkaline foods, such as vegetables and nuts.


Interest in using very high doses of vitamin C as a cancer treatment began when it was discovered that some properties of the vitamin may make it toxic to cancer cells.

 Therefore, Russell received full bags of Vitamin C intravenously, which he says not only hindered the growth of the cancer, but strengthened his immune system so it would be better able to fight his cancer.

People who are trying to prevent cancer may want to consider ample Vitamin C supplementation.


Science tells us that cancer cells hate oxygen. Therefore, an effective new treatment in killing cancer cells is to saturate them with oxygen.

This is accomplished with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Russell rested inside a pressurized chamber and breathed 100 percent pure oxygen. People who are trying to prevent cancer can increase their oxygen intake with cardiovascular exercise.


Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy uses electrical energy to direct a series of magnetic pulses through injured tissue whereby each magnetic pulse induces a tiny electrical signal that stimulates cellular repair.


Russell's mainstream treatment included using Bacillus Calmett-Guerin (BCG), which is a type of bacterium used to stimulate the bladder's own immune system so that it fights any toxin in the bladder itself.

posted @ Wednesday, August 27, 2014 11:34 AM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lorie's Challenge to Eat Green, Leafy Veggies Daily

In the quest to eat healthier, start with green, leafy vegetables.

The more researchers look into the cause of disease, invariable the trail leads to a poor diet. The Standard American Diet, "SAD," for short (yeah, it's sad for sure) is literally killing us. In a nutshell, the problem can be summed-up in two words: Processed Foods.

Sugar (a.k.a. High Fructose Corn Syrup), Trans Fats (a.k.a. "hydrogenated" oils) and Omega-6 Fats (a.k.a. Soy, Corn and Vegetable Oils), which make-up the foundation nearly all processed foods, are clearly identified as leading causes of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a long list of other health problems.

We simply must stop eating processed foods. This is much easier said than done because processed foods are so delicious, cheap and convenient. Yes, they are tempting, and it's hard to give them up, but they are massively destructive to our bodies.

One of the best ways to combat processed foods is to eat more green, leafy vegetables. Research tells us that when choosing a new behavior, be specific. So, for instance, instead of saying, "I'm going to eat better," you're more likely to succeed if you quantify your goal. A better vow is, "I'm going to eat at least one big serving of green, leafy vegetables EVERY DAY."

If you stick to it, you'll notice a number of positive changes in your life.

  1. Leafy, green vegetables are rich in fiber, so they'll reduce constipation. Also, that fiber fills you up, so you have less of an appetite for processed foods which translates into better health as well as weight loss.
  2. These vegetables are super-charged with vitamins and minerals, so right away, you'll feel better if you're not getting the proper vitamins and minerals already because such a depletion negatively affects the way your body and your brain function.
  3. Green, leafy vegetables have a very low glycemic index, which means your blood sugar will remain steady. You won't have those horrible swings in energy.
  4. When we invest ourselves in healthy habits, like eating green leafy vegetables daily,  we are psychologically less inclined to engage in unhealthy behavior.  We see this in people who exercise regularly. The idea behind it, is we see ourselves as healthy people, so we fulfill that ideal be living it out.

So what, exactly, are green leafy vegetables?

KALE is, in my opinion, the best one. I eat Kale in a salad every day. I buy it organic and pre-washed so all I have to do it put a big handful of it in a salad. Kale can have a pungent flavor, so I mix mine with spring greens, then add walnuts, avocado, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and homemade olive oil salad dressing with fresh garlic and herbs. So good!

MUSTARD GREENS, TURNIP GREENS AND COLLARD GREENS are other green, leafy vegetables like kale. Another great way to eat these super-foods is to rub the leaves in olive oil or tahini (sesame paste) and cook them for five minutes with garlic, avocado oil, and broth. They're also delicious in casserole or soups. Some people simply cook them plain and add a bit of salt and lemon juice.

