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Is Facebook Poised to Revolutionize Health Care?

25 Nov

Facebook health careBefore we dismiss appearances by Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg on ABC News Tuesday as orchestrated, feel-good public relations events less than a month before Facebook holds its initial public offering, consider this:

When Zuckerberg and Sandberg introduce and explain the new initiative, they could be revolutionizing health care.

Zuckerberg will appear on Good Morning America, and later on Tuesday, Sandberg will appear on World News With Diane Sawyer. Facebook is declining comment, but almost all observers are expecting them to introduce a tool that will “save lives.” That could be an expanded version of its Lifeline program, which allows people to alert the company when they think a friend is expressing suicidal intentions, a broader rollout of anti-cyberbullying initiatives or perhaps something altogether different.

Take, for example, a tool that helps friends alert Facebook when they are worried that a friend may be showing signs of suicidal intentions. Brian S. McGowan, a health care educator and education technologist who writes for The Atlantic, sees such a technology as being a way to end the isolated feelings patients suffer from. In March, McGowan wrote a general blog post on the concept of isolation in health care, but finding ways around it could be particularly useful in fighting depression.

“‘Has anyone else gone through this before?’ That’s one of the first things a person asks himself after being anointed a ‘patient.’ In illness, as in any other life events, we are social creatures looking for shared experiences and in need of support,” McGowan wrote. “But the reality is that our health care system is not designed to serve this purpose. Instead, our system evolved to promote isolation. And, in many ways, this isolation is very much at the heart of the patient experience.”

McGowan goes on to say building those ties between patients may be easier than developing a culture of shared decisions between doctor and patient.

“There are two solutions to the isolation experience. The first is to build layers upon the patient-clinician relationship – to build stronger ties, more connections, and a culture of shared decision-making between patient and physician. There are many advocating for this idea, but it requires cultural shifts across a medical profession that typically evolves at a snail’s pace and would require systemic changes in both policy and reimbursement,” he said. “The second is to build communities of patients with shared experiences, shared fears, and shared data – and it is this second solution that deserves much more public discourse, lest we get ourselves in an unexpected and unfortunate jam.”
While we’re all conscious about privacy, particularly when it comes to all things Facebook, such a tool could be a major groundswell in easing some of the hypertight privacy concerns surrounding online health care. By making it social on a platform like Facebook, the company could essentially be launching the cyber equivalent of being able to ask a friend “Is everything all right?” or “Are you feeling OK?” We’re more inclined to give honest – and potentially lifesaving – answers to a friend.


Bills plan Toronto spectacle

25 Nov

The Buffalo BillsThe Buffalo Bills are coming to Toronto on December 16, and bringing a little Gangnam style with them.

The game, versus the Seattle Seahawks, will feature a halftime performance by Korean wrapper Psy.

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” song has now been viewed more than 760 million times on youtube.

The Bills halftime plans in Toronto (atypical for an NFL game) have caught the attention of and local Buffalo media.

This is from Buffalo Business First columnist, editor and blogger Tim O’Shei:

“It’s what’s cool. And that’s good news for the Bills . . . the halftime show will feature 60 dancers, the Buffalo Jills cheerleaders, and hundreds of contest winners. Not a bad way to create some buzz in a city that is the key to the team’s future. Coming into this season, Southern Ontario and Toronto fans represented about 18 percent of the attendees at Ralph Wilson Stadium, surpassing Rochester and Monroe County (17 percent) as the Bills’ regional market. For Bills officials, the key is getting Toronto fans to embrace the team. The only magic wand for accomplishing that is winning football games. But that’s out of the control of the Bills marketing team and their counterparts at Rogers Communications, their partner for the Bills in Toronto series. But what they can do is make the game an event. Enlisting the dance moves of the planet’s hottest pop-culture phenomenon is a pretty good way to do it.” http://

This is from writer Dan Hanzus:

Gangnam Style,” which sits somewhere between “Macarena” and “Achy Breaky Heart” in discussion of cringeworthy cultural phenomena, will build on its unlikely bond with the NFL next monthBuffalo Bills fans on the fence about hoofing it to Toronto to see their team play against theSeattle Seahawks on Dec. 16 can now factor in a live halftime performance by PsAccording to the Bills‘ official site, Psy will perform his signature hit alongside “more than 60 dancers, Buffalo Jills Cheerleaders, and hundreds of contest winners.” The “Gangnam Style” dance has become an on-field meme this season, with players celebrating sacks and touchdowns by emulating the moves of a cherubic Korean rapper.Check out this video (including Steve Johnson) for some of the best NFL “Gangnam Style” tributes, and try to overlook the fact we opted not to secure the rights for the song itself ”


Body by Vi — Are You Up For The Challenge?

25 Nov

De-Stress the Holiday Mess: 6 Steps to a More Festive Season

25 Nov
Feeling the holiday stress?

Feeling the holiday stress?

It all starts Thursday. The holiday season officially begins again, although retailers have been inundating us with commercials since before Halloween. (Do they start earlier and earlier every year, or is it just me?)

