McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Lifestyle Budget for Friday, June 27, 2014

Updated at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC).

This budget is now available on the Web at, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 27, 2014 at 7:07 am •  Published: June 27, 2014


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Lifestyle Budget for Friday, June 27, 2014

Updated at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC).

This budget is now available on the Web at, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Parents sharing kids' cancer fights online <


Then she posted it on Facebook.

Danielle Phillips of Midland Park, N.J., is the parent of a child with cancer in the age of social media.

As soon as a child is diagnosed, parents must make decisions about treatment options, while balancing hospital stays and doctor's visits with jobs, healthy siblings and the financial and emotional stress of catastrophic illness.

Now some also choose to go public with their battle, to start a Facebook page or website about their child's illness. Families like those of Angelina, Lily Anderson and Emily Cortez, decided to turn to social media. They did so for many reasons _ to keep friends and family updated; for emotional, logistical and financial support; to raise awareness of the illness; and often as the best chance to learn about treatment options.

2100 by Kara Yorio. MOVED


^Blind woodworker has a magic touch: 'You learn to see with your hands'<


"As you turn wood, the sound changes dramatically with the shape," Wurtzel says. "You can tell what's happening by the chatter noise and feel of the vibrations."

Suddenly the half-formed stopper pops out of the vise and rolls under the workbench in his south Minneapolis studio.

"Whoops," he says, turning off the machine and bending to fumble for his tiny work-in-progress hiding somewhere on the floor. He gropes around with one hand but doesn't bother to peer under the bench.

It wouldn't help, since Wurtzel is blind. He gradually lost his sight in his teens to retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease caused by mutated genes.

"It's very rare, but both my parents had them," he says. "Better luck next time, I guess."

A wry sense of humor, a ready, uninhibited laugh and a calm, worldly demeanor are all part of Wurtzel's effortlessly charming aura. So is the grace with which he tolerates the incredulity of new acquaintances who marvel at his ability not only to create singularly beautiful furniture and art objects in utter darkness, but to do it with giant whirling saws and other dangerous power tools.

1600 Kristin Tillotson Star Tribune (Minneapolis). MOVED


^Health: Stress from interpersonal conflict may spur high blood pressure <


In a recently released study , psychologists Rodlescia Sneed and Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University found that negative social interactions can increase the risk of hypertension in older adults. But their findings weren't true across the board. Women, it turns out, take conflict to heart much more than men do.

For decades, scientists have known that the wider your social circle, the healthier you are likely to be. As far back as 1987, researchers found that, in Alameda County, Calif., residents with more close friends and family members had higher chances of living longer.

"It is very clear that people who are lonely and who feel socially isolated are at greater risk of heart disease," said Karen Matthews, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

800 by Eric Boodman. MOVED


^Six nutritional buzzwords, and whether they matter<


Then terms like "hybrid" and "flex-fuel" and "continuously variable transmission" started buzzing around.

You had no clue what they meant, but they sounded important so you bought the car anyway.

Likewise, at one time a box of cereal was just cereal. It wasn't gluten-free, fat-free or cholesterol-free.

Now, for instance, Post Shredded Wheat boasts that it's "100 percent natural whole-grain wheat" and "helps reduce the risk of heart disease" and that "nine out of 10 doctors" recommend it. (The 10th perhaps is gluten-intolerant.)

What does this mean, and how much does it matter? Experts in the field of food say that varies.

"I think these things come in trends," says Abby Wood, a registered dietitian with Baylor Health Care System. "Dr. Oz puts out an article and _ boom!"

The big underlying problem, says registered dietitian Eve Pearson of Nutriworks, "is that people try to cut something out. They look for the word 'free.' They look for something to be sugar-free or soy-free or dairy-free or gluten-free. That means a lot to people these days, and it makes me want to pull my hair out."

We asked for their help in sorting out which of the current buzzwords might actually matter.

1100 by Leslie Barker. MOVED



^Herb found in Vietnam improves blood-sugar levels for type 2 diabetes<


When the Allegheny General Hospital transplant surgeon returned to Vietnam, he met an uncle for the first time in his family's home village of Pleiku. His uncle, Tinh, would soon pique the doctor's curiosity by using a local herb that he said lowered his blood-sugar levels to help him control his type 2 diabetes.

