Monthly Archives: July 2017

OSHA Looking At New Shipyard Worker Protections

Building ship in a shipyard

There are more than 500,000 welders employed in the U.S. today, and chances are a few of them will be affected by OSHA’s new rules for shipyard workers.

OSHA recently released a fact sheet on spray painting in shipyards that could have some impact on welders, as they specify that some items must be withheld from areas after a fresh spray painting. These items include any tools and equipment that act as an ignition source.

The reasoning behind this, the report states, is to prevent the primary threats that a shipyard worker can face. These threats include: “Fires and explosions from flammable paints and coatings, as well as exposure to chemical hazards and toxic substances.”

The fact sheet gives several tips on how to avoid these hazards, specifying that workers should bring non-sparking materials and equipment to the yards, instead of ones that could create a spark.

Welding is an activity that often takes place on boats and in shipyards, and there have been instances of fires starting during the process. But it is not OSHA’s only concern when combining the two; they’re also concerned about beryllium standards in the shipyard industry, and how it can affect the health of the workers.

Beryllium is a lightweight metal, primarily used in alloys and oxide ceramics; it can also be used as a trace material in several slag metals.

The OSHA proposal wishes to give protections to workers that have a serious beryllium-related lung disease known as “chronic beryllium disease,” and also provides a revision to the provisions of housekeeping and personal protective equipment.

OSHA is seeking comments on whether the existing standards should cover abrasive blasting in the shipyard industry and welding in the shipyard industry. They are looking to see if there is adequate protection for workers in those specific types of operations.
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The reason they’re requesting comment is that they want to avoid “not improving worker protection, and being redundant with overlapping protections in other standards.”

The original OSHA rule went into effect on Jan. 9, 2017, but OSHA announces that it will not enforce this rule until they have decided on whether or not to amend the rule entirely.

A New Hair Transplant Technique Discovered, and It Uses Fat Instead of Hair Grafts

For many, hair is directly related to a person’s self-confidence.Closeup young man serious hair loss problem for hair loss concept

While some people who have an excess of hair invest in laser hair removal, as this method can reduce hair around 20% to 30% per treatment every four to six weeks, some people may actually have the opposite problem: not enough hair.

Both males and females suffer from pattern baldness. One popular treatment for this condition is a hair transplant. The typical hair transplant involves a surgeon taking strips of hair follicles from other parts of the body and transplanting them into the areas that need hair growth the most.

However, a team of international doctors has discovered a new and unusual way to increase hair growth while also whittling down a patient’s figure.

Dr. Edward Ball, from the Maitland Clinic in England, along with Dr. Craig Ziering of Ziering Medical in Beverly Hills, has come up with a creative hair transplant approach — using liposuction, they remove fat from a patient’s stomach, enhancing the fat with stem cells, then injecting it back into the head.

While it sounds pretty unconventional, this new method has seen great success. According to the Sun, Ball and Ziering’s pilot study has shown an average of 93% increase in hair growth along with a 23% increase in hair count within six months.

For their study, the doctors have tested their new treatment technique on six volunteers, and they use the idea that stem cells, fat, and hair growth are all inter-related. According to the doctors, hair follicle cells interact with adipose connective tissues, which store excess fat. Their belief is that if they can access adipose tissue from other places in the body, such as the stomach where there is an excess, then inject it into the head, they will trigger hair growth in new areas.

During the treatment, each one of Dr. Ball’s patients had about 1 ml of stem cell-enriched fat per square centimeter of the scalp. They took pictures of each patient at intervals of 12, 24, and 32 weeks, and they found that the hair count in patients on average grew from 17.7 per square inch to 31.2. There was also an increase in the thickness of the hair, by 24%.

Even though the two doctors had a small sample size, they are calling for extra trials to be made as these results have the potential to open up a whole realm of possibilities within the world of hair loss treatments.

Number Of Homeless In LA Continues To Rise

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Because of its entertainment industry, Los Angeles has been hailed as a center for glitz and glamour, a place where dreams come true. Yet visitors to the city often see more than dreams on the streets and sidewalks of Los Angeles.

There are homeless people laying across sidewalks, thousands of makeshift tents built under bridges and overpasses, and countless citizens huddled beneath canvas to shield themselves from the California sun.

Many Americans are unaware, but Los Angeles has a staggering homeless problem. And it’s recently gone from bad to worse. According to BBC News, the percentage of homelessness residents in LA increased by 23% in 2016. Last year ended with an estimated 46,874 people living on the streets, but so far this year that number has gone up to 58,000.

Despite recent work to find housing for homeless veterans in the city, it seems chronic homelessness is still getting worse in the City of Angeles.

“For the 31 years that I’ve been involved with homelessness,” said Ted Hayes to BBC News, “it has gotten worse, far worse, than I’ve ever seen before.”

What’s Driving the Rising Homeless Population?

Hayes is a long-time activist for the homeless in Los Angeles County. He believes one of the main causes of the increase is the gentrification of downtown LA. With housing being improved for the middle class, rental rates are increasing and leaving no affordable housing for the impoverished.

The executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, Kerry Morrison, said to BBC News that local businesses have been working toward a solution to the homeless problem. However, small businesses can only do so much when faced with their own expenses in the bustling city.

“Something is shifting right now,” said Morrison. “We’re all noticing it. We could viscerally feel that something was changing maybe about two years ago.”

The third-largest office expense behind rent and payroll for local businesses is printer and copier costs, which can add up to thousands of dollars. Even if local businesses in DTLA want to help address the homeless problem, there’s only so much they can do. Even city officials and charities are struggling to find a solution to the problem.

Alongside downtown Los Angeles’ gentrification, Morrison cites the homelessness increase to be related to a number of issues, beginning with housing costs. “The cost of housing,” she said, “is far outpacing the increase in incomes.”

The Changing Face of LA Homelessness

On top of rising rents, the influx of young adults to the city has created a new demographic in the local homeless population.A group of 7,700 volunteers compiled a count of the number of homeless people in Los Angeles over a series of three days and nights.
The survey found that the fastest growing population among the homeless are those aged 18 to 24, a group that has increased in number by 64% in recent years.

“California seems to have this allure,” Morrison said. “‘Go west and stake your claim. Make your future here.'”

Many young adults come to the city to seek a future in dance, theater, film, or for the local LGBT community. Yet many are unable to find jobs and often end up on the street because they are unable to pay the high rent. Even those who aren’t homeless are likely to end up living paycheck-to-paycheck and in extreme poverty.

Unfortunately, the number of those who are homeless in LA and Orange County may only increase over the next four years. According to 83.9 KPCC, the state of California plans to release up to 9,500 inmates from the state prison over a series of four years in order to reduce the prison population. Already without homes, without jobs, and without money, some of these now-free Americans are likely to end up impoverished and on the street.

Many Angelenos have taken to living in RVs, unable to find affordable housing or apartments. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has seen a 20% increase in RV-ownership since 2016, with 2,363 people living in the motorized homes across the city.

Yet this increase in ownership has been accompanied by an increase in RV-towing, a service which many LA tow companies are now refusing to do. In 2016, the average number of RVs towed every month totaled to 83, and for many contractors that number was just too high for what they had to deal with.

Many of the impounded RVs were flea-infested, and Americans already often spend up to $9 billion annually on flea control. Others were infested with more than insects; they were crowded with garbage and human waste. Many contractors quit, unable to handle the stench and unwilling to do the extensive work each RV would require.

“I don’t think it’s people saying they don’t like the homeless,” said LAPD detective Benjamin Jones to Mercury News about the homeless-owned RVs. “It’s the secondary effects. It’s the garbage, needles, feces, urine. They’re often overwhelmed by the odor.”

What’s Next for Homeless Services?

Ideas have been tossed around by city officials and Angelenos looking for ways to help those suffering with chronic homelessness. In Utah, a homeless program known as Housing First has proven extremely successful at helping reduce urban homelessness. While that program has expanded around the country, Los Angeles lacks the funding to initiate a similar program.

In Atlanta, Georgia, one homeless shelter found a new way to feed shelter residents. In 2016, 73% of Americans hired a professional for an outdoor project, and in Atlanta one such project consisted of an organic garden on the roof of the Metro Atlanta Task Force shelter.

The number of community gardens has increased 17% over the course of five years, and more cities are home to these urban gardening projects. Unfortunately, it’s hardly a solution to chronic homelessness.

Ultimately, Los Angeles County must find a way to not only reduce the extensive price of rent, but also stimulate job growth and potentially wages. At the same time, nonprofits and city services will require funding to address the thousands of homeless residents in the city.

“People come here to make their dreams come true,” said Christin, a 26-year-old singer living off the edge of an off-ramp, to BBC News. “I don’t think they do that so much anymore.”

Study: Breastfeeding May Lower Mothers’ Risk Of Heart Disease

The old adage of “breast is best” continues to hold water (or milk, as the case may be). It’s been long since lauded as the best way to boost a baby’s immunity and has been shown to reduce asthma, allergies, ear infections, and respiratory issues. And although it’s not definitive that breastfed babies become smarter, healthier adults than those who were given formula, some data has found a correlation between breastfeeding and higher IQs and better body weights among older children. It’s no wonder that in 2015, 26.8% of survey respondents said they expressed breast milk five to 15 times a week for their children.

But breastfeeding isn’t beneficial only for babies; it’s been shown to be advantageous for mothers, too. Not only does it help create a bond between mother and child, but it can also help new moms lose pregnancy weight and even lower their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It’s not just a great decision for women’s health issues, though: new data shows that breastfeeding may help reduce the risk of heart disease in mothers up to a decade after they’ve stopped nursing.

The study, which was published by the Journal of the American Heart Association, involved nearly 290,000 women in China. These women provided researchers with information on the number of children they’ve had, whether or not they breastfed, and if so, for how long. After following the health records of these participants for almost a decade, researchers found that the risk of heart disease in those who breastfed was 9% lower than those who did not.

Interestingly, the effects of breastfeeding seem to be cumulative, according to the study’s results. Those women who had more than one child and breastfed each baby for two years or more lowered their heart disease and stroke risks by 18%, compared to moms who didn’t breastfeed at all.

