SBN Staff

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:47

Healthclips

You don’t say...

Philip Morris Cos. is acknowledging that scientific evidence shows that smoking causes lung cancer and other deadly diseases, after decades of disputing the findings of the U.S. surgeon general and other medical authorities.

In recent years, Philip Morris, the nation’s largest cigarette maker, has moved closer to prevailing scientific opinions about the health risks of smoking, as it has faced increasing pressure from smoking-related lawsuits, regulators and Congress.

On an Internet site it is unveiling as part of a $100 million corporate image campaign, the company unequivocally states there is an “overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes’’ diseases including lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease. It also states that smoking “is addictive as that term is most commonly used today.’’

Philip Morris’ move is part of a trend among tobacco producers to try to put health-related issues behind them, after agreeing in the last two years to pay $246 billion to settle lawsuits brought by states seeking to recover their Medicaid costs for treating ill smokers.

By making more disclosures about smoking risks, producers also want to make it harder for those who start smoking now to sue by claiming they were unaware of the dangers.

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. created a Web site with information on health issues last year, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is in the process of doing so.

Silent killer

Every fall, when people fire up their furnaces and fireplaces, somebody dies. Health officials say fall is the time to check equipment to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, but many people don’t. About 1,500 people die and 10,000 are injured annually through carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the American Medical Association.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, and as it begins to hinder the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to body tissues, including the heart and brain, people become confused and sleepy. They often pass out without realizing the cause, and die if help doesn’t reach them in time.

The danger zones to be aware of, and precautions to take:

  • CO detectors — They work, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a detector on every floor of a residence. At a minimum, you should have a CO detector on each sleeping floor and another near any major gas-burning appliance such as a water heater or furnace.

    CO detectors measure the gas concentration being inhaled as parts per million, or PPM. At 200 PPM over two or three hours, a person fees a mild headache, fatigue and nausea. At 800 PPM over 45 minutes, a person feels dizzy. After two hours, a person would be unconscious, and within three hours, he or she would be dead.

    CO detectors cost $30 to $50.

  • Chimney — Blockages caused by cracked masonry, nests or soot can cause CO buildup. Have a chimney sweep inspect and clean it.

  • Fireplace — A common source of CO — even smoldering ashes are enough to produce high concentrations. Always leave a window open a few inches to circulate fresh air. Don’t burn treated wood, painted wood or scrap lumber. Always leave the flue open, even if the fire is almost out. Gas logs and burners produce a lot of CO because their less efficient yellow flames are desired for a cozy atmosphere.

  • Portable heater — Buy one that has a CO sensor that shuts down the appliance if the atmosphere becomes toxic. Don’t use them inside enclosed structures, such as tents, if they need to be vented.

  • Kitchen range and stove — Gas stoves and range tops in houses are common sources of CO, because they’re often unvented. The exhaust fan over the range is unvented and therefore does not help dissipate CO. Never warm a house with a natural gas or propane oven.

  • Gas clothes dryer — Clogged exhaust lines can cause CO to build up. Clean the lint trap after every load of laundry; inspect it regularly, because the burner can become dirty or clogged.

  • Attached garage — The greatest danger in a house is a running car in an attached garage, especially if the door is closed. Never warm up your car in the garage, even if the door is open. An outdoor grill used in the garage also is a hazard.

  • Water heater — Dangerous if the appliance is installed improperly. Basement flooding may cause damage to the heater. Make sure it’s regularly maintained.

  • Furnace — Most often produces CO because of mechanical failure as a result of a cracked heat exchanger, flue or burner problems. Inspect annually.

  • Airtight, energy-efficient homes — Insulation cuts heat loss, but also cuts the amount of fresh air into your home. If you have a tight home, you must be extra careful with maintenance of your appliances. Crack windows occasionally.

Chocolate cravings

There’s something about chocolate that makes it an object of the palate’s desire more than any other food. What that something is remains unknown, but researchers believe it is probably a combination of chocolate’s nutrients, chemical composition and, of course, its fat and sugar.

Whatever the delicious truth, chocolate craving exists, according to a report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

“Clearly, controversy surrounds the question of whether motivations for chocolate are physiological, psychological or pharmacologic,” write Dr. Douglas Taren and Kristen Bruinsma of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Despite the downside of fat and sugar consumption, the researchers add, the body’s craving for chocolate should be acknowledged and may be fit into a healthful diet. The investigators came to this conclusion after reviewing studies of the physical, psychological, chemical and otherwise “drug-like” effects of chocolate indulgence.

For some people, the authors note, chocolate represents “self-medication.” Certain compounds found naturally in chocolate, called biogenic amines, are also produced in the brain; some studies have shown that these compounds are important regulators of mood and may play a role in depression.

From a nutrition standpoint, the researchers report, chocolate’s high concentration of magnesium may ease the effects of magnesium deficiency, a condition that research suggests may contribute to premenstrual syndrome. Along those lines, chocolate’s storied association with some women’s monthly cravings may well have a hormonal basis, according to the report.

“Chocolate cravings,” Taren and Bruinsma note, “appear to exist in 40 percent of females and 15 percent of males.” Studies have shown that women’s episodic chocolate cravings tend to be strongest just before menstruation, when levels of the hormone estrogen are moderate and progesterone levels are high. Because progesterone promotes fat storage, keeping it from being used as fuel, high levels of the hormone may trigger fatty-food cravings, they explain.

Eat those veggies

A study has shown that eating fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of an ischemic stroke. Researchers found that eating five to six servings of fruits and vegetables each day can result in a 31 percent decrease in ischemic stroke risk when compared to eating fewer than three servings.

Ischemic stroke comprises 80 percent of all strokes. The condition is brought about by a blood clot in the arteries of the brain. Experts estimate that 700,000 Americans are afflicted with stroke each year. Approximately 160,000 die from the disorder.

