November 27, 2014


By Valecia Weeks 

Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward-Times 


They say that you are the food that you eat. Well, what if I told you that you are the food that you wear? Today there is a new trend and it includes “slathering” food on your face. It’s been proven that taking natural foods from the very kitchen that we eat from and using them as a topical treatment can keep our skin looking healthy and pretty. Just imagine how attractive you will look when you spread natural honey all over your face and sprinkle dried oatmeal on it…a look to die for. Well, below are some foods that can be used to do just that:


Honey – Not just any ol’ store bought honey but the “real thang”. If you can, find some locally produced, raw honey that has not been pasteurized. Because it is unprocessed, raw honey has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which are great for keeping your skin clean and clear from blemishes as well as acne. It is said that good ol’ raw honey was used during World War II on open wounds to keep them clear from infection. Honey is also a natural agent which seals in moisture and keeps your skin hydrated.


Egg – Both the egg yolks and the egg whites are wonder for your skin. The yellow yolks have a high level of vitamin A, which aids in the skin repairing itself. It also contains an agent called lecithin, which softens skin. The whites of the egg contains over 40 proteins, as well as an abundance of water and can be used to help tighten the skin.


Yogurt or Milk – both of these products contain lactic acid. This type of acid acts as an excellent exfoliant. The vitamin-B in these dairy products also provide additional antioxidant benefits for the skin. Adding a little ground nutmeg to your yogurt or milk exfoliant can give you a natural microdermabrasion.


Lemons – or grapefruit, or oranges, or even kiwi can help clear extra oil from the skin. For those who are bothered with dark spots, this maybe your answer. Rubbing citrus fruits on your skin’s dark spots supposedly will brighten the skin tone. The acid in citrus fruits works as an exfoliant that helps the cells regenerate themselves. It is important to use a moisturizer after using foods high in acid on your face so that the important oils that have been stripped from skin will be replaced.


Oatmeal – When oatmeal is ground into a fine powder, it is great for anti-inflammatory skin treatment, which makes it exceptionally good for skin disorders such as excema. When it is mixed with water or a natural healthy oil, it can be made into a paste and placed on the affected area.


Sugar: Sugar is a great exfoliant and helps you get rid of the dry skin patches.  Mix with a little olive oil for best overall results.


Oils:  The oil cleansing method is quickly becoming a must-do for problem skin.  As strange as it sounds, it’s even recommended for oily skin.  The oil cleansing method (OCM) is based upon the concept that oil attracts oil and requires that castor oil become the basis for cleaning.  By using castor oil on the skin, you are pulling the nasty hard oil your skin produced away from your skin and replacing with good healthy oil that repairs your skin. To get the most benefit, castor oil should be mixed with another oil.


For oily skin, use sunflower or sweet almond oil.


For dry skin, use avocado or apricot kernel oil


For normal skin, use grape seed or jojoba oil.

Category: Health

November 20, 2014


City News Service 


Fast trains, holiday depression and thoughts of suicide can be a deadly combination, but local commuter rail officials recently renewed a campaign aimed at saving people from themselves.


“People attempt suicide be­cause they’re in terrible psychological pain and can’t think of any other solution,” said Kita S. Curry, president and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, which is partnering with Metro and Metrolink in the campaign to prevent suicide.


“We know this because calls to our crisis line from people contemplating suicide — and worried friends and family — increase every time the number is advertised,” Curry said. “If we all learn the warning signs of suicide and how to respond, we can save lives.”


The anti-suicide campaign with Metro and Metrolink began last year. Metro officials noted that there has been only one suicide on the Metro rail system since the beginning of the campaign — which includes signs posted on trains and at stations with crisis line phone numbers and the message of “Reach Out. There is help.”


“While even one is too many, Metro’s and Didi Hirsch’s efforts have saved many lives,” Metro CEO Art Leahy said.


Metrolink officials said they installed signs throughout its train system in November to convey the message.


“Metrolink’s first and foremost priority is safety, and sadly, this agency has dealt with loss of life far too often,” Metrolink board chair and Highland Mayor Pro Tem Larry McCallon said.


“But there is an area beyond our scope of expertise and because of that, we need people to know there is help long before getting near our tracks or trains.”


In 2012, 19 people died by suicides involving Metrolink trains. That number has been lowered to four this year, according to Metrolink. Agency officials said that in addition to the crisis-line signs, it has also trained employees to identify warning signs of suicide and trained them on how to react if they come across a person in distress. Metrolink also increased its involvement with Operation Life­saver to bolster anti-suicide outreach efforts in schools.


According to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, nearly 100 people have committed suicide in the county since 1991 by putting themselves in the path of a Metro, Metrolink, Amtrak, Union Pacific or BNSF train. The Didi Hirsch helpline is at (877) 727-4747. The National Suicide


Prevention Lifeline number is (800) 273-8255 (TALK).

Category: Health

November 13, 2014


By Elizabeth Marcellano 

City News Service 


The Board of Supervisors voted on Wednesday November 12 to spend nearly $41 million in state funding to expand crisis intervention and other services for the mentally ill, as part of an effort to keep them out of county jails. District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who is leading a task force focused on the mental health issue, praised the effort.


