And here is her interview..
Death Rate 70% Lower at Nation’s Top-Rated Hospitals: HealthGrades 11th Annual Hospital Quality Study
The Most Comprehensive Annual Study of Hospital Quality in America Examines 41 Million Patient Records at 5,000 Hospitals Over Three Years; Mortality Rates Improve Nationally
City and State-Level Hospital Death Rates Released
Hospital Quality Ratings Available Free to Consumers at HealthGrades.com
Patients have on average a 70 percent lower chance of dying at the nation’s top-rated hospitals compared with the lowest-rated hospitals across 17 procedures and conditions analyzed in the eleventh annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study, issued today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization.
should not be a major factor in patients' outcomes. If our nation's
hospitals are to close the quality gap and guarantee an equally high
level of medical care for every patient, no matter where he or she
lives, it will require a commitment by our nation and its communities
to demand more from quality improvement
then, it is imperative that anyone seeking medical care at a hospital
do their homework and know the hospital's quality ratings before they
HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study also found that if all hospitals performed at the level of five-star rated hospitals, 237,420 Medicare deaths could potentially have been prevented over the three years studied. More than half of those deaths were associated with four conditions: sepsis (a life-threatening illness caused by systemic response to infection), pneumonia, heart failure and respiratory failure.
The HealthGrades study of patient outcomes at the nation’s approximately 5,000 hospitals is the most comprehensive annual study of its kind, analyzing more than 41 million Medicare hospitalization records from 2005 to 2007. The study examines procedures and conditions ranging from heart valve-replacement surgery to heart attack to pneumonia.
Based on the study, HealthGrades today made available its 2009 quality ratings for all nonfederal hospitals in the country at www.healthgrades.com, a Web site designed to help individuals research and compare local healthcare providers.
Full reports on death rate trends in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia are available in the study. And, for the first time, HealthGrades has released hospital death rates for the nation’s 15 largest metropolitan statistical areas: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, San Francisco, Phoenix, Riverside-Inland Empire (CA) and Seattle. Large variation exists between major metropolitan areas.
“Geography should not be a major factor in patients’ outcomes. If our nation’s hospitals are to close the quality gap and guarantee an equally high level of medical care for every patient, no matter where he or she lives, it will require a commitment by our nation and its communities to demand more from quality improvement,” said Samantha Collier, MD, HealthGrades’ chief medical officer and a study author. “Until then, it is imperative that anyone seeking medical care at a hospital do their homework and know the hospital’s quality ratings before they check in.”
The study’s major findings are:
In the study’s analysis of hospital death rates, the following 17 procedures and conditions were analyzed: bowel obstruction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary bypass surgery, coronary interventional procedures (angioplasty/stent), diabetic acidosis and coma, gastrointestinal bleed, gastrointestinal surgeries and procedures, heart attack, heart failure, pancreatitis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, resection/replacement of the abdominal aorta, respiratory failure, sepsis, stroke, and valve replacement surgery. The full study, along with its methodology and state-by-state hospital-quality statistics, can be found at www.healthgrades.com.
HealthGrades’ Star Ratings of Hospitals
On its Web site, HealthGrades offers, free to consumers, quality ratings of 27 procedures and treatments for every nonfederal hospital in the country. The Web site is designed so that consumers can easily compare patient outcomes at their local hospitals for procedures ranging from aortic aneurysm repair to bypass surgery. Each hospital receives a star rating based on its patient outcomes in terms of mortality or complication rates for each procedure or treatment. Hospitals with outcomes that are above average to a statistically significant degree receive a five-star rating. Hospitals with average outcomes receive a three-star rating, and hospitals with outcomes that are below average receive a one-star rating. Because no two hospitals or their patients’ risk profiles are alike, HealthGrades employs extensive risk-adjustment algorithms to ensure that it is making fair comparisons.
Soda pop is often the most common source of young people’s sugar intake. The average teenage male drinks an estimated 868 cans of soda pop each year. Overall, Americans are consuming twice as much soda pop as they did 25 years ago. And they’re spending $54 billion a year on it. That’s twice what we spend on books.
Soda is the subject of bans at schools for good reason, not just for the sugar content.
Weak Bones and Mineral Loss and Free Radicals
Soda drinkers are less likely to get sufficient vitamin A, calcium, or magnesium.  Sugar depletes magnesium, and the high levels of phosphoric acid in soft drinks can combine with calcium and magnesium in the gut to cause a loss of these vital minerals.
Doctors are now seeing young people engaged in sports break their femur – also known as the thigh bone and the strongest bone in the human body – and some are questioning if the phosphorus in soda pop has weakened the bones more than anyone expected. Phosphoric acid gives that tangy aftertaste. Ever used Naval Jelly for removing rust? That's phosphoric acid at work. There is some research suggesting cola consumption increases the amount of calcium measured in urine, meaning cola triggers calcium leaching out of bone.
