) - Didn't consult a chiropractor first for your back pain? That'll cost you $1.3 billion.
No, you personally won't be on the hook for the entire amount. But in analyzing two year's worth of its own insurance data, the health care giant Optum projected that's how much money healthcare consumers would've saved had patients who'd experienced 14.7 million reported non-surgical spinal episodes received chiropractic care
at the outset.
Optum's definition of "at the outset" is "within the first 10 days" of a spinal episode. Taking advantage of that window, it found, drastically reduces the need for everything from costly surgery to injections to prescription medications -- a conclusion certain to fuel the growing "chiropractic first" movement espoused by many health experts.
And it's not just about the money.
"The quality of back pain treatment" would likewise be "improved," Optum has contended, if doctors of chiropractic -- who already perform more than 94 percent of all spinal manipulations in the U.S. -- were consulted first by patients.
"Chiropractic care advances the opportunity for optimal outcomes across care delivery, quality and cost," said the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress' Gerard Clum, DC, who also pointed to a recent study in the journal "Spine" that found that patients suffering from lower back pain who first visited a chiropractor, versus a surgeon, were more than 40 percent less likely to go under the knife.
Coincidentally, 40 percent is also what the Foundation pegs the per-episode savings at when chiropractic care precedes medical or surgical interventions.
For more info or to find a chiropractor in your area, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor
) - There is a movement afoot that is taking fashion and design to a new level. It's a retro-futuristic style blending science fiction with a 19th century Victorian era aesthetic, and it's called Steampunk. This eye-catching look is popping up everywhere: in theaters, movies, music and red-carpet fashion.
To understand how this unusual form of expression has steamrolled through the art, fashion and literary worlds, one must look back before looking forward. Steampunk can trace its roots back to the 19th century works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne as they imagined the future during the Industrial Age, with its brass and wood creations, powered only by steam. Although many science fiction stories written in the 20th century have been set in the Victorian period, the term "steampunk" is believed to be first used in the late 1980s, when author K. W. Jeter used it to describe stories set in the Victorian period written during that time when near-future cyberpunk was the prevailing form of science fiction. Evidence of the continuing popularity of the steampunk look and feel can be traced in feature films, from 1927's "Metropolis" to this year's "Mad Max: Fury Road."
The appeal of steampunk is oft-times a love of the Victorian period, while others enjoy steampunk's unique approach to technology: re-imagining modern capabilities with 19th century machines. Jeannie Mai, host of GSN's new "Steampunk'd" reality competition
TV series explains, "Steampunk is a culture. It's not just fashion. It's a lifestyle, like punk rock. Punk rock is music, but it's also a look and a style."
GSN is hoping to capitalize on the growing trend with the debut of its new series. "Steampunk'd" features 10 contestants in a litany of pressure-filled challenges designed to test their abilities to transform ordinary objects and fashion into steampunk masterpieces. As each project is completed, the contestants (or Makers) will unveil their work for the judges,including leading authority on Steampunk Thomas Willeford. Other judges include writer/director Matt King and Kate "Kato" Lambert, founder of the world's first steampunk clothing company, Steampunk Couture.
Each week, one of the 10 Makers will be eliminated until only one is left standing to take home the $100,000 grand prize. The series debuts on Aug. 19 at 10 p.m. ET/9 pm Central on GSN. For more information, you can visit www.gsntv.com
) - According to the American Optometric Association's
(AOA) 2015 American Eye-Q survey, 41 percent of parents say their kids spend three or more hours per day using digital devices, and 66 percent of kids have their own smartphone or tablet.
It's clear children's use of digital technology continues to be an integral part of their lives in both the classroom and at home, and it's predicted that by 2028 -- the year in which kids entering kindergarten this fall will graduate high school -- many schools will rely heavily on computer simulations for instruction and will even incorporate virtual worlds into curriculu.
