A Look At Supplements And Age-Related Eye Disease
(NAPSI)—There could be good news for many people who take vitamins
and other nutritional supplements to help protect their health. A new study
from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) helps clarify which are most
effective and safe for treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a
common eye disease among people age 50 and over.
AMD breaks down cells in the back of the eye that provide sharp central
vision, necessary for reading, driving and recognizing faces. Advanced AMD
can lead to significant vision loss and is a leading cause of blindness in
About 2 million Americans have advanced AMD; another 8 million are at risk.
Smoking is a major risk factor.
The Good News
Fortunately, the National Eye Institute’s (NEI) Age-Related Eye
Disease Study (AREDS) found that a combination of vitamins C and E,
beta-carotene and the minerals zinc and copper-called the AREDS
formulation-can help reduce the risk of advanced AMD by 25 percent.
The Latest News
In a follow-up study, AREDS2, the researchers discovered that adding
omega-3 fatty acids didn’t really help; neither did adding lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin together,
however, proved to be a safe and effective substitute for beta-carotene, which
has been linked to lung cancer risk in smokers.
Study findings show a link between beta-carotene use and lung cancer risk
not only for smokers but even for former smokers. “Adding lutein and zeaxanthin in place
of beta-carotene could improve the AREDS formulation for both smokers and
nonsmokers,” said lead investigator Emily Chew, M.D.
“Millions of older Americans take nutritional supplements to protect
their sight without clear guidance regarding benefit and risk,” said
NEI director Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D.
Many risk factors contribute to AMD, including age, genetics and diet.
People over 60 should get a dilated eye exam at least once a year and consult
an eye care professional before using AREDS supplements.
For further information, visit www.nei.nih.gov/areds2.
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Four Ways To Empower Your Baby Shower
(NAPSI)—Shopping for a new baby should be fun and exciting. However,
sometimes it can turn into a daunting experience. A targeted baby registry
can alleviate the guesswork for friends and family, help you get just what
you need and avoid unwanted or duplicate items. To get the most mileage out
of your registry, “Do just as much homework as if you were paying the
tab yourself,” says Sandra Gordon, one of the nation’s leading
baby product experts and author of the new book “Save a Bundle: 50+
Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear.”
“Test-drive strollers in the store, for example, to get an idea of
how they handle. If you’re registering online, visit retail stores
first to get familiar with the products you’re considering. Selecting
baby products is a process, so expect to make several trips to fine-tune your
Gordon offers the following guidelines for expectant parents to help them
hone their gift list.
Think big. In this economy,
putting big-ticket baby items on your list—such as a stroller, glider,
a crib, a baby monitor, changing table, high chair and an infant car seat-can
be guilt inducing. Still, friends and family may chip in as a group to buy
them for you.
Register at more than one store. Gift givers like options. Consider registering for money, too. Sites such as www.depositagift.com allow you to
tastefully request and accept cash gifts. You use the funds to buy as you go
or just have a stash of cash for future expenses.
Wander outside the baby gear aisle. These days, new moms and dads are requesting items on their baby registry
that aren’t typical, such as a smart- phone, which is great for
capturing precious memories of your little one, e-mailing photos to Grandpa
and Grandma, and posting cute baby photos on Facebook and Instagram.
Request practical items. Put
everyday items such as diapers, diaper wipes and Store Brand Infant Formula
on your registry, if you anticipate using formula. Store Brand Formulas, such
as Walmart’s Parent’s Choice, offer the same complete nutrition
as name brand formula, yet they cost up to 50 percent less. The savings can
make a big budget difference later, when your registry stash of formula runs
out, adding up to $600 a year. For more information, visit www.parentschoiceformula.com.
For more baby product advice, visit www.babyproductsmom.com.
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A Step In The Right Direction To Help Others
(NAPSI)—Chances are that people you know and care about are among the
estimated 54 million people living with autism and other disabilities in
Easter Seals invites you to join other families living with disabilities
in its national signature event, Walk
With Me. It’s all about heightening awareness around issues affecting the
disability community while generating valuable support for life-changing
Easter Seals services which help people with disabilities to live, learn,
work and play in their community.