Tinh routinely gathers the wild plant _ which Dr. Thai described simply as a green plant with green leaves sometimes used to make tea _ then processes the plant to isolate an extract, which can be turned into a powder. When his blood-sugar levels rise to unhealthful levels, Tinh consumes the extract, with what appeared to be beneficial results.

"I think the use of herbal remedies is much more common in Asia and India than it is here," Dr. Thai said. "A lot are used commonly and most of them I don't care about and ignore. But for some reason with this one, there was something compelling about it."

The herb, designated only as NT619, shows no productive hits on the Internet. People in Asia do use Tianqi, a combination of 10 herbs that reportedly reduces blood sugar. But this is not Tianqi, Dr. Thai said.

The director of the hospital's center for abdominal transplantation thought the extract was intriguing enough to bring the herbal powder back to Pittsburgh and put it through the scientific rigor necessary to prove whether or not it actually lowered his uncle's blood sugar. He said he is aware of the many claims about natural remedies for common ailments, but many show no benefits when tested.

650 by David Templeton. MOVED


^Do-it-yourself spa<


The lemon contains antioxidants while the olive oil may be beneficial to your immune system, she says.

"All lotions begin with oil and they add water to it," Wienecke says. "I've always gone the natural route," when it comes to beauty treatments. "This is a way of life for me."

Wienecke's suggestion is just one of many DIY treatments you can find at home, often for a lot less than commercial products. Here's a rundown of some of the exfoliating scrubs, eye treatments and facial masks you can try, using such household staples as oatmeal and yogurt.

600 by Julekha Dash. MOVED

^Arctic veteran and cancer survivor continues fitness regimen at 82<

HEALTH-SRS-CANCER-SURVIVOR:CC _ Eileen Birdsong has faced cancer three times over the past two decades, but she has never let it slow her down.

During eight months of radiation treatment for breast cancer in the mid-1990s, the Pleasanton woman walked the 6-mile round trip to her doctor's appointments five days a week.

Two years ago, back home following surgery from esophageal cancer, she was walking as soon as she could, if only to the end of the block and back.

"It's not how much you do or how far you walk, doing some form of exercise is better than doing nothing," says Birdsong, 82. "My doctors told me I survived because I had taken such good care of myself all my life through exercise and diet."

Birdsong's can-do spirit revealed itself when she was a young woman in the 1950s, living and working in the Canadian Arctic with that country's Department of Defense. Birdsong, a native of Manitoba, was a dental assistant, supporting multinational military exercises at a base in Churchill, a town on the shore of Hudson Bay.

700 by Martha Ross in Walnut Creek, Calif. MOVED


^Woman reinvents herself as dancer, opens studio at 46<


She jumped off the treadmill and followed the music pulsating inside a cardio funk dance class. She stood in the back of the class and watched the dancers in awe. Sure, they were working up a sweat. But they were also swinging their hips, smiling and looking like they were having way too much fun for exercise.

It was in that moment, back in the early '90s, when de La Valette discovered a love for dance. She was 34, had recently given birth to her second child and was struggling to shed 25 pounds of pregnancy weight. She joined the next class. Timid at first, unsure whether she belonged in a dance class, she decided to go for it.

She was hooked. It was fun, helped her get fit, made her happy.

Within a couple of years, she found a dance studio and enrolled in as many as 12 classes a week _ modern dance, jazz, ballet and hip-hop. She was a beginner but determined. One of her instructors pulled her aside one day and told her: "You missed your calling. Had you started training younger, you would have become a successful dancer."

About dance, Ofelia de La Valette said: "It transformed me: It rejuvenated me."

De La Valette didn't miss her calling. It just came later in life. In 2004, de La Valette closed her insurance business and opened Dance 101, a dance studio for adults in Atlanta. She was 46, one month shy of turning 47.

1050 by Helena Oliviero. MOVED



These features regularly move on Friday:





By Meghan Daum. MOVED



By Barbara Quinn. MOVED



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