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Updated: 43 min 40 sec ago

When It Comes to Winter Roof Checkups, the Attic Is Your Friend

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 1:41pm
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(NewsUSA) - You know you're supposed to do it twice a year. But what homeowner relishes the thought of climbing a ladder to check the health of his roof -- as key to a home's energy efficiency as that roof might be -- when the weather is turning sharply colder outside?

Well, as it turns out, while even a quick, eyeball roof-check is recommended this time of year, there's a fallback option.

You could just check your attic instead.

"Roofs actually create an insulated barrier that helps trap heat inside, and most attic spaces are located right below them," explains Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence. "That makes them perfect for spotting potential problem areas and damage without worrying about falling."

Here's some tips on what to look for:

* Water leaks. As sure as cable companies will do anything to avoid a la carte pricing, it will soon storm. And when it does, shine a flashlight up in the attic in search of not just dripping water and condensation, but also water stains on the ceiling, walls and floor. All are signs that H2O is finding its way under your roof's shingles or behind its flashings.

* Animal damage. You don't want to know the havoc refuge-seeking birds, bats, squirrels and raccoons can cause. So anything suspicious -- nests, droppings and gnawed wood, wires or insulation -- merits an immediate call to a pest professional.

* Ventilation. "Think of the attic as the lungs of the house," says Joplin. "It has to be able to breathe in order to function properly." Meaning, if your vents are stuffed with debris, they need to be cleared.

* Structure. Any hint of a sagging roof -- look up for this one -- could signal potential structural weakness requiring professional repair.

But wait. You say you love the cold as much as you do the spring (the recommended time for a second annual roof check-up)? If so, you can still inspect for structural deformities without risking your neck on a treacherous ladder by using binoculars to zoom in on everything from loose shingles to broken gutters.

And if prolonging your roof's life is truly your goal, experts say it pays to consult a professional roofing contractor who's insured and uses quality materials like Timberline American Harvest shingles from GAF, North America's largest roofing manufacturer. A free service that makes it easy to find a factory-certified contractor in your area can be found at www.gaf.com.

Is It Time to Sell Your Structured Settlement for Cash?

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 1:36pm
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(NewsUSA) - It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Maybe you were in an auto accident, and for whatever reason -- taxes spring to mind -- you agreed to forgo a large, lump-sum payout from the other driver's insurance company in favor of small periodic payments. Or maybe your child was born with a birth defect that Big Pharma was held legally liable for, and all you could think about was making sure the money to care for him would be flowing in for decades.

Whatever the case, you've decided that "structured settlement," as it's called, no longer works for you.

Now what?

"Sometimes cashing in is the only option," says Bankrate.com. "That $500 monthly payment from an accident in 2002 may have helped with the medical bills early on, but if the beneficiary has now lost his job and is on the verge of losing a home, a lump-sum payout of $50,000 may seem quite enticing."

In fact, an estimated $6 billion in structured settlements are bought or sold in any given year. Not all players are alike, though, so you'll want to be sure you don't just automatically call the 1-800 number you saw in some come-on TV ad.

One new web-based entry in the field, SellMyAnnuity.net, stands out for the care it takes to make the process utterly transparent for potential sellers. It's not just that it provides hundreds of examples of past sales -- including six-figure ones -- to give you an idea of what to expect before requesting to be contacted by an agent. No, it actually features PDFs of signed court documents.

Did you get that? PDFs. Of. Signed. Court. Documents.

"We're committed to providing more information about structured settlement annuity sales than any other company in the industry," says Todd Albert, SellMyAnnuity's chief technology officer. "And we'll help people determine whether they should sell, how many payments they want to sell, and of course make sure they get as much money as possible as fast as possible."

The website also explains how various federal and state laws exist to protect you from doing anything foolish. Chief among them: Even after you've accepted an offer, a court judge who's heard your reasons for trading future payments for an immediate lump sum must confirm the sale is in your "best interest."

"You can't turn a structured settlement into cash just because you'd like a new car," says Albert. "But things like buying or repairing a home, starting a business, funding a college education and paying off debt can be acceptable."

