The Driving Danger That You’re Ignoring Monday, May 28 2012 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

Would you let a friend get behind the wheel of a car if he’d just been drinking and wasn’t steady on his feet? The answer is certainly “No.” But if you’re like most people in the US, you wouldn’t hesitate to let a friend drive when he’s incapacitated for another reason — drowsiness. It’s time to wake up to a danger that causes nearly 5,500 deaths a year.

Surprisingly, drowsy driving has gotten little attention compared with other driving dangers, including speeding, drinking alcohol, failing to fasten seat belts or being distracted by cell phones and other devices. That’s why the AAA’s recent campaign against drowsy driving caught my attention.

I phoned J. Peter Kissinger, head of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, who told me that, in his opinion, drowsy driving is the largest unrecognized problem on the highways. In a recent AAA survey of 2,000 drivers age 16 and older, 32% said that they had driven while on the verge of falling asleep at some point in their lives, and 41% admitted to actually falling asleep at the wheel at some point in their lives. And that’s despite the opinion of 96% that it’s unacceptable to drive while drowsy! So why don’t we practice what we preach?


The 96% have it right. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), drowsiness is very similar in its effects to drunkenness. It causes slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information. In fact, NSF, which has joined AAA in publicizing the problem, says that being awake for more than 20 consecutive hours results in impairment equal to that caused by a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is the legal limit for driving in all states. And if you’ve undergone stress or slept poorly the night before, you don’t have to be awake for even that long to experience this level of impairment.

So why are we just now learning about this? As Kissinger put it, traffic safety experts have focused on “belts, booze and speed” and more recently on distractions by cell phones and other electronic devices. Also, statistics, he said, have downplayed the role of drowsiness in fatal crashes because it’s often difficult for investigators to determine if the cause of a crash was drowsiness, drunkenness, distraction or a combination of factors — in other words, there’s no breathalyzer or blood test for drowsy driving. If a driver veers off the road and hits a tree, for instance, there’s often not any way to tell whether he fell asleep or instead was distracted when he tried to change the station on the radio.

As a result, US traffic statistics typically show that drowsiness is involved in only about 3.6% of fatal crashes, compared with more than 30% for alcohol. AAA has now recalculated the statistics by extrapolating data from accident reports and adjusting for unknown or missing data (like drowsiness). New calculations, Kissinger said, show that nearly 17% of fatal car crashes result from drowsy driving — that’s on a par with distracted driving, which is thought to account for 16% of crashes. Plus, he added, 60% of people who “nod off” at the wheel do so when driving for less than one hour. “Drowsy driving doesn’t just occur on a long trip,” he said. “It can also happen on a shorter trip, such as driving home after a date night with your significant other.”


To prevent an accident caused by drowsiness, Kissinger urges us to…

  • Take a 30-minute break from driving every two hours or 100 miles to drink coffee or another caffeinated beverage. It takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream.
  • Sleep at least seven hours the night before a long trip.
  • If possible, travel with an alert and well-rested passenger who will help keep you awake.
  • Stay somewhere overnight instead of extending your drive time beyond the length of your typical day.

In addition, he said, besides the obvious case where you have trouble keeping your eyes open or your head up, you are too sleepy to drive when you…

  • Can’t remember how far you’ve traveled or what you’ve recently passed.
  • Find yourself tailgating or drifting out of your lane.
  • Daydream or have disconnected thoughts.
  • Often yawn or rub your eyes.
  • Miss signs or drive past your exit.
  • Veer off the road and hit the rumble strips on the shoulder.
  • Have to blast the radio and/or roll down the windows in an attempt to stay alert.

What can you say to friends who insist on driving drowsy? Try to talk them out of driving, and if possible, offer to drive them where they’re going. If that fails, take away their keys, and don’t be afraid if they become angry. They’ll likely thank you later on, Kissinger said, especially after you mention the statistics on fatalities caused by drowsy driving. A look at the stats will tell them that you may have saved their lives.

 J. Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive officer of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington, DC.


