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Here are some tips on how to  Maintain your heating systems:

1 ) Make sure to schedule service for your heating system.
2) Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently.
3) Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
4) Find out more about maintaining your furnace or boiler.
5) Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently. Find other maintenance recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning appliances.

When you are home and awake, make sure to set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.     When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.

One way to help save energy is by covering your drafty windows.  You can do that by using a heavy duty clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.  You can also install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.

Chelation Therapy Reduces Cardiovascular Events for Older Patients with Diabetes.  Chelation treatments reduced cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, and death in patients with diabetes but not in those who did not have diabetes, according to analyses of data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT). However, researchers say more studies are needed before it’s known whether this promising finding leads to a treatment option.

Dr. Insel discusses a new report that compares the number of people with serious mental illness who are incarcerated vs. the number being treated in hospitals. From the Treatment Advocacy Center  on the treatment of people with serious mental illness. According to this report, there are now 10 times more people with serious mental illness in state prisons (207,000) and county jails (149,000) than there are in state mental hospitals (35,000). The report includes a state-by-state assessment of treatment of people with mental illness in jails and prisons. In 44 of the 50 states, the largest single “mental institution” is a prison or jail. The Cook County Jail in Chicago, Shelby County Jail in Memphis, and Polk County Jail in Des Moines each hold more individuals with serious mental illness than do all the state mental hospitals combined in those states.

OxyElite Pro, a diet supplement marketed for weight loss and muscle growth, was recalled after being linked to acute liver failure and cases of hepatitis. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the supplement caused one death and several patients required liver transplants.

The FDA is advising people to immediately stop using OxyElite Pro and another supplement, VERSA-1, which are both manufactured by the same company. VERSA-1 has also been linked to health problems.

If you experience problems after taking OxyElite Pro or VERSA-1, report them online or call 1-800-332-1088 and request a complaint form.

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An unhealthy gut microbiome may limit treatment effectiveness.  An intact population of microorganisms that derive food and benefit from other organisms living in the intestine is required for optimal response to cancer therapy, according to a mouse study by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their collaborators.

Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability. Four million Americans are living with the effects of stroke.

If you think you or someone near you is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.  Getting to a hospital within 60 minutes makes a huge difference in whether or not a stroke victim lives or dies, or the quality of their life afterwards if they do live.

Stroke symptoms are sudden, but sometimes the victim cannot perceive the problem because strokes injure the brain.  Symptoms are
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Many people use the term “stomach flu” to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or “sick to your stomach” can sometimes be related to the flu,  more commonly in children than adults these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.

NIH-funded study suggests brain blood vessel cells may be therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease.   study in mice shows how a breakdown of the brain’s blood vessels may amplify or cause problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The results published in Nature Communications suggest that blood vessel cells called pericytes may provide novel targets for treatments and diagnoses.

Cyber crimes come in a variety of forms, including identity theft, fraud, and viruses. Reduce your chances of becoming a victim by taking these important steps online:

  • Set strong passwords, change them regularly, and don’t share them with others.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.
  • Use privacy settings and limit the amount of personal information you post online.
  •  Be cautious about offers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 Get additional information about protecting yourself online and reporting incidents from the Department of Homeland Security.

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Talk to Your Doctor about Cervical Cancer Prevention:   Cervical cancer is highly preventable because of vaccines and screenings. Talk to a doctor to get tested and vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2010, more than 10,000 Americans died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – one death every 48 minutes. That’s nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Meanwhile, 17 percent of traffic deaths among children involved an alcohol-impaired driver. In half of those crashes, the young victim was riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver. Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths.

Whenever your social schedule involves alcohol, make plans so that you do not have to drive after drinking. For example:

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Tips for staying safe in cold weather.

* Make sure your home is warm enough. Set the thermostat to at least 68 to 70 degrees. Even mildly cool homes with temperatures from 60 to 65 degrees can lead to hypothermia in older people.
* To stay warm at home, wear long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers. Use a blanket or afghan to keep your legs and shoulders warm and wear a hat or cap indoors.
* When going outside in the cold, it is important to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves or mittens to prevent loss of body heat through your head and hands. A hat is particularly important because a large portion of body heat can be lost through the head. Wear several layers of warm loose clothing to help trap warm air between the layers.
* Check with your doctor to see if any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking may increase your risk for hypothermia

It’s not your imagination. If you are a senior who sniffs thievery everywhere, there is good reason. Seniors are one of scammers’ top targets. One reason why is that,  thieves go where the money is. They know many seniors have nest eggs, paid-off mortgages and pensions.

 A scammer may lurk in your financial advisor, a caregiver or the stranger behind an unsolicited phone call, e-mail or computer pop-up window. Learn how to outwit the thieves with these resources: Read the rest of this post »

There are many bogus weight loss drugs trying to lure you in. Hold on to your money and avoid scams.  If you are looking for ideas on how to lose weight and keep it off, stay away from any product that claims it will help you lose weight without changing your habits. It just isn’t true. Consider your habits and health concerns: what makes sense for you? You may want to team up with your health care provider to design a nutrition and exercise program that works for your lifestyle and metabolism

Every day, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives numerous complaints from people who have been scammed. Some of these complaints are from people who are encouraged to reveal information about their salary, benefits, tax rebate, or bank information. In order to get this information, the criminals pose as Federal government representatives and make fake letters, e-mails, phone calls or websites that look real and official.

Protect yourself from scammers by following these recommendations:

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