Pest Proof Now to Protect Homes for Winter

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 1:34pm
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(NewsUSA) - As the cold winter months quickly approach, people won't be the only ones huddling inside for warmth. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to take steps to prevent pests like cockroaches, rodents and nuisance wildlife from making your home their winter getaway.

Winter invaders such as cockroaches, mice and rats present considerable health threats to family members. Cockroaches carry bacteria and other kinds of human pathogens, contaminating food surfaces and potentially triggering asthma attacks in children, and with 24 percent of homeowners reporting mice infestations specifically in the winter, they are among the top pest issues of the season. Most rodents only need a space the size of a quarter to enter a home, and once inside, they can cause considerable damage and pose serious health risks to people and structural damage to homes, as they are known for chewing through electrical wires and wallboard.

Nuisance wildlife such as raccoons and squirrels can also be an issue in the colder months and may present a unique set of dangers due to their size and aggressive nature if they are frightened or feel threatened when trapped in an unfamiliar environment. Lastly, homeowners should check wood piles for ants and spiders that can often be hiding within.

Prevention is the best way to avoid an infestation during the winter months. NPMA offers these 10 important measures for homeowners as the temperatures begin to drop:

* Seal cracks and holes, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.

* Screen vents and openings to chimneys.

* Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

* Replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement foundation and windows.

* Keep tree branches, shrubbery and ground covering well trimmed and away from the house.

* Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.

* Store boxes off of the floor to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.

* Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles, as some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.

* Store garbage in containers with lids.

To find a pest professional or learn more about how to protect your family from the diseases and dangers of pests, visit www.pestworld.org.

Mes de la Hispanidad inspira liderazgo, empoderamiento, sentido comunitario

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 12:07pm
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(NewsUSA) - Al celebrar el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, temas inspiradores tales como el liderazgo, el empoderamiento y el sentido comunitario tomarán un lugar central.

Durante las próximas semanas, los casi 54 millones de estadounidenses y latinoamericanos hispanos que viven actualmente en los EE.UU. celebrarán su patrimonio cultural con amigos, familiares y sus comunidades. Lo que experimentarán es una sensación general de orgullo como ninguna otra.

Desde el 15 de septiembre hasta el 15 de octubre, los EE.UU. rendirán homenaje a las contribuciones, historias y tradiciones de estadounidenses cuyos ancestros vinieron de México, España y países de habla hispana en el Caribe, América Central y América del Sur.

Las fechas son importantes porque representan la independencia de cinco países latinoamericanos: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua y Costa Rica. Además, México también declaró su independencia el 16 de septiembre y Chile el 18 de septiembre.

En reconocimiento de este mes histórico, JCPenney se asociará con Gonzo Soccer y su fundadora, Mónica González. González, ex jugadora profesional de fútbol y ahora analista de fútbol y locutora de ESPN, creó Gonzo Soccer una academia de liderazgo que ofrece a niñas entre los 8 a 16 años de sectores más vulnerables, entrenamiento de fútbol y valiosas habilidades de liderazgo y preparación para la vida con el fin de fomentar su crecimiento y darles la posibilidad de desarrollar todo su potencial como atletas y estudiantes.

Con esta asociación, JCPenney cree que puede honrar no sólo lo que estas niñas pueden lograr en el campo de futbol, sino también su compromiso para tener éxito como mujeres, atletas, y como miembros orgullosos de la vibrante comunidad hispana. Para empezar, JCPenney ofrecerá una clínica de fútbol gratuita en Houston el 30 de septiembre donde González enseñará ejercicios, trucos y consejos de fútbol para jóvenes de la zona. JCPenney equipará a las niñas con su línea de ropa deportiva Xersion y les ofrecerá las últimas tendencias en peinados deportivos por estilistas del salón JCP. Los amigos y familiares están invitados a asistir y animar a las jóvenes mientras disfrutan de la música, la comida y la diversión.

"Mónica y sus chicas demuestran fuerza, poder y perseverancia a través de su dedicación al deporte y queremos celebrarlo con ellas mientras aceptamos su herencia hispana", dice Lyris Leos, director de marketing multicultural de JCPenney.

Para más información, visite www.facebook.com/JCPenneyLatino.