Scientists, led by Dr. Kaumudi Joshipura, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, examined more than 114,000 adults in two studies. As part of the Nurses’ Health Study, 75,596 women were observed for 14 years, and 38,683 men for eight years in the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study.

Each individual serving of fruits and vegetables resulted in a 6 percent decrease of ischemic stroke risk. Researchers also discovered that a fruit and vegetable intake of more than six servings per day did not result in any additional reduction of ischemic stroke risk.

“There are very few studies that relate fruit and vegetables to cardiovascular disease, even though some of the constituents of fruits and vegetables are associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” Joshipura said. “I would hope that this study provides an additional motivation to the public to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables.” One of her future projects will examine the link between fruits and vegetables and heart attacks.

Consuming citrus fruits, citrus juice, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower) resulted in the lowest risk levels.

Ask Dr. Computer

Medical authorities are alarmed about the lack of information and personal care available on prescription medications ordered and delivered via the Internet. In response, VideoPharmacist, www.VideoPharmacist.com, an interactive pharmaceutical care site, has been released by a top pharmacy multimedia producer. It also features access to Weber’s Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy and member of America’s largest network of community pharmacies.

Pharmacist Charles Calvano, inventor of VideoPharmacist, has created an interactive video library detailing the use of the most common prescriptions. More than 100 videos can be viewed online. Questions that require a customized response are answered via video e-mail. Video conferences, using Microsoft Netmeeting, allow direct contact between patient and pharmacist. A “topics” category, scripted and delivered by Dr. Jody Adams of Midwestern University, explains disease states and demonstrates products.

You’ve come a long way, baby

While smoking is declining for Americans, it is not decreasing as rapidly among women as it is among men. Almost 23 percent of adult American women smoke; that translates into about 22.6 million women.

Since the 1920s, the tobacco industry has targeted women with advertisements portraying smoking as liberating, glamorous, sexy, slenderizing and feminine. “Women’s cigarettes” were developed in the 1960s and 1970s, and large advertising and promotional campaigns coincided with sharp increases in the number of girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who began smoking. The sales of women’s cigarettes were high, and the smoking rate more than doubled among 12-year-old girls from 1967 to 1973.

In 1987, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. Smoking is directly responsible for 87 percent of all lung cancer cases in the United States.

There is much speculation about the reasons for this slower decline. Women may be affected differently than men by their nicotine addiction. They may be reluctant to give up an effective weight management tool for fear they will gain weight. Nicotine is quite effective in weight management because it increases metabolism and suppresses appetite. The behavior and rituals of smoking can provide an effective substitute for the hand-to-mouth behavior of eating.

Feel the burn

Although researchers have not proven a direct cause-and-effect relationship between exercise and a better mood, it is widely believed that by improving the fitness levels of our heart and lungs through regular physical activity, we can improve our mood. Furthermore, exercise boosts our self-esteem and self-confidence by giving us a sense of accomplishment and independence.

Preliminary results from a major study on depression conducted at Duke University show that intense physical activity — rather than sustained regular exercise — may be the most effective way to reduce feelings of depression, anger and fatigue. The study is part of a larger, five-year study comparing these three treatments for depression: A four-month exercise program, drug therapy and a combination of exercise and medication.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:45

Newsclips

The proof is in the cookie

Talk about soothsaying. Ralph Della Ratta, senior managing director of McDonald & Co. Securities in Cleveland and manager of its corporate finance, recently accepted an honor on behalf of McDonald & Co. for 40 years of continuous support of the Achievement Centers for Children (McDonald’s founder was one of the ACC founders). The afternoon of the event, Della Ratta and his wife had tea and fortune cookies. Della Ratta’s fortune read: “If a true sense of value is to come forth, it must be through service.”

Later, at the evening event, Della Ratta relayed those prophetic words. “We’re all in business and competitive,” he says. “But you can come together and work on something you believe in. At the end of the day, that’s what community service is all about.”

Priority shift

As the calendar rolled over from 1999 to 2000, executive priorities made a subtle shift. More than 31 percent of the nation’s entrepreneurs say they plan to devote the most time this year to family matters, according to an American Express poll. Growing their businesses ranked second at 21 percent.

Other priorities include getting organized (13 percent), brushing up on technology skills (13 percent) and getting and staying in shape (11 percent). Meanwhile, the poll revealed that 35 percent of those execs plan to keep better records this year. Apparently, with all the time they plan to spend with their families, they expect to put their company books in better order ... just in case.

Lick the loopholes

Frustrated by undue legal loopholes, unnecessary government regulation and bureaucratic roadblocks that hamper your endeavors to succeed as an emerging growth company? Then voice your opinion at www.aeeg.org, and ally with American Entrepreneurs for Economic Growth, a nationwide network of more than 10,000 entrepreneurs who serve as a united voice for growth.

Profiles in currency

Working on your first million? Every wonder how being a millionaire might affect your lifestyle? According to William D. Danko and Thomas J. Stanley, authors of “The Millionaire Next Door,” a typical millionaire with a net worth of $1 million or more:

  • Is 57 years old;

  • Is self-employed in an ordinary business;

  • Works 45-55 hours each week;

  • Buys (not leases) an older model car;

  • Owns a home with an average value of $320,000;

  • Has a median household income of $131,000;

  • Invests about 20 percent of annual income.

Netrepreneurial research

Ready to cash in on that next great dot-com IPO? The future may not bring as many as you might expect. According to the first “netrepreneurs” survey by Ernst & Young LLP, 50 percent of Internet company owners say they have no plans to go public.

Here’s what else the survey found out about this emerging breed of business person:

  • 69 percent run profitable companies;

  • Independence and fun are preferred over stock options as ways to attract talented employees;

  • Respondents say they plan to start, on average, five online businesses in their lifetimes;

  • 27 percent would have gone into corporate life if the Internet didn’t exist.

As for the other 50 percent, who plan to take their companies public, keep your eyes peeled and your portfolio managers on notice.