CABBAGE is a green, leafy vegetable (even though it's not green, red cabbage still qualifies). Cabbage is the main ingredient in cole slaw and sauerkraut.

SPINACH and BROCCOLI are green, leafy vegetables. Most people are familiar with ways to incorporate those into the diet.

LETTUCE, in all its forms, such as ICEBERG, ROMAINE and ENDIVE, are green leafy vegetables, and are milder and more versatile than some of the options listed above. Consider using them as a "bed" for just about any main dish. It's amazing how much texture and taste lettuce adds to a normal meal.

One of my favorite uses for those big leaves is as the outside of a wrap. Two years ago I stopped eating grains, (which was one of the best things I've ever done. I HIGHLY recommend it!) and discovered I can still eat delicious wraps, but instead of a tortilla, use a nice, green, leafy vegetable in its place. That's a win-win!

Consider using the leafy greens as a nutritious "bed" for just about any entrée. Finally, there's the more salady-type greens, including romaine and endive, which make a great base for just about every salad but that can also be used as a substitute for bread to make sandwich "wraps."

The key to incorporating green, leafy vegetables into your diet is not to get overwhelmed. Just buy ONE and figure out how you'll consume it. Stick with just that one food, that one way, for a week or so or until you're ready to expand to something else.

Give it a try!  You'll be glad you did.

posted @ Thursday, August 21, 2014 3:29 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shocking Truth: 99 Others Committed Suicide the Same Day as Robin Williams

In the wake of the shocking suicide of Robin Williams, many of us have been contemplating the horrors of depression, bipolar disorder (someone who experiences extreme emotional highs, called mania, then lows) and suicide.

Robin Williams admitted struggling with depression and substance abuse, but never said whether he was ever diagnosed with bipolar disorder, although many suspect he suffered from it.

The sad truth is, on the day Robin Williams killed himself, about 99 other Americans did, too. Tragically, an average of 100 people commit suicide every day in America. That number is exploding.

In fact, the number of people who kill themselves is now greater than the number of people who die in car crashes. Baby-Boomers, like Robin Williams, are at particular risk. Their rate of suicide has risen by one-third in just the last decade!


Could it be cultural? As Baby-Boomers approach old age, those with misplaced values, like the ones our culture promotes, are at risk of falling into hopelessness. This happens one of two ways: either their dreams of fame or fortune were never realized, or their dreams of fame and fortune WERE realized and didn’t satisfy.

Real Meaning in Life

We read in the Old Testament about King Solomon, the wisest man in the world…and the most privileged. He had everything the culture back then, and our culture today, says will bring us satisfaction and meaning: money, power, sex, adoration.

But what did he discover? First, that all those things were meaningless and empty. Then secondly, that the purpose of life is to fear God and keep His commandments.

It seems like many people today come to Solomon’s first conclusion, which invokes hopelessness. Yet sadly, they never come to his second conclusion, which invokes hope.

The Bible tells us that Satan is “the father of lies.” He lies to us by telling us that external things will bring us joy and peace. If we believe that lie, as many people do, there will come a time when we’re, at the very least, disappointed, or at worst, suicidal, regardless of whether we attain our worldly goals.

If we don’t attain them, we feel like that failure is the source of our misery. If we do attain them, we feel that there is something wrong with US that they don’t satisfy. Either way, the end result is despair.

The Emptiness Within

Unrealistic expectations set us up for disappointment. We must never expect to find meaning and satisfaction from the world. Meaning, satisfaction, joy, and completeness come ultimately from God. As the old saying goes, “Each of us has a hole in our heart in the shape of God.”

Each and every one of us is created to have a relationship with God through Jesus. Without it, we are incomplete and unfulfilled. Many people recognize the void in their heart, but tragically, believe it can be filled with something other than a relationship with Jesus…things like money, career success, drugs, food, ambling, sex, material possessions, the admiration of people, alcohol, pleasure-seeking, and so on.

