Friday, November 28, 2008

Varicose Veins Can Be A Family Affair

(NAPSI)-When it comes to your health, family history plays an important role-and can often predict future issues. Varicose veins are no exception. If a parent has them, experts say there is a strong possibility that you may develop them, too.

Heredity is one of the main risk factors for developing varicose veins. It's believed to account for 80 percent of varicose vein disease. In fact, the risk of developing varicose veins doubles if both parents have the condition.

While you can't control your genetic makeup, you can pay close attention to your symptoms and personal risk factors in order to minimize the effects of varicose veins.

Varicose veins may not always be visible to the naked eye. That's why patients are advised to be aware of the following leg symptoms:

• Aching/throbbing/itching

• Heaviness or fatigue

• Skin discoloration

• Restless legs syndrome (an irresistible urge to move your legs)

• Leg cramps.

According to Dr. Ted King, Medical Director of the Vein Clinics of America, varicose veins are usually thought of as a cosmetic issue, but they actually result from a chronic, progressive disease process and may cause serious health conditions, including leg ulcers, bleeding and even blood clots, if not treated early and properly. Said Dr. King, "While there is no cure available, effective treatment can help control vein disorders and halt their progression."

He also advised that if symptoms persist or become severe, you should talk to your physician about appropriate treatment options.

"The good news is today there are far better, superior treatment options that are safer, more effective and noninvasive, that won't keep you sidelined from your daily routine," said Dr. King.

To learn more about varicose veins or available treatment options, visit www.veinclinics.com or call (866) 617-VEIN.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Atlanta's Esteemed Medical Professionals Embark on Extreme Makeover Challenge

24-7 -- Based on the successful television special documenting people who undergo makeovers, some local Atlanta-area doctors are embarking on their very own version of the show, "Atlanta's Ultimate Makeover". The private kick-off celebration with sponsors, friends, celebrities and supporters, is at 7 pm, Thursday, December 4th, at the Tracy Nicole Boutique in Vinings. RSVP is required.

Dr. Shai Hall, cosmetic dentist at The Dental Spa, is the creator of this philanthropic effort. She was initially visited by the patient who is now the first winner of what is expected to be a continuing initiative. Dr. Hall explains, "I was visited by a patient, Carolyn, who had a very tear-jerking story of why she needed to have new teeth. She had lost a son to violence, had been in two abusive marriages and really wanted a nice smile because one of her sons was getting married, she was in desperate need of a new smile but she didn't have the resources to pay for her medical needs."

Dr. Hall has desired to share her talents with others less fortunate, but since opening her spa-like dental practice in 2006, she's had little time to assist local philanthropic causes. She shares, "It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I then realized I could create my own philanthropic cause that would directly resonate with my fellow peers and I called them up and they all said, 'Yes!' Thus our project began."

Given the new popularity of ABC's "The Doctors", these Atlanta-area doctors are on time with the launch of this project. The goal of "Atlanta's Ultimate Makeover" is to give back to the community in a tangible way by selecting two individuals per year - a man or woman in need of a life-changing medical makeover. The doctors' efforts will surely improve the self esteem and add to the overall quality of life of these very special patients.

The team of doctors involved are:
Shai T. Hall, DDS - The Dental Spa, Cosmetic and Preventive Dentistry
Vikisha Fripp, MD, FACS, FICS - Premier Plastic Surgery
Kenneth Collins, DDS - Oral Surgeon, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Marya Barnes,D.M.D - Buckhead Periodontics

Invited celebrity guests include "Chili" of TLC, Allen Payne, reality stars of Real Housewives of Atlanta, comedian, AJ Jamal, actors, Michael & Deena Beasley, news anchor, Karyn Greer, Kannick Sky of American Idol, celebrity make-up artist, Toni Acey, retired WNBA star, Rushia Brown, songstress Melissa McCloud and radio personality, Frank Ski.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for this wonderful cause! If interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Tamika Morrison at 678-402-8184 or via email at publicist@thewritestylzprfirm.com and reference "Sponsorship: Atlanta's Ultimate Makeover".

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Do You Have Genetic COPD?

/PRNewswire/ -- To everyone around her, Melissa Biggs appeared to have it all -- a thriving acting career, a successful clothing line that was attracting international attention, and an adoring daughter. What people didn't know was that for years, Melissa suffered from severe breathing problems, extreme shortness of breath, and that her doctors couldn't find the cause.

After multiple breathing-related incidents, including a collapse while she was rehearsing a scene on the set of the television program Baywatch, Melissa was finally diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, or AATD. AATD is often referred to as a genetic form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COPD is the fourth leading killer in the United States and is also widely recognized as one of the most common causes of disability. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 12 million individuals have been diagnosed with COPD in the U.S. alone, with an additional 12 million people being symptomatic or in the process of developing COPD. It is thought to affect primarily smokers and the elderly, though the number of younger people diagnosed is slowly increasing.

What many people don't know is that COPD has a genetic form -- AATD -- which is extremely under- or misdiagnosed. Of the estimated 100,000 people in the U.S. who may have this disorder, 95 percent have not yet been diagnosed. A recent study conducted by the Respiratory and Allergic Disease Foundation found that more than 3 percent of study participants diagnosed with severe asthma or COPD actually tested positive for low levels of alpha-1 antitrypsin. Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a protein produced by the liver that protects the lungs from being damaged. A lack of this protein in the body is the cause of this disorder. Symptoms of AATD include shortness of breath, wheezing, repeated lung infections, and cough. In its late stages or if left untreated, AATD can cause significant lung damage, emphysema, and cirrhosis of the liver.