Kids’ play

Cleveland-based Creativity for Kids (featured in the February 1998 SBN) was recently acquired by Faber-Castell USA Inc. Creativity for Kids, one of the city’s hidden treasures, manufactures children’s arts and activity kits. Faber-Castell markets art and graphic products worldwide.

“This joining represents an entrée for Faber-Castell USA into the specialty toy retailer market,” says Christopher Wiedenmayer, Faber-Castell CEO. Creativity for Kids co-founders Phyllis Brody and Evelyn Greenwald remain as co-COOs, and the company’s headquarters will remain in Cleveland.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

Newsclips

Fretting about the future

Just as in the glory days of rubber, Stark and Summit counties’ manufacturing strength still lies in materials processing — although today, the offerings range from plastics molding to metal machining and electronics assembly.

But Robert Algera is worried. As director of business growth for the Akron Regional Development Board, Algera says there’s a weak link in the chain.

“We supply parts to many different industries, but the weakness is that, even though we have a fairly diverse group of customers, we’re selling very cost-competitive items. When a lower-cost provider comes along, we’re at risk.”

The challenge, says Algera, is to keep new and existing companies competitive on a global basis.

“We need to find ways to enhance our productivity through smart use of capital equipment, and to use information technology to become more customer responsive.”

Now, what’s our name again?

Acquisitions and branding trends have spawned new names and logos for growing companies everywhere. Now, the parent company of North America’s largest critical-shipment carrier has relabeled what the country has come to know as Roberts Express.

Established in 1947 and based in Akron as Roberts Cartage, the trucking company was acquired in 1971 by Emery Airfreight. Five years later, Emery’s former treasurer bought the freight carrier, renamed it Roberts Express Inc., and eventually sold it to Roadway Services Inc., which later became Caliber Systems Inc. In 1998, FDX — parent company of FedEx — added the shipper to its arsenal as part of its acquisition of Caliber.

In late January, FDX renamed itself FedEx Corp., and Roberts became FedEx Custom Critical Inc.

The ever-changing company name doesn’t concern president and CEO Bruce Simpson, who joined Roberts in 1983. Fact is, he’s eager to get his new letterhead.

“I’ve been around here since the entrepreneurial days and I think this is the most meaningful, exciting thing that’s ever happened to us. We’re finally being identified with one of the great names of the world,” he says. “FedEx has a brand name, and the attributes of us as a ‘custom critical’ carrier clearly identifies the value and meaning of our service.”

Behind the scenes

As executive director of administration to Summit County Executive Tim Davis, Karen Doty sees a great deal of second-guessing when it comes to the county’s agenda.

“One of the things that poor Mr. Davis is always getting bashed for is his trips abroad. It’s an easy thing for people to misunderstand — they think he’s taking a vacation on county money,” she says. “But what he’s doing is developing economic partnerships with various industrial centers in Europe, and the point of these industrial partnerships is to open up trade opportunities for local businesses, give them a vehicle to get into the European economy, and add job opportunities for people in the county.”

Doty says she’d like to see the county viewed as a force that works to secure a broad and diversified economy.

So, lighten up, already.

Smart giving

If you’re considering reallocating or increasing your charitable donations this year, it may help to know that your gift can go further if you do your homework beforehand.

When shopping for a charity, look for one that gives 75 to 80 percent of its income back to the people it services, says Bill Ginter, president of the United Way of Summit County.

Ginter, who is the former president of Advanced Elastomer Systems of Akron, recently spoke to a group of Leadership Akron alumni on the state of philanthropy.

“An efficient charity is spending 20 percent on keeping the shop running,” he says.

Shopping for a worthy cause is the same as shopping for anything else.

“Be an informed consumer. Don’t be an impulse buyer. When you impulse buy you generally make a bad buy.”

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Newsclips

How deep is your talent pool?

Suzanne Dibble’s top five factors in attracting, keeping and losing talent are:

Top five attractors

1. Benefits

2. All around good employer

3. Flexibility in hours

4. Co-workers are good

5. Salary

Top five preventers of leaving

1. Waiting to finish my education

2. Benefits

3. Loyalty

4. Do not believe I can match my pay

5. Lose seniority

Top five reasons for leaving

1. Lack of career opportunities

2. No opportunity to move up

3. Dead-end job

4. Was not paid what I was worth

5. Better offer

From the book ”Keeping Your Valuable Employees: Retention Strategies for Your Organization’s Most Important Resource,” published by John Wiley & Sons.

I pay them in bits and bytes

Available through Powerpay.com is Powerpay Internet Payroll Services, a pure Internet-delivered payroll system accessible from anywhere, anytime, with same-day payroll processing, reporting and tax filing; background checks and drug screening; optional employee benefits programs available through deductions; full retirement plan administration; and premium only, Section 125 plans for employees.

Powerpay, a service of Ceridian Corp., is targeted exclusively at small businesses.

Where did my cash flow go?

The small business experts at American Express recommend the following step-by-step plan to guide small business owners preparing a cash flow projection.

1) Cash on hand. Count your cash at the beginning of the first month of your projection. This amount is your cash on hand. In succeeding months, the ending cash balance from one month will be carried over as the beginning cash balance of the next month.

2) Cash receipts. Record cash sales, credit card sales, collections from credit accounts and any interest income. The key is recording receipts in the months the money is paid, not the month the sale is made.

3) Account receivable. Record anticipated receivables in the months they are to be paid. If there are no records that show how long it takes individual customers to pay, calculate an average collection period by dividing total sales from the previous year by 365. Then divide by the dollar value of current accounts receivable. That number is the average number of days it takes to collect on a bill and should be used as a guide to forecast payments over the next year.

4) Miscellaneous cash. Account for anticipated miscellaneous cash infusions, including new loans from banks or family members, or stock offerings.

5) Total cash available. For each month in your projection, add the amounts in steps one through four. This figure shows the total cash available to you each month.

