Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wigs to Get a New Look

When I had my children I was often too tired or uninspired to want to fix my hair. So I resorted to wigs in different styles and hair colors.

The wigs were tight, heavy and too hot for summer days.

Lately, my husband asked me to change my hair color--he wanted blond highlights in my brown/gray hair. Rather than take the plunge blindly, I went to a respectable wig store in my area and consulted (for a fee) with the owner.

After we decided on the best color and cut for me, I showed my hairdresser who duplicated the look. I am very happy with the results.

I also selected a hairpiece that can help cover my thinning hair on top. Even though I didn't purchase it yet, I know that when the time comes, I can get a light-weight natural-looking hairpiece.

Vibrant Nation provides some valuable information for selecting a wig online:

1. Find a store with an online presence too. You want a professional that works hands-on with wigs everyday.

2. Watch out for big name internet wig retailers who charge less for inferior quality.

3. Find a trusted company featuring authentic merchandise at competitive prices.

4. Find someone locally to style your wig to fit your face and complexion.

5. Make sure your internet retailer has a phone number, street address and an expert reachable by phone.

For more on wigs and hair, visit

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thyroid Drugs Increase Fracture Risk

Drugs used to treat thyroid problems may increase the risk for fractures in many seniors.

That's why dosages need to be monitored closely by their physicians.

According to a study conducted at the Women's College Research Institute in Toronto, evidence was found that "levothyroxine treatment may increase the risk of fragility fractures in older people even at conventional dosages."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Help For Dental Problems

It's not the kiddies that have the greatest amount of tooth decay. It's people over 65.

That's because older people produce less saliva that's needed to clean the teeth. According to the American Geriatrics Society's Foundation for Health in Aging, "gums shrink with age, exposing the tooth to decay or infection." Often the elderly have trouble flossing and brushing because of sight and mobility limitations.

Here are some solutions:

1. Visit the dentist yearly.

2. Make sure to floss and brush regularly. An electric toothbrush used properly can help.

3. Have dentures checked and refitted regularly.

4. Moisten a dry mouth.

5. Make an appointment with your dentist or physician if you find red or white spots or sores in your mouth that do not disappear within 2 weeks.

For more on dental care, visit

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Unsolved Crime: Oscar Silent About Theft

Here stands the accused: Oscar Levine (birthdate 1/29/08)

Gender: Male
Sex: No (neutered)
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 12.5 lbs.
Eyes: Dark Brown
Hair: Mostly white
Nose: Black
Outstanding features: Tongue sticks slightly out of mouth
Crime: Theft

Upon entering obedience class (exhibit #1), the accused was judged to be "uninterested in treats," thereby making the job of training him more difficult. He sneered at the pricey chicken jerky and barely tolerated the beef jerky cut in pea-sizes and placed in a nail apron from which the treats would be fed to said dog upon completion of a satisfactory response to, let's say, "sit."

Given his unsavory background (he was rescued from a shelter) and much to the surprise of both owners and trainer, Janet Bourque, he responded well to commands. Granted he was lavished with abundant praise ("you are the best dog ever," "you can chew on all the slippers you want," "the backyard is yours and yours alone"), he heeled and sat.

Fast forward to yesterday: Owner reported that the said dog's goods which were on the outside table next to the front door were disturbed. Owner took all items including nail apron filled with treats and placed them into a shopping bag on a low ledge in the kitchen.

This morning the nail apron was found on the master bedroom floor sans treats. The kitchen floor is littered with treat crumbs and owners are tempted to surround the crime scene with yellow tape until investigation is complete. Suspect was last seen walking around the house with a chew stick (part of the treat package) dangling from his mouth. Both owners deny any involvement. Suspect was informed of his rights but declined legal representation.

For more on pets, visit

Friday, July 22, 2011

Save on Travel

Here are a few ways to save on travel (I've picked them up from various sources):

Buy your flight at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning in the time zone the airline is based.

Fly during off-peak times and days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at midday).

Consider alternate airports.

Rent cars other than at the airport where additional taxes are charged. Watch for last-minute specials, weekly rates, and pre-payment plans.

Don't assume you are saving money by using an airport shuttle--a cab may be cheaper, particularly if you are not traveling alone.

Ask the hotel manager for discounts or upgrades at the check-in desk.

Consider the concierge floor--it may cost more upfront but be worth it if you get breakfast and appetizers thrown in (the snacks are enough to fill us up!).

Stay with locals or exchange your home with one in a foreign country you'd like to visit.

Check out colleges and universities for dorm rooms.

You might enjoy camping or hostels.

Book an all-inclusive vacation package.

Go to a destination that recently hosted a major world event--like Vancouver or Beijing.