While these advances in the classroom may enhance learning, many digital devices are still relatively new, and the long-term effects on young eyes are not yet fully known. Most of today's commonly-used devices give off high-energy, short-wavelength, blue and violet light, which may affect children's vision and even prematurely age their eyes. Early research even shows that overexposure to this blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions later in life, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause blindness.
The first step in taking care of children's eyes is for parents to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for children prior to the beginning of each school year to check eye health and vision. Children now have the benefit of annual comprehensive eye exams, thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act, through age 18. The AOA recommends children have an eye exam by
an optometrist soon after six months of age, again at age three and annually thereafter.
With so much time spent on digital devices, it is also more important than ever for parents to watch for signs of digital eye strain in children. Symptoms can include burning, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain. To protect their eyes and vision while using digital devices, parents should encourage children to take frequent visual breaks by practicing the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
To find an optometrist in your area, or for additional information on children's vision and the importance of back-to-school eye exams, please visit aoa.org.
) - It starts when you receive the invitation in the mail -- either your computer's Inbox or the one that your junk mail gets delivered to.
That complex social conundrum of being asked to a party.
Do you bring wine or beer? Is wine too pretentious? There's always craft beer, or is that elitist? And what to wear? Is it a casual gathering or a dinner party where at least a sport coat is needed? Is it acceptable to add a plus-one, since you just started dating the potential man or woman of your dreams?
While modern-day society may no longer follow the social dictates of Emily Post's rules of etiquette, there's nothing like a soiree to throw many of us into an internal tailspin.
To help navigate the often frustratingly opaque rules of attending a party, be it cocktail, dinner or a child's birthday, the following tips can help:
* Call to RSVP. The French may not have the corner on manners, but they do know that RSVP means respondez s'il vous plait, or please reply. This is essential for the host to get an accurate headcount and not responding is considered rude and inconsiderate.
* Decode the dress code. Is it a formal affair in which tuxes and dresses are appropriate, or a more casual, anything goes party? If you're unsure, it's never inappropriate to ask the hostess.
* Go dateless. Unless specifically stated, it is considered rude to bring an uninvited guest or to ask if you can bring a plus-one. If you can bring a date, remember to RSVP for them, or conversely, if you accepted for your guest and plans change, let the host know that as well.
* Hold your liquor. While you may want to imbibe all the free-flowing alcohol, avoid drinking to excess. Nothing is more disrespectful and uncomfortable than a drunk party guest, particularly at more upscale affairs.
* Take what you need to feel comfortable. For some that's a small bottle of aspirin to ward off a headache, a pair of more comfortable shoes discreetly hidden in the folds of a coat, an embroidered handkerchief rather than bulky tissue, or if you're a smokeless tobacco user, something other than a spit cup or bottle. Smokeless tobacco accessories, such as the portable spittoon created by Atlanta-based FLASR
, will help you avoid the uncomfortable (not to mention sometimes messy) aspects of enjoying your snuff, dip or chew while at a party. The new 4-ounce FLASR pocket-sized spittoon is designed to al-low users to open and shut it with just one hand, making it an ideal solution for users to enjoy smokeless tobacco unobtrusively and discreetly without unwanted attention.
For more information, please visit www.flasr.com
) - Does where you live impact your flossing and dental hygiene habits? A new national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Academy of Periodontology
(AAP) shows it does.
For instance, while more than a quarter of adults surveyed said they lied to their dentists about how often they floss their teeth, those who live in Atlanta (82 percent) are more likely to be honest about how often they floss. Could that be Southern manners at play?
Conversely, one in five, or 20 percent, of Chicagoans said they would rather sit in an hour of the city's notorious gridlock traffic than floss daily. In D.C., less than one in five participants, or 18 percent, said they would let a friend know if they had something in their teeth.
Other key survey findings by geographic region:
* Three in five (60 percent) of U.S. adults, including New Yorkers, who have a partner say their partner's oral health has an effect on their intimacy.
* Twenty percent of Houstonians guessed incorrectly when asked what a periodontist treat-ed versus a majority of those in other metro areas.