6) Cash paid out. Calculate spending in each month. First, assess operating expenses. Note every expense in the month it will be paid, not the month it is incurred, and be sure to include the following:

  • Wages and benefits.

  • Monthly stipends to owners.

  • Subcontracting and outside services, including cost of labor materials.

  • Purchases of materials for use in making a product or service.

  • Supplies for use in the business.

  • Repairs and maintenance.

  • Packaging, shipping and delivery costs.

  • Travel, car and parking costs.

  • Advertising and promotion.

  • Professional services.

  • Regular monthly payments such as rent, phone and utilities.

  • Insurance.

  • Taxes, including sales and payroll.

  • Interest due on loans.

  • Miscellaneous.

    22) Other costs. Calculate the ongoing costs of doing business, including the following:

  • Loan principal payments.

  • Capital expenditures.

  • Start-up costs.

  • Reserve or escrow monies.

  • Owner’s withdrawal — payment of owner’s income tax, Social Security taxes, health insurance etc.

28) Total cash paid out. Add the costs of doing business to the subtotal for operating expenses. This figure is the total cash paid out, and reflects estimates for the total cash needed every month.

29) Determine monthly cash flow. Subtract total cash paid out (Step 8) from total cash available (Step 5). The difference is a firm’s monthly cash position — or cash flow. Cash flow projections should be updated monthly.

SBA, changing with the times?

“Through our new emphasis on oversight and risk management, we are expanding our recent efforts to hold our business resource partners more accountable for prudently delivering effective and efficient help to the small business community,” according to the recently released SBA plan.

The SBA says it’s changing with the times.

It is now serving a more diverse small business sector, using the Internet and e-commerce to be more productive, and recognizing that small businesses will increasingly do business internationally.

The number of minority-owned businesses has increased by 168 percent over the past decade and their revenues have grown by 343 percent, according to the SBA. Women-owned businesses grew by 89 percent over the past decade, about twice as fast as businesses in general.

The agency will now place a greater focus on rural and inner city firms, Native American and veteran-owned companies and small exporters.

What kind of boss are you?

Onvia.com offers the following tips on determining whether you are a good boss:

  • Are you confident? You need to be comfortable making decisions based on your skill, knowledge and experience.

  • Are you visible? Circulating through the work area makes you seem more approachable, increases your familiarity with your employees and encourages them to be more productive.

  • Are you a good listener? Employees love to be heard.

  • Are you honest? Your success depends on whether your subordinates can trust your word.

  • Are you interested? Asking questions not only increases your knowledge, it also shows you care.

  • Are you genuine? Simply being yourself is the best way to gain trust.

  • Are you generous? Sharing credit for your success builds loyalty.

  • Are you consistent? Don’t be a tyrant one day and a pussycat the next. Flip-flopping between styles confuses employees.

  • Are you responsible? No one respects a boss who blames others when something goes wrong.

  • Are you compassionate? Employees appreciate knowing they can go to their boss if they have a problem.

Net assets

Ninety-five percent of banks responding to a recent survey said they increasingly use the Internet to acquire and serve small business customers, The American Banker reports.

Banks consider their online small business customers more profitable and more loyal than those using traditional channels, according to the Consumer Bankers Association study.

But despite the proliferation of the Internet, a dedicated sales force is still the most important delivery channel for small business banking, the study concludes.

That is true “not only today, but looking into the future as well,” said the study’s author, Kathleen McClave.

Though 82 percent of responding banks said they provide information and some customer service on their Web sites, “site functionality is still fairly limited, as less than half can really offer loan and deposit applications,” McClave said.

Going once, going twice

Ever consider listing your goods on an online auction site? You might want to. Forty-six percent of Internet users participate in online auctions, reports research firm Greenfield Online, and bidders outnumber sellers 3-to-1.

However, auctions aren’t fail-safe. Both sellers and buyers can be stung by deals that go awry, although buyers — who often send money for products, sight unseen — shoulder the most risk. In the last two years, there has been a 100 percent increase in auction-fraud reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

To help you sell ethically and successfully through auctions, the FTC offers these guidelines:

  • Provide an accurate description of the item you’re selling, including all terms of the sale and who will pay shipping costs.

  • Respond quickly to questions bidders raise during the auction.

  • Contact the high bidder as soon as possible after the auction closes to confirm details of the sale.

  • Ship the merchandise as soon as you receive payment.

Psychological success

Pitney Bowes recently sponsored a survey of more than 1,400 small-business owners to identify the psychological traits and attitudes that lead to success. The results: Five types of potentially prosperous small business owners. Which best describes you?

Idealist (24 percent of respondents)

Idealists start businesses because they have a great idea or want to work on something special — not because they enjoy managing the financial details of running a company. This group is the most willing to work for someone else.

Optimizer (21 percent)

Optimizers enjoy running a business and would never con

sider working for someone else. They focus on maximizing profits, not necessarily expanding the size of their company. They are savvy about technology and financial matters, which allows them to generate more revenue per employee than many other businesses.

Hard worker (20 percent)

These business owners love what they do and crave growth. The successful ones develop long-term growth plans and stick with them. They exercise broad personal control and concern themselves with every detail.

Juggler (20 percent)

There are never enough hours in the day for jugglers. They are intimately involved with every aspect of their business and reluctant to relinquish control to staff. They take pride in their ability to coordinate all the elements of their operation and are always looking for ways to improve their business.

Sustainer (15 percent)

Sustainers are likely to have inherited their business or bought it. They are the most conservative of small business owners and the least likely to incur additional debt. They enjoy their work and have little interest in expanding their business.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Newsclips

Money available

The Stark County Regional Planning Commission is accepting applications for its Micro-Enterprise Loan Program. The program offers loans up to $10,000 to owners or operators of qualified Stark County small businesses.

The goal of the program is to assist small businesses that have difficulty securing traditional financing, by providing loans at or slightly below market rate for the creation, stabilization or expansion of those businesses.