How It Works
Individual walkers and teams join hundreds of others in their community
for a day filled with fun, entertainment and purpose: to raise money for
local Easter Seals services which impact the lives of children and adults
with autism and other disabilities. Every event is different—not just because
of location and activities but because Walk participants at every event are partnered with an Honorary Ambassador, a
local child or adult with a disability who benefits from Easter Seals
Who Is Helped
Funds raised through Walk With Me stay in our community to support local Easter Seals
programs for children and adults with disabilities including Make the First Five Count®, Easter
Seals’ commitment to heighten awareness of the importance of early
identification and early intervention services for kids at risk of autism,
developmental delays and other disabilities. Every year, more than one
million young children with unidentified disabilities enter school with
learning and health issues that put them far behind and have a lasting,
negative effect on their ability to meet their full potential. Easter Seals,
the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of early intervention services, wants
to be sure that kids get the treatments and therapies they need before the
age of five so they’re ready to learn alongside their peers with a foundation
for success and achievement in school—and in life!
Walk With Me brings tens of
thousands of participants together nationwide in nearly 60 local communities.
Honorary Ambassadors are joined at the event by friends, family members,
Easter Seals staff, community leaders, local companies and representatives
from Walk With Me national sponsors
including CVS Caremark, Amway, CENTURY 21® and MassMutual
Financial Group. All share a common goal: to help bring Easter Seals one step
closer to achieving its mission to provide exceptional services that ensure
all people with disabilities and their families have equal opportunities to
live, learn, work and play in their communities.
Step Up To Help!
• Anyone can participate!
• Register for a Walk With Me event in your community at www.walkwithme.org or call (800)221-6827.
• Spread the word about the event through your personal social media
channels or sign up to volunteer!
You can make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities through
support of Easter Seals!
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Getting Unused Medications Out Of Your Home Safely
(NAPSI)—Here’s a surprising statistic: More than 4 billion
prescriptions are written every year in the
and approximately 40 percent
of these drugs aren’t taken according to directions. Failing to finish
a prescription medication is one of the most common issues, with Americans
leaving 200 million pounds of medication unused annually. In some cases,
patients may stop taking a drug once they feel better. Other situations leave
caretakers with significant amounts of excess medications.
These unused medications can pose a number of problems. If left in the
medicine cabinet, they can cause accidents with young children or may be
abused by teens and adults. The problem is not as uncommon as some might
think—nearly 7 million Americans over the age of 12 report having used
prescription drugs in the past month for nonmedical reasons and the numbers
The Lack of Good Disposal Options
In light of these figures, many people are seeing the importance of
disposing of unused medication. Even when motivated to do so, however, people
can be faced with limited options for getting rid of medications responsibly.
In the past, some sources recommended flushing unused medicine down the
toilet, but recent evidence shows trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in waterways
and drinking water supplies. There have been over 1,000 published reports of
pharmaceuticals in sewage, surface waters, groundwater and elsewhere, and an
estimated 40 million people in the
are exposed to it. Due to
these findings, government authorities now say pharmaceuticals should not be
disposed in the toilet or sink.
Throwing medication in the trash does not effectively neutralize the
potentially harmful substances in the drugs. Mail-in disposal products are
also available, but only for a limited range of substances, and they also
require labels to be left on the medications, raising privacy concerns.
Finally, some communities organize collection programs, but these can be
inconvenient to access due to limited hours and the necessity for law
enforcement to be present. Even when drugs are successfully collected through
these programs, their eventual incineration can cause air pollution.
A New Method For Easy Disposal
Fortunately, a new product has recently been introduced to meet the need:
a pouch with a specially designed inner packet of a drug-deactivating
ingredient. Users simply place their medications into the pouch, add a small
amount of water, seal it and dispose of the pouch in the household trash. A
proprietary activated carbon system in the pouch neutralizes the medication,
chemically deactivating the drug. After disposal, the pouch continues to work
by keeping the drugs chemically bound so they cannot leach into groundwater
from the landfill.
The main ingredient in the pouch, activated carbon, is used extensively in
municipal water purification and in emergency treatments of drug overdosage.
The pouch works with any prescription pharmaceutical product, including
controlled drugs and narcotics. It’s compatible with drugs in tablet,
capsule, liquid or patch form.
The Medsaway Medication Disposal System is an affordable and convenient
way to increase the safety of your home and dispose of medications
responsibly. It’s available in drugstores and online. Retail locations
can be found at www.medsaway.com.
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25 Minutes: The Time It Takes To Teach Children About Safety
(NAPSI)—Did you know there are 525,000 minutes in a year? The
for Missing & Exploited
Children wants you to take 25 of them to talk to your child about safety—the
same amount of time it takes to watch a favorite TV show. It could save a
In the seven years since it began, NCMEC’s “Take 25”
campaign has spread to thousands of communities across the
, 150 countries and
the Internet through social media. The campaign was created to coincide with
National Missing Children’s Day, which is May 25.
