Archive for December, 2013

Bunion blues: Don’t think you’re immune

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

(BPT) – Think you’re too young, too healthy or too cool to ever suffer from bunions? Think again. Bunions are the most common type of foot woes podiatrists treat every day, and if you’re a woman, you are as much as nine times more likely to get a bunion than any man you know – including your grandfather.

Bunions are bumps that form on the outer edge of the big toe when the bone or tissue of the toe joint moves out of place. If you have a bunion, the spot is likely red, swollen and may hurt like crazy. About 23 percent of people between 18 and 65 have bunions, 35 percent of people older than 65 have them, and women are more likely than men to have them, according to a study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, bunions can form at any stage in life, and several factors influence their growth, including:

* Genetics – People with flat feet, low arches, arthritis or inflammatory joint disease – all ailments that tend to run in families – are more prone to developing bunions.

* Footwear – Shoes that are too tight or that squeeze the toes together (like those stylish pointy-toe shoes you love) can aggravate a bunion-prone foot. In fact many of the trendiest footwear fashions are harbingers of bunions to come – so you can’t possibly be too cool to develop a bunion.

* Injuries – Any injury that causes damage to the big toe joint could inspire the formation of a bunion.

If your bunion is just beginning to form, you may be able to inhibit its growth with a few lifestyle changes. Avoid wearing heels higher than 2 inches, and purge your shoe wardrobe of all styles that have tight toe-boxes. Using a bunion pad inside your shoes can also provide some protection and slow down the bunion growth.

But if your bunions are getting the best of you – and interfering with your mobility – it’s time to see a podiatrist. Podiatrists are uniquely qualified to treat ailments of the feet and lower extremities, including bunions. Your podiatrist will be able to diagnose your bunions and he or she may recommend treatment options that range from:

* Using padding and taping to minimize pain and keep your toes in a normal position, which will reduce stress and pain.

* Prescribing anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone injections to ease acute pain and inflammation.

* Physical therapy, including ultrasound therapy.

* Orthotics or shoe inserts to control foot function and prevent bunions from getting worse.

* Surgery if your bunion problems are extreme.

Every year, bunions bring thousands of Americans into podiatrist offices around the country. A few simple lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of developing bunions, and treatment for existing bunions can help ensure they don’t interfere with your mobility and enjoyment of life.

Courtesy of BPT

Feel the difference of a great hair day, every day

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

(BPT) – Every day women are subjected to a multitude of harsh elements that strip the hair of its natural beauty, leaving it limp and lifeless.

Dove Hair gives women a great hair day by unlocking a few useful secrets women need to know in order to beat bad hair days. Celebrity hair stylist, Mark Townsend, offers these three easy tips for women to feel the difference of beautiful-looking hair every day.

Tip No. 1 – The foundation for a great hair day starts in the shower

Nearly half of women have a bad hair day when their hair feels weighed down. “The foundation to any great hair day starts when women choose a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner that does not weigh hair down,” says Townsend, whose clients include many of today’s leading Hollywood stars. He recommends the improved Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, a unique formula containing patented technology that does not weigh hair down with excess residue and delivers up to five times smoother hair, in just one wash. More information on these products can be found at

Tip No. 2 – Your blow dryer can be your hair’s best friend

Healthy hair looks shiny because the hair cuticle lays smooth and is able to reflect light. More than 80 percent of women feel more confident on a great hair day compared to a bad one, and one way to keep hair looking beautifully smooth is knowing how to properly use a blow dryer. When blow drying your hair, make sure that you angle the nozzle downward as you dry from the roots to the ends which helps keep cuticles flat and reduces damage. “Pointing the blow dryer directly onto hair with no angle can cause breakage and frizz,” says Townsend. He also warns against applying the hot air from a blow dryer on one area for too long; “it will dry out your hair, making it frizzier.”

Tip No. 3 – An effortlessly beautiful hair style

A smooth ponytail is a chic way to beat the heat outside. It will get your hair up and off your shoulders, which can often cause discomfort in hot temperatures. One of Townsend’s biggest style secrets is perfecting a frizz-free ponytail. First, spray a reusable mascara wand with extra hold hairspray. Then, comb the wand gently over the hairline once the ponytail is set, especially in front of the ears, to smooth the little hairs into the style. “I also like to spray hairspray directly on my hands and run them over the hair that is already pulled back,” says Townsend. “This tip ensures pesky flyaways are smooth, leaving hair looking polished and beautiful.”