On average, it takes patients six years to obtain a proper diagnosis of AATD because tests for the condition aren't often performed. The condition is genetic, and Melissa urged her family members and daughter to be tested. Not surprisingly, many relatives received the same diagnosis. Medications called alpha-1 proteinase inhibitors are available for the treatment of AATD, and replace the missing protein that helps the lungs function properly.

"A simple blood test is all that is needed to detect AATD," said Peter Wagner, MD, former president of the American Thoracic Society. "Receiving a proper and prompt diagnosis can make a real difference in the lives of patients by allowing them to receive appropriate medical care sooner and can have a profound impact on a family's health for generations to come."

Today, with treatment, Melissa is able to manage her COPD and lead the life everyone thought she had -- without the stress of an undiagnosed breathing condition threatening her success. She continues to pursue new acting opportunities and her clothing design company is thriving. She has even begun to take up breathing-intensive activities, such as tennis.

"I'm so thankful I was tested early, because it could be a lot worse," Melissa added.

If you or someone you know has any of the symptoms of AATD, or has been diagnosed with severe asthma or COPD, visit www.TestTodayChangeTomorrow.com for more information and an AATD screening test.


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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Beauty Tips for All Maintenance Levels

(ARA) – While the beauty routine of some women consists of little more than a hairbrush and moisturizer, others spend hours in front of the mirror mastering the latest beauty trends. But no matter how high- or low-maintenance you may be, the right beauty tricks will have you looking your best in no time.

Celebrity makeup artist BJ Gillian and hairstylist to the stars Brett Freedman share some of their beauty tips for everyone from women with little time for beauty, to those prepping for a night out on the town.

Low -- In a time crunch:
* Tinted moisturizers with SPF and gradual self-tanners not only protect you from the sun, but also add color to the skin. “I like the new Olay Definity Color Recapture, which also has anti-aging properties,” says Gillian.

* For wash-and-wear hairstyles, get a good haircut with layers to keep hair from being weighed down, says Freedman. “Try Pantene Pro-V Volume Root Lifter Spray to wake up your roots and Pantene Pro-V Volume Mousse all over to give hair a gorgeous amp up,” he says. “My tip: Less is more. Don’t bog hair down with product.”

Medium-- Easy beauty tricks with maximum impact:
* Use your eye color to determine what shades of shadow to use. Blue eyes work best with brown and sea green colors, while green eyes pop with plum and violet shadow colors. Brown-eyed gals can wear any color.

* To easily fake a chic look, try combining sleek, pulled back hair or a tousled bun with a vivid or smoky eye.

High -- Heading out for a night on the town:
* Women who prefer liquid or powder foundations should avoid moisturizer and find the right kind of makeup suitable for their skin, says Gillian. For example, oily skin needs an oil-free foundation and dry skin will benefit from a moisturizing foundation or tinted moisturizer.

* Big-night-out hair requires an intense-hold hairspray. “I recommend Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume Hairspray with Maximum Hold, not only after styling, but before using any hot tools like curling irons or hot rollers,” says Freedman. “Spray a small amount on each section before curling. It makes a huge difference.”

No matter how complicated you make your beauty routine, keep these tips in mind to help keep your skin and hair looking their best.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, November 21, 2008

New Acne Cream with Manuka Honey by Honeymark

24-7 -- Manuka Honey is the first breakthrough in the area of acne treatment in many years. This special type of honey is produced by bees that feed on the nectar of the flowers that grow on the Manuka bush, which is indigenous to New Zealand. It has been discovered that Manuka Honey contains extraordinary healing properties not found in other types of honey and even outperforms most medications. Manuka Honey is not only effective in eliminating existing acne but it can also prevent new breakouts from forming under the skin. It also treats acne in a way that is far less damaging to the skin than many other acne treatments.

The antibacterial properties present in Manuka Honey kills the excess bacteria that builds up on the skin. This bacteria can become trapped in hair follicles and pores. Once these bacteria enter the skin, they react with oil and other substances, resulting in acne.

Sometimes, traditional acne treatments can dry the skin. However, Manuka Honey has a hydrating effect and natural moisturizing effect on the skin. As a general rule, hydrated skin heals faster. Also, unlike other ingredients commonly found in most acne products, Manuka Honey has been found to have no negative side effects. Since Manuka Honey is a natural ingredient and an anti-irritant it doesn't aggravate sensitive skin.

There are also other benefits to using Manuka Honey to treat acne. For example, Manuka Honey has an anti-inflammatory action that relieves pain and reduces redness on the skin as a result of swelling and inflamed tissue. If pimples become infected, Manuka Honey's natural antibacterial properties go to work on disinfecting the area very quickly. Manuka Honey also has an osmotic effect that has the ability to draw impurities out of pores, leaving the skin clean and smooth.

In some severe cases, acne can create scars. When a scab forms over damaged skin, new skin growth can only occur under the scab, causing the new tissue to grow uneven with the surface of the skin. This is how skin deformity and scars are formed. However, the moist healing environment created by Manuka Honey naturally lifts scabs off the skin, allowing new skin tissue to grow flush with the surface of the skin. This is another major benefit to using Manuka Honey to cure acne.

Manuka Honey unclogs pores by drawing impurities out of the skin. It also has the ability to draw moisture out of bacterial cells that may be present in acne breakouts, helping pimples to heal faster. All of these factors make Manuka Honey a valuable ingredient in Honeymark's Acne Cream. This unique formulation works very quickly so you won't have to wait to see results. When applying the Honeymark's Acne Cream with Manuka Honey to pimples, you can expect to see a significant improvement within 2-4 days.

"The topical use of Manuka Honey helps maintain a positive skin environment which is why we use it as a main ingredient in our Acne Cream," says Frank Buonanotte, CEO of Honeymark International. "Manuka Honey has natural healing properties which help to repair skin affected by acne."

