Archive for February, 2013

Collaborative online children’s storybook starts conversations about little-understood disease

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Collaborative%20online%20children%27s%20storybook%20starts%20conversations%20about%20little-understood%20disease“Wednesday was a long day. We went to the hospital for a special checkup. The nurse showed us the giant, cool-looking tunnel called an MRI machine. They told Scott he was going to slide in there so they could take a picture of his brain. He’s done this before.”

For many families with children living with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a serious genetic disorder, this scene may be all too familiar. Scott’s story is a part of an online children’s storybook about a young boy with TSC as seen through the eyes of his favorite toy, a stuffed dog named Turbo.

This eBook, called “Turbo and Scott,” was developed to help foster discussion with kids, family members and friends about this complex disease in an accessible way. In addition to highlighting the duo’s everyday adventures, the story, written by children’s author John Grandits, addresses some of the challenges children with TSC may face, from frequent doctor visits to living with skin lesions and seizures.

Also known as tuberous sclerosis (TS), TSC affects approximately 25,000 to 40,000 people in the US and may cause noncancerous tumors to form in vital organs, including the brain, kidneys, heart, lungs and skin. The disease is associated with a variety of resulting disorders including seizures, developmental delays and life-threatening brain swelling (hydrocephalus). For both those living with the disease and their caregivers, TSC can often impact their quality of life.

“Facing the challenges of a TSC diagnosis on a daily basis can be stressful or even overwhelming, for the entire family,” said Kari Luther Rosbeck, President and CEO of TS Alliance, who authored the foreword of the TSC eBook. “‘Turbo and Scott’ will hopefully help alleviate some fears and encourage meaningful discussion about living with TSC.”

Collaborative%20online%20children%27s%20storybook%20starts%20conversations%20about%20little-understood%20diseaseThe eBook was sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and developed as part of a unique collaboration with input from patient advocates, a TSC-treating physician and several parents of kids with TSC. The TSC community contributed to the eBook, with parents submitting photographs of kids with TSC, and children with TSC developing original artwork, all of which are featured as illustrations in the eBook. The TSC eBook also features a “Note to Parents” authored by Dr. Robert Flamini, Director of TSC Clinic, Medical Director of The Children’s Epilepsy Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, who provided guidance on the TSC eBook.

In addition to the children’s story, the TSC eBook also features a “Q&A for Curious Kids” explaining key TSC facts and terms in child-friendly language, which may help parents answer difficult questions their children may have about the disease.

The TSC eBook is available free of charge at

Fast Facts about TSC:
 * Diseases with similar US prevalence rates include cystic fibrosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS).
* One-third of all patients with TSC genetically inherit the disease, while in the remaining patients, the disease is acquired as a result of spontaneous genetic mutation.
* Many patients show evidence of TSC in the first year of life; however, many cases are undiagnosed in infants due to mild forms of initial symptoms.

Caption 1: Kari Luther Rosbeck, President and CEO of TS Alliance, lends her support to Turbo and Scott and reads the eBook on a tablet.

Caption 2: Turbo and Scott is designed to encourage discussions between parents and children about Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

Courtesy of BPT

How to blast through your weight loss plateau

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

If it seems like you work out regularly only to continue to struggle losing weight, you’re not alone. But losing weight in order to improve health may be the wrong approach. First you need to fix what’s holding you back on the inside, so you can see the transformation you want on the outside.

Cliff Edberg cringes every time he hears someone say: I want to lose weight to get healthy. In my opinion that phrase is backward, says Edberg, a registered dietician, personal trainer, and certified weight loss coach at Life Time Fitness, The Healthy Way of Life Company. People need to get healthy first in order to lose weight. Weight gain or being unhealthy isn’t directly caused by a lack of exercise, it’s a side effect of metabolic dysfunction.

Generally people refer to having good metabolism (someone who burns calories quickly) or bad metabolism (a slow caloric burn with leftovers stored in body fat). But metabolism is much more than the rate at which calories are burned. Metabolism is the process of breaking down food into smaller molecules for various uses in the body. Certain foods or ingredients might interfere with a person’s metabolism, as can a lack of nutrients, high blood sugar or an overabundance of stress hormones. This metabolic disruption is often behind a person’s inability to lose weight, even when they are taking steps to eat right and exercise.