When they discover none of these things fills the emptiness and longing deep within, they fall into depression.

This is not to suggest that Christians do not get depressed, suffer from bipolar disorder, or become suicidal. They do.

How to Climb Out of the Pit

However the first step to climbing out of an emotional pit is to believe in the Lord Jesus and surrender your life to Him in every way, “casting your cares upon him because he cares for you.”

Remember that through the forgiveness of our sins based on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we have fellowship with the creator of the universe, who loves us, and we have the promise of eternity in heaven with Him. So no matter how bad it gets while we’re here on earth, we have the hope of a brighter future! As the Bible says, "Fix your mind on things above."

We know that depression, bipolar, and suicidal thoughts often coincide with drug or alcohol abuse. In fact, a full 60 percent of people with bipolar disorder also abuse drugs or alcohol.

Untreated substance abuse can make it impossible to manage the mood swings of bipolar, even tough to diagnose it, because alcohol and cocaine, for example, can make people appear manic when they are not.

The good news is, God can, and does, rescue people from these, and all forms of enslavement. And while our faith in the living savior is foundational, often, we additionally need the help from others, through support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and therapy from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

The latter is hard to find. Avoid a psychiatrist who simply is interested in prescribing medication only. There are a lot of those doctors out there. Keep in mind that therapy, talking through your issues, especially with a Christian therapist, is often the key to overcoming emotional problems.

When it comes to medication, I’ve spoken to experts on both sides of the issue. Some think the drugs are life-saving, others think they make the problem worse.

Warning Signs

Sometimes we are unsure about how to gauge the seriousness of our own feelings or the behavior of others. Here are the SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS in the form of the of a mnemonic: IS PATH WARM?

  • I - Ideation (formation of the concept)
  • S - Substance Abuse
  • P - Purposelessness
  • A - Anxiety
  • T - Trapped
  • H - Hopelessness
  • W - Withdrawal
  • A - Anger
  • R - Recklessness
  • M - Mood Changes

Even more serious are ACUTE WARNING SIGNS, which include threatening or talking about suicide (take this very seriously) and acquiring the implements (drugs, firearms) to carry it out.

If you see these in yourself or someone else, call this or another suicide hotline 1-800-273-TALK .

posted @ Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:34 PM | Feedback (0)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

This Sure-Fire Way WIll Improve Your Health... And It's Free!

What is a sure-fire way to improve your health that is free?

Laughter! It’s one of the most often overlooked ways we can, and should, live better.

Yes, the ability to laugh seems to come naturally to some people. But everyone, even the most serious personality types, can develop a funny bone. It’s a wonderful way to stay healthy!

As researchers examine the keys to longevity, they are now discovering overwhelming evidence that living long has a lot less to do with exercise and eating right than the way we THINK.

Just look at the majority of centenarians and you’ll notice they all have a zest for life, a natural curiosity and, yes, a sense of humor. You’ll notice a light-heartedness among people who’ve outlived their counterparts.

This is all about stress. Stress is far more devastating than most people realize. It literally debilitates your entire system. Anger, fear, unforgiveness and yes, a sour attitude all contribute toward stress.

Conversely, letting go of anger, resentment, and taking ourselves too seriously immediately contribute toward stress relief and an overall healthier you. Research shows:

  1. Laughter improves your heart.
    Our blood vessels function more efficiently when we laugh because blood flow increases, which protects us against heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
  2. Laughter is a natural painkiller.
    Just like when we exercise, when we have a good laugh, our body releases endorphins, nature’s painkillers. They are those feel-good chemicals that make us feel happy…some say it’s like a “natural high.” In fact, scientists say endorphins are so powerful, they rival the impact morphine has on our body, but with only good side-effects!
  3. Laughter relaxes the body. It’s a natural stress reliever.
    In fact, the effect of a good laugh lingers for 45 minutes, in the form of less physical tension and greater muscle relaxation.
  4. Laughter also boosts the immune system.
    Tickling the funny bone causes ugly stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to diminish. When that happens, your body increases its production of disease-fighting antibodies, which kill all those pesky bugs that circulate during cold and flu season.