3 Fishermen Rescued at Sea Thanks to GPS Device

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 8:35am
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(NewsUSA) - The effective use of the VehSmart GPS device likely saved a trio of fishermen from Ecuador after their boat was attacked by robbers. The fishermen were sailing their small boat, Luis Miguel, southwest of the Santa Elena peninsula, when they were overtaken by robbers who stole their personal belongings and the boat's motor before locking them in a storage compartment, according to the Ecuadorean Navy (DIRNEA).

The fishermen were able to break out of the compartment and deploy the "panic button" on the VehSmart GPS device installed on the boat. This feature links directly to Ecuador's National Emergency Response System, and a Coast Guard team was able to locate and rescue the fishermen within three hours.

The VehSmart system is built around a small, portable device that, among other features, pinpoints the user's location and allows anyone on the vessel to activate a distress call in case of emergency. The Luis Miguel was equipped with the GPS locator technology as part of a pilot program to install GPS systems in 4,000 small artisanal fishing vessels.

The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries (MAGAP) of Ecuador and is designed to provide fishermen with greater security and peace of mind against threats of piracy and the often dangerous marine environment. In addition, the VehSmart technology allows authorities to monitor the fleet's movements to help prevent overfishing in certain areas and to protect zones that are off-limits for fishing.

The GPS technology used in the Ecuadorean fishing fleet combines VehSmart's telematics and the SmartOne satellite transmitter from Globalstar, Inc.

"The installation only requires less than 15 minutes, which is a small investment to ensure someone's safety," said Brad Merritt, president of VehSmart.

"Only vessels registered under the program receive this protection, and MAGAP is encouraging the artisanal fishing community to take the time to have the units installed as quickly as possible," according to a statement from VehSmart. Without the GPS technology, the fishermen could have drifted for days or been lost at sea.

Visit www.vehsmart.com for more information about the range of GPS products and services available from VehSmart.

Majority of Moms and Moms-to-Be Believe in Public Breastfeeding

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 11:30am
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(NewsUSA) - Attitudes and opinions can vary greatly when it comes to public breastfeeding. Yet, when it comes to the opinion that matters most -- the mother's -- a recent survey suggests that "breast is best."

Highlighting breastfeeding attitudes and behaviors of moms and expecting moms around the U.S., the 2014 Lansinoh Global Breastfeeding Survey found that more than half of women surveyed say that breastfeeding in public is perfectly natural (57 percent).

Other key findings included:

* Ninety-three percent of moms believe that "breast is best" when it comes to feeding babies. That number increases to 98 percent for moms who are pregnant with their first baby.

* "Mommy Guilt" is real. In fact, 64 percent of moms say they would feel guilty if they did not breastfeed.

* The majority of moms (86 percent) who choose to breastfeed do so because of the health benefits for baby. Forming a close bond with baby (5 percent) and to save money by not buying formula (5 percent) were distant second-place reasons.

"These data show that moms today have the best interest of their baby's health in mind when forming their breastfeeding goals and opinions," said Gina Cicatelli Ciagne, CLC and Vice President of Healthcare & Media Relations, Lansinoh Laboratories. "Yet, ultimately, there are many other factors moms navigate when making their decision."

One such factor is whether to use breast pumps. According to the survey, more than three-fourths of moms have used -- or plan to use -- breast pumps. That number is highest with expecting moms, with 82 percent saying they plan to use pumps, and the remaining 18 percent unsure whether they will or not.

It's important to note that the survey was very careful in choosing its participants.

"We wanted to talk to moms who are currently breastfeeding, as well as those who recently stopped, because understanding how they feel is the best way to support today's breastfeeding moms, whether it's through new breastfeeding products or with workplace policies and government support," said Ciagne.

To read the full survey, visit www.lansinoh.com/globalsurvey.

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Taking a Holistic Approach to Fit Living

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:54am
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(NewsUSA) - Is the holistic approach the way to go when it comes to your own and your children's health?

That's certainly the advice of a variety of experts who say that a more big-picture view of "fit living" -- meaning, beyond the usual warnings to, say, exercise more -- can actually help improve your overall quality of life.

Among the latest to weigh in: WebMD and Sanford Health, which recently unveiled their "Raising Fit Kids" informational guide that's replete with ideas on how "families can work together" to make positive behavioral changes in all aspects of their lives. "Being fit is about being healthy," says Dr. Chris Tiongson, a pediatrician with Sanford Health whose focus is childhood obesity. "It's a balance between mind, body and spirit, and having everything be in sync."

