Resources to Help Family Caregivers

Every day, many Americans find themselves in an unexpected new role. They become a family caregiver for a loved one suffering from chronic pain.

Experts estimate that chronic pain affects millions of Americans. Pain can interfere with daily activities, causing patients to lean heavily on family and friends.

Providing care for a loved one experiencing chronic pain presents challenges, such as making sure your loved one reports pain to his or her healthcare provider. Even with chronic diseases and conditions, pain should be taken seriously by doctors and physicians.

Will a Return to Traditional Values Save Our Economy?

The American economy is deeply mired in a financial dilemma, and the waters have begun to smell a little stagnant. Despite statements issued by White House budget director Jack Lew that progress is being made, citizens haven’t been given much reason to have faith in their government. Americans don’t know where to look for solutions when their representatives can’t see past chunks of red and blue.

In a time when many people point to advanced technology for answers, some experts are encouraging Americans to reconnect with the philosophies of their forefathers. Modern society has produced conveniences and amenities alongside challenges and apathy. This probing issue is the focus of conservative columnist, television and radio host and political activist Armstrong William’s  latest book.

Five Tips for Aspiring Travel Writers

As the media landscape keeps changing around us, travel writers are following many paths to success. Some are book authors, some write primarily for magazines, and others are earning a good income by blogging or running destination websites. Tim Leffel, author of “Travel Writing 2.0” (http://travelwriting2.com), offers these tips on making it as a travel writer, whether in print, e-books, travel apps, or the next media we haven’t seen yet.

Psychic Advisors Use Modern Technologies to Offer Help

When we think about psychics, we probably picture a traveling carnival. However, today’s psychics are more likely to use technology than a tent.

Crystal Clear International, a company representing the world’s leading psychics for 13 years, is using live video-conferencing similar to Skype on its new site PsychicCast to create a richer experience for those seeking psychic advice on everything from relationships to finances to major life decisions.

According to Jeff Wolf, PsychicCast founder, the new generation that’s interested in psychic advice can now get it on an interactive platform. PsychicCast is a quantum leap in bringing psychic services to this audience, and we are proud to be serving it.

Have You Seen America’s Hidden Third World?

When Americans imagine communities with dilapidated homes, barefoot children and starving adults, they might picture Third World countries. But over 23 million U.S. residents live in deep rural poverty.
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson launched his War on Poverty from Appalachia, a 1,000-mile stretch that goes from southern New York to northeast Mississippi. Although some communities have seen improvement since the 1960s, the economic boom of the 1990s did little to improve living conditions.
Appalachian unemployment and earnings rates still fall below the national average. Some areas still lack water and plumbing systems. While Appalachians can often afford their own homes – coal companies built houses, then sold them cheaply when they moved into new areas – few people can afford their upkeep.
Americans Helping Americans (AHA), a nonprofit organization that runs several relief projects in Appalachia, reports seeing homes without adequate roofs, walls and floors.
People moved into Appalachia when the coal mining industry thrived, but most coal mines have since moved West. Only 2 percent of Appalachia’s workforce still mines, and they face job-related health risks. Most people work in low-paid, unskilled sectors, where salaries cannot support living costs.
For children, rural poverty proves especially heartbreaking. Many Appalachian children grow up without adequate food, shelter or healthcare –  one in five Appalachian children grow up in poverty. And few doctors work in Appalachia, few residents have insurance or the means to pay medical fees. Simple toys prove beyond many families’ means – paying for home repairs or dental visits seems impossible.
For Appalachian children, simple donations, from teddy bears and blankets to school supplies and Christmas dinners, help encourage confidence and personal pride. AHA’s Bare Feet Program takes children to stores, where they can choose and buy their own shoes, just like any other child.
AHA also helps supply food and blankets, utilities and home repairs to struggling Appalachian families. Appalachians suffer a poorer standard of living than most Americans, but relief work can help families emerge from the nation’s hidden Third World. For more information, visit  www.helpingamericans.org.

Three Tips to Avoid Heartburn

Most people who have eaten a spicy meal have experienced heartburn – but for many, the problem may be much more frequent than the occasional bout of indigestion. Frequent heartburn can also be a symptom of a more serious problem called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. Acid reflux is caused by the regurgitation or reflux of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus, which connects the mouth and stomach. The symptoms of GERD include burning chest pain, regurgitation of bitter or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing and excessive clearing of the throat.
When GERD is not treated, serious complications can occur. If you are constantly reaching for the antacids at the end of the day, the following tips may help:
1.    Don’t lie down after eating. When you lie down, it’s easier for stomach acid to back up into the esophagus, particularly when you go to bed with a full stomach. Make sure to wait at least three to four hours after eating before going to bed, and try raising the head of your bed.
2.    Cut out problem foods. Chocolate, peppermint, tomato sauce, and fatty and spicy foods have all been proven to exacerbate the symptoms of heartburn. Making a point to eat smaller meals will also help curb potential heartburn problems.
3.    Avoid smoking and excessive amounts of alcohol. Using tobacco and ingesting alcohol reduce the pressure on the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, permitting acid reflux to occur.
GERD has a physical cause and may not be improved by lifestyle factors alone. If you are using over-the-counter medications two or more times a week or are still having symptoms on prescription or other medicines, you need to see your doctor. Persistent symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux should not be ignored.
For more information about GERD, visit www.acg.gi.org.