For more on travel, visit

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MRI Helps Detect Breast Cancer in High-Risk Women

When a friend wrote me the other day that she found a lump in her breast, I was at first relieved when she told me she had had a mammography in February, 2011. But then she went on to write that the lump proved to be Stage III breast cancer that had already spread to her lymph nodes.

According to an article by Amy Norton for Medline Plus, "breast cancer screening that includes MRI scans might help find cancers at an earlier stage in high-risk women, reducing the likelihood that the tumors will become advanced before they're diagnosed."

Women who have mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are at higher risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer. Their chances for developing the disease are 60% (vs. 12% by the general population).

Therefore, the American Cancer Society advises that these high risk women be screened with both a mammography and an MRI.

The MRI screening, however, has its drawbacks. It's much more expensive than mammograms (about $1,000) and the test needs to be repeated every year. There comes a higher risk of false-positives with an MRI.

Some of this group opts for preventive mastectomy, a less expensive way to deal with a possible cancer in the future.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Electronic Medical Records Available to You

People who have basic computer skills and are associated with a physician that provides online "personal health records" can review lab-test results and communicate by email with their health care providers, among other things."

It is estimated that more than 70 million Americans now have access to some form of their online medical history. Less than 10% of them appear to be using this Internet tool.

"It's really to the patient's advantage to be more informed about the care they're getting, " said Dr. David Bates at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, because "it should improve the patient experience and quality of care."

Be like Mikey. If you have access to your electronic medical records, try it. You might like it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Pack It In: Travel Essentials

It's that time of year again--when many of us take our vacations. I just returned from San Antonio for a wedding.

This is my list of travel essentials:

Swim suit


Book --read a couple of chapters prior to your trip

Medication--always in your carryon


Sandals (summer)

Boots (winter)

Shoes (preferably waterproof)


Light sweatpants




Credit cards

AAA card


Discount coupons


ID inside luggage pieces

Phone numbers

Extra flat carryon--for trip purchases

Clear plastic bags

Pen and paper

Camera and charger

Alarm clock (or alarm on cell phone)

Cell phone recharger

To this list, I add Vibrant Nation's 13 travel essentials:

1. A large scarf to serve as a shawl, blanket or pillow.

2. Duct tape for simple, easy repairs.

3. Travel yoga mat for exercise or luggage padding.

4. Cozy socks for relaxing on the airplane.

5. A small headlamp to use as a lamp or flashlight.

6. Multi-plug electrical adaptor.

7. Comfy running shoes.

8. Your own face soap and moisturizer.

9. Saline nasal spray for dry airline cabins.

10. Tums for stomach upsets.

For more on traveling, visit

Have a great time!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Heart Smart: How Health Literacy Directly Affects Your Heart Health

"Health literacy refers to the ability to acquire, process and understand basic health information and services required to make appropriate health decisions", according to author Robert Preidt of HealthDay.

The lower the level of "health literacy," the more likely the patient will be at risk for hospitalization and death due to heart failure.

Therefore, the question is posed as to whether heart failure patients should be screened to determine how educated they are about their health.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cardiac Stem Cells Provide New Hope For Heart Patients

Elderly patients suffering from heart disease have hope.

Last year the American Heart Association reported that cardiac stem cells--even their own--could generate new heart muscle and vessel tissue in heart and diabetic patients.

A study showed that most of their patients (who had enlarged or weakened muscles due to coronary artery disease) can potentially use cardiac stem cells (CSCs) that have been harvested and multiplied in labs to rescue the decompensated human heart.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cardiac Risk For Victims of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a cluster of symptoms including emotional numbing, avoidance in certain situations, hyperarousal, sleep disruptions and impaired concentration.

At the end of last year the American Heart Association reported that "post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) more than doubles a veteran's risk of death from any cause" because PTSD appears to clog arteries with greater calcium buildup.

Veterans who suffer from it should be diagnosed and treated aggressively for cardiovascular risk.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grandparent Essentials

When advertised its 30 essential items every grandparent should have, I paid attention. After all, who's more important than the grand babies?

Author Paul Rogers divided the essentials into 3 groups--safety, snacks, and fun.

Safety essentials included a first aid kit, emergency information, ice packs, sunscreen and more.

For snacks grandparents should keep foods such unprocessed cereals, yogurt, cut-up veggies and fruit, peanut butter, whole-wheat tortillas, unbuttered popcorn.

Include in your fun pack: sidewalk chalk, washable markers, old photo albums, a library card, a deck of cards, board games, jigsaw puzzles.

Learn more about bonding, long-distance grand parenting and investing in your grandchildren's future at