Researchers at Rutgers University discovered in 2007 that beverages made with high fructose corn syrup contain high levels of reactive carbonyls, a free radical linked to tissue damage, the development of diabetes, and the occurrence of diabetes complications. Reactive carbonyls are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and linked to the complications of that disease.
The Plastic Connection
A chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make plastics hard, and in 2008, Health Canada banned it from baby products. News reports prompted many people to trade in their polycarbonate #7 water bottles for glass, stainless steel, or “BPA-free” plastics. However, maximum exposure to BPA is thought to come from the linings of canned food, especially acidic foods like soda pop and tomato sauce.
Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi officials confirmed that BPA is used in the linings of their beverage containers.
Evidence is accumulating that ongoing exposure to BPA might be contributing to a boatload of medical maladies. Effects at even low BPA exposure appear to include: prostate cancer, breast cancer, early puberty onset, alterations in gender-specific behavior, decreased sperm count, affects on fertility, affects on obesity and insulin resistance, behavioral effects including hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, impaired learning and other changes in behavior. BPA mimics naturally occurring estrogen, a hormone that is part of the endocrine system, the body's finely tuned messaging service.
Ninety-five percent of Americans were found to have BPA in their urine in a 2004 biomonitoring study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A much anticipated British study came out in September, 2007, looking at whether the colored dyes added to so many soft drinks, fruit drinks, and junk food, trigger hyperactivity in children. The connection has been suspected for decades.
Scientists from Southampton University tested more than 300 children, aged 3 and 8, by giving them fruit drinks containing a common mixture of food colorings and preservatives (sodium benzoate). This was a double-blind-placebo-control study; the mixtures were designed to reflect what a typical child might eat in the course of a normal day. It is the largest trial of its kind to date.
Results clearly demonstrated an increase in hyperactivity. Most importantly, the study confirmed deterioration in behavior occurs in children in the general population, not just in those identified as suffering from hyperactivity.
As reported in one of Britain’s largest newspapers, The Guardian, September 6, 2007:
”Parents are to be warned of the dangers of giving their young children drinks, sweets and cakes containing specified artificial additives, as a result of new findings being made public for the first time today which confirm their link with hyperactivity and disruptive behaviour. “The government's Food Standards Agency is taking the significant step of issuing revised guidance to consumers recommending that they steer clear of products containing certain E-numbers if their children are showing signs of hyperactivity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD). “The release of the new public health advice follows the results of the biggest UK study into the links between hyper-activity and chemical food additives, which was commissioned by the government and published today in the medical journal the Lancet.
“But the move has confounded experts and health campaigners, who say the government had missed an opportunity to take a tougher line by banning the additives completely instead of placing a huge burden on parents. Adults are being advised to check for additives by scrutinising labels, yet many sweets and cakes are sold loose without labels, as is ice cream.
“… Professor Jim Stevenson, who headed the Southampton study, said: "We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colours and benzoate preservative can adversely influence the behaviour of children…”
“Dr Andrew Wadge, the FSA's chief scientist, said: "We have revised our advice to consumers: if a child shows signs of hyperactivity or AD/HD then eliminating the colours used in the Southampton study from their diet might have some beneficial effects." “A spokesman for the Hyperactive Children's Support Group said: "This research confirms what many of us have known for 30 years. But we seriously question the implementation of the new advice. Is it practical to expect parents to quiz headteachers about additives in school meals, or to ask parents about the contents of party bags?"
Other concerned parties were quick to pile on:
“… Such additives are derived from industrial textile dyes and are used entirely for cosmetic purposes; to make junk food appealing. These additives are completely unnecessary and are banned under organic standards. … The FSA's reaction is totally inadequate. It is surely time for the agency to take a lead role in addressing this issue through new policies to prevent the use of food additives unless they are required for food-safety reasons.
“As with the issues of pesticide residues and genetically modified food, the FSA is still giving the benefit of the doubt to the food industry over artificial food ingredients, even when there are rising public health concerns.”
Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, also chimed in:
“The overwhelming majority of our additive intake today has been part of the diet of humans for generations: yeast, salt, sugar, baking powder. But thousands of other additives, derived from both natural and synthetic sources, have recently become commonplace in western eating. What are these substances doing to our bodies and our minds? We are just beginning to find out. …
“The packaged food industry and the fast food industry are dependent on the use of such additives to prevent spoilage, to allow the transport of products long distances, and to maintain uniformity. Any finding that such additives pose a threat to human health will threaten the financial health of these industries. And that is why so few large-scale studies have been conducted. The absence of adequate information greatly benefits the producers of industrial food. In the United States there is an extremely cozy relationship between the food industry and the government agencies that are ostensibly regulating it.”
Back in the United States, the Feingold Association, an advocacy group concerned with children and diet, reminded its members that food colorings are not just in soda and fruit drinks:
“Children also consume food dye in their toothpaste, their shampoo (through the scalp), their hand lotion (through their skin), their cereal, their juice drinks, their mac 'n cheese, etc. In fact, in 1977 the National Academy of Sciences did a huge study on 12,000 people and determined that most people in the United States eat up to an average of 317 mg of food dyes per day. The amount children in the UK consume is likely to be close to that.