That same "balance," in fact, has long been advocated by doctors of chiropractic -- the nation's third largest primary health care profession -- who, along with providing non-invasive relief from things like back and neck pain, are trained in a wide range of conservative treatment and preventive services centered around lifestyle and nutrition.

"A holistic approach to fit living presents a great opportunity to improve overall health and well-being for a lifetime," says Gerard Clum, DC, of the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.

High on every chiropractor's tip list:

* Take steps to manage stress.

* Make time for daily physical activity.

* Emphasize whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet.

* Maintain a healthy weight.

Need more convincing? Adopting a holistic strategy that includes chiropractic care, says Dr. Clum, "can help to successfully address consequential conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, which are commonly associated with obesity and poor health."

To locate a doctor of chiropractic, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.

Wineries Speak Up About the Benefits of Using Natural Cork

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 9:13am
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(NewsUSA) - A growing list of leading wineries, including St. Francis, Bogle and Fetzer, are speaking up about the benefits of using natural cork. They recognize that not only does natural cork allow wines to age perfectly, but using natural cork also provides a potential competitive advantage when it comes to marketing their wine brands.

According to Wines & Spirits "25th Annual Survey of Top 50 Restaurant Wine Brands," wines finished primarily with cork accounted for 90 percent of the brands selected in these top restaurants. This represents a 21 percent increase from a decade ago, compared to a 39 percent decline in wines with screw caps and a 70 percent drop for those with synthetic closures.

"These survey figures are consistent with the Aug. 16, 2014, Nielsen scan of the Top 100 Premium Brands, which showed that since the start of 2010, there has been a steady increase in cork's market share -- with a 30 percent positive slope for cork-finished wines compared to a 9 percent slope for wines with alternative closures," commented Peter Weber, Executive Director of the Cork Quality Council (CQC).

Christopher Silva, President and CEO of St. Francis, said, "We believe that natural cork is an integral part of the romance of the wine experience. There is nothing that can duplicate the iconic 'pop' when a cork is pulled from the bottle."

Silva said that his winery discontinued using cork two decades ago, due to inconsistent cork quality. But he and his team kept testing corks on a few cases of wine each year in the hope of returning to cork. They saw a steady improvement, and by 2012 they were convinced it was time to return to cork.

He added that using natural cork is consistent with St. Francis' commitment to sustainability. "We are a certified sustainable Sonoma County business that is powered by solar energy, uses eco-friendly packaging, and is active in water conservation and recycling."

Weber continued, "In addition to cork's robust sustainability credentials, wineries are also benefitting from the hundreds of million dollars that Portuguese cork manufacturers have invested in new technologies and improved quality-control measures."

In 2013, the CQC members conducted over 30,000 analyses. Their combined screening records show a steady reduction in measurable 2,4,6-Trichloroanisle (TCA) levels that are now 95 percent lower than the results seen when records were first tabulated in 2001.

"Using natural cork is an integral part of our message, heritage and culture," Silva added.

Wondering if it's Time to Buy a New Car? Just Check Your Mailbox

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 8:47am
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(NewsUSA) - Have you ever wondered how all of those colorful auto dealership promotion pamphlets arrive in the mail at the exact moment you are contemplating a new car purchase? Oddly enough, they are perfectly timed to coincide with your vehicle-buying needs -- and there's a reason behind it.

Consider this: In 2012, studies showed that more than 90 percent of consumers began their car search online. This insight, according to Ken Schwartz, founder of InMarketSolution (IMS), a Chicago-based marketing company geared specifically to the auto industry and its potential buyers, provides dealerships with a treasure trove of demographic information.

"Consumer data is abundant and valuable, yet many dealers fail to fully exploit its potential," says Schwartz. "In this way, we use best-of-breed data to identify consumers currently in the market to buy a car."

The way it works is that IMS uses proprietary data from its InMarket Buyers List to identify when a consumer is in the market to buy or lease a car. IMS then compares that list to the Dealer Database Management System, removing all matches to ensure the IMS driven sales are new customers. Using multiple technologies, IMS tracks and interacts with the InMarket Buyers multiple times by using a combination of highly targeted direct mail and digital advertising that will potentially drive exclusive leads to a targeted dealership.