So are you one of those people who take life too seriously? You can change. Just make an effort to lighten-up and it will get easier.

So how do you laugh more?

  1. The first step is to smile. Smiling leads to laughter. One thing you’ll notice right away is that when you smile at people, they smile back.
  2. Take it a step further, and you’ll notice that laughter is contagious, too! If you spend time around a bunch of people who are constantly uptight and frowning, just remember, you can single-handedly turn things around. Make it a point to joke, and smile, lighten the mood whenever possible, and just watch how others will follow suit without even knowing it.
  3. Seek out people who laugh and smile, and spend more time with them.
  4. Watch funny television shows, movies, or even listen to funny podcasts or CDs in your car. Watch funny YouTube videos.
  5. Look at the humor in yourself and in less-than-perfect situations.

Don’t be surprised if you suddenly have more friends. Everyone wants to be around people who have mastered those skills. And it only takes practice.

Laughter is a fantastic way to diffuse conflict. In the morning, make a conscious effort, a vow, if you will, to joke about yourself and sticky situations in the day ahead.

Having a good sense of humor isn’t just about adding levity to stressful situations. It can be a way of commenting on the everyday situations as well.

I am so very grateful for the jokesters in the CBN News room. Recently on “The 700 Club,” we aired two stories about James Brown, who had an amazing Christian testimony. One of the stories was about the new biopic based on his life and the other was the re-airing of an interview James Brown did with “The 700 Club,” back in the 1980s.

One of the women in the news room, Andrea Garrett, in honor of our recent emphasis on James Brown, sent an email around with a link to the hilarious James Brown parody Eddie Murphy performed on Saturday Night Live, that at the time was wildly popular it became a pop culture phenomenon. What a laugh we all had!

For a good laugh, here it is for you:

James brown celebrity hottub by codordog

Thanks Andrea, for making work more enjoyable and for extending my life a bit, to boot!

posted @ Sunday, August 10, 2014 7:22 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Ebola Virus Can Be Killed with Soap and Water

America, and even much of the world, is currently captivated by the Ebola virus that has, since its discovery in 1976, killed less than 2,000 people.

The reason people are so frightened by the virus is because of two factors: there is no cure, and if you are infected with it, you are more likely to die than survive. The current outbreak carries with it a 55 percent death rate. Other outbreaks have soared into the 90 percent mortality range.

The good news is that Ebola is not spread in the air. You get it from direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids such as blood, sweat, vomit, or feces. So for developed countries that's encouraging because the Ebola virus can be killed simply with soap and warm water.

With that in mind, one wonders how more than 1,000 people have contracted it. The answer is, they don't wash their hands. They don't even wear gloves in hospitals, oftentimes, wear protective masks, or even use disinfectant and clean needles!

They touch - with their bare hands - dead people who haven't even been washed, who've died from Ebola, at funerals.

Fortunately, in recent days, through education and the involvement of other countries, these practices are changing. There are now buckets of diluted bleach scattered about villages for people to wash their hands. Some African governments are insisting that Ebola victims be cremated, and hospitals are receiving the gloves, masks, and needles they need.

The two American aide workers who contracted Ebola in Africa are back in American now, reportedly undergoing both traditional and experimental treatments.

Traditional treatments include strengthening the patient's immune system to help the body naturally fight off the virus. This means balancing their fluids, maintaining their oxygen levels and blood pressure, and treating them for any complicating infections.

The experimental treatment includes taking a drug called ZMapp, developed by a California-based biotech company called Mapp. The drug has reportedly only been tested on monkeys so far. But it was successful in those trials.

The ZMapp three-antibody cocktail isn't a vaccine. Instead, it provides an artificial immune response against proteins on the outside of the Ebola virus. 