“As far as we know, the reason that they did not use BHA, BHT, or TBHQ, is that these preservatives have already been removed from most food for children in the UK. Possibly, therefore, the children consume much more sodium benzoate than American children.
A Norwegian study in 2006 showed that teenagers who drank the most soda (an average of four or more glasses a day) scored highest on measures of behavioral difficulties, hyperactivity, mental distress and overall mental health problems. The researchers pointed out that children with high soda consumption are more likely to skip meals and eat less nutrient-dense foods than children with lower consumption, thus making them more likely to develop nutritional deficiencies. "These findings make a strong comment about the need to make soft drinks less available in schools, homes and events for kids," said lead researcher Lars Lien. "Together with all the other compelling evidence of detrimental effects of sugar, I think the evidence from this study strengthens the call to make changes as a society."
Preservatives and DNA Damage
Sodium benzoate is a preservative. It prevents mold and thereby gives a product a long shelf life. Because so many food “products” are no longer fresh, preservatives are widely used in the processed food industry. It is most often found in soft drinks, vinegar, and mouthwash.
Sodium benzoate has already been the subject of concern about cancer. When mixed with the additive vitamin C in soft drinks, it forms benzene, a carcinogenic substance.  Benzene damages bone marrow and can cause anemia because of a decrease in red blood cells. It can also cause excessive bleeding and depress the immune system. Recent surveys have found unlawfully high levels of benzene in some soft drink brands. 
Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at Sheffield University, rang a loud warning bell about it in 2007. He tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria.
"These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether. The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it - as happens in a number if diseased states - then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA - Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of ageing. The food industry will say these compounds have been tested and they are completely safe. By the criteria of modern safety testing, the safety tests were inadequate. Like all things, safety testing moves forward and you can conduct a much more rigorous safety test than you could 50 years ago."
Food colorings in soft drinks are there solely for cosmetic reasons – they make the product look appealing.
As word starts to reach the mainstream about the negative health affects of soda, more people are turning to “flavored water” which is seen by the global drinks industry as the latest “super-product.” By some estimates, flavored waters already make up 25% of the bottled water market.
"This is the beginning of the end for colas," says Mark Ritson, a marketing professor at the Melbourne Business School. "And Coca-Cola knows it. … All beverage companies are desperately getting into this market. They are offering a sweeter, 'better' alternative to water." 
Perceptually, flavored waters seem healthier than soda. But consumer beware: they are usually loaded with sugar and problematic additives.
A study by a group of British dentists into the corrosive effects of flavored sparkling water drinks was published in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry in 2007.
" ’We are seeing an increase in children with tooth tissue loss associated with erosion,’ says Catriona Brown, a consultant paediatric dentist at the Birmingham Dental Hospital. Although the group looked at flavoured sparkling waters - carbonated water contributes more to erosion than still water - it wasn't the carbonation that caused the biggest problem with erosion, but the fruit flavouring and acids, such as citric and malic acid, that were added to the drinks. ‘We were surprised at how low the pH we found was,’ says Dr Brown. (The lower the pH, the more acidic something is.) Different flavourings made a difference, the dentists found - the worst was lemon-and-lime flavouring. ‘But they all showed acidic tendency,’ says Brown. ‘There is an indication that these drinks are potentially erosive and people should recognise that.’ "
The worst choice among the offerings in the soda pop shelves is the diet soda. “But I don’t want to gain weight,” you say. Think again. Diet sodas actually contribute to weight gain. This is a prime example of the triumph of marketing over knowledge. The findings of eight years of solid research on diet soda and weight gain was reported to the American Diabetes Association at its annual meeting in 2006.
Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, looked at eight years of data from 1,550 people aged 25 to 64. "What didn't surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity," Fowler reported. "What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher. There was a 41 percent increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day."
Other researchers have found that any kind of sweet taste signals body cells to store carbohydrates and fats, which in turn causes the body to crave more food.
Sweet tastes promote the release of insulin, which blocks the body's ability to burn fat. This is an adaptive response, because for millions of years sweet tastes have meant that blood glucose levels are about to rise, and when there is excess sugar, it ought to be stored for times when food is not readily available. Artificial sweeteners have the same effect on insulin: sweet diet drinks will increase insulin and thus the storage of fat. In diet sodas though, no sugar is provided by the beverage, so the consumer stores away glucose already present in the blood. Now that glucose is not available for energy. Blood sugar takes a dive, the person likely feels lethargic, and then feelings of hunger kick in. The consumer eats more, and gains weight. The consumer may reach for another diet soda or even a candy bar to get that pick-me-up feeling.
No published study has demonstrated that drinking diet soda will cause a person to lose weight.
