Florida Artist to Create Massive Red Ribbon in HIV/AIDS Awareness Art Installation
Nov27

Florida Artist to Create Massive Red Ribbon in HIV/AIDS Awareness Art Installation

Soon, Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, FL’s Grand Central District will be transformed into a gigantic, 1.25-mile long red ribbon to honor World AIDS Day. Jim Buresch, the artist behind the Rock It Red! St. Pete campaign, will wrap 172 trees with red fabric to create a temporary public arts installation, which he hopes will turn heads, get people talking, and challenge their assumptions about the HIV and AIDS pandemic. “I want it to provoke thought and dialogue,” he said. “That’s what art is all about, right? I think it’s mammoth enough that anyone who sees it is going to wonder what it’s all about.” The exhibit will also be interactive. Visitors are invited to use fabric pens to write the names of any loved ones whom they may have lost to the disease, as well as personal messages of hope, on the red wraps. This aspect of the project is particularly interesting, in that it utilizes an age-old art form. Screen printing, the art of forcing ink or paint onto a surface through a prepared screen of fine material to create a picture or pattern, first became popular during the Song Dynasty in 960-1279 AD. Nowadays, it colloquially refers to the application of ink or other materials to create messages or images on fabric, which, in this case, happen to be memories meant to inspire. When the wraps come down on December 2, Buresch will sew them together to create either one long piece, or possibly several longer pieces, which will be placed somewhere in the St. Petersburg community. “To me, that’s what it’s about, creating this lasting piece of folk art,” said the artist. Such a project could be particularly impactful in a state like Florida, which continues to rank high among the states most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. According to the Florida Department of Health, about 130,000 Floridians were living with HIV in 2012. Worse, all six of the Sunshine State’s large metropolitan statistical areas reported having more HIV cases individually than several states as a whole in 2012. At such a time, in such a place, a project like the Rock It Red! St. Pete campaign is what’s most needed to raise...

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Men and Women Suffer Different Sleep Problems
Nov26

Men and Women Suffer Different Sleep Problems

The United States is a sleep-deprived nation. Though adults are supposed to get an average of eight to eight and a half hours of sleep every night, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that almost one third of all Americans don’t even get seven hours of sleep a night. “One of the myths is that we can power through or sleep when we’re dead,” said director of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and chair of the National Sleep Foundation, Dr. Charles Czeisler. “But of course we’ll get there faster if we don’t get enough sleep.” The trouble is that resolving our sleep problems isn’t always that easy. Though there are many solutions available, some don’t work as well for certain people. Women and men often run into different challenges when trying to get their 40 winks. According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, 63% of women experience insomnia at least a few nights a week, while only 54% of men will have similar problems. Women are also more likely to experience daytime sleepiness, and toss and turn more frequently. This divide comes as the result of differences in hormonal regulation. Estrogen shortens the length of a person’s sleep cycle, which is why many women often have trouble sleeping around the same time as menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. “One of the things is the internal clock controls the timing of sleep,” Czeisler said. “It runs faster in women than it does men. It’s only about a tenth of an hour but it adds up so that women, in general, their internal clocks are set to about an hour or an hour and half earlier than men, and that means it wakes them up earlier in the morning and it’s harder to stay awake in the evening.” Men, on the other hand, are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea which, according to WebMD, “occurs when your breathing is disrupted during sleep. Men, overweight people, and people over 40 are at greater risk for sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can cause hypertension, stroke, or heart failure.” Since men have more fat deposits around the neck, they’re more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. In fact, about 17% of men are diagnosed with it, compared to only 9% of women. Regardless of the physical differences that cause sleep problems, there are still many different ways people can help themselves to get good rest. First, it’s important to go to bed at the same time every night so that the body’s circadian rhythms remain regular. Second, watching caffeine intake can help. It’s best to stop having...

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Ebola Claims Its Second Victim in the U.S., But Americans Are Becoming Cautiously Optimistic About Future Treatment
Nov18

Ebola Claims Its Second Victim in the U.S., But Americans Are Becoming Cautiously Optimistic About Future Treatment