6 subtle communication gaffes even smart people make Sunday, May 27 2012 

by the writers of Business Management Daily

Here are six common communication mistakes that people—especially professional women—make in the workplace, according to communications consultant and Business Management Daily contributor, Colette Carlson:

  • Failing to speak up early in meetings. Ideally, speak up in the first third of the meeting. The earlier you jump in, the more you’re seen as a contributor.
  • Using phrases that signal a lack of confidence. Examples: “I could be wrong …,” or, “I’m probably forgetting something …” Such defensive phrases protect the speaker, says Carlson, “so that, if you don’t like my idea, you’ll still like me.”
  • Adding “tag lines” to your statements. Examples: “We’ll send the contract on Friday … OK?” or, “It would be better if we scheduled lunch before 1 p.m. … don’t you agree?” Tag lines make it sound as if you’re asking for approval.
  • Over-apologizing. Example: “I’m sorry, but I need to ask what business you have with Mr. Smith.” Saying you’re sorry implies fault and undermines your credibility.
  • Looking unprepared when entering a room. Example: Fidgeting, making hurried movements, shifting your eyes from person to person. “The fewer movements you make,” says Carlson, “the more people perceive you as prepared, confident and under control.
  • Deflecting praise. Don’t immediately shrug off praise or minimize it. That makes people think you don’t deserve it. Instead, say: “Thank you. I worked really hard on that, and I appreciate your noticing.” If you recognize praise, you’ll hear more of it.

Source:  Colette Carlson, Speak Your Truth

A Second Chance for Middle Agers Saturday, May 26 2012 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

A large group of people now get another whack at having a healthier heart, according to findings from a new study. If you are between the ages of 31 and 64 and are currently overweight or obese — perhaps you’ve even been heavy for decades — you might think, if someone suggests that you lose weight, “What’s the point? The damage has been done.” But it turns out that, when it comes to cardiovascular risk, the number of years that you’ve been carrying excess pounds isn’t as important as whether you are overweight or obese during middle age. In fact, what we have just learned is that shedding extra weight in middle age can actually cancel out your increased risk for heart disease. If you’ve ever wished for a second chance — a real second chance — at good health, this is it.

Now, it’s important to note that being overweight or obese at any point in your life is still not advisable. Beyond raising your risk for heart disease, it raises your risk for a myriad of other health problems, such as osteoarthritis, breast and colon cancers and type 2 diabetes — many of which you may not be able to “cancel out” later. But since heart disease is the number-one cause of death in the US, getting rid of your risk for that particular health problem in middle age is still a big deal. And, believe it or not, no study until now had followed subjects over decades to explore whether losing weight in middle age would have this effect. To find out more about the study, which was published in the October 24, 2011 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, I called the author, I-Min Lee, MD, MPH, ScD, an associate professor in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.


For this analysis, nearly 19,000 male Harvard alumni were studied. The men were first measured with a college physical exam around age 18 and then were given a follow-up medical questionnaire when their ages ranged from 31 to 64. Researchers gathered health measurements that included body mass index (BMI) — a ratio of body weight to height that determines whether you’re “underweight,” “normal weight,” “overweight” or “obese” — and death certificates that recorded the causes of mortality for any alumni who died through 1998.

Results: Those who were overweight or obese teens but managed to attain a normal weight during middle age were not at any higher risk of dying from heart disease compared with those of normal weight in middle age who were a normal weight as students. Like I said, a second chance at good health!


I asked Dr. Lee why this amazing benefit occurs even as late as middle age. The reason, she said, is that being overweight or obese negatively affects all sorts of physiological processes in our bodies, including blood pressure, cholesterol and the ability to process glucose and insulin. “But if you lose weight, no matter when you lose it,” Dr. Lee said, “all of those parameters improve, because your body doesn’t have to work as hard.” The surprise is that the potentially cumulative effects of gaining weight over time before losing it doesn’t appear to leave behind any lingering effects — at least when it comes to cardiovascular risk. In other words, if you’re healthy in middle age — that’s what matters most. Talk about a myth buster! If you thought that it was too late to start eating healthier and exercising more because you are “over the hill,” then think again.

I asked Dr. Lee how this finding might apply to women, since only men were studied. She told me that she would expect the results to be very much the same for women because excess weight has essentially the same adverse physiological effects in women as it does in men.