There are a few other bad actors at work too. Diet soda often contains sodium, which exacerbates thirst. Caffeine is often added to provide that sugar rush - you are trading a sugar high for a caffeine buzz. But the complications of caffeine consumption and addiction are well documented - fatigue due to adrenal exhaustion, insomnia, chronic anxiety, hormonal imbalance, etc.
Aspartame and Splenda
Perhaps most importantly, diet soda contains a synthetic sweetener, most likely aspartame or Splenda.
One 12 ounce diet soda contains about 180 mg of aspartame, or 15 mg of aspartame per ounce, which equals approximately 4 and a half packets of NutraSweet.
In 1991 the National Institutes of Health listed 167 possible side-effect symptoms of aspartame. It is in soda pop, over the counter medicines, chewing gum, breath strips and many more edible products. The FDA receives more complaints about aspartame than any other food additive. But it has never been banned. The reasons for that lay in a tangled web of politics and money woven throughout the At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we order pure aspartame with which to make antigens. Note on the far right of the label - "WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm." (click image to enlarge)Unfortunately, all the current attention on obesity has caused many people to think that diet sodas are a better alternative than regular soda. Even the William J. Clinton Foundation has recommended diet soda as an alternative in schools. Unfortunately, this is an uninformed approach, given the well-documented dangers of sugar substitutes.
For those of us who live in hot climates like Arizona, diet sodas may present a special danger if they have been exposed to hot temperatures, such as sitting outside the back door of a convenience store in summer. There is some evidence that storing diet soda in elevated temperatures promotes rapid deterioration of aspartame into poisonous methyl alcohol (methanol) as well as formic acid and a brain tumor agent called diketopiperazine (DKP). Methanol is better known as wood alcohol, a deadly poison. According to the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, when ingested, methanol breaks down into formaldehyde which is "known to cause cancer, accumulating slowly without detection in the body."
Methanol is a deadly poison that can cause serious tissue damage. Some of the symptoms of methanol poisoning are headaches; numbness of the arms, hands, legs, or feet; dizziness; depression; blurred vision; nausea; and stomach pain. The body lacks the specific enzymes necessary to detoxify it. A 12 ounce aspartame-sweetener soft drink is said to have about 10 mg of methanol.
Dr. H. J. Roberts, a physician and renowned aspartame researcher, explains that when the amino acids in aspartame are consumed in their natural state in foods, they are digested and released into the bloodstream slowly, buffered and balanced by other amino acids. However, especially when aspartame is consumed in beverages, the body is suddenly flooded with phenylalanine and aspartic acid, which can cross into the brain unimpeded and cause significant disturbances. Dr. Richard Wurtman, Professor of Neuroendocrinology at MIT, notes that an adult drinking four to five aspartame-sweetened soft drinks a day is getting enough phenylalanine into the brain to disrupt neurotransmitter function, which can produce can produce depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, headaches, high blood pressure, increased appetite and possibly seizures.
Sandra Cabot, MD, author and international lecturer, explains it this way:
"When you ingest the toxic chemical aspartame, it is absorbed from the intestines and passes immediately to the liver where it is taken inside the liver via the liver filter. The liver then breaks down (metabolizes) aspartame to its toxic components-phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. This process requires a lot of energy from the liver making less energy available for fat burning and metabolism, which will result in fat storing and elevated blood sugar levels. Excess fat may build up inside the liver cells causing ‘fatty liver’ and when this starts to occur it is extremely difficult to lose weight. In my vast experience any time that you overload the liver you will increase the tendency to gain weight easily. ... The Trocho Study in Barcelona (l998) showed that the formaldehyde converted from the free methyl alcohol accumulates in the cells and damages DNA with most toxicity in the liver but substantial toxicity in the adipose tissue (fat cells). ... So as far as product liability is concerned, you have companies selling an excitoneurotoxic carcinogenic drug to the population as a sugarfree diet product knowing full well this government-approved artificial sweetener is actually causing the obesity it's marketeers claim to be preventing. They also know that aspartame is addictive and that the methanol component is classified as a narcotic."
Dr. Morando Soffritti, received the Irving J. Selikoff Award in April, 2007 for outstanding contributions to the identification of environmental and industrial carcinogens
Dr. Morando Soffritti and researchers at Italy’s Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences performed several studies on aspartame. One study was conducted for 36 months using 1,800 rats. It concluded that aspartame is a multipotential carcinogen, with effects evident even at a daily dose of 20 mg/kg bw. Cancers produced included leukemia, lymphoma, kidney, and cranial peripheral nerves. This prodigious work was peer reviewed. Most recently, researchers gave aspartame to pregnant rats and to their offspring. Researchers found that after the dose was adjusted for the smaller body weights of the rats, there was a slightly increased risk of cancer among those rats which were given about 40 percent of what the FDA has deemed a maximum accepted daily dose of aspartame. And when life-span exposure to aspartame begins during fetal life, its carcinogenic effects are increased. 