For more information or to purchase Honeymark's Acne Cream with Manuka Honey, call 1-866-427-7329 or visit http://www.HoneymarkProducts.com.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Advice For Caregivers

(NAPSI)-The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have launched a new service called Ask Medicare to support the more than 44 million Americans--one in five adults--who provide care to a loved one.

Chances are, you know a Linda.

Linda takes care of her mother, a widow, who lives 1,200 miles away and takes care of her recently disabled husband at home. Linda also commutes 45 minutes to and from a full-time office job.

Family caregivers such as Linda actually hold down more than one full-time job. They respond to the demands of the workplace and then come home to meet the needs of elderly or disabled loved ones. In fact, family caregivers provide almost 80 percent of long term care in the U.S. They're providing this service, which some estimates place at a staggering $350 billion a year, for free.

Now Medicare offers some help.

Ask Medicare provides information on a wide range of issues and help in navigating social services networks around the country. Linda and others can click on www.medicare.gov/caregivers and browse such topics as Medicare basics, planning for a healthy future, help with hospitalization, home health care and community services, nursing homes and housing options and many others.

"I didn't have any preparation for this stage of my life," says Linda. "When my mom needed help, I had a million questions."

Ask Medicare is a one-stop shop with online tools to compare health plan choices across the country, find a prescription drug plan or find a doctor. It can point searchers to helpful telephone numbers, links to partner Web sites and help them connect with financial assistance.

Caregivers can use Ask Medicare to find information on how to take better care of the people close to them and take better care of themselves. According to a recent study, about one in six caregivers report they are in fair or poor health.

Linda agrees. "When it's a choice between something I need and someone else, what gives? Usually, I do," she says. "I've had a doctor's appointment that I've postponed eight times. But my husband and my mother are more important."

"I really don't think of myself as a 'caregiver,'" says Linda. "Whatever comes up, it's just one more thing I have to juggle."

Chances are, you recognize Linda. She may even bear a strong resemblance to you. If that's the case, we hope you'll go online to www.medicare.gov/caregivers.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Older Doesn't Have To Be "Painful"

(NAPSI)-These days, older Americans are on the go and are spending their retirement traveling, playing sports and volunteering. While some older adults are enjoying longer, healthier and more productive lives thanks to advances in medicine, countless others needlessly suffer in pain.

While pain is a common aspect of life for those 65 and older, it's not something that comes "naturally" with growing older and shouldn't be dismissed. There's often an underlying problem that should be addressed.

For instance, back injuries, headaches and arthritis are frequent causes of pain. With proper diagnosis and treatment, pain caused by these ailments can be effectively managed. Left untreated, pain can lead to problems sleeping, the loss of mobility--even anxiety or depression.

"Older adults should address pain with their health care professional--they shouldn't assume pain is just a natural part of aging--it may be a sign of a medical problem that can be managed," said Penney Cowan, founder of the American Chronic Pain Association. "Communicating effectively with your health care professional is the first step to proper diagnosis and treatment. Your health care professional can help develop a treatment plan that best fits your needs."

In fact, if you are an older person in pain, you should talk to your health care professional first, rather than trying to remedy the problem at home. Treatment options vary, and often a multidisciplinary approach may work best--even with a chronic medical problem, your pain can be treated. Your health care professional may suggest counseling, relaxation techniques, aerobic exercise, or may prescribe medicines, such as opioids, to treat your pain.

The bottom line: Pain shouldn't slow you down in your "golden years."

More information and helpful tips for coping with pain are available at www.partnersagainstpain.com.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quick Fixes For Healthy, Hydrated, Beautiful Skin

(NAPSI)-Skin, the body's largest organ, is exposed to harmful elements every day. However, there are simple things you can do to prevent dryness damage and help keep your skin looking healthy and beautiful. You may be surprised to learn that some everyday habits can be harmful to your skin.

Habit No. 1: Getting Clean with Soap

The soap you shower with every day can be contributing to dry skin damage. The tight feeling experienced after washing with soap is actually leaving your skin dry and covered in a layer of soap scum. Soap causes damage to the stratum corneum (the top layer of skin) resulting in loss of moisture, which over time contributes to dullness and the appearance of fine lines. When regular soap mixes with calcium found in hard water, a layer of soap scum is formed. Soap scum residue on skin can further increase soap's negative effects on skin.

Beautiful Skin Fix: Use a mild, soap-free cleanser such as Dove Beauty Bar for the best skin care results. It only leaves natural moisturizers that help repair and rebuild your skin. The unique formula adds moisture every time you wash, which over time reduces the appearance of fine lines and improves surface texture of skin. Skin is left feeling moisturized, healthy and beautiful.

Habit No. 2: Letting Dead Skin Cells Build Up

Even if you are regimented about cleansing your skin each day, dead skin cells can accumulate on the surface if you do not exfoliate. These cells can build up on skin's surface, leaving it looking dull and potentially clogging pores, leading to breakouts.

Beautiful Skin Fix: Put a little more muscle into cleansing your skin once or twice a week to help shed dead cells on the skin's surface and reveal a more radiant complexion. Using a soft washcloth or shower pouf can help remove buildup on the skin's surface.

Habit No. 3: Blasting Your Home with "Dry" Air

The heating and cooling system in your home is designed to keep a comfortable living temperature, especially while you sleep. The same system may also be contributing to skin discomfort and dryness. Furnaces and air conditioners rob air of moisture, leaving very little humidity to properly keep skin moisturized.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

How to Create a Sleep Haven and Catch Some Z's

(ARA) – You know the feeling. You’re in bed, but you can’t fall asleep. Your mind is racing and you’re tossing and turning so you read a book or watch television until the wee hours of the morning. Getting good quality sleep is vital to our health, so it pays to create a sleep haven and improve your rest.