My final question was whether this wonderful result was likely to hold true for people who wait until even later in life to achieve a normal weight — such in their 60s, 70s or even later. Dr. Lee said that it’s tough to predict, but prior studies have shown that taking up physical activity at any age is beneficial.

Again, keep in mind that this research looked only at the effect of weight loss in middle age on one aspect of overall health — cardiovascular risk — so it’s not a free pass to eat cheeseburgers and fries every day throughout your 20s and early 30s. Being overweight, even for just a few months or years, can still be detrimental to your health. But this sure is promising news for people who have made mistakes and are ready to correct them — don’t lose hope, lose pounds!


I-Min Lee, MD, MPH, ScD, associate professor in the department of medicine at Harvard Medical School and in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, both in Boston. She is also an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.

Success by Doing It Friday, May 25 2012 

The importance of immediate, massive, daily action has been written about many times already, but it is so important that it is worth writing about again and again. The examples in this article come from the world of business, but they could apply to other walks of life as well.

Marketing is the lifeblood of business, but sometimes businessmen will wait until they have written the perfect advertisement or sales message before they send out even one ad. They also spend weeks making sure their website is beautifully designed with all the latest refinements.

Meanwhile, good selling time is passing them by. Their product may even be out of date before they are happy with the advertisements. By the time they have everything perfect and ready to go, they may run out of capital and be forced to close down their business.

The best lesson I learned from the late Corey Rudl at a seminar in London was not to worry about creating a perfect website. Just get one up. His own dad had a website selling Ferrari car badges which was very ordinary, but it was making money.

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire Mayor of New York, credits his success to getting going without spending too much time planning:

“We act from day one; others plan how to plan – for months.”

Dave and Heidi Perry talk about a fairly average businessman and average marketer whom they call Jack.

Jack’s motto was: “Doin’ it, Doin’ it, Doin’ it” i.e. do something, anything, every day towards achieving your marketing goals.

He kept plugging away each day with his marketing even though the format of his sales brochures and forms was not very good. He would not wait for the format to be improved. He believed in ‘Doin’ it’ even if he was not quite ready to do it.

This philosophy and behavior made him a multi-millionaire and a leader. Even though what he said was not profound and could at times be downright stupid, his action-oriented words and behavior led many to trust him and to follow his suggestions.

“He knew that to get a desired outcome, he had to actually DO something to get there.”

Jack knew that if his audience would just do something – anything – every day toward their goals, they, too, would get there. He, himself, just started doing something.

He didn’t wait until he had enough money to start his business or until his advertising materials were perfect or until he had a stockpile of products to sell. He started with what he had and did something every day to achieve his goal.

You can’t dream or wish your way into riches, although this can help. You have to actually do something about it. What is worse than a sales ad? No sales ad. Don’t wait until you have a great website or enough money to start your business.

Get goingnow and do something every day towards achieving your goal. You may still have doubts and fears but by doing something every day you will make progress and your confidence and power will increase.

Some people want to master a piece of software before they use it. The chances are that they will never use it!

The quickest way to learn how a software tool works is to start using it on a daily basis. We will make mistakes, of course, but we will also make progress in understanding the software.

I did not use an autoresponder for ages because I was afraid of making mistakes and sending people the wrong message. When I began using one, I almost immediately made mistakes but learned rapidly how to put them right and no one sent in any letters of complaint!

If possible, find a mentor who can hold your hand while you try something new. However, mentors are not always easily available, so trust yourself to have a go on your own and see what happens.

You will probably amaze yourself at what you can achieve on your own, especially if you don’t give up at the first signs of trouble.

Obviously preparation, thinking, and planning are worth doing but there comes a time when the most important thing is to actually start taking action even if this means you are running risks. Try it and see what happens.

Start “Doing it!”

Easy Trick That May Prevent Glaucoma Thursday, May 24 2012 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

As you get older, you may be OK with the fact that your vision just isn’t what it used to be. But losing sight altogether is something that nobody — myself included — ever wants to imagine. That’s why I was pleased when I heard that there may be a simple new way to prevent glaucoma. Because it’s something that anybody can do — exercise!