Then there’s the real issue many of you face: spending time with family. For many of you, this can bring such joy and happiness, but for others, it can create overwhelming stress. Since you are the architect of all of your life experiences, decide how you want to feel this holiday. Once you’ve made the decision of how you’re going to handle the holidays, with either all the delight or burden it can bring, go about systematically making decisions that are in line with that result. There are big and small changes you can make this year to relieve stress and actually have happy holidays!

6 Simple Action Items to Try:

1. Preparation Time

Create a gift list and budget and stick to it. Decide beforehand what gatherings you will attend and what you will bring (a dish for a potluck, a Secret Santa gift, a nice host/hostess gift). If you’re heading to a potluck, choose easy, uncomplicated dishes that store well. As you’re out and about running errands, keep your eyes open for items like candles, picture frames, bottles of wine to use as gifts. Keep in mind that pre-party planning will reduce your stress, leaving you time to put on your best party dress, get a blow out, and arrive relaxed, in style, and ready to have a good time. No Christmas Eve shopping — ever!

2. Adjust Your Attitude

Go into the season with the mindset of gratitude. Decide that no one has the power to take away your joy and mean it. Go with the flow and really try to be present to all of your blessings. See if you can meditate 10 minutes a day: It’s as easy as finding a quiet place to sit still, closing your eyes, and focusing on taking some deep breaths. Stuck in traffic or can’t find a parking spot at the mall? Master the on-the-spot breathing technique by simply inhaling to the count of four and exhaling more slowly to the count of eight, visualizing all tension leaving your body with your breath. Carry a small bottle of lavender essential oil or my new favorite, Stress Fix by Aveda, to whiff and rub on your temples for instant de-stressing.

3. Keep Your Side of the Street Clean

You are only responsible for how you behave and react in any situation. If every year your mother-in-law criticizes your culinary skills, expect her to be different, but if she’s not, smile and do not respond. Don’t waste precious energy on any stressful situation or person. See yourself as “un-offend-able.” Someone being rude or provocative is about them. You can either choose to respond from an ego place of offense, or you can be generous and have empathy for them. Don’t micromanage anything or anyone. Find family members whose company you enjoy and focus your time with them. Continue affirming how calm, peaceful, and grateful you feel. Of course, the key here is to feel and hold those good feelings in your chest.

4. “NO” Is Not a Four-Letter Word:

You have the right to say no to anything that will take the joy out of the season for you or your family. If certain family gatherings create debilitating stress, then give yourself permission to respectfully decline and create new traditions that bring you joy. If a situation is too toxic, it is your job to protect yourself from it. If you have children, let each one chose an event or party to attend that really matters to them, politely declining the rest. If exchanging gifts with grown siblings is too costly, then speak your truth, and perhaps pull names out of a hat so you are only buying for one person. If hosting is too much work and money, transition to a potluck meal with everyone contributing their own special flavor. Being overburdened financially or emotionally is not fun and definitely sucks the life out of the party. Saying no and drawing healthy boundaries will increase your enjoyment of the season.

5. Know When to Say When

Drunks are stressful and boring. This time of year produces many opportunities to overindulge in alcohol. The reasons not to drink excessively are obvious. Limit your consumption so you will be able to enjoy and remember the party, get home safely, and wake up feeling refreshed the next morning.

6. Pay It Forward

Remember what the holidays are really about and donate your time to help others who are less fortunate.Hurricane Sandy has left many in the New York Tri-State area in dire need of helping hands. Volunteering is a wonderful way to teach children the importance of service to others and to keep your head at the heart of what really matters. Also, consider forgiving a grudge you have been holding, helping an elderly neighbor, or going out of your way to communicate your gratitude to the important people in your life. No material gift is as satisfying as truly making a difference.

I hope that some of these ideas help you create the holiday experience you seek, filled with love, light, joy, and laughter.

What are your winning tips on de-stressing this season? Do you need advice about how to handle a particularly challenging holiday scenario? Remember, others are probably experiencing something similar, so be generous and share your wisdom or your struggle right here.

NHL lockout: Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr continue ‘secret’ talks in New York

25 Nov

NEW YORK—The hardest part, for Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, may not be negotiating with each other.

Indeed, the commissioner of the NHL and the executive director of the NHL Players’ Association may well find negotiating with their own people — who have their own expectations of what a season-saving deal ought to look like — to be the biggest hurdle.

“There has to be some compromise otherwise there would have been a settlement a long time ago,” said George Smith, a former management-side labour negotiator who is now a lecturer at Queen’s University. “In order to get that settlement, you basically have to renegotiate amongst yourselves what you’re prepared to compromise on.

“There are at least three sets of negotiations going on: the ones across the table and the ones within the owners group and the players group. There have been promises made to each of their members to get us to the point where we are today. But as we approach settlement, clearly there has to be compromise.”


NHL lockout coverage

For the second day in a row, the NHL and the players union went underground to hammer out the issues with an eye on saving the hockey season. Wednesday’s session started later than expected, about 3:30 in the afternoon, as both sides used the morning to strategize internally.