A recent sleep survey conducted for AmericInn Hotels found that six in ten U.S. adults (62 percent) had trouble falling asleep at least one night per week and nearly 10 percent had a tough time sleeping every single night. That's a total of 3.1 billion hours of sleep lost in America each week or 161 billion hours per year.

So what are the leading causes of all this lost sleep in our country? The survey found economic fears (36 percent) lead the reasons for American sleeplessness followed by high energy prices (29 percent), health and medical concerns (28 percent), stress over politics (22 percent) and concerns about war and global terrorism (12 percent). No wonder America is having a hard time sleeping.

"With all the worries and concerns of modern life, sleeplessness is happening whether we like it or not,” says Dr. Christopher Drake, bioscientific investigator at Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders and Research Center. "But continued bouts of insomnia can wear down the immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to illness. The key is to get a handle on the source of the stress causing sleeplessness before it becomes a full-blown medical issue."

Stressed out Americans need to create their own bastion of peace so they can rest and renew their mind and bodies to handle the demands of modern life. Drake recommends turning your bedroom, or hotel room when traveling, into a sleep haven, a place of peace and serenity that gives your body every possible advantage of achieving a restful night’s sleep.

Below are 10 easy tips periodic insomnia sufferers can use to create their own sleep haven, whether at home or on the road:

1. Cut out all caffeine. If you're caffeine-sensitive, it's not just coffee that is your biggest sleep culprit. Avoid tea, sodas and anything with chocolate.

2. Make your bed. Ever noticed how much more comfortable a freshly made bed is? The uniform snugness of the sheets can create a cradle effect around the body and the fresh smell of clean sheets can mimic the feel of a luxurious hotel bed.

3. Leave work out of the bedroom. Keeping your bedroom free of anything work-related is key in creating a true sleep haven. That means leaving files, laptop computers or PDAs on the kitchen table, not the nightstand. This may be difficult when traveling, but try to keep the bed and side tables free of work-related clutter.

4. Eliminate outside noise. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, shut your windows and use air conditioning during the summer months. If you reside in an apartment or are staying in a hotel that doesn’t use soundproofing construction like AmericInn Hotels does, invest in noise-canceling headphones, white noise or sound effect machine.

5. Block out all light. When at home, use double thick curtains like the ones you find in hotels. Make sure you turn off all electronics in your room that emit light, including DVD players. A piece of masking tape over the display works great.

6. Avoid using alcohol and nicotine before bedtime. Even though alcohol may initially help you fall asleep due to its sedating effects, it causes severe sleep disruption during the second half of the night with frequent and long duration awakenings. Also, studies have shown that smoking before bed delays the time to fall asleep and is associated with a worsening insomnia in some individuals.

7. Banish the TV. Watching TV while in bed stimulates the mind, encouraging restlessness. Consider listening to classical music, but stay away from news or talk radio.

8. Distract your mind. Break away from daily stresses by reading a book before going to sleep at night. Counting sheep isn't just a silly remedy. The combination of the counting and the visualization distracts your mind and lulls or bores you to sleep.

9. Workout in the morning. If traveling, take advantage of your hotel’s exercise room. By adding an extra hour in your morning for some cardio-vascular exercise you will stay energized throughout the day and sleep better at night. Beware of working out too close to bedtime, as it can leave you over stimulated.

10. Pay attention to your eating habits. Eating right while traveling is always a challenge since many restaurant entrees are loaded with calories and served in huge portion sizes. Try picking healthier food options and you don’t have to clean your plate even if your mother used to make you. Finally, make sure you don't eat more than two hours before bedtime, so your food has time to digest.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Is There Really Such a Thing as Hope in a Jar?

PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to cosmeceuticals, consumers are bombarded by marketing claims that often fail to live up to their hype. Banking on promises that a product can "reverse the aging process" or "deliver the results of a facelift" leads consumers to spend billions of dollars each year to try an array of anti-aging skin care products. Their hope is that one day they will find a product that actually lives up to its claims.

Speaking today at the American Academy of Dermatology's SKIN academy (Academy), dermatologist Patricia K. Farris, MD, FAAD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, discussed how to separate fact from fiction when evaluating cosmeceuticals and tips for gauging the validity of product claims.

"When consulting with our patients, dermatologists can suggest skin care products that have strong science behind them and that have been proven to be safe and effective in human studies," said Dr. Farris. "The biggest problem with cosmeceuticals is not that they don't work, but that their benefits are greatly exaggerated."

Cosmeceuticals can be divided into categories based on their active ingredients. Anti-oxidants represent the largest category. They are followed by peptides (small proteins that stimulate the production of collagen and thicken the skin) and growth factors (compounds that act as chemical messengers between cells and play a role in cell division, new cell and blood vessel growth, and the production and distribution of collagen and elastin). More recently, Dr. Farris noted that the new trend is toward combination products. For example, cosmeceuticals with multiple anti-oxidants, retinol plus anti-oxidants, growth factors plus vitamin C and other unique combinations that are now being mass marketed. Consumers tend to favor combination products, embracing the philosophy that if one ingredient is good, then two must be better.

"The important thing to understand about combination products is that often the individual ingredients have been studied, but the combination of active ingredients has not," said Dr. Farris. "More rigorous scientific studies are necessary to assure that biologic activity is maintained when ingredients are formulated together, and clinical studies should be done to determine if combination products really offer any added benefit."

Consumer demand is high for cosmeceuticals containing "natural" or "organic" ingredients. However, Dr. Farris advised that the notion that these ingredients are safer than synthetic ones is a common misconception. In reality, there is no data to support the notion that natural or organic ingredients -- derived from the root, stem, leaves, flowers and fruit of plants -- are safer or even more effective than their synthetic counterparts.