The new study, published in the October issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, came from University College London Institute of Ophthalmology in England. To learn more, I called an expert who carefully examined the study, Harry A. Quigley, MD, an ophthalmologist, the director of the Glaucoma Center of Excellence at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and author of Glaucoma: What Every Patient Should Know.


Before we jumped into the research, Dr. Quigley gave me some background about how glaucoma develops. In glaucoma, there is slow, progressive damage to the optic nerve that can gradually lead to blindness if not treated. About 90% of glaucoma cases, he told me, are called open-angle. The scariest part about open-angle glaucoma is that there are no symptoms until irreversible damage happens, so if the person doesn’t get regular eye exams, then he won’t realize that he has glaucoma until blindness begins to set in. Some people who develop glaucoma (but not all) have what’s called high intraocular pressure (IOP), which is pressure in the eye.

This new study, Dr. Quigley told me, focused on a measurement of something called ophthalmic perfusion pressure (OPP), which is the difference between your blood pressure and your IOP. So if your IOP is low, as you want it to be, then your OPP is higher (better). That means that your eyes are probably receiving more nourishing blood. But when your OPP is low, it means that circulation to and in the eyes is slowing — which could raise your risk for glaucoma or worsen existing glaucoma. Keep in mind, said Dr. Quigley, that you can have a low OPP from either higher-than-normal IOP or lower-than-normal blood pressure (or both).

Researchers investigated the relationship between physical activity and OPP. They looked at self-reported information from 5,650 adult men and women from about 15 years ago. Participants were grouped into one of two categories — “active” or “less active.” Researchers cross-referenced each participant’s level of physical activity with a measurement of OPP that was taken from the same people between 2006 and 2010.

Results: Participants who had been “active” in the past had a 25% lower risk of having low OPP — suggesting that they also had a lower risk of later developing glaucoma. What is especially uplifting about this discovery is that unlike taking drugs or having surgery, there is little risk involved in being active and exercising — and it provides many other benefits that are well-documented!


Now, of course, we all already know that exercise is, well, out of sight, but I found it intriguing that just someone’s general level of activity, as opposed to some fancy specific eye exercises, can have such a pronounced effect on your eye health. Dr. Quigley noted that exercise improves overall circulation, which brings better blood flow everywhere, including to the eyes. And, he added, this doesn’t mean that you have to hit the gym for vigorous workouts — moderate activity, such as brisk walking that raises your heart rate for 20 minutes, is sufficient as long as you do it most days of the week.

Besides moving around more, don’t forget to see an eye doctor regularly. Dr. Quigley advises everyone to start getting exams from an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who can provide the full spectrum of eye care) at age 40, and depending on what your doctor advises, probably at least every one to two years after that. When you reach age 60, he said, you should get an eye exam annually, because age is a risk factor for glaucoma. And, he added, “It’s especially critical for those with a family history of glaucoma, those who are of certain ethnic origins (African American, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, Inuit and Scandinavian) and/or those who are severely nearsighted, because these are also risk factors.”


Harry A. Quigley, MD, director of the Glaucoma Center of Excellence at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Recruitment tips for finding talented Millennials Wednesday, May 23 2012 

Posted by: Sarah Blanchette
 MillennialsIT workers of the futureRecruitment tipsIT staff developmentIT staff development and retentionStaffingIT training and certification

Millennials (sometimes called Generation Y) are in high demand, especially in the IT world. These talented young employees tend to be cheaper than seasoned IT professionals, often fresh out of college and full of bright ideas about cutting-edge technologies. With so many organizations chasing these young employees, however, CIOs are up against some stiff competition for Millennial talent.

While researching this week’s tip on retaining Millennial employees, I spoke with Lisa Orrell, author ofMillennials Incorporated and Millennials into Leadership. She feels that recruiting young employees should be at the top of every CIO’s priority list. “The smart companies are very actively recruiting and getting their infrastructure in place to hire more and more young people,” she said.

If you aren’t having luck recruiting Millennials, you might be overlooking one key resource: your currentMillennials, who often feel that their co-workers are an important factor in their job satisfaction. “Take young employees that you would most want to clone and train them to reach out to people who are already employed,” suggested Scott Degraffenreid, an analyst who specializes in corporate referrals, retention and recruiting.