To request more information, contact Jeff Dotson at the SCRPC at (330) 438-0402.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Health clips

Drug my wallet

Roughly one-third of Americans on Medicare have no insurance coverage for prescription drugs, and many of those with coverage still have high out-of-pocket expenses. While some Medigap plans — offered through private insurance companies — are designed to cover prescription medications, experts say the system isn’t working.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, seniors with Medigap coverage spend an average of $570 a year on prescription drugs, while those without the extra coverage spend only $20 more.

Broken cures

Repairing a bone fracture requires a healthy diet — adequate protein, calcium, vitamin C and other essential nutrients. But in the case of athletes or heavy exercisers, time off from exercise is crucial, to give the bone a break from physical stress so it can heal.

If you eat or drink two to three dairy products daily, or regularly consume calcium-fortified orange juice or other calcium-fortified products, chances are you are already meeting your calcium needs. A calcium supplement of about 500 milligrams will help ensure adequate intake. Remember: It’s rest, not calcium, that will most help mend your bones. Source: Onhealth.com

Protein power

Your protein requirement is based on your body weight. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight — about 65 grams for a person who weighs 180 pounds. But the extra 25 percent to 50 percent required by physically active people bumps the requirement up to 81 to 98 grams daily for a 180-pound athlete. Your body uses the extra protein for building and repairing muscle tissue and burns small amounts for fuel.

A major headache

The symptoms of migraine vary from person to person in intensity, frequency, character and duration. Migraine attacks occur in two basic forms: migraine without aura and migraine with aura, a warning usually consisting of visual disturbances or neurologic symptoms occurring within an hour before the onset of the headache. About 60 percent of all types of migraine attacks consist of migraine without aura.

The most prominent symptom of migraine without aura is headache, which may be severe and is often described as throbbing. About 60 to 70 percent of the time, the headache pain is unilateral (occurring on one side of the head). Symptoms which commonly accompany the headache include photophobia (severe sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to noise), nausea and, occasionally, vomiting. These features distinguish migraine from tension-type headache, often described as a “band-like” sensation around the head without other associated symptoms.

Migraine with aura is characterized by the same symptoms as occur in migraine without aura, except that the headache phase is preceded by, or less often accompanied by, visual disturbances or neurologic symptoms. Some patients experience symptoms of the aura without subsequent development of headache, referred to as acephalgic migraine.

Take a snooze

Americans don’t sleep enough, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which reports that only 35 percent of adults sleep the recommended eight hours or more per night during the average workweek.

Most sleep six hours and 58 minutes per night, the foundation reports. Sometimes the loss of a few zzzs is inevitable, but more often, it’s not.

“It is an interesting sociological phenomenon, where, at a time of timesaving devices and so many material things that are supposed to make your lives easier, we still lead lives where there’s not enough time for sleep,” says Joe Cunningham, an internist and senior vice president for medical affairs at Providence Medical Center.

Hair gel

A clear gel containing an investigational compound may help prevent hair loss in chemotherapy patients, report researchers at Glaxo Wellcome Inc.

Hair loss is a common side effect of drug therapy used to fight cancer. Anticancer drugs act on rapidly dividing cells, a feature typical of cancer cells — and of hair follicle cells.

In a recent report, Dr. Stephen T. Davis told conference participants about GW8510, a newly synthesized gel compound that may inhibit or stop rapid cell division in hair follicle cells in chemotherapy patients.

Davis and his colleagues at Research Triangle Park studied the agent in rats undergoing chemotherapy. They found that whereas typically 90 percent of rats treated with the anticancer drug etoposide lose their hair, this fell to less than 50 percent in rats treated with a gel containing GW8510. No GW8510-related side effects were detected.

The compound renders normal cells insensitive to chemotherapy. Researchers say they do not believe that it interferes with chemotherapeutic drugs.

Italian for everyone

Italian scientists report that patients with high blood pressure reduced the amount of antihypertensive drugs they needed by switching to a diet low in saturated fat and rich in olive oil. What’s more, some patients were able to stop their high blood pressure medication completely with the dietary changes.

“A slight reduction in saturated fat intake, along with the use of extra-virgin olive oil, markedly lowers daily antihypertensive dosage requirement,” according to Dr. L. Aldo Ferrara and colleagues, who first reported their findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Study subjects who increased their intake of sunflower oil did not achieve the same beneficial results, according to the report.

Fads no more

Ever in search of a faster, easier way to lose weight, more and more Americans are bravely confessing to their so-called carbohydrate addictions, swearing off sugar and diving headlong into the latest fad diet.

The pursuit of a slimmer body has translated into big business. In 1995 alone, Americans spent an estimated $30 billion on weight-loss aids, including diet books, appetite suppressants and other diet pills, diuretics, mechanical reducing devices and health spas geared toward weight loss.

The problem is that, for the vast majority of the population, these diets, gadgets and pills just don’t work over the long run, and may even be harmful.

Any diet that deviates from sound nutrition principles, reflected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid, should be viewed with suspicion. Such diets are easy to recognize — they almost invariably promise quick and painless weight loss by following a regimen that is contrary to common sense and often defies the laws of physics and chemistry. They may advocate consuming no fat or no carbohydrates or even no solid food. Every fad diet has its special gimmick, sometimes a whole truckload of them.

The typical crash diet initially creates a rapid loss of water due to sudden changes in the body’s metabolism — the way the body uses food. While the scale may show a drop in weight after only a couple of days, what has been lost is water, not fat. Much like a dried prune, when water levels are restored to normal, the body plumps up again. Of course, after a few days or weeks, some fat, along with muscle, will be lost, too.

But the only way weight can be shed quickly — more than two pounds per week — is by following a diet that is too low in calories. Any diet that is too low in calories is necessarily unbalanced and/or extremely restrictive.

While it’s fortunate that most people lack the stamina to adhere to such regimens for long, any quick-weight-loss diet is ultimately self-defeating because the dieter is likely to regain the lost weight once the program is discontinued.