The difference between IMS and other direct-mail marketing companies is its business model. In a nutshell, if a dealership doesn't get new customers through IMS's efforts, the dealership doesn't pay a dime.

"I am so confident that our program works, that I am willing to put my money where my mouth is," says Schwartz. "Simply put, if a dealership doesn't sell cars to new customers, we don't get paid."

Schwartz's confidence comes from his past experience working with big data. Before founding IMS, Schwartz was the CEO of CityTwist, an email advertising company focused specifically on automotive marketing. During his tenure there, CityTwist became an Inc. 500/5000 fastest growing company in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. In addition, the company has been recognized as a fastest-growing company in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal for the last two years.

For more information, visit www.inmarketsolution.com.

Grandparents, Keep Your Meds Up and Away From Young Children

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 1:32pm
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(NewsUSA) - Grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren. Grandbabies bring so much joy. However, it's not unusual for the curious, tiny fingers of youngsters to end up in places they shouldn't. Putting precious or breakable objects out of reach is important, and so is keeping medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight of young children.

More than 70,000 children end up in emergency departments each year after getting their hands on medicines left within reach. That's 165 kids -- or roughly four busloads of kids -- per day. Far too often, that medicine belonged to a grandparent.

Where are young children getting their hands on medicines? From countertops and bedside tables, purses and pockets, and loose pills on tables or floors. Weekly pill minders can help you keep track of multiple medications, but they rarely have child-resistant features so a curious child can't get into the colorful medicines stored inside.

"Grandparents and parents may not be aware of the danger posed by leaving medications where young children can reach or see them," says Dr. Dan Budnitz, director of the Medication Safety Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "A few simple steps -- followed every time -- can protect our children."

So, grandparents, enjoy your precious time with your young grandchildren. But whether hosting them in your house or visiting at theirs, remember to store your medicines in a place they cannot access. Here are some tips from CDC's "Up and Away and Out of Sight" initiative:

* Keep all medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight in a high cabinet or other place inaccessible to your grandchildren. If you think you may forget to take your medicines if they are not in sight, leave yourself a reminder on the refrigerator or somewhere you check daily.

* Never leave medicine or vitamins out on a counter or bedside table, even if you have to take the medicine again in a few hours.

* Always relock the safety cap on a medicine bottle. If it has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click.

* Never tell children medicine is candy so they'll take it, even if your grandchild does not like to take his or her medicine.

* Keep purses, bags or coats that have medicines or vitamins in them out of reach and sight of young children.

* Program the Poison Help number (1-800-222-1222) into your phone so you have it in case of emergency.

Visit UpandAway.org for more tips on safe medicine storage.

Smartphone to Become Wallet -- Are Customers, Businesses Ready?

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 1:30pm
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(NewsUSA) - Much is being made of Apple's announcement of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch. Overshadowed by this, however, was the introduction of Apple Pay -- a technology touting an easier way to pay for goods and services using mobile devices. But is this too much too soon -- even for Apple?

Coming on the heels of this month's massive credit card breach at Home Depot, it is clear that credit card companies need to rethink how consumers' personal information is handled.

Relying on near field communication (NFC), Apple Pay will link a consumer's mobile phone with retail stores that are NFC-enabled. NFC technology has been praised for its security and convenience, but analysts argue that mobile payments will suffer because consumers are not yet comfortable paying with their phone, and merchants are finding that using NFC technology is more expensive than the traditional debit and credit card system.

For concerned individuals, they need only look to the horizon. Launching on Nov. 15, a company called MovoCash will address the gaps left by NFC technology.

"MovoCash is a transformative way to think about payments," says Eric Solis, CEO and founder of the company. "What we're doing is serving as a convergence technology designed to help consumers bridge the gap between old-world payment systems and new technological advances."

MovoCash, according to Solis, is a bank-agnostic payments platform that allows consumers to link their bank accounts to their MovoCash account for mobile payments with no limitation on the number of supported banks. Any bank account or credit or debit card in your wallet can be used to load a MovoCash account, eliminating the direct link required by conventional NFC technology.