Researchers were careful to adjust results for factors like cholesterol and blood pressure levels, obesity, smoking, and amount of physical activity. But even when these factors were taken into account, the correlation was still strong.

That said, correlation doesn’t determine causation; the results don’t mean that moms who choose not to breastfeed will definitively develop heart issues. But it’s possible that the link may be that breastfeeding allows moms to lose fat they’ve accumulated during pregnancy. If mothers hold on to fat they don’t need, that could contribute to gain weight later on — which can then increase risk factors for heart disease like cholesterol.

Study co-author Dr. Sanne Peters at the University of Oxford notes in the publication, “The health benefits to the mother from breastfeeding may be explained by a faster ‘reset’ of the mother’s metabolism after pregnancy … Pregnancy changes a woman’s metabolism dramatically as she stores fat to provide the energy necessary for her baby’s growth and for breastfeeding once the baby is born. Breastfeeding could eliminate the stored fat faster and more completely.”

Although the World Health Organization currently recommends mothers breastfeed their children exclusively for the first six months of life, the American Heart Association now recommends new mothers breastfeed their babies for one year, according to a news release. And while it’s not always possible for every mother to do so, the health benefits of breastfeeding are so strong that new moms may be encouraged to consider the practice.

Could You Fall Victim To a Credit Card Skimmer?

Credit cards stacked, old credit cards in brown and blue color

Credit cards hold a tremendous amount of data about an individual, with the ability to store up to 60 characters on a magnetic strip, including account numbers and names. So if one were to have that card stolen, it could lead to disastrous results.

But having it stolen might not be the biggest worry, some people are finding.

In some states around the country, credit card skimmers are becoming more and more common. They’re devices that allow thieves to steal the card information and pin numbers of those that use something like an ATM or card insert. They can often go undetected for days until the victim checks their bank accounts.

These devices are small and can be installed in as little as 30 seconds. Often, they sit just above the credit card reader. And they also work very fast.

“The skimmer would push on top of the card reader. They can put it on and go,” said Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Keith Minch.

In the past, these devices were found more often at gas station pumps, but ATM skimmers are far more easy to install, and give thieves quicker access to the victim’s money, said Minch.

“The ATM is quicker because to do a gas pump the suspect is getting your card info and then they clone that to another card. At an ATM they get access to your pin, so they get immediate cash.”

Officials are exercising caution when dealing with ATMs or any machine that requires the use of a credit card or debit card. They encourage people to look close, touch, and listen.

“Touch the machine. If you find anything that moves on the ATM, it’s probably not meant to be there,” said Minch.

The new smart credit cards, those with a computer chip, help combat the use of skimmers, but many still use older cards. These older cards are more prone to falling victim to the scam.

Essentia Health Invests $14 Million in Grand Rapids Clinic

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With the American health care bill still up in the air, Americans continue to wait on seeking medical treatment until their conditions have become emergencies. Emergency room visits in the United States have grown to 110 million visits annually. And, when it comes to dental, approximately 1 in 5 Americans have cavities that are untreated.

Fortunately, for the Grand Rapids community, many won’t have to wait for medical treatment any longer. The Grand Rapids Clinic is now expanding thanks to a $14 million investment from Essentia Health.

Essentia Health is partnering with Lakewood Surgery Center and investing $14 million to offer the residents of Itasca County a greater number of health choices.

“This expansion allows us to provide affordable, high quality care to the residents of the Grand Rapids and Deer River communities in a familiar place they know and trust,” said Dr. Dan Nikcevich, the leader of Essentia in the Northwestern Wisconsin and Northeastern Minnesota regions, to the Herald Review. “It’s one more way we can help make a healthy difference in the lives of the people we’re called to serve.”

According to the Herald Review, Lakewood Surgery Center approached Essentia because they wanted to offer their patients a wider array of options. The Center has been taking care of patients in the Grand Rapids area for 11 years.

“The surgeons, physicians and staff are all here still for the people of Grand Rapids who have come to love and appreciate Lakewood Surgery Center,” said Dr. Dan Margo. Margo serves Lakewood as the Board Chair as well as the Surgery Center where he works as a general surgeon. “This new partnership will give our patients much better access to low cost, high quality care and expanded services for them as well.”

The expansion of the health care services will now allow patients in the area to have greater access to treatments in podiatry, cardiology, orthopedics, and (in the future) urology and ENT care. Oral surgery will additionally be provided via the partnership of Lakewood with a local dental group.

“Our patients will receive the appropriate care right here in Grand Rapids,” said Dr. Margo, “with the same physicians they’re used to seeing, but now have access to Essentia specialists, if they need to that levels of care.”

Since the announcement, Essentia Health has selected MedCraft, a national leader in the development of medical office buildings, as the organization’s development partner. “Construction will begin in July,” reports the Herald Review, “with a planned completion date of late Spring, 2018.”

A complimentary ice cream social open to the public will take place on Tuesday, July 11 from 2 to 4 PM to celebrate the development. The social will take place at the Essentia Health Grand Rapids clinic.