Earning trust

Health plans must earn the trust of their customers to compete in the managed care marketplace, according to experts at a recent meeting of the National Managed Health Care Congress.

“To improve the quality of health care, we must restore consumer trust in physicians, health plans and insurers,” says Les Meyer, a marketing and sales executive for Access Health Group of Denver. “Trust is the cornerstone of the buyer-seller relationship. To earn it, you have to do what you say you will do. We must be patient-centered.”

To survive in today’s competitive health care industry, health plans must attract new members and make sure they remain loyal customers.

“If 3,100 customers drop your plan during open enrollment, that’s $15 million in lost revenue,” Meyer said. “We must earn loyalty and retain it. To do that, we must keep the focus on patients and exceed their expectations.”

Don’t panic

An uncommon heart problem that suddenly triggers a rapid heartbeat is frequently mistaken for panic attacks, especially in women, new research suggests.

The disorder, called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia or PSVT, results from an abnormal bundle of fibers on the heart’s ventricle that periodically makes the heart flutter wildly — sometimes for just a few seconds, other times for hours. PSVT can be tricky to diagnose but is easily corrected by surgery or medications.

Nothing to sneeze at

Although about a third of Americans believe they have food allergies, studies show that no more than 2 percent actually do, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly makes antibodies against proteins in food. Histamine and other chemicals are released, producing mild hives, swelling and even life-threatening shock. Common culprits include eggs, nuts, seafood and some fruits.

A metabolic food intolerance can cause similar, severe symptoms, but unlike a food allergy, does not involve the immune system. People with a metabolic intolerance lack an enzyme necessary to digest a certain food or additive, such as milk or wheat. But this condition is also quite rare. So why do so many people believe they have adverse reactions to food? Reasons include normal but unpleasant reactions to food properties (think of the familiar relationship between beans and gas), as well as instances of food poisoning.

Certain foods may also have bad associations if they were eaten when a person was sick from other causes. Because true adverse reactions to food are so rare, it’s best to see your doctor before resorting to dietary restrictions that could be unnecessary. Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

Newsclips

And justice for all

A four-year dispute between Kent Display Systems and a Texas competitor has resulted in a federal court ruling in favor of the Kent company.

The dispute began in 1995 when Kent Displays bought the licensing rights to use a polymer-free liquid crystal technology developed by researchers at Kent State University. A year later, Kent Displays discovered that Advanced Display Systems of Texas was using similar technology, and after negotiations failed, the Kent company sued the Texas company for patent infringement.

Although a lower court ruled in favor of Advanced Display Systems in a 1997 trial, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that ruling in May, granting a new trial and awarding court costs to Kent Display Systems.

According to Kent Display Systems CFO Joel Domino, the ruling read like a John Grisham novel, "retelling how ADS, having failed in creating their own cholesteric device, photographed, then copied Kent's, and then with the assistance of their attorneys, withheld that fact."

Top site

Psychology Today magazine recently named Akron-based www.holistic-online to its list of top Web sites. The magazine, published by the American Psychological Association, named the site as the best Web site to learn about the alternative prayer-based therapy, Ayurveda.

Www.holistic-online was created by Dr. Jacob Mathew to provide information on all aspects of health, with an emphasis on alternative therapies, including herbal healing, yoga and stress management.

Mathew, who is president of Akron-based International Cyber Business Services Inc., an e-commerce solution provider, says he is working on adding information to the site on cancer therapy, hormone replacement therapy and menopause.

Recognized

Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce named Fred Anthony, president and CEO of Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital, its Business Person of the Year.

Anthony was cited by the chamber as a sound fiscal manager and credited with maintaining excess revenue (the not-for-profit equivalent to profit) for the past 11 years. He achieved this during a period of declining reimbursement, allowing for a 22,000-square-foot ICU addition that is currently under construction.

Anthony was also commended for his leadership, particularly his initiation of the Community Health Advisory Board.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:37

Newsclips

Travel options

Cleveland-based Flight Options is letting executives -- or their assistants, anyway -- schedule business trips with a new application delivered via the company's "owners only" Web site. The fractional jet ownership service is in the industry that has developed a way to allow customers to schedule their business flights via the Web. Other features of the site include a function that allows traveling executives to experiment with different travel scenarios to better estimate flight routes, time and distance, as well as choose what they would like to eat during their flight and what kind of car they'd like to drive once they land.

Billion dollar difference

Ohio businesses will pay only a quarter of their Workers' Compensation premiums next year, thanks to a $1.2 billion reduction in premiums as the result of better-than-expected returns on investments, efficient management and the organization's efforts in helping injured workers return to their jobs.

"A lot of states are seeing the cost of workers' compensation rise, but not in Ohio," trumpeted Gov. Bob Taft as the Oversight Commission approved the billion dollar premium cut earlier this summer. "Our low costs are great for Ohio businesses and workers and a major tool for attracting new business to our state."

The reductions will appear as 75 percent credits on employers' 2001 bills. Anyone who hasn't received a letter from the BWC explaining the changes can view a copy at www.ohiobwc.com.

Got stock options?

If you're one of the 10 million people in the United States with employee stock options, there is a new Web company devoted to the complex personal finance questions and challenges that may come your way.

"This site is an absolute knockout," gushes Charles Christian, Johnson & Johnson's Director of Planning & Development, Worldwide Compensation Resources. "MyStockOptions.com contains all the information you could ever think you'd want to know about stock options -- and more." MyStockOptions.com, essentially a Web community with the mission of helping you get the most out of your stock compensation, recently completed its private beta test with 40 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Staples and eToys, and is now available to the general public.

Wanted: Ohio grapes

Looking for a side business venture to sink you teeth into? The Ohio State University seems to think investing time and cash into becoming a wine grape grower may not be such a bad idea. Donniella Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, claims Ohio could use 800 to 1,000 new acres of wine grapes to keep up with the state's wine industry. The problem is, the 68 wineries in the state don't have enough home-grown grapes to turn out a 100 percent Ohio product.