"The problem with cosmeceuticals labeled 'natural' is that the labels themselves don't mean anything because these products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)," said Dr. Farris. "In fact, 'natural' skin care products are less tested and scrutinized than synthetic products and pharmaceuticals."

Dr. Farris noted that most compounds as they exist in their natural state cannot be formulated into skin care products. They must be chemically altered before they can be incorporated into cosmetics. For instance, compounds including retinol, vitamin C, and soy are among those that require chemical alteration -- after which they are referred to as enhanced natural ingredients. Enhanced natural ingredients tend to be more stable, penetrate better and have more long-lasting effects on the skin than unaltered plant extracts, which is the reason why most cosmeceuticals contain chemically-altered ingredients.

"There are a number of cosmeceutical ingredients that are completely synthetic, such as collagen-boosting peptides and synthetic forms of vitamin A," explained Dr. Farris. "These compounds are among the most potent anti-aging ingredients and have been used extensively by dermatologists. So, it's important for consumers to understand that synthetic ingredients are not necessarily bad and, in fact, skin care products containing these ingredients are probably among the most effective in the marketplace."

Dr. Farris explained that the key to evaluating the effectiveness of cosmeceuticals is understanding how they are tested. After an active ingredient has been identified, it is evaluated using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which is used to characterize biologic activity and determine if the ingredient is an anti-oxidant or anti-inflammatory. PCR testing also can tell if an ingredient increases collagen production or reduces collagen breakdown. Although PCR testing is a valuable part of the testing process, many of the claims made as a result of PCR testing are not substantiated by human studies.

"For dermatologists, the gold standard for confirming a product's efficacy remains the double-blind, vehicle-controlled study," said Dr. Farris. "In this type of objectively designed study, the product containing the key ingredients is tested against the vehicle, or the product formulation that is similar to the product being tested but without the key active ingredients." Dr. Farris explained that even though a compound may stimulate collagen production in PCR testing, it does not mean that the ingredient will cause any visible improvement in fine lines and wrinkles.

"Since cosmeceuticals are not subject to the FDA's rigorous approval process, most cosmetic manufacturers do not perform double-blind, vehicle-controlled studies," said Dr. Farris. "Instead, they rely on what are called open-label user studies where subjects apply test creams for a few weeks and then assess their improvement over baseline. Unfortunately, these types of studies are of no real value in determining product efficacy because they do not assess the vehicle's effect and there are no objective measures. People participating in these studies want to believe that they look better after using the product, but that does not necessarily mean it works."

Dr. Farris offered these tips when purchasing cosmeceuticals:

-- Ask yourself what the product claims to do and what kinds of studies have been performed.

-- Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

-- Stick with products and brands that you know to be reputable. Well-known manufacturers have more money behind their active ingredients and product testing.

-- Beware of Web site claims, as many are biased even if they say they are objective.

-- For day, use products containing anti-oxidants, as they have sun-protection properties. At night, use products containing retinoids, peptides or growth factors for their repair properties.

-- Talk to your dermatologist about the best options for your skin care needs.

For more information on aging skin, go to the "AgingSkinNet" section of http://www.skincarephysicians.com/, a Web site developed by dermatologists that provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shine This Holiday Season

(NAPSI)-The holidays are around the corner and it can be easy to achieve a holiday-ready look at home. Hollywood's top celebrity stylists explain that shine and shimmer are key trends this season and offer tips to achieve a shine-inspired look.

Celebrity stylist and star of "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" Gretta Monahan says, "The 'must have' look of the season is all about shine. Increase your shine potential with hair products and accessories that accentuate the natural style and texture of hair."

Celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal predicts shimmery cheeks and luminous eyes-the perfect complement to chic and shiny hair -will carry over from the fall season for sophisticated holiday style.

Monahan and Roncal lay out some shine-infused looks that are easy enough to try at home and are universal enough for everyone.

Chic Sleek Shine:

To get started, use products that put shine in your hair. Monahan recommends Dove Shine Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner to give dull, lackluster hair shine. They help to protect, repair and align damaged cuticles to restore hair's ability to reflect light.

For straight hair, slick it back in a sleek ponytail, keeping it close to the scalp for an instant clean and sophisticated look. Finish off the look with a jeweled ponytail holder that is modest in size.

For a makeup look to match, keep eyes neutral with a focus on the cheeks. Achieve a sophisticated shimmer with a dewy, fresh face. Apply cream blush to the apples of the cheeks and finish off with a shimmered powder highlighter.

Modern Natural Shine:

For curls and waves, dry your hair halfway on low setting with a blow-dryer, then let your hair take a break from the heat and see the natural body bounce to life. Polish the look and add sheen with a satin bow headband.

Achieve a makeup look to complement this hairstyle with gilded eyes enhanced with rich metallic shadows, especially gold and silver.

To pull this off during the day, apply a metallic shade of gold across the eyelid or just to highlight under the brow bone, tear duct and cheekbones. To make your eyes shine, dab a little extra shadow in the inner corner of your eyes for a completely polished look.

Roncal recommends, "Be sure you are always holiday-party prepared-throw a Q-tips purse pack in your clutch. Q-tips are the ultimate beauty tool, especially for precise makeup application, blending and touch-ups."

Visit dovehair.com for a free sample of Dove Shine Therapy. For more holiday makeup tips, visit www.qtips.com.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Supermodel Beverly Johnson Speaks Out To Help Women

(NAPSI)-Beverly Johnson, the first African-American model to grace the cover of Vogue magazine, is speaking out to help women seek treatment for a common and often painful condition: uterine fibroids. Although up to 75 percent of all women in the U.S. are affected by uterine fibroids, noncancerous tumors that grow in or on the walls of the uterus, many women remain uninformed about this condition and wait up to a year before finding treatment, often despite heavy bleeding, pain, weight gain and other symptoms.