Stress-Busting Tips for Caregivers

Few things prove more stressful than caring for a loved one with cancer. While doctors handle the cancer treatment, caregivers often manage their patients’ everyday needs — transportation, food, recreation, medications and visits with friends. At the same time, caregivers must deal with feelings of helplessness and frustration as they watch their loved ones fight battles in which they cannot help. Many feel guilty if they focus any attention on themselves.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, studies have consistently reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and mental health problems among caregivers than among their non-caregiving peers.

Four Tips to Avoid the Burn After Workouts

Many Americans equate exercise with pain — they want to “feel the burn” because “there’s no gain without pain.” But when it comes to gaining muscle, rest is just as important as repetition.

Exercise causes small tears in muscle fibers. During rest, the body works to repair those muscles, building them back stronger than they were.

Experienced athletes know the value of structured rest — many strive to help their muscles build back as fast as possible, so they can move on to harder, longer and more challenging workouts. But even casual athletes and weekend warriors can takes steps towards smarter rest. The experts at W.F. Young, Inc., the company that makes Absorbine Jr. pain relieving liquid, offers the following tips:

At-Home Beauty Treatments Offer Lower Costs, Lower Risks

<b>At-Home Beauty Treatments Offer Lower Costs, Lower Risks</b> (NU) – There has been an increase recently in Americans’ obsessions to look and feel better. Reality makeover programs such as “Extreme Makeover” use cosmetic surgery to erase signs of aging or to change the size and shape of specific body parts. However, for some people, invasive procedures are not an option.

Many are afraid to undergo surgery because of the risks or the expense that is often associated with these cosmetic procedures. Fortunately, there are now products that can be used in the privacy of your own home for a fraction of the cost, are more convenient and offer great results.

For years, those searching to get rid of fine lines and get that healthy glow went to a physician for microdermabrasion, a treatment where dead skin cells are removed with tiny silicon or aluminum-oxide crystals blown against the skin using a hand-held device and then sucked up with a small vacuum. Costing about $1,200 a visit, the procedure was not easy on the wallet. But there’s a new generation of at-home alternatives that allows you to get similar results within weeks. Creams and serums that contain Retinol (pure vitamin A) exfoliate the skin, giving a more youthful appearance. Those who want to go a step further can now buy their own high-tech beauty treatment system, a microdermabrasion machine, at a cost of $79.95 (www.sharperimage.com).

Some women are unhappy with the size or shape of their bust. They might have always wished they were a cup size larger so that their clothes fit them better, or they may have noticed changes in their shape after childbirth. Regardless of the reason, many of these women are afraid or unwilling to undergo the pain associated with implants. Others are simply not willing to fork over the average $5,000 cost for surgery. Now there is another option available, a system that is clinically proven to grow a woman’s own natural breasts about a cup size without surgery, pills or creams. At a cost of around $1,000, the system, called Brava (www.brava.com), is about a fifth of the cost of breast augmentation surgery. More information can also be found by calling 1-800-422-5350.

The shade of one’s pearly whites has also become part of the beauty fix-it phenomenon. Until recently, whitening was only available in a dentist’s office and was costly, ranging about $500 to $800. Now in less than two weeks, it is possible to get whiter teeth and a gleaming smile. Products such as Crest Whitestrips (www.crest nighteffects.com), wipe on gels and whitening toothpastes can be used at a fraction of the cost. In a matter of a few days, teeth will be shades whiter and brighter without ever having to sit in a dentist’s chair.

These are just a few of the do-it-yourself at home beauty treatments that are easier on your wallet, provide you with more control of your looks and can be done on your own time. To find out more about these treatments, log on to their Web sites or try the procedures yourself for the ultimate proof.

Patient Demand for Proton Therapy On the Rise

<b>Patient Demand for Proton Therapy On the Rise</b> (NU) – More than 50 years ago, Dr. Robert R. Wilson proposed using proton radiation to fight cancerous tumors. Wilson was a scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project developing the atomic bomb and later championed the peaceful use of atomic energy. Today, the “father of proton therapy,” as he is often called, would be stunned by the growth and development of proton therapy in this country.

Before Wilson died, he saw his dream come true during a visit to the world’s first hospital-based proton center at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California. His legacy lives on in the thousands of lives spared by proton therapy.

“The primary reasons for the growth of proton therapy, from a patient’s perspective, are that it is noninvasive and nonthreatening to healthy cells and organs, produces better outcomes and has fewer adverse side effects,” said Leonard Arzt, executive director of the National Association for Proton Therapy.

“We hear from grateful patients and their families, who have experienced the advantages of proton therapy. Many patients have come to realize that the treatment is no longer as frightening as the disease itself,” Arzt said.

Take, for example, men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Since the mid-1990s, men have taken their fate into their own hands, formed their own word-of-mouth networks, shared information and experiences, and referred themselves for treatment to the few proton therapy centers in the United States, such as Loma Linda University. Many of these men successfully sought noninvasive proton radiation therapy as an alternative to radical prostate surgery.

As additional medical studies are published about the advantages of proton radiation and the positive outcomes resulting from modern patient treatment protocols, the referring medical community may begin to realize that proton therapy could help their patients.

A good example is the newly published Journal of the American Medical Association study of 500 men who have had surgery for prostate cancer and have relapsed with the disease. The study says that if doctors treat them early with radiation therapy, such as proton radiation, these men can be cured. Other recent studies have established the greater efficacy of proton therapy over standard radiation therapy.

The increased demand for proton therapy has motivated one of the most prominent cancer centers in the world. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is building a $125 million proton facility due to open for patients in early 2006.

For further information, go to www.proton-therapy.org or call 1-800-PROTONS.