In addition to helping to find new employees, this should also satisfy the young employees already in your IT department. Not only will they contribute to finding new talent, but they will also typically choose other young employees who would be a good fit for your team.

Donald Shandler, author of Motivating the Millennial Knowledge Worker, has seen success with this tactic.Millennials want to work with people whom they consider friends,” he said. “A lot of companies have incentive programs for Millennials to attract others, which works out well.”

Millennial Jeremy Baumgartner, a systems engineer at SRC Technologies Inc. in DePere, Wis., agrees that his coworkers are the best part of his job. “It’s nice that I know literally everyone that works there. When we’re working together, it’s a lot more relaxed environment than most corporate places,” he said. “We like to tell clients that it’s the people that sets us apart.”

Source:  CIO-Symmetry at Tech Target

How a Quick Massage Can Help You Live Longer Tuesday, May 22 2012 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

No one wants to be overweight, have diabetes or grow old prematurely. Well, a new study shows that there’s a simple strategy that may help prevent all three that is actually quite fun and relaxing.

A massage might do the trick!

And I’m not talking about an expensive, hour-long massage, either—the latest research shows that an inexpensive massage lasting just 10 minutes can be beneficial.


Researchers were interested in studying massage immediately after exercise for two reasons. For one thing, practically speaking, that’s a common time for people to get a massage, since many people say that massage helps reduce muscle soreness from exercise. Another reason is that, biologically, it’s easier to measure differences in the effect of massage on cells after exercise, because exercise puts the body into a state of temporary stress.

Volunteers in the study included 11 healthy, active men in their 20s who provided a bit of muscle tissue from one thigh for a baseline biopsy. Then researchers had the volunteers do 70 minutes of fast-paced cycling on a stationary bike. The volunteers rested for 10 minutes and then had a 10-minute massage on one thigh only. Immediately after the massage, researchers took second muscle biopsies, but this time from both thighs in order to compare massaged tissue versus nonmassaged tissue. Two and a half hours after the second biopsies, the volunteers underwent a third set of biopsies on both thighs to capture any changes that might have occurred a bit later after their massages.

To learn about the findings, I called Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine and head of neuromuscular and neurometabolic disease at McMaster University in Canada, who was a coauthor of the study published in Science Translational Medicinethis past February.


Dr. Tarnopolsky told me that the researchers found two very interesting differences in the muscles that had been massaged…

  • A gene pathway that causes muscle inflammation was “dialed down” in these muscles both immediately after the massage and 2.5 hours after the massage. (Specific genes can be present in our tissues but not always active.) Dr. Tarnopolsky said that this is helpful knowledge because muscle inflammation is a contributor to delayed-onset muscle soreness, so it confirms biologically what we’ve always believed through anecdotal observation—a post-exercise massage can help relieve muscle soreness.
  • Conversely, another sort of gene was “turned on” by the massage—this is a gene that increases the activity of mitochondria in muscle cells. You probably know that mitochondria are considered the “power packs” of our muscles for their role in creating usable energy. Now, it’s true that better mitochondrial functioning has been shown by other studies to help decrease insulin resistance (a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes) and obesity and even to slow aging. When I asked Dr. Tarnopolsky about whether or not it’s a stretch to link post-exercise massage to these benefits, he said that it’s not unreasonable—there is a potential connection, and future research will need to be done to confirm it.


The massage type that Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used was a standard combination of three techniques that are commonly used for post-exercise massage—effleurage (light stroking)…petrissage (firm compression and release)…and stripping(repeated longitudinal strokes). It’s easy to find massage therapists in spas, salons, fitness centers and private practices who use these techniques. Or you could ask your spouse or a friend to try some of these moves on you (even if his or her technique isn’t perfect) because there’s a chance that it could provide the benefits, said Dr. Tarnopolsky—he just can’t say for sure, since that wasn’t studied.

Dr. Tarnopolsky studied massage only after exercise, so that’s when he would recommend getting one, but it’s possible that massaging any muscles at any time may have similar benefits—more research will need to be done to find out.

Remember, you don’t have to break the bank on a prolonged 60-minute massage—a simple 10- or 20-minute rubdown (which usually cost $10 to $40) can do the trick.

Source: Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, department of kinesiology, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.

