Monthly Archives: September 2015

People Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep Are More Susceptible to Colds


Lack of sleep is the most important factor in a person’s probability of catching a cold, according to a new study led by a sleep researcher at the University of California. The study found that sleep was a more important factor in catching a cold than stress, smoking, education, or income.

Every year, Americans get approximately 1 billion colds. According to the study, those who sleep six hours a night or less are four times more likely to catch a cold when they are exposed to the virus. People who sleep seven hours or more are less likely to get the virus, and those who do are able to recover more quickly.

“It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker,” Says Dr Aric Prather, lead author of the study and professor of Psychiatry at the University of California. “With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day.”

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, researchers recruited 164 volunteers from the Pittsburg area between the years of 2007 and 2011. These participants went under two months of health screenings, interviews, and questionnaires to establish their levels of stress, temperament, and use of alcohol or cigarettes. The researchers also measured the patients normal sleep habits a week before they were infected with the virus.

The patients were placed in hotel rooms, where researchers administered the cold virus through nasal drops. The subjects were them observed for a week, and were asked to collect daily mucus samples to check if the virus had spread.

Despite their findings, researchers say convincing people to get more sleep is still a challenge.

“In our busy culture, there’s still a fair amount of pride about not having to sleep and getting a lot of work done,” Prather says. “We need more studies like this to begin to drive home that sleep is a critical piece to our wellbeing.”

The study will be released in the September edition of the journal Sleep.

Bus Stop Hit-and-Run Case Ends in $81,000 Settlement

Row of yellow school buses against autumn trees

Kelly Seannee Smith was a seven-year-old second-grader at Gibson Elementary School in Forsyth County, North Carolina when she was clipped by a passing car as she tried to board the school bus, in January of 2013. Edward Rashad Lee Fulks, the driver of the car, was 17 at the time and on his way to high school. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the bus had its lights on and stop sign extended. That didn’t stop Fulks from speeding around a car stopped in front of him, and past the school bus. When he did, the passenger side mirror struck Kelly in the face and neck. Luckily, she was not seriously injured.

Kelly’s father, Kerry Smith Sr., decided to file a lawsuit last year against Fulks. Kelly, now 10, has experienced bad dreams as a result of the incident and has had to receive counseling. This is in addition to the medical bills, which have accumulated to the tune of nearly $20,000.

“She has come a long way,” her father said. “I’m positive that she will be much better in the near future. Time will make the difference.”

Time — and a little restitution. As the Winston-Salem Journal also reported last Monday, the two sides have come to a settlement agreement. Even though Fulks will ultimately pay $81,000, it is probably the best possible outcome, considering the plaintiff wins in over 90% of cases that go to trial. He also could have faced up to 17 months in prison. However, Smith’s lawyers would have had to prove causation and debate the long-term prognosis of her health in court.

A portion of the money will go towards Smith’s medical bills and attorney fees; Judge A. Moses Massey ruled that another $33,000 will be placed in an annuity until Kelly turns 18, when it will be paid out over the course of several years. Reportedly, he stepped down from the bench at the end of the trial to offer some advice to Kelly and her little brother, Kerry Smith Jr. He encouraged them to stay in school, and not to let the experience negatively impact their academics.

65-Year-Old German Woman Gives Birth To Quadruplets

Little Baby Doodles

In the United States, citizens over the age of 65 make up around 13% of the population, numbering just over 40 million in total. While these American seniors were preparing for retirement, a 65-year-old German woman was preparing for motherhood.

Annegret Raunigk’s quadruplets were delivered prematurely just three months ago, during her 26th week of pregnancy. The girl (Neeta) and the three boys (Dries, Bence and Fjonn) were delivered by Cesarean section on May 19.

Two of the babies were required to have surgery very shortly after birth, and two were put on breathing support. Now, the hospital in Berlin where they were born is reporting that the babies are expected to leave the hospital this month. Each of the four babies weighs more than 5.5 pounds.

Raunigk, a single mother, also has 13 other children, ranging from age 10 to age 44. Her children are from five different fathers, and have given her seven grandchildren as well. This makes her newest children younger than any of her grandchildren. When asked why she decided to have more children, especially after the birth of her grandchildren, Raunigk responded that her youngest daughter wanted more little brothers and sisters to play with.

In order to have the quadruplets, Annegret traveled to the Ukraine to have fertilized, donated eggs implanted. This procedure has been deemed illegal in Germany.

Raunigk insists that she wasn’t initially intending to have so many children.

“At first, I only wanted one child. Not all were planned. But then things happen. I’m not a planner, but rather spontaneous. And children keep me young.”

When confronted about usual standards of behavior for people her age, she responded, “How does one have to be at 65? One must apparently always fit some clichés which I find rather tiring. I think, one must decide that for oneself.”

Raunigk is believed to be the oldest woman to successfully deliver quadruplets.

Recovery Fest Helps Remove Stigma of Battling Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Erasing Addiction

Robb Oldham became familiar with the Catlettsburg courthouse, just outside of Asheville, Kentucky. He ended up there when he was addicted to prescription drugs and other substances, and he wound up in the local jail, too.

But now Oldham is back at the courthouse for a different reason: to celebrate his recovery from drug abuse with others just like him.

Oldham helped to organize Recovery Fest along with the Boyd County Addiction Resources Center and the Catlettsburg Leadership Community Development Council. The outdoor festival will feature a number of live bands and will also let recovering addicts in the area tell their tales.

“My life changed in those courthouses and that jail when I lost control,” Oldham told The Independent in Asheville. “I wanted to do this there to show there’s people that recover from that hopeless state of mind.”

