Monthly Archives: July 2015

Poor Mouth Health Increases Risk for Heart Issues, Study Finds


Although we have always been told that healthy eating and exercise are what we need to maintain a healthy heart, a new study finds that there may be another component: brushing your teeth.

A study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE shows a link between periodontal disease like gingivitis and atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty plaque deposits build up in the arteries in the heart. The study was conducted on lab mice by Maria Febbraio, who is a professor in the University of Alberta’s School of Dentistry.

The research showed that the inflammation caused by the bacteria of diseases such as gingivitis can lead to the release of chemicals into the blood. Those chemicals are what contribute to the plaque buildup in arteries. Research also found a new biological target for therapies, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Data published in Statistics Canada in 2008 stated that 29% of all deaths in Canada were due to cardiovascular disease. Of that number, 54% were coronary heart disease, where plaque has hardened and blocks blood flow to the heart, which causes heart attacks. At the same time, according to the Canadian Dental Association, seven out of 10 Canadians will develop gum disease at some point in their lives.

Issues with teeth and gums don’t just affect the mouth — they cause other problems in our bodies, including in the brain. A healthy mouth is so critical to overall health, in fact, that it is actually required in order to qualify for joint replacement surgery, organ transplants or heart surgery.

The study illustrates the importance of education on these topics, and the increased risk people face when they have poor mouth health in conjunction with a high fat diet.

Lowe’s Home Improvement Volunteers Renovate Homeless Shelter

lowes sign

Volunteers from a Lowe’s Home Improvement store recently renovated a homeless shelter in Amarillo, Texas. reports that from June 23rd through the 25th, employees from a Lowe’s Home Improvement were hard at work repairing bathrooms and painting walls in local homeless shelter Martha’s Home. As a result of the volunteer project, three families were able to move in.

“As soon as the repairs were done, we had a family move in right away,” said Connie Garcia, Martha’s Home executive director. “We were blown away with [the volunteers’] generosity. We were just so grateful.”

The renovation work was prompted when the upstairs bathroom of the homeless shelter was out of commission.

Two other families moved into the shelter after the first one, Garcia said.

“We completed the bathroom 100%,” said Wynona Bradley, Lowe’s human resource manager. “We accomplished a huge project. I’m still amazed. I was so proud to be part of that entity.”

The volunteers remodeled the upstairs bathroom, painted the stairwells, installed new blinds, expanded the laundry room, brought a trash can for the kitchen, and revamped the hallway floors among other projects.

Kitchen remodeling projects are the second most popular improvement projects for a home, with more than two-thirds of homeowners in a recent survey indicating they remodeled their kitchens.

Outside the shelter, the volunteers planted a flower bed, relocated a grill, repaired a children’s playground, and renovated a greenhouse.

“It’s made a huge impact,” Garcia said. “[Martha’s Home] hasn’t had any major repairs in over 20 years.”

Four of Lowe’s Home Improvement employees contributed work to the renovations, and Bradley was initially concerned about how successful the project would be. His reservations, however, quickly disappeared.

“It came together so good,” she said. “Without that first day, without them coming in, there’s no way we would’ve gotten it done.”

During the project, employees from Martha’s Home provided lunch and drinks for the volunteers.

“We [strive] to create a cozy, beautiful, happy, healthy, safe atmosphere,” Garcia said. “We want to create a supportive home-life atmosphere.”

Is Canada’s Oil Really Worse Than America’s?

Silhouette of offshore jack up rig at sea during sunset

A new analysis reveals that oil extracted from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands will release as much as 20% more carbon into the atmosphere than gasoline and diesel extracted in the U.S.

According to a June 26 Vice report, the additional carbon impact of Canadian oil is largely a result of the extra energy needed to extract and refine this oil.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, the University of California, Davis, and Stanford University looked at public data from 27 of Canada’s largest oil sands production facilities to reveal this information.

Over the last 10 years, global proved oil reserves have grown by more than 350 billion barrels — a never-before-seen 27% increase. A good portion of these reserves have come from the oil-rich tar sands of Canada. However, this oil’s higher carbon output could put an end to drilling activity in oil sands, as environmentalists rally against one of the dirtiest sources of fuel.

“This is important information about the greenhouse gas impact of this oil source, and this is the first time it has been made available at this level of fidelity,” lead author and Argonne researcher Hao Cai said. “Canadian oil sands accounted for about 9% of the total crude processed in U.S. refineries in 2013, but that percentage is projected to rise to 14% in 2020.”

Drilling oil from tar sands is much more energy-intensive than other forms of oil production due to the fact that the oil must be separated from the sand using huge amounts of heat. The deeper an oil deposit lies within the earth, the more energy must be used to pump heat underground. Canadian tar sands oil, as a result, has a carbon intensity that’s 8 – 24% higher than conventional crude oil from the U.S.

Given the surprising carbon output of Canadian oil sand extraction, U.S. policy makers will need to develop a plan that will allow for the country’s energy needs to be met while minimizing oil’s environmental impact.

The White House Makes a Point By Installing Spikes on Its Fence, Allows Photography

The White House, Washington DC United States

More than two-thirds of American fencing profits come from residential properties. One American home in particular is going to get a major upgrade on its fence.

The Associated Press reports that the White House fence will soon have sharp metal spikes to ward off intruders. Installation of the spikes began on July 1st and is projected to be completed by August.

In what the Secret Service calls a “temporary” security measure, the spikes are meant to protect the White House until a permanent security layout is determined. Permanent security improvements will be submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts and National Capital Planning Commission by the fall for consideration.

The spikes are an apparent response to two high-profile intrusions into the White House during the past year. Last September, a man was able to scale the fence and reach the Executive Mansion before being apprehended by the Secret Service. Last April, another man climbed over the fence but only made it to the White House lawn before being arrested.

The announcement of the spikes was coupled with another major announcement regarding White House security. For the first time in 40 years, the White House will allow tourists to take photos during public tours on certain devices. Unlike the announcements regarding the spikes, which was made as a press release from the Secret Service and the National Park Service, this announcement came from First Lady Michelle Obama’s Instagram account.

In a video, Obama told the cameras that “if you’ve been on a White House tour, you may have seen this sign,” holding up a sign that stated “No Photos or Social Media Allowed.” She quickly added “Well, not anymore,” before tearing the sign in half. Not only will visitors be allowed to take photos, they will also have the right to post them on social media.

Now, instead of the sign Obama referenced in her video, the White House halls are adorned with signs that state things like “Photography is Encouraged.”

However, due to security concerns and the damage intense light can have on artwork, video cameras, detachable lenses, tablets, tripods, monopods, camera sticks, live-streaming devices, and flash photography of any kind are still prohibited.