Tea Addiction Results In Teeth Loss

Decades of hard tea drinking led to tooth loss and other bone problems for a 47-year-old Michigan woman, reports the New England Journal of Medicine. After treating the patient for severe pain in her back, arms, legs and hips, her doctor Sudhaker Rao discovered that consuming “astronomical amounts” of highly concentrated tea for nearly 20 years had caused her fluoride levels to spike to more than four times the normal amount.

As a result, her bones had become so brittle that her teeth had to be extracted. “Her bone density was very high, seven times denser than normal,” says Rao, “it was like steel.” In the US, brewed tea contains hight amounts of fluoride, which Rao believes was causing her bone problems. “There have been about three to four cases reported in the US associated with ingesting tea, especially large amounts of it,” he notes. The patient had been downing a pitcher of tea–containing roughly 20 milligrams of fluoride–a day. “Most of us can excrete fluoride extremely well, but if you drink too much, it can be a problem,” he says.

The patient has been prescribed a tea-free diet, and has since recovered. Experts say her case serves as proof that extreme consumption of almost any substance can be harmful. New York City doctor Joseph Lane, chief of the metabolic bone disease service at Weill Cornell Medical College, says he once had a patient who “overdosed” on fish oil. “Then she had a minor injury and bled a lot, almost like hemophilia,” he explains, “it turns out the patient had too much vitamin E in the blood.”

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Disney Bans Kids Under 14 From Entering Parks Alone

Disney theme parks will soon require anyone under the age of 14 to be accompanied by someone who is older than 14, a Disney spokeswoman said Saturday.

The new policy will take effect March 23 at all U.S. Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts and parks.

“If a cast member who is working at the front gates sees a guest who appears to be younger than 14 without someone who appears to be older than that, they will engage in a conversation with the guest,” Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said.

The employee will verbally determine whether the guest is too young to enter on his or her own, since children that age typically do not carry identification with them, she said. The child’s parent or guardian would then be contacted if the visitor is underage, and that adult would need to physically come accompany the child into the park.

Disney chose the age of 14 after the company surveyed its guests and reached out to organizations that deal with child welfare, Brown said. She said both the organizations and visitors agreed on the new age limit.

“That was the age they felt was appropriate,” she said. “That’s also the age the Red Cross recommends for babysitting.”

No particular incident triggered the change in policy, Brown added.

“We regularly review all of our policies, and we identified an opportunity to provide a consistent age of admission and address a question we occasionally get from parents, ” Brown said. “The question is just if we have a minimum age.”

The Disneyland parks did not previously have a set age for solo admission, and the age rules at Walt Disney World Resort varied among the parks, she said.

“This was a move to bring a consistent age policy across our domestic resorts,” Brown said.

Your Facebook Likes Reveal More Than You Probably Like

Facebook users‘ Likes on the social network may be unintentionally revealing more about their personality traits, sexual orientation, and intelligence, according to a new study.

By studying the Likes of 58,000 Facebook users on the social network, researchers at the University of Cambridge say they were able to determine users’ IQ, gender, sexual orientation, political and religious beliefs, and even substance use, with an accuracy rate of more than 80 percent

Users’ expressions of approval on the social network for things such as photos, friends’ status updates, as well as pages for sports, musicians, and books were analyzed by researchers employing a model that reduced the number of random variables under consideration. When compared with user-provided demographic profiles and other psychometric tests, researchers learned they had correctly predicted sexual orientation 88 percent of the time, ethnicity 95 percent of the time, and political leanings in 85 percent of the cases.

“This study demonstrates the degree to which relatively basic digital records of human behavior can be used to automatically and accurately estimate a wide range of personal attributes that people would typically assume to be private,” researchers said in the study, which was published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PDF).

“Likes represent a very generic class of digital records, similar to Web search queries, Web browsing histories, and credit card purchases,” researchers said. “In contrast to these other sources of information, Facebook Likes are unusual in that they are currently publicly available by default.”

While recognizing that predicting attributes and preferences could be used to improve a wide range of products and services, researchers noted that there were considerable negative implications to the predictability model, especially when digital records are analyzed without individuals knowledge or consent.

“Commercial companies, governmental institutions, or even one’s Facebook friends could use software to infer attributes such as intelligence, sexual orientation, or political views that an individual may not have intended to share,” researchers concluded. “One can imagine situations in which such predictions, even if incorrect, could pose a threat to an individual’s well-being, freedom, or even life.”

The No. 1 Leadership Trait You Really Need to be Successful

Most workplace disputes and disasters can be traced back to one thing: a lack of leadership.

So, what’s the absolute No. 1 most important leadership trait in the history of the universe?

After more than 300 votes, here’s how you responded:

Communication skills (78 percent);
Humility (15 percent);
Charisma (6 percent);
Intelligence (2 percent);
Height (1 percent);
Smooth Dance Moves (1 percent).

Believe it or not, it’s all about humility

While as a ridiculously over-tall person I believe that “Height” is a much-overlooked and critically important leadership trait, the correct answer is … humility.

That may seem 100 percent counter-intuitive when you picture today’s stereotypical CEO. But according to various workplace gurus (including Jim Collins and the research team behind the landmark business book Good to Great, as well as recent studies published in the Academy of Management Journal and Organization Science), it’s true.

Leaders who are truly (1) servant-hearted; (2) able to put others and the organization first ; and, (3) willing to listen with humility to other points of view are the ones that people will follow.Thus, if you want to win in today’s hyper-competitive world of work you should (1) hire, promote and retain people who fit that description; and, (2) strive to fit it yourself.

So, I humbly suggest that you ask yourself this question today: Do others see humility in me?If you want to be a truly great leader, the answer should be a resounding “YES.”