With a snowstorm hitting New York, some of the players who had been in on Tuesday’s meetings — including Sidney Crosby — went home early.

Tuesday’s seven-hour session dealt largely with contract issues and revenue sharing, and was said to be the first true bargaining of these collective bargaining talks.

Wednesday’s 5 ½-hour session was dominated by more revenue-sharing talks, one of two key issues for the players. The owners had offered $200 million in revenue sharing before Wednesday; the players had wanted $250 million. But who pays into it and how it gets paid out may be more the issue.

The most contentious issue — paying players their salaries in full while at the same time getting the two sides to share hockey-related revenue 50-50 — got only a brief airing on Wednesday evening. More talks are planned for Thursday but there is a feeling among some on the league side that the pace is too slow.

Complicating matters is how to assess the damage to HRR done by the lockout, estimated to have cost about one-quarter of revenue, or about $720 million. Even if the league pays the players who are over the cap in full through some other mechanism, the league is also sure to ask the players to absorb half of the lost revenue from their share, which players may view as a “make-whole” loophole.

That’s where things get tricky, Smith says. Some owners are counting on Bettman to deliver rollbacks. Some players are counting on Fehr to get fully paid, no strings attached. The middle ground means the hawks on either side won’t be happy.

Using the make-whole provision as an example, depending on how unhappy some owners would be at having to pay players in full — or how unhappy players will be if they’re not — talks could unravel.

“The question that gets asked, sometimes in a heated way, is: ‘Wait a minute, we said we were holding on X, now you’re saying we should move on X. Then why didn’t we do this before? Or why are we giving up, we’re winning?’” said Smith.

Now take that one issue —make whole — and multiply it by the outstanding issues of revenue sharing, contract restrictions, free agency, and health and safety. So Fehr and Bettman will have to massage the expectations of their own side given the reality of the situation.

“Somehow Fehr and Bettman have to renegotiate with their own people around what might be possible because the alternative is potentially a lost season,” said Smith. “It has become a little more difficult because of the time that has passed. There’s animosity. There’s all those factors at play that make bargaining across the table only one of the sets of negotiations that are going on.

“It’s not over yet for sure, but the good news is the silence continues and they seem to be now respecting one another.”

According to various reports, cracks in the resolve of both parties are beginning to reported that some owners are starting to get a bit antsy about getting the game back.

It’s also believed NBC is putting a fair bit of heat on Bettman. The American television network and its all-sports network have big holes on their schedule without live hockey. NBC, for example, is hoping hockey is back by Nov. 23 — Black Friday, or the day after American Thanksgiving — where there’s a dearth of live sports programming and an appetite for hockey.

Even Molson-Coors, a league sponsor, blamed lower-than-expected beer sales on the lockout. Molson Coors CEO Peter Swinburn told the Canadian Press that once the lockout ends, Molson Coors will seek financial compensation from the league over the negative impact that a lack of games has had.

“Whether it’s people not actually physically going to the venues and consuming there, consuming in venues around the outlet before that, or indeed having NHL sort of parties at home, all of those occasions have disappeared off the map and you just can’t replicate them,” Swinburn said.

“There will be some redress for us as a result of this. I can’t quantify that and I don’t know because I don’t know the scale of how long the lockout is going to last.”

The NHLPA released a statement late Wednesday night regarding the talks.

“The National Hockey League’s negotiating committee met with representatives of the National Hockey League Players’ Association for approximately 5 ½ hours,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “We do not intend to comment on the substance or subject matter of today’s negotiations.”

Fehr also said very little after the sides wrapped up the latest round of talks.

“The NHLPA and the NHL met to discuss many of the key issues,” Fehr wrote in his statement. “We look forward to resuming talks (Thursday).”

Along with a handful of team owners, eight players attended Wednesday’s talks, five fewer than Tuesday. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and others left New York to try to avoid the impending snowstorm that hit the area, the union said.

Time is becoming a bigger factor every day a deal isn’t reached. The lockout, which went into effect Sept. 16 after the previous collective bargaining agreement expired, has already scrubbed 327 regular-season games — including the cancellation of New Year’s Day outdoor Winter Classic in Michigan.Gary Bettman sucks

Body by Vi — Are You Up For The Challenge?

22 Nov

Fatigue Experienced By Cancer Patients Reduced By Aerobic Exercise

16 Nov

Fatigue Experienced By Cancer Patients Reduced By Aerobic Exercise.

Aerobic exercise can help relieve the fatigue often associated with cancer and cancer treatment, according to Cochrane researchers. Their updated systematic review strengthens findings from an earlier version on cancer-related fatigue published in The Cochrane Library.

Video games help patients and health care providers

16 Nov

Video games help patients and health care providers.

ScienceDaily (Sep. 19, 2012) — Can video games help patients with cancer, diabetes, asthma, depression, autism and Parkinson’s disease? A new publication by researchers from the University of Utah, appearing in the Sept 19 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, indicates video games can be therapeutic and are already beginning to show health-related benefits.

Hello world!

7 Nov

Welcome to! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!