Dove Hair understands the desire to have beautifully smooth hair and is helping women give their locks, and themselves, some love with the launch of the Dove Great Hair Affair. Now, women can visit to show-off their great hair day for a chance to win thousands of prizes.

Courtesy of BPT

Chic holiday entertaining for less

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

A beautiful holiday table can be the centerpiece of any celebration. However, many hostesses are discouraged by the idea and potential cost of fancy linens, expensive serving ware and a perfect centerpiece.

“A beautiful table-scape doesn’t have to be costly,” says Target Style Expert for Home and HGTV designer Sabrina Soto. “Layering in key holiday trends to your everyday pieces can be a cost-effective way to create a one-of-a-kind dinner table.”

Soto, together with celebrity TV chef and Target culinary partner Giada De Laurentiis, offer the following tips for creating a festive, yet affordable holiday setting.

Set a beautiful foundation

Instead of feeling compelled to use traditional red and green hues, any color combination can be the basis for a festive table, says Soto. She favors soft, season-less colors for decorating with added touches of gold and silver, which work with any color scheme and interior aesthetic. You can use everyday dinnerware, but create a holiday feel by adding glamorous metallic chargers, chic beaded placemats or napkin rings.

Add elegance with a striking centerpiece

Centerpieces are the focal point of an elegant table but don’t need to be expensive to be beautiful. A single silver or metallic accessory can increase the glam factor of your centerpiece or try clustering several accessories for a sparkling effect. Polish up grandma’s old silver vases or purchase some inexpensive mercury glass items such as hurricane or votive candle holders – the season’s hottest trend.

A crystal vase for the centerpiece can elevate the table’s elegance quotient. Fresh flowers can be pricey during the holidays; Soto suggests filling the vase with small glass ornaments. Mixing mirrored ornaments with fresh pine cones or seasonal fruit can make for a festive yet sophisticated decorative piece.

Plan a stress-free menu

A beautiful table sets the stage for an evening of delicious food and warm conversation. Plan ahead and prepare most of the food in advance, rather than trying to cook everything at once. You’ll feel less stressed and will be able to enjoy the party.

“Try to leave only one item for last minute prep – this brings everyone into the kitchen and sets the tone for a cozy, comfortable evening,” says De Laurentiis. “I prepare most dishes in my Giada De Laurentiis ceramic bake ware because it can go directly from the oven to the table, and still look great.”

To further simplify the menu, De Laurentiis suggests selecting foods that can be served at room temperature. Try a red pepper or basil cheese cake that can be made ahead of time, and will be fine sitting out before the party even begins. While foods like fish or shrimp are delicious, they are hard to keep fresh if you are serving food buffet-style.

By combining beautiful pieces that you love with classic elements, anyone can create an exquisite look for the holidays. For more holiday decorating ideas and affordable design that will add elegance to any table, visit

Courtesy of BPT

Personalizing lung cancer care through biomarker testing

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

(BPT) – The concept of personalized medicine – matching a patient’s unique genetic profile with an appropriate and more individualized treatment plan – is transforming the care of patients with cancer.

Over the last decade, the scientific community has gained a greater understanding of genetic mutations, or abnormalities, associated with the development and progression of cancer; these mutations are also known as biomarkers. The presence or absence of a biomarker can help physicians determine the most appropriate treatment approach for each individual patient based on their specific type of cancer.

In some cancers, like breast cancer, testing for biomarkers is already an established best practice.

However, for other cancers, the regular use of biomarker testing is still gaining momentum; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one example.

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer – in fact, about 85 percent of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed as having NSCLC. Today, there have been multiple biomarkers identified and believed or known to play a role in the development and progression of this disease. One of these biomarkers is a mutation in a protein known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); it is one of the most common biomarkers identified in NSCLC patients. Another biomarker being closely studied in NSCLC is anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancers have EGFR mutations, while another two to seven percent have ALK rearrangements.