* Almost half of those in Los Angeles (45 percent) and Boston (44 percent) are more likely than those who live in Chicago or Houston to say a smile is the first thing they notice when meeting someone they are attracted to.
* 21 percent of Philadelphians would rather wait in a long check-out line than floss.
So, while the survey indicates oral health habits may differ from region to region, it also clearly shows that Americans do have one thing in common -- we all don't floss as frequently as we should.
While flossing should only take an extra minute or two each day, it would appear it's more than we're willing to give. There are more than 500 bacterial species that can be found in dental plaque, which brushing alone won't remove, so that should be incentive enough to get flossing.
Whatever the reason for our reluctance to floss, there are benefits to showing your teeth a little love, according to the AAP.
The most obvious is that flossing prevents plaque, and those 500 bacterial species, from building up below the gum line, causing swelling and eventually leading to periodontal disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to a host of oral health issues such as receding gums, tooth decay and tooth loss, and is even linked to other chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable by brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day and receiving an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation. If you are at risk for or have gum disease, a periodontist has the specialized training and expertise for the right treatment.
For more information, visit www.perio.org
) - Although hunting season may still be months away, it's never too early to start checking things off your to-do list. After all, no matter how you slice it, there is a lot of work that goes into getting ready.
Fortunately, for today's hunter, things have changed drastically from decades past. It used to be that hunters slept in tents, heated tin cans of beans over an open fire, wore puffy down parkas to keep warm, and stayed near paved roads in case they got stuck.
Now, lodges, guides, cooks, cell phones and all-terrain vehicles make hunting a more enjoyable and safer experience.
With that in mind, the following tips will help you get prepared for this year's hunting season:
* Check your hunting license. Ensure that it's valid and covers all varieties of wildlife you intend to hunt. Even if you've hunted in the same location, check that permit requirements haven't changed. Regulations get updated yearly, so don't assume that what was valid last year still applies to your favorite watering hole.
* Pack your bag. This tip is two-fold: if you're planning to head out of town, you'll need a hunting permit for that state. If you're staying local, you should pack a bag filled with essential items that will help you survive any unexpected situation, be it weather or something more dire. These include a cell phone, GPS, first aid kit, lighter, maps, binoculars, small rope, pocket knife, bottled water and a few high-energy snacks.
* Bring the right clothing. Depending on where you're headed, you'll need a light or heavy jacket, gloves, hat and layers for nights when the temperatures dip. And don't forget the rain gear. If in a warmer climate, you can dress down with lighter clothes, but whatever the case, don't forget your orange hunting vest. One caveat: wash any clothes you intend to wear with unscented laundry detergent. Animals will (literally) be able to smell you a mile away and not come near you.
* Take any necessary accessories. This could include extra ammunition, maps, flashlight, whistle, and if you're a smokeless tobacco user consider bringing a portable spittoon such as those created by Atlanta-based FLASR
(OTCQB: FLSR). The new 4-ounce FLASR pocket-sized spittoon is designed to allow users to open and shut it with just one hand, making it an ideal solution for taking the pleasure of snuff, dip or chew, hunting, fishing or any other outdoor activity. FLASR's spittoons also help eliminate the scent of chewing tobacco spit, which could ward off animals.
For more information, visit www.flasr.com
) - For decades, Angola's government has focused on its natural resources as its number one commodity. Now, however, there is a paradigm shift that may have an even greater potential -- the country's young people.
In cooperation with Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), a leading Swiss business school that has recently earned the AACSB International business accreditation, Angola wants to train select students in international business and start a new phase of economic development.
But can the formation of a new financial elite be enough for lasting change in a country that is still inherently poor?
Of course not, says Jose Filament Dos Santos, a representative from the Angolan sovereign wealth fund Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA), which is funding the project. "But we firmly believe that you have to start somewhere, and it's best to get going in an area where it will have a big impact."
Other countries have already seen the benefit of investing in education and a younger generation, but it is no small step for a country whose majority still live in abject poverty.