It's highly unusual for humans to receive drugs like ZMapp that have not completed the series of trials, including human testing, required by the Food And Drug Administration. However, the FDA does allow the use of a drug before its approval, in extreme cases, if a patient's situation warrants.

It's unclear why the American patients are not taking an experimental Ebola drug developed by a Canadian company, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, as their drug has advanced to human trials. However, like ZMapp, it has also not yet been approved for general use.

Considering the deaths of about 900 African Ebola victims with this current outbreak, both drugs may be fast-tracked for approval to treat the victims there.

Meanwhile, an Ebola vaccine is in the works, but reportedly still a ways off.

Symptoms of Ebola are much like the flu:

  • fever,
  • headache,
  • joint and muscle aches,
  • sore throat, and
  • weakness,
  • followed by diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain.

In some cases, the disease causes rashes, red eyes, and hiccups. 

Unfortunately, a person can be infected, and contagious for a couple of days up to a few weeks before they start experiencing symptoms. That means infected people can literally travel the world virtually undetected.

Ebola kills by destroying the function of critical organs such as the liver and kidneys, as well as causing extensive internal and even external, bleeding.

posted @ Tuesday, August 05, 2014 12:28 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bottoms Up! How to Be Healther and More Confident at Work

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona, to interview a world-famous physician who practices at the Mayo Clinic.

Many people are unaware of the fact that in addition to Rochester, Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic also has a center in Arizona. Although it was an unseasonably hot July, even for Arizona, with temperatures averaging 115 degrees each day, the scenery was absolutely breathtaking and I can't wait to go back. Although next time I'll try to go in January!

I was delighted to interview Dr. James Levine, the inventor of the wildly successful treadmill desk. Fifteen years ago, Dr. Levine was researching the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

What he and his team discovered is that sitting for prolonged periods of time is utterly catastrophic for our health. Even if we exercise, let's say, an hour a day (which let's face it, not many people do) if we then sit for hours at a time, we are literally destroying our health.

The science is overwhelming. Sitting for a long time leads to obesity and a whole host of other health hazards. This comes as no surprise to most of us, especially those of us who have desk jobs, because it's simply unnatural to live on our bottoms. God did not make us this way. We were designed to move around. 

That's when Dr. Levine got the brilliant idea for a treadmill desk. He started out with a garage sale model and simply put a few books on it with duct tape to fashion a makeshift platform for his computer.

It worked like a charm. The idea is to walk at a very slow pace, such as 1.3 miles per hour, so you don't work up a sweat, so you aren't out of breath for phone calls, and so you can easily type or read.

The cool thing is, even at that slow pace, you can end up walking about 30 miles a week! Even better is the fact that you don't have to go to the gym after work because you have already gotten an adequate amount of exercise while you worked! Gotta love that multi-tasking!

Dr. Levine consulted with a company that makes fancy treadmill desks that cost over $1,000. They have all the bells and whistles and well worth the money if you can afford it. However, if that's not in your budget, there are other treadmill desks selling for about $500.

Then again, you can just make your own with a regular ol' treadmill and any type of desk you can make yourself to fit over the treadmill.

While I was interviewing some people who use treadmill desks, I was surprised to notice that, not only could they still concentrate on their work while walking, they all said their focus is IMPROVED! How could that be? Yes, they said they had better clarity than they did sitting.

I asked Dr. Levine about that, and he said it's a scientific fact. When we sit down, our mind becomes lazy, just like our body.

This is especially true during the low circadian rhythm hours in the early afternoon. When we are moving, those mental lulls, those energy lows, are mitigated because of the increased oxygen pumping through our bodies and into our brains which comes from exercise. Fascinating!

Sadly, some of us are not able to have treadmill desks right now. I, for one, work in a beautiful news room that is also part of our news set. That means our work space is on national television every day. So we have to keep the place looking spiffy, and treadmill desks simply do not fit the décor. Alas.