Michelle Stork, 43, from Chanhassen, Minn., had resigned herself to creeping weight gain, despite diligently working out for years. As time went on it was easier to gain than lose weight, she recalls. Exercise alone wasn’t taking it off.

She accepted the weight gain as a normal part of getting older, but Edberg, her personal trainer, didn’t. He encouraged her to take a simple blood test to check for underlying metabolic issues. I could see on paper what the problems were and it motivated me to try what my trainer suggested, Stork says. She slowly added recommended supplements, including vitamin D, probiotics and fish oil, which increased her energy, but didn’t affect her weight. The next step was to change her diet.

We discovered a high likelihood that she was sensitive to gluten and dairy, Edberg says. Unlike an allergy, a sensitivity means the hormones derived from the metabolic process of such foods send confusing messages to the brain, which can cause various symptoms, including weight gain. Within a month of eliminating gluten and dairy from her diet Stork lost more than 10 percent body fat and dropped 12 pounds and two sizes.

If someone has a thyroid issue, nutrient deficiency, sex hormone imbalance, etc., they will gain weight Edberg explains. As a certified weight loss coach, he knows that unless the true underlying metabolic issue is addresseda person will not sustainably lose weight. All the exercise in the world will not fix a thyroid issue or nutrient deficiency. In some cases it might make the underlying problem worse.

This inside out approach to personal training is the standard at Life Time Fitness. New members take a comprehensive assessment, called myHealthScore, to measure six metabolic markers – cholesterol ratio, triglycerides, blood pressure, body fat ratio, glucose levels and nicotine use – in order to first set goals based on their internal health.

With information from myHealthScore Edberg says he can make precise exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and supplementation recommendations to support each client’s individual metabolism needs.

Stork is impressed with her results, but the implications go beyond a smaller waist line. Her father suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which looms large in her mind. The steps she is taking now she hopes will prevent a dependence on medication later. I know what may be ahead of me as I get older, and I know I need to start doing things to improve my overall health and fitness to help counter any disease I may develop later in life.

Courtesy of BPT

Why would you need legal assistance? You might be surprised

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Why%20would%20you%20need%20legal%20assistance%3F%20You%20might%20be%20surprised Based on what you see on TV, you might assume you’d only need legal help if you experienced some dramatic and life-altering event. But the truth is most people will have a legal need at some point in their lives – usually under fairly common circumstances.
In fact, many legal needs don’t involve ever setting foot inside a courtroom and revolve around tasks like document preparation or contract reviews. ARAG, a global provider of legal solutions, offers 10 examples of common situations where you might need legal help.
* When purchasing or selling a house, you may need a lawyer to review the purchase agreement and contract.
* Your college-age son or daughter has moved out of a rental property and needs legal help in getting a security deposit returned from the landlord.
* Someone in your family experiences identity theft and needs help recovering assets.
* You are working on a major home remodel and need someone to review the work agreement you’ve established with your contractors.
* You’re drafting or revising your will.
* You need legal advice during an IRS audit.
* A car breaks down while under warranty, and you need help getting the manufacturer or dealer to honor the warranty.
* You’re adopting a child and need a lawyer to help you complete the necessary paperwork and guide you through the adoption process.
* You notice a mistake on your credit report and need help getting it corrected.
* You believe you were issued a traffic violation in error and decide you want to fight the violation.
Because many routine life events require legal assistance, enrolling yourself in a legal plan can help lead you in the right direction when you need legal help. Some employers offer legal plans as part of their benefits packages, giving employees the option to enroll.
When you are enrolled in a legal plan like those offered through ARAG, you gain access to a network of attorneys who can provide legal advice and help with everyday legal issues. If you need representation, your plan may also allow you to hire a lawyer for a reduced out-of-pocket rate or no fee – which can result in significant savings considering the average rate charged by an attorney with 11 to 15 years of service is $312 per hour, according to The National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence. For more information on how legal plans work, visit

Courtesy of BPT