What this means is that there is no direct link between the merchant and consumers' personal credit or banking information. Should the MovoPlastic card get hacked, the dummy number on the card will not reveal any personal information. It can be loaded with as much (or as little) money as desired. Additionally, the company's redemption technology differentiates it from Venmo and PayPal by unlocking P2P (peer to peer) payments for immediate merchant purchases.

"We believe MovoCash addresses consumers' desire for a more integrated payment experience using a mobile device without changing their comfort level of using a mag stripe on the back of a plastic card," says Solis.

For more information on this innovative technology, visit www.movocash.com.

As Insurers End Coverage for Compounded Drugs, Patients Struggle

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 4:01pm
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(NewsUSA) - It's a David-vs.-Goliath dispute, and millions of patients are caught in the middle -- perhaps even unaware they're about to lose coverage for the compounded medications they need for their conditions.

At issue are the customized medications pharmacists prepare for patients who can't metabolize or tolerate commercial drugs. Compounded medicines often are the only option for doctors treating certain children and seniors, patients coping with the pain of cancer and diabetes, and those with liver or kidney diseases.

In one corner: powerful insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) hell-bent on saving money by eliminating or cutting coverage of those medications.

In the other corner, fighting to reverse their moves: a coalition of patients, physicians, pharmacists and pro-patient groups like the Veterans Advocacy Group of America, the Kidney Cancer Association and the Arthritis Foundation.

"This is about shifting costs to patients," says Jay McEniry, executive director of Patients and Physicians for Rx Access (saverxaccess.org). "Physicians are being placed in the impossible position of either prescribing a compounded medication the patient needs but can't afford, or prescribing a less effective treatment because it may be covered by the patient's insurance."

The list of "Goliaths" who've announced or already implemented such cutbacks now includes United Healthcare/Optum Rx, Catamaran, CVS/Caremark, Harvard Pilgrim and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in several states.

But the coalition's immediate wrath is directed at the nation's largest PBM: Express Scripts, which in September is slated to stop covering 1,000 drug ingredients commonly found in compounded medications -- effectively "eliminating an entire class of medications," says McEniry.

Express Scripts and others argue that commercial drugs can do the job just as well for less money. But try telling that to patients like Linda Sauer.

The Dwight, Illinois, woman relies on her doctor-prescribed compounded medications for relief from several painful and debilitating conditions, and is outraged that Express Scripts' decision leaves her no choice but to pay for them out of pocket.

"They're denying me access to medicines that work better than the mass-produced drugs I've tried," she says. "It will cost me and others hundreds of dollars per month."

Sauer at least has read the advisory notice from Express Scripts, which the coalition claims gives "misleading reasons" for targeting what it calls "essential medicines" whose ingredients are purchased from FDA-regulated suppliers. But what of patients who didn't?

Sadly, they're in for a shock the next time they try to fill a prescription.

4 Tips to Start Your Day a Little Earlier

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 8:07am
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(NewsUSA) - If you happen to be a person who just can't seem to find enough hours in the day, it might be time to get an earlier start. And, if you've already tried waking up before sunrise, only to meet a crashing halt following lunch, these four tips may help:

Tip 1: Avoid hitting "snooze" at all costs. Try moving your alarm clock far enough away from the bed so you'll be forced to stand up and walk to turn it off.

"When you hit the snooze button repeatedly, you're fragmenting what little extra sleep you're getting, so it is of poor quality," says Robert S. Rosenberg, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona.

Tip 2: Fuel up with a hearty breakfast. So, you're probably tired of hearing this advice by now. Yet, if more people actually followed through with it, there wouldn't be a need to stress it over and over. According to a January 2014 Penn Schoen Berland study, although nearly 85 percent of Americans believe breakfast is important, just over half say they choose to skip it because they don't have enough time, would rather sleep in or don't like preparing it. If time is really an issue, consider quick options like Hormel Compleats breakfasts (www.hormel.com), which can be ready in just 60 seconds.

Tip 3: Power up with protein. According to health.com eggs --and even bacon -- can be potent breakfast options to keep you going and give your body the energy it needs to get through the day. Some easy-prep breakfast options -- like the Compleats varieties mentioned in tip number two -- even feature eggs.