Johnson is sharing her story to ensure that other women not only avoid silent suffering, but actively speak with other women and their health care provider about suitable treatment options. Women can read Johnson's story and learn more about uterine fibroids and their treatment at www.Ask4Tell4.com.

"When I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids, I didn't know a lot about the condition, and as a result I suffered for a long time, both physically and emotionally," said Johnson. "Ask 4 Tell 4 is about educating women about the condition so they will not be embarrassed to talk about their symptoms or be afraid to discuss treatment options with their doctors."

"Women seeking relief from uterine fibroids should ask their doctor to discuss a variety of treatment options so they can select the procedure that best fits their lifestyle and symptom profile," said John Lipman, M.D., FSIR, and director of interventional radiology at Emory-Adventist Hospital near Atlanta. In addition to hysterectomy, there are a variety of nonsurgical and uterine-sparing treatment options available today."

One such treatment is uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a nonsurgical procedure that usually takes less than one hour. An interventional radiologist inserts a catheter through a tiny nick in the skin to deliver microspheres (sand-sized particles) that block the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink. While a hysterectomy may require a six-to-eight-week recovery period, UFE patients typically return to work and can resume normal activities within one week.

Johnson's new Web site, www.Ask4Tell4.com, features the four questions she thinks all women should ask themselves and their health care provider about uterine fibroids, whether they currently have them or not. The site also includes the answers to these questions and information about a variety of treatment options. Additionally, women can join Johnson's cause by sharing the information with four or more of their friends or family members through an instant e-mail message sent from the Web site.

"I hope that women across the country will join me in breaking the silence about uterine fibroids. I'm sharing my story so that others will be more confident and empowered to speak up," added Johnson.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Beauty Pageant Brings Abuse Into the Light and Enables Women to Come Out of the Shadows and Win Their Life Back

PRNewswire/ -- The Mrs. Globe Pageant crowned a new Ms. North America, Cammie McBrayer of Marietta, Georgia, to help empower women across the nation to say no to abuse. Cammie feels honored that the people of the world voted for her as the "people's choice" to represent North America in the upcoming Mrs. Globe Pageant to become the international spokesperson for the W.I.N. Foundation.

The Mrs. Globe Pageant is an international pageant that is unique; it is a fundraiser for the W.I.N. (Women in Need) Foundation. W.I.N. is a non-profit outreach for abuse recovery and offers a 20-week abuse and self-esteem recovery program for women, men and children called the Right Living Program, which was founded by Dr. Tracy Kemble in 1995 (http://www.womeninneed.org/). As Ms. North America, Cammie will have the opportunity to have a Right Living Program weekend in her area during the upcoming year.

Ms. North America is also hosting "Kids helping Kids, Party with a Purpose" on November 21, 2008. There will be a DJ and a lot of dancing; over 100 12- and 13-year-olds are expected to attend, with a goal of $3,000 to benefit W.I.N.'s International Christmas for Kids Campaign. The kids will have the opportunity to see video from a past Christmas for Kids, so they get a firsthand view of the change that their fundraiser has made in kids' lives throughout the world.

Cammie's goal is to create an organization in the South to assist and empower women that have been through traumatic changes. This would be done through education, image consulting and through the Right Living Principals created by founder Dr. Tracy Kemble: the ultimate connection of mind, body and spirit.

As a national titleholder, Cammie will compete internationally in August 2009 for the coveted title of Mrs. Globe. Her dream is to take this campaign globally to help women reinvent themselves, so they have the power to overcome poverty and provide a strong, safe environment for their families. If you would like more information, please contact cammie@cammiemcbrayermsnorthamerica.com.

Keep track of Cammie's progress in her mission to help women and families overcome abuse; visit her website: http://cammiemcbrayermsnorthamerica.com/.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Favorite Lip Balm Flavors Reveal Personality

(NAPSI)-Here's food for thought: The fruit-flavored lip balm you like reveals what you're like. Research commissioned by Blistex and conducted by Alan Hirsch, M.D., director and founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago, suggests that the fruity-flavored lip balm packed in your purse or pocket offers insight to your personality.

The research found that people are extremely particular about their lip balm flavors and that their choice reveals a few particulars about them. Dr. Hirsch examined how the taste and smell of lip balm plays into characteristics and how they affect mood.

"Flavors are extremely powerful indicators and influencers," said Dr. Hirsch. "The idea of 'taste' goes beyond what touches the tongue, but also speaks directly to personality. People's taste, whether clothing or fruit flavors, provides some insight to the soul."

Want to know what your favorite lip balm flavor says about you or which flavor can add a little pep to your step? Dr. Hirsch's flavor personality profiles provide the answers.

• Tropical: You prefer to stand out from, rather than follow, the crowd. Tropical fruit lovers tend to be pessimistic and procrastinate. Pineapple flavor also stimulates the lingual nerve, making you feel more awake and alert. For more energy, skip the coffee and apply Blistex Fruit Smoothies Triple Tropical.

• Strawberry and Banana: You're the first person friends call to help with a move or get them out of a sticky situation. You're thoughtful, logical, loyal, reserved and a team player. This flavor combination is also found to increase exercise endurance and reduce an appetite.

• Berry: Your talk is known to inspire others and even get you out of awkward situations. Those who prefer berry flavors are charming, self-confident, driven and natural leaders. Berry flavor is known to enhance your exercise strength.

• Melon: You don't just go to the party, you are the party. Melon lovers are lively, dramatic and enthusiastically flirtatious. Melon flavors can help facilitate relaxation.