How to tackle tough disciplinary conversations Monday, May 21 2012 

 by the writers of Business Management Daily

Being an effective manager means confronting those “challenging” employees who, while typically good at their jobs, too often display unprofessional or downright obnoxious behavior.

Simply tolerating such workers is a finger-in-the-dike approach, and it runs counter to two traits of good managers—leadership and decisiveness. Managers who silently put up with such behavior will undermine their own authority.

The best way to tackle such problems is to meet with employees right when you spot the problem behavior. Follow these guidelines, which have the side benefit of protecting the organization from employee claims that they weren’t treated fairly.

Explain the problem, impact

When you sit down with the employee, describe the behaviors and tell the employee firmly that those behaviors must stop. Point out the offending behavior using the D-I-S method:

Direct. Precisely pinpoint the problem—don’t beat around the bush. Too often, managers fail in their counseling efforts because they skip this basic, yet uncomfortable step. Don’t feel bad about being direct. Every manager has the right to demand that employees behave in a courteous and cooperative manner.

Immediate. Talk with employees right after you see (or hear about) offending behavior. That makes it harder for the employee to explain away your words.

Specific. Explain concrete examples of the employee’s actions, how they affect co-workers and the consequences. A vague accusation like, “We hear you’re being rude to co-workers,” isn’t as effective as, “Telling Mary her haircut looks like a rat’s nest is impolite and it won’t be tolerated.”

Make sure the employee understands the negative impact of his behavior on morale, productivity, service, legal risks, etc. Gain agreement with the employee that a problem exists. And discuss the consequences if the problem continues.

Discuss the solution, follow-up

Don’t let such a meeting end without deciding on the best course of action. Generate solutions to correct the problem—even if that just means having the person confirm that “I won’t do that anymore.” Gain commitment from the employee on his or her role in solving the problem.

Then establish a clear follow-up strategy. Determine how and when you and the employee will review progress. Set a specific date (or dates) for future check-in meetings.

Document, document

After the discussion, managers should write a summary to put in the employee’s file. Discuss specifics with HR.

This summary should be just that—a summary of the problem discussed. It should cite specific examples, the requested improvement (and timeline) and a proposed follow-up plan. The summary should be less than one page and completed in less than one day after the meeting.

4 reasons managers hesitate to confront obnoxious employees

Sometimes managers recognize why they tolerate habitually impolite employees, and sometimes they don’t. Here are four reasons managers put up with such behaviors:

1. “But he/she is one of my top performers.” Managers may fear productivity would drop and the worker would be difficult to replace. Perhaps the employee has a special technical skill or valuable institutional knowledge. None of these are good reasons to tolerate unprofessional behavior.

2. “It’s not worth the conflict.” Management, when executed correctly, involves plenty of face-to-face conflict. But if those interactions are handled correctly, both sides walk away feeling satisfied. Managers can always seek advice from HR before initially bringing up the issue to the employee.

3. “Maybe he/she will change.” Don’t count on it. Use HR as a partner to point out the employee’s errors and deliver the appropriate warnings.

4. “His/her skills are worth the headache.” Don’t look at this person’s poor behavior in a vacuum. While he or she may still be productive, it’s quite likely an employee’s obnoxious behavior is pulling down the morale and performance of co-workers. Don’t cling to the notion that any employee is too talented to be disciplined or even fired.


by the writers of Business Management Daily

Forget the Second Helping: Link Discovered Between Calories and Memory Sunday, May 20 2012 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “Oh man, I ate too much. I shouldn’t have had that second serving,” I would have quite a few nickels!

Obviously, excessive eating is no good for your waistline…neither are all of the associated ailments of obesity. But, it gets worse. All that overeating actually may be making you forgetful. According to a new study—it can double the risk for memory loss. In other words, how much you put into your stomach greatly affects your brain.

I checked out the research to find out just how many extra calories put us at risk…


While past studies have suggested that caloric intake is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, this report was one of the first to examine whether there is a link between high-caloric intake and a less severe form of memory loss called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is more than just age-related forgetfulness—it’s a bit more serious. People with MCI are generally able to function normally, but they might occasionally forget an event from the recent past or a future engagement. People with MCI, for example, may not be able to recall what they had for dinner the night before or they may forget about a planned trip later in the day.