"Eggs are a great source of nutrients," said Mitch Kanter, Ph.D., executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center. "Just one egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein and antioxidants."

Tip 4: Set an earlier bedtime. If you are a night owl by nature, but want to start your day sooner, gradually shift your bedtime earlier each night. Once you find a time that allows you to wake up early and get through the day without feeling like you need a nap, stick to it. The most productive early birds aren't sleep deprived. As Aristotle noted, "It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom."

If You Want to Help Avoid Back Problems, Stop Slouching

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:36am
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(NewsUSA) - Remember how mom always reminded you about your posture? Turns out she was right.

Years of poor posture, we now know, puts undue pressure on the spine and supporting muscles and ligaments that can result in everything from back pain to muscle strain to degenerative arthritis. And many of us make things worse on a daily basis.

How so?

Research has found that common things like stress, obesity, incorrect posture while sleeping, walking and working, and -- yes, all you fashionistas out there -- wearing high-heeled shoes can contribute to poor posture.

And the back pain alone that often follows hurts us in more ways than one. "Americans spend at least $50 billion each year (seeking relief from) back pain," notes the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. "And it's one of the most common reasons for missed work."

If you just read those stats while seated, here's a quick checklist to see if you're maintaining the correct posture:

* Relax shoulders and keep forearms parallel to the ground when working at a keyboard.

* Don't cross your legs.

* Use a footrest if your feet don't reach the floor.

For those who are past the checklist stage, know that the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research almost twenty years ago recommended spinal manipulation provided by a doctor of chiropractic as a "safe and effective, drugless" treatment for sufferers of low back pain.

"Old habits die hard," says Ron Kirk, DC, an avid supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress and founder of Straighten Up America (straightenupamerica.org). "But a doctor of chiropractic can recommend exercises to strengthen core postural muscles and can help you choose proper postures to reduce your risk of injury during activities."

For more information, visit www.yes2chiropractic.org.

Join the Force to Fight Lung Cancer in Women

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:05am
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(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - "Join The Force" and Help Save Lives is an initiative formed to fight lung cancer in women, which is the No. 1 cancer killer of women. LUNG FORCE will make lung cancer in women a public health priority, drive policy change and increase research funding. Learn more at Lungforce.org.

See full-sized image here.

Common-Sense Strategies From a Natural Marketing Guru

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:56pm
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(NewsUSA) - When it comes to natural marketing expertise, there may be no other like Peter Tabibian.

As founder of the Z-Burger restaurant chain located in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region, Tabibian has grown his business with a mix of great food, great style and breakthrough marketing and promotions.

"Marketing is the engine of any successful business," says Tabibian. "And once you turn the engine on, business just grows and grows."

What makes Tabibian's success impressive, however, is that he never attended college. Instead, he honed his craft working low-level fast food jobs before taking a significant personal credibility risk opening his first Z-Burger (www.zburger.com) in the Tenleytown section of Washington, D.C.

"Throughout the past seven years, I've expanded the menu from hand-crafted burgers with endless toppings and fresh-cut fries to one that includes 75 varieties of hand-spun milkshakes and concretes," says Tabibian.

As new Z-Burger locations were opened, he helped design exteriors and interiors to give each one a unique look and feel. But great looking restaurants were only the beginning. Tabibian had to let the world know -- and with his wild imagination and street-sense marketing practices, he created some of the restaurant industry's most talked about promotions.

Six years ago, Tabibian created the annual "Independence Burger Eating Championships," which now rivals Nathans as the top eating competition in the U.S.

Tabibian has become a champion of the American worker with his promotions offering free food to government employees who were without paychecks due to the sequestration -- which landed Z-Burger in The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

His restaurants have also become places where people in distress can find comfort in a free meal -- whether for local residents without power due to storms, or for the homeless who have annual Thanksgiving meals at Z-Burger, complete with turkey burgers and French fries with gravy.

Other memorable promotions included free purple burgers in celebration of the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl victories, and heart-shaped burgers on pink buns for Valentine's Day.

What's more, his all-around genius recently earned Z-Burger the "Best Burger Award" from the No. 1 radio station in Washington, WTOP-FM.