• Raspberry: You believe all goals are set to be met. Raspberry lovers are success oriented, intelligent and comfortable. After a tiring day, try applying Blistex Raspberry Lemonade Blast as raspberry flavor makes people feel refreshed.

• Cherry: Your shoulders are what friends seek in times of need. Cherry lovers are orderly and conscientious. Cherry flavor also enhances learning skills.

While fruit flavor taste may drive your purchase for your pout, experts at Blistex also remind consumers to look for lip balm with dermatologist-recommended SPF 15 protection.

For additional information and important lip care tips, visit www.Blistex.com.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day-to-night Fashion Solutions for the Holidays

(ARA) – We all know the holiday season is hectic. From finding the perfect gifts for family and friends to preparing that special dish, we run around scrambling to get everything together -- including ourselves -- at the last minute.

Between holiday shopping and credit card debt, traveling to attend large family gatherings and cocktails parties, and balancing work, all the merriment can cause major stress, particularly in women ages 35 to 54. Women in this age group are more likely than men to feel stressed during the holiday season than any other time of year, according to the American Psychological Association.

This year however, there is no need to stress over what to wear to holiday festivities. Rather than showing up to your office holiday party in frumpy, uncomfortable clothes from five years ago, you can take a great-looking outfit from day to night with simple styling solutions to flatter all body types at a fraction of the cost.

“The objective during the holidays is to look sharp and feel comfortable at the same time,” says Meredith Dudley, women’s designer for Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. “Start with a pair of great fitting, dark colored jeans that can be dressed up or down for any occasion and choose colors and patterns to create an overall slimming look.”

As a designer for Signature by Levi Strauss & Co., a jeanswear brand sold in retail stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart, Dudley knows what works for a woman’s body on budget. She offers some styling tips for solving specific problem areas:

* Broad Shoulders: Pair a tailored jacket with boot cut jeans to balance out your figure.
* Short or Wide Neck: Choose tops with an open or V-neckline to lengthen and slim your neck.
* Muscular Arms: Choose tops with a bright pattern to camouflage and distract from your arms.
* Large Calves: Pull on a pair of boots to hide your calves and draw attention to your footwear instead.
* Pear Shaped Figure: Try a 3/4-length jacket to give you a waist and make you appear long and lean.
* Belly Bulge: Choose jeans with stretch in a dark blue or black color for a slimming effect.

In general, Dudley recommends a boot cut leg opening as the most flattering style for all body types. Some of today’s boot cut jeans feature slimming technology, with a built-in front panel to control and flatter a woman’s stomach. Though typically sold for around $100 a pair, new Totally Slimming jeans from Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. retail for under $20 at Wal-Mart and Walmart.com. Available in dark and black rinses, the jeans can work from day to night when paired with a feminine blouse, a light cardigan sweater and accessorized with a pair of comfortable heels and jewelry.

“You don’t have to spend a fortune or deprive yourself of holiday treats to look and feel great this season,” Dudley says. “Forget the fad diets, weight loss pills and exercise gimmicks, looking trim this holiday season is easier than you think.”

Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. also sells jeans for the whole family at discount retailers. For more information on Signature by Levi Strauss & Co., visit http://www.signaturebylevistrauss.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why Joint Pain "Loves" Women

(NAPSI)-One thing that women do faster than men actually puts them at a higher risk for joint pain. And it all has to do with collagen.

"Women naturally lose joint collagen-which makes up 70 percent of the cartilage that provides cushion, strength and smoothness to joints-at a faster rate than men," says Len Smith, CEO of BSP Pharma. "And because women have less cartilage than men to begin with, any loss they experience affects them with more intensity."

Smith explains that this effect is further compounded after menopause, when levels of estrogen-which has a cartilage-protecting effect-drop. That's why doctors say it's especially important for women to take steps to protect against cartilage degradation.

These tips can help:

• Exercise--It only takes 30 minutes a day, but exercising energizes you, lifts your mood and helps relieve pain and stiffness. Walking, swimming and stretching are all great ways to get moving.

• Hydrate--Drinking water keeps joints mobile, so don't wait until you're thirsty to start hydrating.

• Eat Wisely--Foods like carrots, cauliflower, apples, almonds and cinnamon can neutralize the acid in your body that can increase joint pain. On the flip side, acidic foods-like coffee, soda, wine and citrus-should be reduced.

• Consider A Supplement--A new product for women's joint health, called SheaFlex70, has been shown to help dramatically reduce joint pain, joint-specific inflammation and joint-collagen breakdown. Clinically proven to be safe, it was specifically developed to stabilize type II collagen, the kind most abundant in joint cartilage. Plus, it can be taken in partnership with glucosamine, a commonly recommended supplement for joint pain.

• The Great Outdoors--The more fresh air you get-including when exercising-the more oxygen your body gets. And since more oxygen means increased energy, that allows you to be more active-thus helping to reduce joint pain.

One last thing: Connecting with others who are fighting joint pain may help you cope with your situation. You can find an online community of women protecting their joint health, along with tips and news, at www.sheaflex70.com. The site also lets you order the supplement over the Web.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Prescription For Finding Health Information Online

GBB Note: The internet is full of information about most any subject you choose to investigate. The following tips are so timely and need to be considered when you research any topic. Being an informed consumer makes everyone a happier consumer.

(NAPSI)-The Internet offers a wealth of information about health issues. But just as it's important to choose your health care provider carefully, it's also essential to evaluate any Web site you consult.

Not all the information you find online is reliable and some misinformation could even be harmful to your health.

When looking for a source of health information, here are a few questions that Health Net, Inc. suggests you should ask yourself:

• Who is responsible for the site? Somewhere on the site you should be able to find who sponsors the site so you can decide what the motivation was for creating the site. Is the site created by the government, an educational organization, a nonprofit or a company trying to sell you something?