The good news, however, is the next best thing to a treadmill desk is a STANDING DESK. Just like the treadmill desk, you can buy a fancy expensive one, and I saw them. Those babies are nice. They have little buttons that raise and lower the desk to whatever height you wish, with just the flip of a switch.

Then again, for those with a more modest budget you can just easily make your own.

I asked Dr. Levine if standing was all that much better than sitting and he said ABSOLUTELY! He said he was surprised at that himself but the science proved its truth.

Studies show that when people are standing at their desks, they actually do move. Upon close examination, people don't usually stand still. They are constantly in motion, shifting from side to side, etc. While you're up, you're more likely to walk somewhere, such as to get a drink, talk to a co-worker, and so on.

So stand-up desks are a vast improvement over sitting.

One of my co-workers remarked that she has more mental clarity and energy now that she uses a standing desk. She also noted the psychological effect of standing while working.

She said, "It makes me feel so powerful and in control!" Yes, that makes sense! You go, girl!

So get off that rear end! Walk while you work, or at least stand while you work...for better health, improved mental clarity, and more confidence! What's not to like?

posted @ Thursday, July 31, 2014 6:14 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Sweeping The Nation

Even though it's the middle of summer, a particularly aggressive virus is attacking communities all across America. Almost all its victims are kids. It's the coxsackie virus, also known as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. This is NOT to be confused with Mad Cow disease or Foot and Mouth disease, which are different.

Coxsackie virus is one of the few viruses that's common in the summer. It's highly contagious.

The good news is it usually clears-up on its own within 10 days, often sooner, with no lasting complications. But the bad news is its victims are in a great deal of discomfort while it's working it's running its course.

CBN News Internet producer Sarah knows about this first hand. Her 15-month-old Jay is recovering from the Coxsackie virus now. She said her first clue was his high fever and fussiness that kept him up in the middle of the night.

"He was inconsolable, which is not like him," she said. "Sometimes he's fussy from teething, but this was not the usually fussiness."

Then came the tell-tale rash a day later. As the virus' nickname implies, the rash is usually most noticeable on the hands, feet , including the soles, around the mouth and down the throat. As you might imagine, it's itchy and painful, making children climb the walls. Other areas such as the buttocks and genitals may be involved. Some kids deal with it in their eyes.

"At first I noticed his lips were unusually red," Sarah recalled of the first day with the fever. "Then the blisters showed up all over his lips, on his hands, and down his legs the next day."

Sarah couldn't imagine how her son picked-up the virus.

"I didn't take him anywhere. He mostly stays at home. He's not around a whole lot of kids," she said.

Then she remembered taking Jay to the doctor for his 15-month check-up a few days earlier. She now believes Jay probably picked up the virus doctor's office, since Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is very contagious.

Most doctors will recommend parents give their child with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce the fever and discomfort. Mouthwashes and sprays may lessen the oral irritation. Fluids are also suggested to prevent dehydration.  For more information about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, the Centers For Disease Control has a whole web page devoted to it.

However, acidic juices may irritate the mouth ulcers. Cold milk may sooth the oral discomfort. Sarah gave Jay lots of milk, which he gladly preferred above anything else.

Some physicians also recommend Benadryl to treat the itching. And tepid oatmeal baths and oatmeal lotion (Aveeno) can help soothe the skin irritation. All those treatments worked for little Jay, and then the moment of peace....when after all that anguish, he finally fell asleep!

Prevention of coxsackie virus infections is nearly impossible because it requires children to be extremely hygienic. Regularly cleaning items they contact, especially toys, pacifiers, and any items they may place in their mouths, may help. Hand washing, as usual, is the best prevention technique. Currently there's no vaccine for it.

Pregnant women should avoid contact with children (or adults) with Hand, Food and Mouth Disease, because some studies suggest that coxsackie virus may cause developmental and other defects in the fetus.

posted @ Thursday, July 17, 2014 7:00 PM | Feedback (0)