These studies were done on rats, but suggest a danger to unborn babies and especially to children, including the newly identified risk of breast cancer as the child ages. Dr. Philip Landirgan, Chairman of Community and Environmental Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, says, "Exposures occurred at relatively low doses. If a 20 kg child drinks two cans of diet soda a day the child is bringing into his body a 400 mg of aspartame. Just two cans of drink we're already exposing the child to a biologically significant dose. Parents of young children should think very, very carefully about giving drinks and other foods to their children that are sweetened with aspartame and for that matter other artificial sweeteners." As public awareness grows that aspartame is dangerous, a new artifical sweetener, Splenda, is replacing aspartame as the “sugar-free” additive of choice in soda pop.
Dr. James Bowen, researcher and biochemist, has reported:
"Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature's Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid. In test animals Splenda produced swollen livers, as do all chlorocarbon poisons, and also calcified the kidneys of test animals in toxicity studies. Chlorocarbon poisoning can cause cancer, birth defects, and immune system destruction."
(FOOTNOTE: James Bowen, M.D., The Lethal Science of Splenda, May 2005, accessed at http://www.wnho.net/splenda_chlorocarbon.htm)
Benzene and Pesticides
Exposing soft drinks to heat can also raise levels of benzene. This chemical has been identified as a Class A carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency causing both acute and chronic health effects. Its use as an additive in gasoline is now limited, but it is an important industrial solvent and precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes.
Many who served in the Gulf War drank diet sodas that had been exposed to hot temperatures in Kuwait and Iraq; questions have been raised whether soda pop played a role in the sickness called Gulf War Syndrome that plagued so many returning vets.
And in related news, there may be more chemicals in that aluminum can of soda than one would think. The sale of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo soft drinks have been banned in parts of India because the beverages contained pesticide residues more than 20 times the "acceptable" amounts.
Common sense tells you there is a problem with diet foods. Despite how much of them America has consumed in the last 15 years, obesity has become epidemic. Read the labels on so-called "health food" bars and you will find they too are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The belief that these bars and diet sodas are healthy for you demonstrates how clearly marketing hype dictates what people are willing to believe.
Teens Consume Twice as Much ‘Liquid Candy’ as Milk
Sodas represent a mixed bag of problems – the sugar, caffeine, acid, preservatives, food colors, empty calories. But let’s look a little more broadly at how they can undermine health. Researchers often suggest that soda use is indicative of an overall pattern of poor food choices. And that can show up in many different ways. One child many be diagnosed with AD/HD when she is actually suffering from severe nutritional imbalances that demand nutrient dense food. Another child may break his femur on the soccer field.
Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes, a bone-disease expert at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, said, "I’m particularly concerned about teenage girls. Most girls have inadequate calcium intakes, which makes them candidates for osteoporosis when they’re older and may increase their risk for broken bones today."
Truth is, soda is bad news, no matter how you look at it. Consumer beware.
So, where does that leave parents who want to break their kids of the soda habit? With an easy alternative! Use club soda; it is inexpensive, effervescent and does not have the sugar of tonic water. Then add some fruit juice for taste – this is like making a fruit-flavored sparkling water. A member of the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine staff successfully switched her kids over years ago to club soda with freshly squeezed citrus – you can always find fresh citrus at the grocery store. When you use lemon or lime, if it tastes a bit too tart, add a few drops of stevia or xylitol to taste, to balance the tartness with a little sweetness. Stevia and xylitol are truly natural sweeteners that do not spike insulin levels like refined table sugar, and do not have the dangerous make-up of the synthetic sweeteners.
American University Professor Says Late-Night Comedy Can Contribute to Negative Perceptions of a Politician.
Tina Fey's humorous impersonations of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live (SNL) may be no laughing matter for Palin's running mate, Senator John McCain, says Lauren Feldman, an expert on the political effects of late-night comedy.
|Appearances on late-night comedy shows are useful for candidates as a means to project their non-political personas, to make them seem more 'human' and in-touch with voters. Palin is not necessarily lacking in these areas. She would benefit more from a strong, substantive performance in a more serious setting.|
Because Fey's sketches accentuate Palin's folksy persona, her interview and debate performances, and her g-dropping, "gosh darnit" speaking style, they are likely to make Palin's negative traits and image characteristics more top-of-mind for viewers. This, Feldman says, can indirectly contribute to a more unfavorable rating of the McCain-Palin ticket.
"The potential for this will only increase as the volume of exposure to
these types of parodies and caricatures increases," Feldman says. "This
is important to consider given that SNL will be airing a series of
prime-time specials during the next few weeks."
So, will SNL swing the election? According to Feldman, probably not.
"It is also important to remember that the audience for SNL is not
necessarily interested in politics, though much of the show's recent
boost in ratings is likely helped by political junkies tuning-in to see
the latest Fey impersonation," Feldman says. "At the very least, by
making the campaign front-and-center in its sketches, SNL might help
raise attention to the campaign among viewers who otherwise would
Palin has tried to capitalize on the attention being drawn to her by Fey's impersonations, arguing at rallies that her media interview performances were an attempt to provide Fey with ample material. Palin has suggested she would enjoy making a cameo SNL appearance. Rumor has it she might turn up in an upcoming episode.