The focus-shift of the FSDEA, from the investment in real estate to the social sector, justifies Dos Santos with the growing investment interest for years from foreign companies:
"In order to understand and draw up major contracts in international business that will bring in long-term revenues not only for investors, but also for the country and its people, Angola needs experts."
Enter the 'Future Leaders of Angola,' a six-month executive program that offers Angolan students advanced training in management at an international level.
A statement released by the 'Future Leaders of Angola
' reads, "We believe [the graduates] will produce a noticeable effect, not least because they will pass on what they have learnt in their future jobs in Angola."
For its part, the university said it sees the course as a chance for students to contribute to an improvement in its citizens' lives.
"In the curriculum, we put a lot of emphasis on topics such as corporate responsibility, compliance and corruption, and give the participants greater awareness of these issues," stresses Daniel Seelhofer, head of the Department of International Business at ZHAW.
While proponents understand the program and the selection of students according to "purely objective criteria" will have its challenges, ultimately it could move the country forward in ways it never thought possible -- until now.
) - NewsusaInfographic - Unexpected medical costs and a lack of health care coverage can have an adverse impact on an employee's personal finances and quality of life. In fact, unpaid medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy. Voluntary policies work with major medical insurance to help provide financial protection by paying cash benefits to help cover medical fees or other everyday costs such as a mortgage or monthly utility bills. For more information, visit www.aflac.com
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) - You're kidding, right? That surely must've been the initial reaction four years ago when Anthony Bourdain -- the chef-turned-TV host who's a god among foodies -- named Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que one of the "13 Places to Eat Before You Die."
Joe's, you see, is housed inside a convenience store that also sells gas.
And, no, far from being a joke, its inclusion on that list, along with the hyper-priced likes of New York's Per Se restaurant, symbolized the huge changes that have swept the nation's more than 152,000 convenience stores over the past several years.
"Convenience stores are increasingly becoming food markets for time-pressed consumers seeking fast and healthy choices," says Jeff Lenard of the National Association of Convenience Stores (nacsonline.com)
In fact, these days while you can still be in and out with your purchases in a flash -- and gas up your car while you're at it at most stores -- the shelves are also likely to be stocked with the kinds of fresh food normally associated with supermarkets and even traditional restaurants. Sushi. Gourmet sandwiches. And lots and lots of fruit and yogurt "better-for-you" items.
Some stores have gone way beyond that -- winning new fans with convenient ways to get fresh food fast. And if that corner store isn't convenient enough, there are ways to make it even more convenient.
Casey's General Stores, for example, with 1,880 locations throughout 14 states in the Midwest, not only makes its own pizza onsite, but in 2011 started delivering them to customers' homes -- ultimately becoming the fifth largest pizza operation in America behind Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's and Little Caesars. "Folks in a lot of these small towns don't have pizza parlors, so it became a natural for us," says Terry Handley, the firm's president and chief operating officer.
Still others have totally smashed all preconceptions. Chef Point Cafe in Watauga, Texas, routinely draws lines that wrap past the gas pumps for its gourmet lobster bisque and roast duck specialties. The Tioga Gas Mart in Lee Vining, California, makes a mean mango margarita that's especially popular at the outdoor concerts it stages. And if you're really in a rush for good seafood, Han-Dee Hugo's in Duck, North Carolina, will sell it to you without even leaving your car, at its drive-thru window.
"The world is changing, and people want new experiences," says John Litton Clark, Han-Dee Hugo's vice president of operations.
So, has all the industry's updating paid off? Well, with touches like expanded coffee bars and a better overall ambience, last year saw a record $213.5 billion in food and merchandise sales with the highest growth (9.8 percent) coming from edibles like salads and sandwiches.
) - NewsusaInfographic - Credit investors for being shrewd. Weary of forking over what can be large fees for traditional mutual funds, they've poured $3 trillion into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) -; with $2.09 trillion of that held right here in the U.S. And according to TD Ameritrade
, it's millennials, especially, who've been allocating more and more of their portfolios to these baskets of securities that trade intraday like individual stocks.
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