There have been significant advancements in the research of NSCLC over the past 10 years including increased knowledge of biomarkers, which can inform treatment decisions.

Traditional surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, which can remove or kill some normal cells along with cancer cells, were once the only options; however, targeted therapies are now an option for some patients who have a biomarker. Targeted therapies generally work by influencing the processes that control growth, division, and spread of cancer cells, as well as the signals that cause cancer cells to die naturally (apoptosis), the way normal cells do when they are damaged or old.

“The discovery of genetic mutations and the process of testing for them – known as biomarker testing – is changing the diagnosis and treatment landscape for patients with cancer,” said Kevin Lokay, vice president and business unit head, Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “It allows us to determine if a patient’s cancer is associated with a genetic mutation, leading to a more detailed diagnosis and giving us the tools we need to map out an individualized treatment approach for each patient.”

Ideally, biomarker testing happens immediately after a patient is diagnosed with a disease like lung cancer to help ensure that he or she can start on the most appropriate treatment as early as possible.

A team – that may include pulmonologists, pathologists, oncologists and other health professionals – typically works together in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung cancer, including biomarker testing. There are multiple steps involved in biomarker testing for patients with advanced NSCLC, including:

* Taking a sample of lung tissue from a patient

* Analyzing/confirming type of lung cancer

* Testing the tissue sample for biomarkers

* Determining an individualized treatment approach

What can you do? You can increase the awareness of biomarker testing. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with lung cancer, be empowered by asking about biomarker testing. You can learn more about the biomarker testing process via an easy-to-understand brochure titled, “Individualizing Your Lung Cancer Care: Informing Decisions Through Biomarker Testing,” which can be found on and was developed by Boehringer Ingelheim in collaboration with the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and EmergingMed.

Healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients with lung cancer can find out more through Boehringer Ingelheim’s Let’s Test initiative ( to learn more about the importance of automatically testing for biomarkers in advanced NSCLC and the importance of a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to testing.

Courtesy of BPT

Not home for the holidays: the beauty of holiday traveling

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

(BPT) – Vocalists from Perry Como and the Carpenters to Michael Buble have warbled about how wonderful it is to be home for the holidays. But who says you have to buy into that belief? Not being home for the holidays offers many advantages, including the opportunity to travel, visit far-off loved ones or just immerse yourself in total relaxation during one of the most hectic times of the year.

While families with small children may embrace the experience of decorating, cooking and gift-giving in the comfort of their own home, other groups – such as families with teens, couples without kids, and baby boomers who love to travel with friends – may feel ready to revel outside their home zone. Like traveling at any time of year, holiday trips are not without hassles, but the benefits can make the challenges worthwhile.

Here are a handful of reasons why not being home for the holidays could make the season bright:

* Total relaxation – Instead of hurrying to decorate your home, host a soiree, accept every invitation, prepare enough food to feed an armored battalion, and find exactly the right gift for everyone you’ve ever met, going away to a resort during the holidays can help ease holiday stress. Opt for a quintessential winter getaway like in the Village of Kohler, Wisc., and you’ll enjoy a snowy holiday season, complete with carolers, hot cocoa and holiday decor around every corner. The American Club Resort, one of only 45 hotels in North America to boast both AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star designations, has been hosting happy holidays for decades. Immerse yourself in spirit-soothing relaxation at Kohler Waters Spa, enjoy snow shoeing through an 800-acre wildlife preserve, or catch up on last-minute shopping at 25 specialty and boutique stores in the Shops at Woodlake Kohler.

* Visiting far-away loved ones – Is there an adored cousin whom you just don’t get to see that much anymore? A brother who lives five states away whom you haven’t shared the holidays with since you both lived with your parents? Giving up being in your own home for the holidays affords you the chance to enjoy part of the season in the home of loved ones you see infrequently. While you spend the whole year with the family you live with or the ones who live nearby, the holidays are the perfect time to re-connect with family and friends who live far away. And, if you don’t want to add to their stress during the season, you can find plenty of great hotel deals in cities across the country.