"It is not clear this would help Palin in the polls," says Feldman, also a political communication expert. "Appearances on late-night comedy shows are useful for candidates as a means to project their non-political personas, to make them seem more 'human' and in-touch with voters. Palin is not necessarily lacking in these areas. She would benefit more from a strong, substantive performance in a more serious setting."
Feldman is the coauthor of the forthcoming article "Late-Night Comedy as a Gateway to Traditional News: An Analysis of Time Trends in News Attention among Late-Night Comedy Viewers During the 2004 Presidential Primaries." It will be published in the journal Political Communication.
American University's School of Communication is a laboratory for professional education, communication research, and innovative production across the fields of journalism, film and media arts, and public communication. The school's academic programs emphasize traditional skills and values while anticipating new technologies, new opportunities, and new audiences.
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Nicotine dependence is the physical vulnerability to the chemical nicotine, which is potently addicting when delivered by various tobacco products. Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains thousands of chemicals, including nicotine. Being addicted to tobacco brings a host of health problems related to the substances in tobacco smoke. These effects include damage to the lungs, heart and blood vessels.
Nicotine dependence is the physical vulnerability to the chemical nicotine, which is potently addicting when delivered by various tobacco products. Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains thousands of chemicals, including nicotine. Being addicted to tobacco brings a host of health problems related to the substances in tobacco smoke. These effects include damage to the lungs, heart and blood vessels.
According to the American Lung Association, smoking cost the United States over $193 billion in 2004, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,260 per adult smoker.
When people inhale, they are ingesting a chemical parade that marches through the body's vital organs. Mayo Clinic.com reviews the negative health effects throughout the body, including:
Lungs. Smoking is the cause of most cases of lung cancer. Smoking also is the primary cause of other lung problems, such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis.
Heart and circulatory system. Smoking increases your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. If people smoke more than 25 cigarettes daily, they have five times the risk of heart disease compared to someone who doesn't smoke.
Cancer. Smoking is a major cause of cancer of the esophagus, larynx, throat (pharynx) and mouth and contributes to cancer of the bladder, pancreas, liver, kidney, cervix, stomach, colon and rectum, and some leukemias.
Appearance. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can dry and irritate the skin, as well as promote wrinkles. Smoking also yellows teeth, fingers and fingernails.
Fertility. Smoking increases the risk of infertility and miscarriage in women and the risk of impotence and infertility in men.
Senses. Smoking deadens the senses of taste and smell, so food isn't as appetizing as it once was.
For most people, smoking cessation is difficult. In fact, quitting smoking might be one of the most challenging things an individual ever does. A feature on MayoClinic.com explains why smoking cessation matters, what to expect and how to stick with it.
Launched in 1995 and visited more than 15 million times a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health. Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 3,300 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic. MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as "Symptom Checker" and "First-Aid Guide" for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as an A-Z library of more than 850 diseases and conditions, in-depth sections on 24 common diseases and conditions, 16 healthy living areas including food and nutrition, recipes, fitness and weight control, videos, animations and features such as "Ask a Specialist" and "Drug Watch." Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called "Housecall" which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/.
As we speak the market has just put in a "technical" bottom. After being down a record amount this morning we just went POSITIVE and the dow is rallying. If we can close positive that will be a very positive sign of a bottom being put in.
If it were my money I'd be a buyer here.
Post Close Update :
Dow Down -107, Nasdaq up 5. Five minutes after the close we are still seeing the numbers change which indicates the heavy volume and trades are still being sorted out. Right now it looks like -126 Dow and +4.39 Nasdaq but that could change.
The worst week in the entire 112-yr history of the markets.
However the good news is that we indeed went positive after being down huge today and that is an excellent indication that a bottom has been put in. After such a HUGE losing week if indeed this is true then we should see some nice rally's next week.
This shows that there were plenty of people on the sidelines waiting for someone to step up and buy, and when that happened they ALL jumped in. So now instead of the fear of the market going down you have the fear of missing buying the market bottom.
Make sense? I hope so - feel free to comment.
It spit out the lettuce because it prefers the taste of HUMAN.... How cool is this thing anyway?
As some of you know I was a professional trader for over 10 years. When OIL was at $140, I felt the need to post this...
I called a top in Oil and indeed it's in free-fall now. Now if I were a genius I would have shorted oil and retired but I refused to take the risk because of another risk - a war with Iran which would boost OIL to $200 easily.
Now we are in a much different situation. The general economy of our country and many others are going into deep recessions. There is a ton of fear out there with the failing of banks and institutions that have been around for over 100 years.
There is no question that Real-Estate was a bubble. The Internet was a bubble also but didn't hurt the banking system because they put THEIR INVESTORS in the stocks and they came out fine.