"The ideal circumstance for Ohio wineries is to provide an Ohio product from start to finish," explains Winchell. "Wines produced from grapes grown in Ohio can be labeled with the state name, which provides name recognition and improves marketing potential."

The only down side to this grape drive is the price tag tied to breaking into the business. A 10-acre vineyard is considered a full-time job for one person and start-up costs run anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 an acre.

A big deal

Solon-based Complient Corp. recently closed one of the largest venture financing agreements ever generated for an Ohio Internet company. In its latest round of financing, Complient received $44 million with the investment lead by Goldman Sachs and Chase Capital Partners. Complient is working to expand its position as a dominant business-to-business provider of Internet software applications and turnkey learning solutions for effective management of organization compliance activities ranging from OSHA regulations to Internet privacy.

Coming attractions

Cleveland's Media Design Imaging is preparing its first feature film, "Twisted," for the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. MDI, which grabbed the attention of the corporate side of Cleveland with its digital business card, has turned much of its attention to building a buzz for the film the company made for the paltry sum of $3,000. Those interested in a preview can check out a film clip at www.mdifilm.com.

Sign of the times

Not long ago, HR executives spent the bulk of their time filling out employee 401(k) forms, handling benefits packages and getting the scoop from their bosses after crucial company decisions were made. That's all changing.

Today, HR execs hold executive committee chairs and seats on boards of directors, and you can find their names among the top paid executives at major companies worldwide. What's driving the changes?

"The number one threat to the ongoing success of American companies remains the ability to attract and retain qualified people," explains Allen Salikof, president and CEO of Management Recruiters International Inc. "As a result, human resource executives are redefining their role within the organization. They are in senior positions making strategic business decisions that affect their company's future."

Food for thought

In case you ever wondered just how much the restaurant industry contributes to the economy as a whole, here are some statistics from the National Restaurant Association:

* Restaurant industry sales are forecast to advance 5 percent this year and equal 4 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

* The industry produces $376 billion in sales annually at 831,000 locations around the U.S., with 11 million employees.

* The total economic impact is expected to reach $785 billion this year, including sales in related industries such as agriculture, transportation, wholesale trade and food manufacturing.

* Total annual wages and benefits equal $39 billion for full-service restaurants and $35 billion for limited-service establishments.

* Six out of every 10 employees in food service operations are women, 12 percent are African-American and 17 percent are Hispanic. Nearly three out of four limited-service establishments (fast food joints) have recently hired a former welfare recipient.

Truly, something to chew on.

Different kind of blue

Who says blue jeans are just for casual wear? Certainly not the folks at Achievement Centers for Children. In April, the gang at ACC threw the Blue Jean Ball at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. More than 400 people packed the new brewhouse to listen to the Twist-offs and help raise money for Camp Cheerful.

The gang auctioned off six pairs of blue jeans signed by members of the Cleveland Indians, including Jim Thome, Steve Karsay, Richie Sexson and Dave Burba. Total take for the evening: $18,000. Not bad for a bunch of people clad in casual wear.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:37

Newsclips

The Sustainable Jobs Fund, a community venture capital fund based in Durham, N.C., has closed on an investment of $750,000 in Allegheny Child Care Academy, a Pittsburgh-based child care provider. The Future Fund of Pittsburgh invested $250,000 in the current round of financing, which is designed to implement the expansion of Allegheny Child Care Academy into the Philadelphia, Detroit and Cleveland markets.

BroadStreet Communications, a communications provider to small- and medium-sized businesses, has reached a $120 million agreement with Lucent Technologies that will help build BroadStreet Communications' next-generation network.

Sloan Valve Co., of Franklin Park, Ill., has appointed Equiparts Co. as its first independent, national authorized factory technical repair center. Equiparts provides auxiliary electronic repair parts support to Sloan Valve's line of products.

Burns & Scalo Roofing Co. has acquired a roofing and sheet metal panel contract from Continental Building Systems for the Waterfront Power Center in Homestead.

Life's Work of Western Pa. has been awarded $205,000 to fund its single-point-of-contact program and $531,000 to fund its welfare-to-work program. The state-allocated funds came from the city of Pittsburgh to provide job training and work experience to prepare individuals to enter the work force.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:32

Healthclips

Take off, hoser

Compared with their counterparts north of the border, middle-class and upper-middle-class U.S. residents have similar odds of surviving cancer. However, America's less well-off residents do not fare as well as those in Canada, according to a University of Windsor study.

Among people on the bottom one-third of the socioeconomic ladder, Canadians were about 35 percent more likely to survive cancer than similar U.S. residents, researchers report.

Mutant corn attacks diners

The discovery of an unapproved variety of gene-altered corn in America's food supply is bringing to light questions about human allergies that are likely to challenge the biotechnology industry for some time to come, according researchers at the National Institute for Health.

The genetically engineered corn, known as StarLink, is not approved for human consumption because of a special protein it contains that takes longer than normal to break down in the digestive system.

Scientists think, but don't know for sure, that the ability of a protein to withstand heat and gastric juices is an indicator that it will cause an allergic reaction. Peanuts, which can cause fatal allergic reactions, have that characteristic, as do other foods known to be allergy inducing.

Test anxiety

Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer do not appear to worry about their heightened risk of developing the diseases, study results show. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, this suggests that genetic testing for cancer risk may not produce the high anxiety some fear it will.

In a study of 464 women who were at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, investigators found the women's levels of psychological distress were no higher than average. The women were considered at high risk because of family histories or their own history of the diseases.

All were considering whether to undergo testing to see if they had a gene mutation linked to increased cancer risk. Despite this looming decision, though, the women were surprisingly calm.

Put gramps on the treadmill

For all those who have remained in their rocking chairs despite evidence that exercise fights disease, researchers now say activity makes older people just plain happy.