The study included 1,233 men and women without Alzheimer’s between the ages of 70 and 90. Participants completed a questionnaire, which asked how much of specific foods and drinks they consumed and how often they consumed them, on average. Researchers used that information to calculate the caloric quantity each person consumed—they did not examine caloric quality (carbs, fats, protein, etc). Then researchers divided the participants into three equal-sized groups that represented the lowest, moderate and highest calorie intake. Each group contained both men and women. The first group consumed between 600 and 1,525 calories per day (the low-intake group)…the second group consumed between 1,526 and 2,142 calories per day (the moderate-intake group)…and the final group consumed more than 2,142 calories per day (the high-intake group). Later, an expert panel reviewed the brain function of the participants and 163 were classified as having MCI.

The researchers found that people in the high-intake group (those who ate more than 2,142 calories per day) had a significantly higher risk for MCI, with double the risk compared to the low-intake group. The results remained the same even after accounting for gender, body mass index, history of stroke and other risk factors. People in the low-intake and moderate-intake groups did not have a significantly higher risk for MCI.

To learn more about the findings, I called the lead author, Yonas E. Geda, MD, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. His research was presented in April at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New Orleans.


Dr. Geda explained that although the study didn’t try to answer the question of why more calories raise the risk for memory loss, one possibility is that consuming more calories increases the body’s production of reactive oxygen species (molecules containing oxygen). These cause damage to cell structure (oxidative stress), and that can lead to changes in the brain that affect memory.

So what’s the magic number of calories that you should try to stay under each day?

You might look at this study and assume that it’s 2,143 calories, but it’s important to remember that the study was looking only at people over the age of 70. Your age andyour activity level—as well as your gender, height and weight—can all affect how many calories you need, said Dr. Geda, so it’s best to figure out how many you need for energy and then make sure that you don’t go over that maximum. To figure out how many calories you need, follow this link from the Baylor College of Medicine:

Source: Yonas E. Geda, MD, associate professor, neurology and psychiatry, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Body Language And Executive Job Interviews Saturday, May 19 2012 

By Alex Koss / Executive Career Expert, 6 Figure Jobs
One of the most important goals of a job interview is to connect with a prospective employer. The more effective you are at doing this, the greater your chances of securing the job you want. However, many executives are excellent interviewers but not great interviewees. Fortunately, there is a way to establish a better bond with any interviewer by using proper body language.Why is this so vital? Studies show that over 75% of our communication is nonverbal. Hence, your body language is more important than what you actually say to employers. Good body language helps you establish and maintain better rapport with interviewers. Yes, it’s not what you say but how you say it.

Here are some helpful tips to improve your body language:


That authority handshake may work great with your subordinates, but overdo it with a potential employer and you may be seen as overpowering and aggressive. A firm but controlled handshake that shows friendly confidence is usually a good bet. Take a cue from your interviewer when meeting with them for the first time.


Eye contact is essential in any communication. Don’t let your eyes wonder. Maintain good eye contact with your interviewers and you will be seen as more interested and involved. But don’t stare and make them uncomfortable. A good rule is to have as much eye contact with an interviewer as they do with you.


A good interview is generally a relaxed interview. Even when an interview is a bit stressful, aim to relax as much as possible. Take a deep breath, use open posture and smile as appropriate. Yet, don’t act too casual. No matter how relaxed your interviewer may be, you want to look at ease but at the same time professional.


Speak slower and pause for extra impact when discussing key points of your experience. Pay particular attention to the tone of your voice and the emotion you want to get across. Also, make certain that your interviewer can hear you well. And, don’t forget to nod when you agree with your interviewers.


The last part of a job interview is what interviewers remember most. Therefore, strive to make this part as pleasant as possible. If your interview went well, make sure that your gestures and facial expressions indicate enthusiasm and readiness to continue the discussion. Act as if your team just won the first inning. The best theme at the end of an interview is that of positive expectation.

In summary, body language is something we all use but mostly unconsciously. By being aware of your body language, you can significantly improve the quality of your job interviews. In fact, proper body language can make your interviews more dynamic and enjoyable.

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