This time the problem is that they were directly involved in the mortgage crisis in a big way. And they knew what they were doing - don't feel bad for them. They knew that there was no way that the bubble would last and they knew that housing would tanking like every other bubble. So you ask - why did they do it? Why make bad loans? Why package them up and hold them? It was because they bought a TON of insurance from companies like AIG knowing that if the market tanked they would have made a ton during the bubble - and then would be protected when the bubble burst (and some even say would make even more money).
Well the problem is that AIG and the other insurers all went bankrupt and this left the banks with no one to insure them - and they got killed. I'm sure you know the big names that have gone out of business or been bought for pennies on the dollar (Merrill, Bear, Lehman, etc..).
The 700 Billion Bailout was opposed by many people because they didn't want to see these banks bailed out of a situation they created and intended to profit from even when it burst. However since the banks provide credit for nearly EVERY business out there if they all went belly-up our economy would go into a deep DEPRESSION and we couldn't let that happen. The credit market had to be saved. Everyday business rely on these firms for everyday credit needs. You can't buy a car or a house without someone to lend you the money. And it goes far beyond that. The average business runs off of credit. If their bank no longer can loan these businesses money then you see major economic pain.
This is why the bailout passed. We had very little choice. We had to save the banking institutions despite the fact that they did this on purpose or the economy would crater. That's why people are calling for more regulation and there SHOULD be more regulation. If the government had been on top of this it would never have happened.
But let me get to the point here. Don't panic - you are too late to panic. If you had sold last year perhaps you did well. But at this point we are getting closer to a bottom in the market every day. If you sell here you will likely be making a big mistake. Of course this is my OPINION and I could be wrong.
What's happening now is "fear" is driving the market down and when the market loses so much so fast people get margin calls. Margin calls require that securities be sold in accounts where the value of stocks have fallen below the amount borrowed to buy them. So around 2:30EST every day the margin clerks start to sell stock out of consumers accounts to meet the margin call. That's why you frequently see the market dive around this time of day.
Eventually people will be sold out of their margin and the market will stop dropping in huge increments like it has been doing. And once that happens the panic and fear will abate and the market will settle down.
It will take a long time for it to recover - especially with this recession we are in, but to sell here in my opinion is to be selling at the precise wrong time. This is the time to dip your toes in with any available cash and start to buy little by little.
Many parts of the economy are still strong - but even those companies that are doing well are selling off because of the fear and margin calls that are going on. There are bargains out there to be found.
Anyway that's my 2 cents (which is all I have left after this beating :>).
A failing average score of 62 out of 100 on a frugality test highlights the significant need for Americans to change how they think about money. Just 48% say they live on less than they make each month.
In an online test created to determine just how frugal Americans think they are, the average score was a disappointing 62 out of 100 according to Jeff Lehman, author of the upcoming book 'The Frugal Millionaires'. "We scored a 'F' on this test and that 'F' does not stand for Frugal," says Lehman.
The Frugal Test uncovered some interesting statistics about the money habits of Americans:
Just 48% say they live on less than they make each month.
29% pay bills first and then see what's left over for other things, instead of putting away money for themselves upfront.
27% make only the minimum monthly payment, plus a little more, on their credit cards.
38% don't make an additional principle payment on their mortgages each year.
39% buy bottled water or a prepared beverage more than three times a week.
50% dine out more than three times per week.
38% save just 5% or less of their take home pay.
Only 27% have an emergency savings fund.
Only 19% partner up with a financial advisor to manage their money.
Only 21% who qualify for health savings accounts take advantage of them.
Only 32% who could use educational savings accounts do so.
37% don't have a will.
60% don't have a revocable/living trust.
In a question about American's most favorite things to spend their money on, investments came in at 10% which was tied with hobbies, and entertainment. Only two categories ranked higher, travel (14%) and home improvements (13%), while buying shoes and clothes came in slightly lower (9%).
"We will have a hard time personally surviving this tough economy if we don't start practicing frugality. But being frugal is not the same as being cheap," says Lehman. "There are plenty of reasons for the current financial crisis we are in, but ultimately we have to take some personal responsibility for our actions. We can fix our financial problems, but we have to be smarter about money sooner than later," he adds.
|There are plenty of reasons for the current financial crisis we are in, but ultimately we have to take some personal responsibility for our actions. We can fix our financial problems, but we have to be smarter about money sooner than later|
Those who want to know just how frugal they are can still take The Frugal Test by visiting www.TheFrugalTest.com. It consists of 25 multiple choice questions, takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and all the results are privacy protected.
The Frugal Millionaires is available for pre-sale now at Amazon.com. On-sale date is October 15, 2008. Visit www.TheFrugalMillionaires.com for more information.