Jeremiah Johnson is also very familiar with the courthouse, having been sentenced there years ago for manufacturing methamphetamine. That was in the throes of his addiction to the drug, which constituted an 18 year period of his life.

Now he also plans to speak at the festival to let others know that recovery is possible.

“I was in addiction 18 years — meth. My charges was for manufacturing. I faced 26 years,” Johnson said. “That’s when I made my decision that I was going to try something different.”

Oldham and Johnson aren’t alone. Approximately 23 million Americans age 12 and older struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, and not all are able to survive it.

That’s been the subject of many recent events around the country like this one in Kentucky. For instance, in Saratoga, NY, a candelight vigil was held on August 31 to remember lives lost to addiction, and hundreds of people in Dayton, OH, attended a rally to support recovery on Sunday, August 30. Such events, say advocates, help to reduce the stigma that addicts face as they try to battle substance abuse.

The event in Catlettsburg will also have a candlelight vigil and a blessing from a local pastor. The Boyd County Jailer and Boyd County Coroner will also be on hand to speak to the crowd.

Recovery Fest will take place on Saturday, September 7 from noon to 9 p.m. outside the Catlettsburg courthouse.

Brace Yourselves: It’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Time

Colorful autumn maple leaves on a tree branchPumpkin Spice Peeps. Pumpkin Spice MandMs. Pumpkin Spice Mini Wheats.

The Great Pumpkin Spice Latte is coming, Charlie Brown. Get out your Ugg boots and leggings, because on October 8, 2015, the only three letters you need to know are P. S. L.

The Big Change

You either love it, or if you’re like late-night comedian John Oliver, you hate it enough to spend a solid three minutes delving into the mystery that is the PSL — i.e., “the coffee that tastes like a candle.” It’s estimated that at least 30 million Americans drink specialty coffee-related drinks, but it takes a certain kind of dedication to be a true PSL person.

When his program aired last October, Oliver aptly noted that most pumpkin spice-flavored foods don’t actually have any real pumpkin in them.

Starbucks — maker of the O.G. PSL — decided to make the bold move of actually adding real pumpkin purée into its Pumpkin Spice Lattes this year for the very first time, thus changing the recipe of its beloved seasonal drink and causing coffee consumers everywhere to say, “Wait, there was no real pumpkin flavor in the latte before?”

Starbucks made the announcement on Monday, August 17, stating that “We have been trying to keep a lid on some big news for the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte, but with recipes and ingredients starting to ship to our stores, the buzz is building.”

A collective groan was heard ’round the country that it’s simply too early for PSL season to start, but true pumpkin spice lovers know that announcements of pumpkin spice-flavored everything have been rolling out all summer.

The PSL Hype

So what’s the big deal behind Pumpkin Spice Lattes, anyway? Starbucks started offering the drink in 2003 as a seasonal special, and to be honest, it took a few years for the flavor to really become popular — nearly a decade, in fact, before consumers began tweeting and instagramming pictures of their PSLs and other companies realized that there’s plenty of money to be made off the confusingly delicious flavor.

In fact, the NPD Group recently published findings from a study in the publication Nation’s Restaurant News where they looked at how food chains, like Starbucks, are able to profit so much from items that are offered for just a few weeks. According to the study, customers who purchase PSLs spend an average $7.81 per visit, while pumpkin haters spend only $6.67 on average.

Furthermore, these types of specialty drinks may actually convert casual coffee drinkers into loyal customers of each brand: the average PSL customer visits Starbucks almost six times in August and July, while the other consumer visit Starbucks less than five times in the same period.

So go ahead — count down the days until October 8 and feel no shame about asking if Starbucks has an extra-large size cup. Stick that baby into your freezer for a delicious frozen treat — the whipped cream can last for at least 10 days in there, while the (real!) pumpkin can brave the tundra even longer.

I’ll come back to you. I promise. #WaitForMe
– Pumpkin Spice Latte (@TheRealPSL) May 19, 2015

The #PumpkinSpiceLatte is back.

Partnership Between Sustainable Packaging Creates New Product That Reduces Waste

select color swatch to paint wallLiquidGlide, a company from Cambridge, MA, that specializes in creating slippery surfaces has created a new partnership with Australian-based Pact Group Holdings. Together, the two companies created a packaging for paint that allows for easy pouring.

Food Production Daily reports that the partnership utilizes the competitive advantage of both companies to create the world’s first non-stick paint packaging. In the partnership, Pact will use LiquiGlide’s patented slippery coating in their paint packaging. This allows customers to use more of the paint, reducing residential waste.

Paint is most commonly stored in tin containers, a trend that started back in 1866. However, many customers struggle with paint sticking to the packaging. Customers are either unable to utilize all of the paint they purchase, or struggle with dried paint chips that can flake off and contaminate fresh paint.

The new partnership between LiquidGlide and Pact Group Holdings, however, is set to solve this issue.

”At Pact, we are not only focused on creating innovated packaging that can add value for our customers and end uses, but packaging that is more sustainable,” says Mark Nothnagel, a general manager at Pact Group. “Our partnership with LiquiGlide will allow us to explore and eventually provide paint packaging that will benefit the environment, the brand owners, and the end customer.

LiquiGlide’s coating are created by combining a textured solid with a liquid, which results in a surface that is permanently wet. This allows viscous liquids such as paint to slide easily. Therefore, customers will be able to use more of the product they purchased.

The sustainable packing industry has been gaining more ground in recent years. During the period between 2010 and 2015, the global market for flexible packaging was expected to grow at an average rate of 3.4%, reaching nearly $250 billion.

The industry is set to grow again in the next five-year period, due in part to new innovations like the one seen here.