Certainly, Tabibian's marketing prowess is having an effect as Z-Burger has been featured on the History Channel, TMZ, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX national news broadcasts. Even former President Bill Clinton has stopped by for a meal.

Stay Cool for Next to Nothing: Power Down the AC on National Ceiling Fan Day

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 4:07pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - The kids are back in school, football season is starting and fall is around the corner, which means it is time to turn down the air conditioner and rely a little more on your ceiling fan to save energy and money.

This September 18 marks the second annual National Ceiling Fan Day (NCFD). More than 20 ceiling fan manufacturers, the American Lighting Association (ALA) and leading energy conservation groups invite everyone to join the fight to reduce energy consumption by turning off their central cooling systems and staying cool with ceiling, floor, desk and wall fans to save trillions of kilowatt hours of energy consumption.

As an extra incentive to participate in the energy-saving effort, many fan retailers are offering discounts to consumers in conjunction with NCFD. You can find a list of local ALA-member fan retailers online at AmericanLightingAssoc.com.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends using ceiling fans to reduce or eliminate the need to use your AC, because ceiling fans consume far less electricity. Many ceiling fans consume as few as 15 watts of electricity, while AC systems can use upwards of 5,000 watts when used for the same amount of time.

While saving energy is a good thing, saving money is not bad either. Operating a fan can cost as little as $1 per month. That is quite a savings compared to approximately $100 per month to run an AC unit in a typical home. To maximize your savings, use an Energy Star-certified fan. Ceiling fans that have earned the Energy Star label are 60 percent more efficient than conventional fans.

Initiated by fan manufacturer Fanimation, NCFD is supported by the ALA and many additional ALA-member fan manufacturers, including Casablanca/Hunter Fan Company, Craftmade; Emerson Ceiling Fans, Feiss-Monte Carlo, Kichler, Matthews Fan Company, Minka-Aire, Progress Lighting, Quorum International, Regency Ceiling Fans, Savoy House, Sea Gull Lighting, The Modern Fan Co., Vaxcel International and Westinghouse Lighting, as well as The Home Depot and Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Many of the nation's leaders in energy conservation and efficiency are also on board. Those supporters include the EPA's Energy Star Program; Alliance to Save Energy; Affordable Comfort, Inc.; and Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

The purpose of NCFD is to bring national attention to escalating energy costs and consumption. The day is devoted to saving energy and raising awareness about how ceiling fans can fit into an overall energy- and cost-savings plan. If every American participates in NCFD by turning off their AC and using fans for their cooling needs, the United States will save enough energy to power the entire city of New York for months.

For more information about how to save energy with ceiling fans and for a list of ALA-member fan retailers and manufacturers, go to AmericanLightingAssoc.com.

10 Steps to Help Older Adults Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:39pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Some of the most serious injuries among older adults, age 65 and older, are caused by falling. More than 1.6 million older Americans end up in the emergency room or hospital because of a fall, according to the National Institutes of Health. Seniors who have broken a hip by falling can have trouble recovering and regaining mobility.

The good news is many falls are preventable. One of the first things you can do if you take prescription medication is have your health care team review your medication.

"Some prescription medicines and over-the-counter drugs, or a combination of them, can make you dizzy or sleepy. Either can lead to a fall," said Jaza Marina, M.D., a geriatrician at Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta. "If you fall, be sure to let your doctor know, even if you aren't hurt. Sometimes falls are a sign of a new medical problem that needs attention."

Many underlying causes of falls can be treated or corrected. Dr. Marina recommends these 10 proactive steps to reduce the risk of falling.

Make your home safe.

1. Remove clutter, throw rugs and electrical cords that might cause you to trip.

2. Store items on bottom shelves.

3. Add grab bars where necessary -- in hallways, stairways and bathtubs.

4. Add a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub.

5. Make sure your home is well lit. Use night lights in hallways and bathrooms.

6. Keep a phone and flashlight by your bed.

Take care of yourself.

7. Stay as physically active as you can.

8. Wear comfortable shoes with good support.

9. Have your vision and hearing checked.

10. Use a cane or walker if you feel unsteady.

For more information on how to prevent falls, visit share.kp.org/preventing-falls. Also check out everybodywalk.org for tips on walking as an exercise. For questions or advice about a specific condition, talk to your physician.

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