• What does the site ask you to tell them about yourself? If you provide information to that site, will it be given to others? A privacy policy should explain as much.

• Where does the health information on the site come from? Medical research is the best source for health information. It is not enough for the site to say that the information it provides is based on the latest research. Such information should be backed up with articles in medical journals.

• Who reviews the information on the site? Are qualified medical professionals looking at everything that appears online? The site should have an expert in the field that reviews everything it posts.

• Is the information easy to understand?

• Is the information up to date? Medical breakthroughs are constantly taking place and a good site will review the latest developments in science and medicine and change its site accordingly.

Health Net suggests that you visit more than one site and make comparisons, and it's always a good idea to discuss the information you find with your health care professional.

For information on health issues, visit www.healthfinder.gov or www.medicare.gov.

You can also find useful information at Health Net's Web site at www.abetterdecision.com or call them at (800) 935-6565 or (TTY/TDD) 1-800-929-9955.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cutting Age Advances in Anti-Aging Skin Care

An honest look at how we can all save our skin from EARLY signs of AGING! This article was written by board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Friedman of San Francisco. Dr. Friedman explains what's just around the corner for anti-aging skin care solutions.

/24-7PressRelease/ -- The road we travel from the sunrise to the sunset of our lives is known as aging. To a degree the rate at which we age results from both genetic and environmental factors. We have no control over the former but have a significant influence over the latter. Certain foods we eat, the air we breathe, and the sun we expose ourselves to are major environmental stress factors (ESF) which are largely the result of the lifestyle choices we make. Premature aging of the skin results to a significant degree from making the wrong choices. On the other hand, a diet high in fruits and vegetables, breathing clean air, avoiding smoking, and minimizing sun exposure or certainly using effective sunscreens whenever we are exposed to sun light, are choices that greatly reduce these environmental stress factors (ESF) which lead to premature aging.

ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS FACTORS (EFS)

The skin reacts to these environmental stress factors by producing free radicals. Research has shown that free radicals are responsible for premature aging and certain forms of cancer. The body's natural defense mechanisms, which include antioxidants, fight to destroy free radicals before they can cause cellular inflammation that leads to permanent damage. If excessive numbers of free radicals are produced they begin to overwhelm the body's natural defense mechanisms and the extensive cellular injury is no longer able to adequately heal. In the skin, this type of permanent injury goes on to form microscopic scars. As these tiny scars proliferate, a visible wrinkle forms and thus presents as an early visible sign of premature aging.

SAVING YOUR SKIN

We must minimize the environmental stress factors (ESF) in order to reduce premature aging of the skin. Fortunately, smoking and atmospheric pollutants have been reduced through education and legislation. Increased protection from harmful UVA rays in sunlight has occurred with the development of SPF sunscreens. However, most sunscreens provide inadequate protection. More effective products containing EPF (environmental protection factor), IPF (immune protection factors), and DNA repair enzymes, that better protect against damaging UVA 1 rays, are now being developed.

MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH - DNA REPAIR ENZYMES

Current cosmecueutical research is now focusing on the inclusion of powerful, new antioxidants, as well as DNA repair enzymes. As these become available in the very near future, major breakthroughs in anti-aging skin care will take place.

LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE

In summary, significant progress against the oxidative environmental stress factors is occurring with ongoing health education, the development of new, highly potent antioxidants and DNA repair enzymes, more effective sunscreens, and new cosmeceuticals targeting an individual unique DNA. This promises to lead to a profound advancement in the area of ant-aging skin care.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Secret to Growing Young

(ARA) - As we grow older we look forward to the changes that life brings -- retirement, grandchildren, financial security and travel. Other changes we might not accept so readily are the aches and pains and mental slowdowns that leave us longing for the good old days of our youth. We think we have to put up with degeneration when aging, but that is not true. Staying active is key for a healthy lifestyle, but what else can we do to benefit our bodies as we age?

The Human growth hormone (HGH) might be a key element in feeling your best as you age. When HGH was first discovered, its only purpose was thought to be to stimulate body growth to adult size. Recent studies have found that one of the main reasons the body ages is because of the decrease in HGH, which helps the body regenerate.

It is possible that aging symptoms -- rise in blood glucose, high blood pressure and even skin wrinkles -- can be treated by maintaining HGH levels in the body. Receptor sites exist in almost every cell in the human body for HGH, so regeneration and healing effects can be quite comprehensive.

Until now, HGH therapy was injectable, costly and messy, available only to celebrities and the very wealthy. In 1997 a group of doctors and scientists developed an all-natural source product which causes your own natural HGH to be released again. GHR, manufactured by Global Health Products, is a capsule that works as a natural releaser for HGH. It has no known side effects, unlike the synthetic version, and has no known drug interactions. Aging baby boomers and seniors can feel young again by realizing HGH potential.

Some think that HGH is so comprehensive in its healing and regenerative powers that it has the capability to displace many prescription and non-prescription drugs. HGH is known to help treat hemorrhoids, autoimmune diseases, macular degeneration, cataracts, fibromyalgia, angina, chronic fatigue, diabetic-neuropathy, hepatitis C, chronic constipation, high blood pressure, sciatica, kidney dialysis, and heart and stroke recovery.

As seniors and others deal with health care coverage problems, it is important to look at what you can do for yourself to ensure your healthiness. HGH can be particularly helpful to the elderly who, given a choice, would rather stay happy, healthy and independent in their own home. HGH gives the possibility of real health, not just treating sickness.

For more information on HGH and the GHR capsule please visit www.BIEHealth.us or call (877) 849-4777.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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