This was originally published on Manpower Group’s Employment Blawg.

Child Born With HIV Is ‘Functionally Cured’

For the first time, doctors are reporting that a child born with HIV and put on an unusually aggressive treatment regimen has been functionally cured of the infection.

Now 2 years old, the Mississippi girl has only trace amounts of HIV in her bloodstream and has been able to keep the virus that causes AIDS in check without the help of medication, doctors said Sunday at a medical conference in Atlanta.

If researchers demonstrate that the same treatment can work in other children, it could drastically alter the lives of the estimated 1,000 babies born with HIV every day, most of them in Africa, doctors said.

“If there is a trial that shows this can happen again, then this will be very important,” said Dr. Karin Nielsen, a pediatrician who specializes in infectious diseases at UCLA‘s David Geffen School of Medicine who was not involved in the girl’s case. “You’ll be able to treat people very intensively and reverse the disease.”

Attempting to replicate the results in other HIV-positive infants is “our next step,” said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center who described the Mississippi patient at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. She and others are to make a formal presentation during the conference’s scientific program Monday.

Details of the unusual case have not yet been published in a medical journal so that other doctors and researchers can assess it. It’s possible that the girl — although at high risk for contracting the virus from her mother — was not actually infected herself, skeptics said.

Researchers who have examined her case extensively say they believe she did have the virus but was able to knock it back before it had time to establish itself in parts of the immune system where it can remain dormant and strike again after drug treatments are stopped. Such viral reservoirs are essentially impossible to treat once they have been established.

“Is it possible the child was not infected? Yes. Is it likely? No,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases. The virus probably could not have remained in the baby’s body as long as it had if she had not been infected, he said.

In the United States and other developed countries, more than 98% of babies born to mothers with HIV do not get the virus thanks to preventive treatments that begin before birth and last up to six weeks afterward. In this case, the girl’s mother did not know she had HIV until she took a screening test after she was already in labor, said Dr. Hannah Gay, the pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson who treated the baby.

Instead of giving the newborn just one antiretroviral drug, Gay opted for a three-drug regimen that is sometimes given as a long-term treatment for infected babies, she said. The first infusion was begun when the girl was only 30 hours old — several days before blood tests confirmed she was HIV-positive at birth, Gay said.

With continued treatment, it took less than a month for the girl’s viral load to become undetectable with standard clinical tests, Gay said.

The treatments continued normally for about 15 months, then became sporadic. When the girl was 18 months old, her mother stopped bringing her to the doctor and she didn’t receive her medications.

Five months later, the girl returned to the clinic and had her blood drawn. Gay said she expected to find that her viral load was high. Instead, her HIV levels were still undetectable. Additional tests a few days later confirmed the results, Gay said.

That’s when Persaud and Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, an immunologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, began studying the girl’s blood. Using the most sensitive tests available, they were able to find tiny amounts of HIV “particles” but no virus capable of replicating, the research team reported.

The analysis was funded by the National Institutes of Health and amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.

Among adults with HIV, a lucky few — less than 1 in 200 — are able to keep the virus at bay without the help of medications. But this girl is not one of these “elite controllers,” Fauci said, because in her case doctors could not detect the presence of any virus capable of replication at all.

“You can always isolate virus from elite controllers,” he said. “It’s just that they control it so well, it doesn’t replicate.”

The case of the Mississippi patient is unusual because doctors would not stop a patient’s treatment intentionally to see how he or she would fare without antiretroviral drugs. It is also unusual, Fauci said, because most pregnant women in the U.S. who are HIV-positive receive prenatal treatment to fight the virus, which dramatically decreases the risk of transferring the infection to the baby.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that fewer than 200 babies in the nation were infected with HIV at birth in 2010.

But in developing regions — including sub-Saharan Africa, the site of two-thirds of the world’s HIV infections — it’s a different story. Every year, 300,000 to 400,000 babies are born infected with HIV, Fauci said.

More than half of those children die within the first year, said UCLA’s Nielsen, who conducts research on HIV infection in infants and children. If the triple-drug treatment is proved in clinical trials, the therapy could be a boon for these babies.

Fauci suggested that in addition to such trials, researchers might want to take another look at children who have been on antiretroviral therapies since shortly after birth to see whether any of them had the disease cleared from their bodies.

“You don’t want to recommend stopping therapy, but you do want to go back and look very carefully,” he said. “It may be that we cured them and we don’t realize it.”

The Mississippi girl is the second patient in the world known to be functionally cured of HIV. The first was Timothy Brown — better known as the Berlin patient — who had not only HIV but also acute myeloid leukemia. When oncologists gave him a bone marrow transplant in 2007, they selected a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that blocks the HIV virus from entering cells. As a result, Brown is now immune to the virus and remains HIV-free without taking any medication.

Open A Stubborn Jar With…A Tennis Ball?

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Have you ever found yourself in the process of trying to make a delicious dinner but then are suddenly fighting with a jar just to get it open? And even when you use a dish towel or bang it against the countertop, nothing happens.  Sometimes it really seems like these containers are superglued shut. Luckily, TLC’s How Stuff Works found what might be the easiest way to open stubborn jars.

Simply take an old, beaten up tennis ball and cut it in half. Then slip it over the sealed lid, grip and turn. This should cause the cover to pop open. According to Apartment Therapy, this works so well because the rubber inside the ball grips tightly. Don’t believe it’s possible? Howcast has an awesome video demonstrating just how to do it.

This is a super easy trick that will make life much easier. Not to mention how happy we are that we no longer have to wrestle with a jar when trying to do something as simple as making a PB & J.