“Too often, our response is to lock mentally ill people away,” Lacey told the board.


The money will be used in part to expand mobile crisis support teams that work in tandem with police officers and sheriff’s deputies to identify mentally ill offenders. A consultant hired by Lacey concluded that not enough law enforcement officers have been trained on how to deal with people undergoing a mental health crisis, and recommended more resources. Health officials also plan to open three new 24-hour urgent care centers and expand residential treatment programs for the mentally ill by about 560 beds.


Civil rights activists — who protested outside the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration prior to speaking before the board — have been pushing the county to fund community-based programs in lieu of increasing the number of jail cells. Lacey acknowledged that the county will need to do both, noting the state of deterioration of the Men’s Central Jail.


“It’s unfit even if you’re not mentally ill,” she said.


Effective community-based crisis treatment can cut costs associated with inpatient or emergency room care and jail time, officials said. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky highlighted the expense involved.


“The cost of checking somebody in (to the jail) is probably greater than the cost of checking into a Four Seasons hotel,” Yaroslavsky said.


The board and advocates offered their support of Lacey’s work to expand mental health diversion programs. Peter Eliasberg of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said he believes there is now consensus that jailing the mentally ill was “an abject failure,” and he called the focus on diversion “a move in the right direction.” The county’s sheriff-elect, Jim McDonnell, appeared to agree.


“Our jails are not the best place for those who are suffering from mental illness and would be better served by community-based treatment options that can address the underlying problems, while still maintaining community safety,” McDonnell said in a statement.


Lacey cautioned that change would take time.


“The steps have to be modest,” she said. “L.A. County is a country unto itself ... it's going to take a lot of time to fix this issue.”


The Department of Justice has said it will seek court oversight of the county’s treatment of mentally ill inmates, citing high levels of suicides and other failures.

Category: Health

November 06, 2014


By Dorothy Rowley

Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer



Older adults who’ve lost their sense of smell — namely, the ability to pick up on strong odors like smelly socks or bacon sizzling in a pan — could be at an increased risk of death within five years, according to a study involving more than 3,000 people ages 57 to 85.


The study, which published recently in the science journal PLOS ONE, revealed in a smell test conducted in 2005, that nearly 40 percent of subjects who failed died within five years, compared to a 19 percent death rate within five years for those with moderate smell loss. Ten percent of the test subjects were determined to have a healthy sense of smell.


During the test, “Sniffin’ Sticks,” which resemble felt-tip pens, were loaded with five different scents — peppermint, fish, orange, rose or leather — that subjects were asked to identify.


Nearly 78 percent of those tested who were able to identify at least four of the five scents, were classified as having a normal sense of smell.


Almost 20 percent got two or three of the scents right, while the remaining 3.5 percent could correctly identify one or none of the five.


“Compared to a person with a normal sense of smell, a person with an absent sense of smell has three times greater risk of dying within a five-year span,” Dr. Jayant Pinto, the study’s lead author, said this month in a phone interview.


“What this tells us is your sense of smell is a great indicator of your overall health,” said Pinto, an associate professor at the University of Chicago, who specializes in genetics and treatment of olfactory and sinus disease.


Pinto, who likened the loss of smell to a canary in a coal mine, added that, “it doesn’t cause death, but it’s an early warning that something has gone badly wrong.”


In 2010 and 2011, the survey team confirmed which participants were still alive. During the five years, 430 of the subjects, or 12.5 percent, had died.


Researchers also conducted interviews to adjust for variables and risk factors, such as age, smoking, alcohol use, overall health and socioeconomic status. In the end, those with greater smell loss when first tested were substantially more likely to have died five ears later.


“It predicted it quite strongly,” Pinto said.


In a study published last year in the Journals of Gerontology, African-Americans and Latinos lost their ability to smell faster than whites. The participants, who included information about their race and ethnicities, answered questionnaires about their physical and mental health, social and financial resources, education, and alcohol or substance abuse.


The study concluded that African-Americans are more likely to suffer from a related health disparity not explained by gender, education, cognition, physical or mental health, and health behaviors.


“We have long known that men begin to lose their sense of smell some years sooner than women, but this [particular study] is the first to point to racial or ethnic differences,” Pinto said. “What surprised us was the magnitude of the difference. The racial disparity was almost twice as large as the well documented difference between men and women.”


Meanwhile, according to officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, the sense of smell, which can diminish significantly past age 70, may be related to loss of nose nerve endings and lack of mucus produced in the nose.


Also, while decreased smell can lessen interest and enjoyment in eating, the risk of danger increases because a person cannot smell odors such as natural gas or even smoke from a fire just starting.


In addition, researchers at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the most common causes of permanent smell loss are upper respiratory infections, head trauma or injury, and chronic rhinosinusitis.


Other less common causes of smell loss, they report, include chronic alcoholism, epilepsy, and neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Category: Health

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