That was the day, in 1979, when 6-year-old Etan Patz was abducted from a
New York street
on his way to school, the first time he was allowed to walk to the bus stop
alone. A suspect was recently charged with kidnapping and murdering him—more
than three decades later.
At the time Etan vanished, there was no coordinated national system for
addressing missing children cases. His case, and that of 6-year-old Adam
Walsh, who was abducted from a
mall and murdered in 1981, helped launch a national movement that led to the
Missing Children’s Act in 1982 and the creation of NCMEC in 1984.
Today, up to 2,000 children go missing every day. Most are recovered
quickly, but there are many who never return home. As the nation’s
leading nonprofit working with law enforcement, families and the
professionals who serve them on issues of missing and exploited children,
NCMEC has learned a lot about how to keep children safer in the real world
and on the Internet.
Since 2005 to January 2013, for example, NCMEC employees have analyzed
8,000 confirmed attempted abductions, showing that many children escaped harm
by taking some kind of action. Most suspects were driving a vehicle. Nearly a
third targeted children going to and from school or school-related activities
between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nearly half of the children escaped by walking or
running away without any contact. One third were proactive: yelling, kicking,
screaming or pulling away.
This month, NCMEC is honoring a 10-year-old Philadelphia girl who fought
off a man who tried to abduct her last July as she walked down a street near
her home, holding her 2-year-old brother’s hand. A surveillance
videotape showed how fast it can happen: The man grabbed her from behind, put
his hand on her mouth and lifted her in the air. She struggled mightily and
her little brother screamed as loud as he could. The man dropped her and ran.
He was later arrested.
As part of the Take 25 campaign, NCMEC provides families and communities
with free tools and resources, in multiple languages, to host events and
initiate an ongoing dialogue with children, including conversation starters
and important safety tips. Because of its popularity, NCMEC has expanded the
May campaign from April 1 to June 15.
Events to raise awareness about the importance of talking to children
about safety are held in a variety of venues, including community centers,
military installations, sport complexes, retail locations, houses of worship,
schools and libraries. Last year alone, Masonichip International hosted 269 “Take
25” events. The
Conference of Catholic Bishops, 206. Miss Black USA, 36.
Every year, organizers find creative new ways to spread the message—on
highway billboard signs, at community safety fairs, even a flash mob.
NCMEC’s free resources, including the “Take 25 Organizer’s
Kit,” can be downloaded at www.take25.org or ordered after your Take 25 event is registered and approved by NCMEC
You can also find important safety information at NCMEC’s websites, www.missingkids.com and www.netsmartz.org.
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Helping Children Live And Learn
(NAPSI)—In surprising ways, American youngsters and their parents
are helping children half a world away stay in school.
What Can Be Done
Countless impoverished girls in
don’t have the means to purchase sanitary pads, causing them to miss up
to five days of school each month. The absence creates insurmountable gaps in
their education and risks to their health. Enter Huru International, founded
in 2008 by Lorna Macleod, which manufactures reusable sanitary pads. For $25,
American children and, in fact, anyone can send an African child a “Huru
Kit” with the reusable pads and HIV/AIDS prevention information.
The kits are given out through schools, with the assistance of a network
of local partner organizations through support from Johnson & Johnson,
the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and Micato Safaris, among others. When the
Huru Kits are distributed, the students participate in an educational seminar
that delivers engaging and interactive health and empowerment messaging to
The kits from Huru (which means “freedom” in Swahili) have
helped more than 100,000 girls stay in school, and the organization is
working to ensure that girls everywhere have the means to complete their
education and safeguard their health.
Huru has employed hundreds of adults and sponsored many community events
that provide thousands of people with HIV testing, cancer screening and
Why To Do It
UNICEF and the World Bank cite keeping girls in school as the best way to
protect them from chronic poverty and getting infected with the HIV virus. It
has long been recognized that “education is likely to determine a
person’s vulnerability to HIV infection,” according to UNICEF,
and that most of the gains made through prevention initiatives have occurred
among the educated.
This makes keeping girls in school especially important, as it is one of
the most direct and effective means of reducing their vulnerability to HIV
infection and ensuring that they develop the life skills they need to lead
healthy, prosperous lives.
What The Experts Say
Explains Macleod, “Education is the most cost-effective means of
preventing new HIV infections. Just one additional year of schooling can
prevent 60 infant deaths, three maternal deaths and 500 unwanted pregnancies.”