In a review of 32 studies of activity and mood among the elderly, investigators found that regular exercise -- particularly strength training -- boosted study participants' moods. The results were "remarkably consistent" across the studies, according to a report in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.

In addition, researchers, led by Shawn M. Arent of Arizona State University in Tempe, found that two types of exercise was better than one. The combination of aerobic exercise and strength training elevated mood to a greater extent than did aerobic exercise alone. Strengthening exercises counter the muscle loss that interferes with daily life as people age, the authors note.

Dust off a theory

Being exposed in childhood to environmental allergy triggers -- such as pollen, dust mites or cat dander -- does not appear to increase the risk of developing asthma, researchers report.

With asthma rates increasing worldwide, many have suggested that an increased exposure to allergens could be to blame, according to Dr. Susanne Lau and associates from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.

I'm taking the bus

Men who mountain bike run a high risk of injuries to the scrotum that could affect their fertility, results of a study suggest.

In a study of 45 male mountain bikers, Austrian researchers found that 96 percent had scrotal abnormalities. In contrast, such problems were seen in only 16 percent of 31 men who had never biked. The abnormalities included calcium deposits, cysts and twisted veins, and half of the men had scrotal tenderness or discomfort.

Twisted veins in the scrotum are known to impair fertility, says study author Dr. Ferdinand Frausche. Taken together, he said, the abnormalities seen in this study suggest that many of the mountain bikers may have fertility problems. To investigate this possibility, Frauscher and his colleagues at University Hospital Innsbruck are now getting sperm counts from the men.

The current findings were published in The Lancet.

Oldie but goodie

Although the body inevitably withers with age, new research suggests people's emotional health only gets better over time.

When psychologists followed the daily emotional ups and downs of 184 adults for one week, they found that older people had as many positive feelings as younger people did. In contrast, negative emotions grew less common with age.

When they did feel down, older adults bounced back more quickly than younger people did. According to researchers, this emotional maturity may arise from changes people make in their priorities as they age.

Researchers at Stanford University say that as people age, they recognize the fragility of life and, therefore, its preciousness. People's goals change as they age, putting more emphasis on relationships and experiences that are important to them.

Those new clubs saved my life

A round of golf may be just what the doctor ordered for heart disease patients, a German study suggests.

Heart disease patients need to strike a balance during exercise -- they need to push the heart enough to strengthen it without putting too much stress on the muscle. Since golf is a low-impact and increasingly popular activity, researchers investigated whether a trip across the green might be an ideal exercise for people with heart disease.

In a study of 20 men with the condition, a research team from the University of Giessen, Germany, found that golfing got the patients' hearts pumping at a rate similar to the hears of eight healthy study participants. Yet the exercise did not seem to raise blood pressure or overly stress the heart.

The findings were reported in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Nutcracker suite

It may look pretty, but ballet is more like a contact sport when it comes to injury risk, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle report. And the risk seems to come from both physical and psychological stress.

In an eight-month study of Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet Company, researchers found that 61 percent of dancers sustained at least one injury that kept them from performing. This injury rate is similar to that found in sports such as football and wrestling, the authors report.

You have something in your teeth

Busy adults claim they have no time to floss their teeth, and dentists say it shows -- especially among men.

When people brush off flossing, they raise their risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Yet, according to a survey of 201 periodontists, flossing gets the least attention in their patients' tooth-care regimens. Men, they report, are the biggest offenders. Nearly 97 percent of the dentists said their female patients practiced better oral hygiene than male patients did.

The American Academy of Periodontology conducted the survey. Periodontists are dentists who specialize in treating the gums.

The most popular excuses for not flossing are lack of time and "dexterity problems," according to the survey. Some dentists, though, reported more unusual patient claims, such as "I gag when I see what comes out when I floss," and "My kids use it to tie up their siblings, so we can't keep it in the house."

Don't tease me

The old saying about "sticks and stones" may not apply when it comes to eating disorders. Researchers have found childhood teasing may play a role in binge eating disorder, a problem believed to affect as many as 2 million Americans.

In a study of 115 women with binge eating disorder, or BED, Yale University researchers found that the women's disorders may be related to teasing they suffered as kids. Women who said others made fun of their appearance during childhood were most dissatisfied with their bodies as adults. And among obese women, those who had been teased the most had the most episodes of binge eating. The findings were published in a recent issue of Obesity Research.

Tamara D. Jackson and her colleagues speculate that childhood teasing may make people vulnerable to BED by affecting their attitudes about themselves and their bodies.

I left my heart on swing shift

People who work a rotating shift schedule that includes staying up all night may be causing harm to their hearts, Italian researchers report. It appears the heart would rather be taking a rest at night, which may explain why shift workers are at greater risk of heart disease and other problems.

"Shift work is associated with an increased rate of (heart) disease and accidents," according to lead author Dr. Raffaello Furlan at the University of Milan in Italy.

I prefer Twinkies, myself

Boosting levels of several key nutrients in the blood may be as easy as sipping a smoothie, researchers report.

According to their study, presented at the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting, a fortified smoothie and energy bar increased blood levels of the B vitamin folate, and vitamins B6, B12 and E. The snacks also lowered levels of homocysteine, a compound that has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

I got enough Cs in school

Despite a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables and vitamin C-fortified foods throughout the United States, many Americans are deficient in the vitamin that has been shown to fight off colds and lower the risk of disease, researchers report.

Their review of national health data, presented at the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting, shows that smokers and middle-aged men are at greatest risk of vitamin C deficiency, making them vulnerable to infections and fatigue.

People who have suboptimal levels of this important vitamin may also have gums that bleed easily and swelling in their arms and legs, say Dr. Jeffrey S. Hampl and colleagues from the department of nutrition at Arizona State University in Mesa.

According to results of the review, 16 percent of nearly 16,000 people ages 45 to 64 were deficient in vitamin C, and men were at greater risk than women. Smokers were also more likely than nonsmokers to have inadequate levels of vitamin C.