Dr. Martin Salia, a doctor who had been treating patients with Ebola in Sierra Leone and was being treated for Ebola at a Nebraskan hospital upon returning home, has recently become the second victim to pass away from the disease in the U.S. Salia was a citizen of Sierra Leone and had come to the U.S. to visit relatives; after arriving, he began to experience symptoms of the virus. Unfortunately, a hospital spokesman stated, Salia was in such critical condition when he arrived at the Nebraska Medical Center that it was impossible to save him. Official reports say that Salia was already having kidney and respiratory failure by the time he arrived at the hospital, and hospital staff gave him every treatment possible: dialysis, blood plasma transfers from Ebola survivors, and anti-Ebola drug ZMapp. Although Salia was the 10th patient to be treated for Ebola in U.S., the eight other patients were able to recover (or are expected to recover) because the disease was caught in its early stages in those cases. Salia, on the other hand, was already infected with Ebola when his wife (an American citizen living in Maryland) reportedly paid $200,000 to have the doctor flown back to the U.S. for treatment. Dr. Salia’s passing is certainly a loss for communities both in the U.S. and in Sierra Leone, but it appears that Americans are starting to have a better handle on how to prepare for and treat the infectious disease. It wouldn’t be surprising if the majority of Americans weren’t even aware that Salia had been flown into the U.S. from Sierra Leone for treatment. This isn’t to say that Americans are caring less about the disease; rather, as the LA Times points out, the “Ebola scare” is starting to fade. Instead of buying into dramatic PSA warnings that Ebola is going to cause the entire country to fall apart, people are realizing — largely because of those eight other patients — that Ebola can be treated as long as it’s identified early enough. Additionally, people are realizing that Ebola isn’t the only infectious disease that warrants preparation. Something like the common influenza virus, which affects anywhere from 5% to 20% of Americans each year, is more treatable than Ebola but is still notorious for causing dozens of deaths each year. Ebola isn’t the first infectious virus to cause hundreds of deaths globally, as well as mass hysteria domestically — and for that matter, it certainly won’t be the last. But this particular disease is giving medical centers an important wake-up call (i.e., that they aren’t nearly as prepared as they should be), and as...

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Suffering With Sniffles? It Might Not Be a Cold
Nov18

Suffering With Sniffles? It Might Not Be a Cold

If you’ve already gotten the sniffles this fall, it might not be a cold that’s bothering you. Many people think that allergies are an exclusively spring-time malady, but as people spend more and more time indoors as the weather turns chillier, what’s in the home can also cause an allergy flareup. According to The Huffington Post, indoor air quality can actually be worse than outdoor air quality, especially when there is no flow of fresh air and a number of soft surfaces for dust, dirt, and dust mites to make a home in. One of the most bothersome of these for allergy sufferers are dust mites, which, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune, can cause sinus symptoms and coughing, and can even cause asthma and eczema in children. More than 2,000 dust mites can live in a single ounce of carpet dust. It might seem plausible that regular vacuuming will keep the dust mites at bay, but according to The Huffington Post, vacuuming “doesn’t count” as carpet cleaning — and doing it probably isn’t making your home as clean and allergen-free as you think. “Indoor air quality can be eight to ten times worse than outdoor air quality, if you don’t clean your flooring, clean your drapes and let air inside regularly,” allergy-free housekeeping specialist Robin Wilson told The Huffington Post. The good news is that there are measures that people can take to help free their homes from allergens and to improve the air quality. Having carpets steam cleaned on a regular basis — experts recommend every 12 to 18 months — is pretty much the only way to get deeply set dust out of a carpet. Additionally, one of the stipulations of many carpet warranties is that the carpet be professionally cleaned. Don’t put your vacuum away just yet, however; it’s also important to vacuum regularly between steam cleanings and to vacuum slowly, since vibrations from the vacuum will draw out more dust and dirt. Picking the right type of carpeting is also important for reducing the amount of allergens in the home, since those with longer carpet fibers will attract and hold more dirt and dust. According to the Idaho Press-Tribune, cleaning the air in a home is also an important measure to take in reducing the amount of allergens in it and promoting good air quality. Allergy sufferers should also do things like keep pets out of bedrooms, avoid smoking in the house, and install air...

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Vincent Lecavalier Returns to Practice, but Flyers Announce Delayed Returns for 2 More Players
Nov15

Vincent Lecavalier Returns to Practice, but Flyers Announce Delayed Returns for 2 More Players

Prospects for three injured Philadelphia Flyers were mixed at the end of October. Center Vincent Lecavalier, who injured his left foot blocking a teammate’s shot 13 days earlier during a game against the Montreal Canadiens, took to the ice for practice before the rest of his team. He skated laps, looking healthy and capable, practiced a few shots and joined in some drills. But defenseman Braydon Coburn and Andrew MacDonald were absent from practice due to their own injuries. It turns out that Coburn, who should have been returning soon from resting a left foot injury sustained Oct. 8, will be absent four additional weeks. General Manager Ron Hextall reported that there had been a setback in his recovery. MacDonald, too, is predicted to be out for a month with a lower-body injury. Added to the preseason loss of Kimmo Timonen (who will be sidelined until at least January due to blood clots), this leaves the Flyers with only three of the top six defensemen they expected for the season. “It’s tough, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” coach Craig Berube told local media. “We’re going to deal with it and go play. We’ve got capable guys to play. … Everybody will pick up the slack.” Foot and Ankle Injury in the Sport Although it’s estimated that 75% of Americans have foot health problems at some point or another in their lives, athletes in general and hockey players in particular are known for a high rate of injury. Though overuse injuries also occur, direct trauma during games — from player collisions and body checks; collisions with walls and ice; and blows from skates, sticks and pucks — is often to blame. Lecavalier’s teammates said it was encouraging to see him skate, especially with two more teammates still sidelined by injuries. “I feel like I haven’t seen the guy in two weeks,” right wing Wayne Simmonds said. “It’s really nice to see him get on the ice today.” Lecavalier expressed eagerness for his teammates to return as well. “Losing guys is always tough,” he told The Courier-Post. “A lot of teams lose players. You’ve got to battle through it until they come back, and then you’re probably better...

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