* Savoring seasonal flavors without the work – Holiday cookies, pumpkin pie and elaborate dinners are an integral part of the season for many people, but they’re also a lot of work. Staying in a hotel or luxury resort during the holidays ensures you’ll be able to enjoy all your favorite flavors of the season – prepared by a professional chef and leaving cleanup chores to someone else. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen preparing and cleaning, you’ll get to share those seasonal flavors with your traveling companions.

* Great travel deals – Knowing many people prefer to stay home for the holidays, top hotels and resorts across the country offer travel packages, deals and incentives to entice holiday travelers. Add-ons abound, from all-inclusive offerings with meals, parties and special dinners, to shopping packages that provide travelers with access to and discounts for premium shopping venues.

Courtesy of BPT

Five unexpected ways to get your kids to eat veggies – and like them

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

(BPT) – Peas, carrots, broccoli and spinach … some kids love vegetables, but many do not. We know that veggies provide nourishment, especially for growing children, but getting your kids to eat healthier can be a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of creative ways to increase the amount of veggies in your kids’ diets. Here are five tips to get the little ones in your life to eat – and even enjoy – their vegetables.

Smooth operator

Picky eaters might turn up their noses at the sight of leafy green vegetables, but they’ll gladly accept a tasty, blended treat. Incorporate a variety of veggies, plus some fruit for sweetness, into a smoothie, and your kids will just taste the sweet fruit flavor. Throw a few broccoli florets and a handful of spinach, along with some green grapes, a bit of pear and avocado, plus water and pineapple juice, into a Vitamix 5200 to create a sweet green smoothie. The little ones will think they’re enjoying a decadent treat, but they’ll also be getting antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients.

Squeeze the juice

Most kids enjoy a nice glass or box of refreshing juice. Rather than giving them store-bought juices, which could be loaded with sugar and missing essential nutrients, utilize a high-powered blender to make whole-food juices at home. Use carrots, pineapple and a little water to make a sweet yet healthy juice that contains antioxidants and fiber. With whole-food juices, you’re able to keep the healthiest parts of the fruits and vegetables: the seeds, skin and pulp. Plus, you’ll know exactly what your kids are drinking.

Sauce it up

What kid doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? Increase your children’s veggie intake by making a homemade cheese sauce with healthy ingredients. Puree cauliflower, carrots or butternut squash, add them to your sauce and serve over whole-wheat macaroni noodles for a more nutritious version of this favorite dish. You can also make a fresh tomato sauce to serve over spaghetti squash “noodles,” a wholesome, gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta. To make the “noodles,” simply halve and seed the squash, then bake in a dish with one-half cup of water at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. When the squash is cooked, use a fork to scrape the flesh, which creates the “noodles.”

“Souper” healthy

Another great way to get more veggies into your kids’ diets is to add them to a soup. Many kids would rather not eat plain broccoli, so try a low-fat cheesy vegetable soup that incorporates this essential ingredient. All you need is broccoli or cauliflower, low-fat milk, low-fat cheese and some spices to make a nutritious, satisfying soup. Your kids will love the cheesy taste – and you’ll love that they’re eating more vegetables.

Sweet treats

A frozen treat is a satisfying way to end a meal. Create an avocado sorbet using soymilk and a touch of sugar, or make a spinach-lime sorbet with fruit juice for sweetness. You can make the sorbet ahead of time and let it freeze, or use frozen fruits and vegetables to whip up a quick treat in a high-powered blender. Your kids will enjoy their dessert, and you’ll enjoy knowing it’s full of healthy veggies.

You may have to be creative to get your children to eat the recommended three to five servings of vegetables each day, but there are many ways to introduce them to new flavors. Try some of these ideas, and your kids will be getting the nutrition they need. Also, when it comes to eating your veggies, be sure to lead by example. Children are much more apt to try new things if they see others enjoying the food.

Vitamix All Green Smoothie


1/4 cup water

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 3/4 cups green grapes

1/4 Bartlett pear, ripe, seeded, halved

1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled

1/4 cup coarsely chopped broccoli

1/2 cup spinach, washed

1/4 cup ice cubes


Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.

Select Variable 1.

Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.

Blend for 35-40 seconds or until mixture is smooth.

Courtesy of BPT