With a gentle spin, watch in amusement as the Amazing Non-Stop Top picks up speed on its own, and keeps its balance defying physics gravity and logic. Add to this a light show that morphs from one color and pattern to the next. Bright enough to fill the room with colorful patterns of spinning light. This is like no top that you've ever played with. It will spin for hours on end and automatically stabilizes itself as it picks up speed. What keeps it spinning (you ask)? The top has built in electronics that auto stabilize the top once it's in motion and then an internal gravity engine takes over to maintain the spinning speed for hours. We tried one out and it was still spinning after an hour! Topsy-turvy fun! These tops use self-correcting technology to spin for extra-long amounts of time. Simply place the top on a flat surface, spins clockwise, and watches the LED lights create a fabulous spinning light show.
a leading online skin care retailer, has introduced a new way to repair
skin damage without creams or serums. Instead, you can heal your skin
by wearing a revolutionary new phototherapeutic material that utilizes
the sun's beneficial yellow rays to improve wrinkles,
hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.
Healing and rejuvenating the skin with specific wavelengths of light is an important part of the new science of beauty
Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) October 5, 2008 -- SkinCareRx.com, a leading online skin care retailer, has introduced a new way to repair skin damage, and it doesn't require slathering on a cream or lotion. Instead, it's all about what you wear.
AVEA Phototherapeutic Apparel by SunSoul is a revolutionary new clothing line that uses an innovative yellow fabric to deliver the sun's therapeutic wavelengths to the skin, improving fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
Creatively named yelomod, this knit of fluorescent polymer fibers blocks out UV rays with a UPF of 50+ while allowing the sun's beneficial yellow rays to penetrate through to the skin, resulting in healthier skin without costly products or medical procedures.
"Healing and rejuvenating the skin with specific wavelengths of light is an important part of the new science of beauty," says Dr. Mark Taylor, world-renowned Dermatologist and Cosmetic Laser Surgeon and Medical Director for SkinCareRx. "With AVEA by SunSoul, we're able to make phototherapy more accessible to the public."
This one-of-a-kind material was developed by SunSoul Inc., a Toronto-based company that focuses on technology and products that deliver beneficial wavelengths to the skin.
The yelomod clothing line features short sleeve and long sleeve shirts for men and women in popular sporty designs. There are also tank tops available for women and unisex hats and visors. Ideal for any outdoor activity, including golfing, running, hiking, fishing, boating and more. Priced affordably from $60-$120. Visit SkinCareRx.com for more details.
10. "Let's practice your bewildered silence."
9. "Can you try saying 'yes' instead of 'you betcha'?"
8. "Hey, I can see Mexico from here!"
7. "Maybe we'll get lucky and there won't be any questions about Iraq, taxes or health care."
6. "We're screwed!"
5. "Can I just use that lipstick-pit bull thing again?"
4. "We have to wrap it up for the day -- McCain eats dinner at 4:30."
3. "Can we get Congress to bail us out of this debate?"
2. "John Edwards wants to know if you'd like some private tutoring in his van."
1. "Any way we can just get Tina Fey to do it?"
Disease diagnosis in just 15 minutes
Testing for diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis could soon be as simple as using a pregnancy testing kit.
A team led by scientists at the University of Leeds has developed a biosensor technology that uses antibodies to detect biomarkers - molecules in the human body which are often a marker for disease – much faster than current testing methods.
The technology could be used in doctors’ surgeries for more accurate referral to consultants, and in hospitals for rapid diagnosis. Tests have shown that the biosensors can detect a wide range of analytes (substances being measured), including biomarkers present in prostate and ovarian cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and fungal infections. The team also believes that the biosensors are versatile enough to test for diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV.
The technology was developed through a European collaboration of researchers and commercial partners in a 2.7 million Euro project called ELISHA.
ELISHA was co-ordinated by Dr Paul Millner from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, and managed by colleague Dr Tim Gibson. Says Dr Millner: “We believe this to be the next generation diagnostic testing. We can now detect almost any analyte faster, cheaper and more easily than the current accepted testing methodology.“
Currently blood and urine are tested for disease markers using a method called ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay). Developed in the 1970s, the process takes an average of two hours to complete, is costly and can only be performed by highly trained staff.
The Leeds team are confident their new technology – which provides results in 15 minutes or less - could be developed into a small device the size of a mobile phone into which different sensor chips could be inserted, depending on the disease being tested for.
“We’ve designed simple instrumentation to make the biosensors easy to use and understand,” says Dr Millner. “They’ll work in a format similar to the glucose biosensor testing kits that diabetics currently use.”
Professor Séamus Higson, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Biosciences, Cranfield Health, and one of the partners within the ELISHA programme, says: “The speed of response this technology offers will be of great benefit to early diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, and will permit testing in de-localised environments such as GP’s surgeries.”
A spinout company – ELISHA Systems Ltd – has been set up by Dr Gibson, commercial partners Uniscan Instruments Ltd and Technology Translators Ltd to bring the technology to market.
Says Dr Gibson: “The analytes used in our research only scratch the surface of the potential applications. We’ve also shown that it can be used in environmental applications, for example to test for herbicides or pesticides in water and antibiotics in milk.”