The Global Campaign for Education states that “Ensuring that all
children complete primary school will prevent 700,000 HIV infections each
Where To Learn More
You can find out more about Huru International at (212) 340- 7115, www.HuruInternational.org and
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Crafting A Better World For All Kids
(NAPSI)—Whether it’s knitting, scrapbooking or finger painting with kids,
millions of people in the
take part in crafting. Many of them are also supporting an initiative to
raise awareness about developmental disabilities and autism. It’s A.C. Moore’s Crafting a Better World for All Kids campaign.
Responding To A Need
It’s estimated that every year, 1 million children with unidentified
disabilities enter school with learning and health issues that put them far
behind their peers. A new case of autism is diagnosed every 20 minutes.
To address these issues, for the fourth year in a row, A.C. Moore has
partnered with Easter Seals to support early intervention and autism services
in communities that the stores serve. Crafters who shop at A.C. Moore are being
asked to donate $1 at checkout to support Easter Seals.
To date, $500,000 has been raised by A.C. Moore for Easter Seals. Money
raised during the campaign supports the Easter Seals Make the First Five Count® initiative, which offers
free online screenings, early intervention and autism services, and gives
thousands of children access to services that help them live, learn, work and
play in the community.
Early Intervention Is Key
“We know that through early detection and individualized intervention, children
with autism can make significant progress,” said Dr. Patricia Wright, MPH,
Ph.D., Easter Seals national director of autism services.
If parents think their child may have a developmental delay or autism,
they are urged to trust their instincts and share their concerns with their
health care provider. Parents and grandparents can also monitor their child’s
milestones at MaketheFirstFiveCount.org and take the Ages & Stages
Questionnaire® if they are concerned about their child’s
is a specialty retailer offering a vast selection of arts, crafts and floral
merchandise to a broad demographic of customers.
Easter Seals provides exceptional services, education, outreach and
advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live,
learn, work and play in our communities.
To learn more, visit www.easterseals.com and www.acmoore.com.
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Patients Rally To Raise Awareness Of Rare Disease
(NAPSI)—Nina Smith is one of the approximately 25 to 30 million
Americans with a rare disease. She lives with hereditary angioedema (HAE),
which causes painful, unpredictable and potentially life-threatening swelling
attacks throughout her body, including her arms, legs, face, abdomen and
upper airway. People like Nina often struggle for years to obtain an accurate
diagnosis because conditions like HAE are so rare and often thought to be
other, more common conditions.
“I first experienced HAE symptoms at age 6,” Smith said. “I
was in the first grade and had gone out to the playground for recess with the
other children when my belly suddenly began hurting so badly I could hardly
breathe. The only way I could get any relief at all was to lie in the dirt
curled up in a ball.” Living with HAE meant dealing with attacks during
vacations, holidays and birthdays. When she was in her 30s, she experienced
an HAE attack in her throat that affected her breathing. The thought of not
being there for her children was terrifying.
Smith is a nurse who considers herself a patient advocate first and
foremost, especially for the HAE community. She grew up with symptoms of HAE
but she was not accurately diagnosed with HAE until she was 50 years old.
That’s when she began looking for others in her family who may also
have symptoms and devoted herself to raising awareness of HAE.
Thirty years ago, the Orphan Drug Act was passed to help the
pharmaceutical industry focus on rare disease treatments. Since that time,
more than 400 rare disease treatments have been approved by the FDA. As
scientific understanding of rare diseases evolves and advocacy organizations
like the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) and the US
Hereditary Angioedema Association (US HAEA) promote
awareness and provide patient support, times are different for people like
“The HAE community celebrates HAE Day annually to raise awareness of
hereditary angioedema around the world,” said
Janet Long, Executive Vice President of the US Hereditary Angioedema Association (www.HAEA.org), the advocacy
and support organization for HAE patients throughout the country. “This
is a new era for HAE patients. It is important that all families affected by
HAE are made aware that there are many resources available now to help them.”
Raising awareness of HAE is especially important to Smith, because today
there are treatment options and a supportive community of physicians,
advocates and people living with HAE.
“We have certainly come a long way and I hope you’ll remember
that no matter what, we have it in us to be proactive about our health,”
That is why she became a Patient Ambassador for Shire (www.shire.com), a pharmaceutical company
focused on rare diseases like HAE, to help raise awareness about HAE and the
For Smith, HAE Awareness Day means continuing to speak out about HAE, and
encouraging patients to take an active role in their health—not just
one day a year, but throughout their lives.
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