Archive for April, 2008

Stressed out? Turmoil takes a toll on diet, exercise routine

April 26, 2008

Thu Apr 24, 6:30 PM ET

Stressed workers often reach for calorie-rich foods, skip the gym after a taxing day or forego meals because of heavy workloads. Or they indulge in other bad-for-you behavior like smoking, drinking or staying out late.

As the credit and housing crises rattle Wall Street, pressures over bigger workloads, job security and shrinking nest eggs are upending diets and fueling unhealthy habits across the country.

Breakfast is diet Pepsi and two packets of M&M’s. For lunch, macaroons and white chocolates filled with marzipan from the farmer’s market near Wall Street.

After learning her job would be cut this summer, Kelly Daly started reaching more frequently for the soothing effects of sugar.

“It’s a stress reliever. Especially now that a bunch of us are going to be laid off,” said the 49-year-old Daly, whose job reviewing medical insurance records in Manhattan’s financial district is being cut after 11 years.

But it is in times of duress, experts say, that minding your health is perhaps more critical than ever.

Eating right and getting exercise may seem burdensome and even frivolous under such circumstances, but it actually gives people a greater sense of control and calm, said registered dietitian Heather Bauer, author of “The Wall Street Diet.”

“It’s one less thing to stress you out,” Bauer said. “If you’re out of a job or in a financial slump, it can give you a sense of inspiration as well.”

For Aleksandra Cogura, heftier workloads in recent months means skipping lunch. If she’s lucky, she’ll manage to grab breakfast on the go. Once a gym regular, she hasn’t been in four months.

“I just feel like I need to complete my work,” said Cogura, a 44-year-old sales analyst in publishing in Manhattan.

Stress can take more serious, physical tolls. People under great stress release hormones and nerve chemicals that weaken the immune system, rendering them more susceptible to illness, said Dr. Esther Sternberg, who studies the effects of stress at the National Institute of Mental Health. Stress can also slow the body’s ability to heal wounds, she said.

That could all translate into higher worker absenteeism, and those who do show up are likely not as productive when under great stress, said David Ballard, who specializes in work stress issues at the American Psychological Association.

Some ingredients for happy, productive workers include a flexible work-life balance, employee recognition programs and an atmosphere that lets employees take part in decisions, he said.

“It’s about looking at the big system, creating a work place that puts a variety of components in place,” Ballard said.

For individuals, reducing stress means “controlling the things you can control” when works seems to get too chaotic, said Marlene Clark, a dietitian with Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Taking a brisk, 10-minute walk can do wonders for clearing the head, Clark said. She suggests penciling the breaks in and giving them as much priority as other meetings.

Laying off the caffeine — coffee, tea, soda or even chocolate — could also help calm nerves, she said. Getting enough sleep is critical, too, especially when faced with more demanding work and hours, Clark said.

Taking such measures to reduce stress will only become more critical as the economic forecast darkens.

The nation’s unemployment rate, now at 5.1 percent, is expected to move higher in coming months. Gasoline and food prices are at record levels, too, with ground beef, milk, apples, coffee and orange juice costing more these days.

“The first thing people want to do when they get stressed is eat stuff that’s bad for them,” said Bauer, who counsels Wall Street executives. “But the end result is that they’re more stressed out because they’re eating something they shouldn’t have.”


Nokia 5320 XpressMusic

April 24, 2008

Nokia 5320 XpressMusic

Support 8 GB Cards!!! I love this!!!

Firstly, and most importantly as far as music phones are concerned, Nokia told us it has put brand-new audio chips inside these two new models to improve sound quality over previous handsets. This is a sensible decision, as more people are turning to mobiles as their primary music players. For some inane reason, the phones were on display with headphones that can only be described as utter bullshizzle, so we couldn’t judge for ourselves whether the new chips were making a real difference.

Another good move was the decision to shift the native 3.5-millimeter headphone socket to the bottom of the handsets, as opposed to the side-mounted design seen on the N95, for example. The 5320 also has dedicated side-mounted gaming keys for use with N-Gage software, which felt very natural to use when we had a swift play. It also supports up to 8GB of microSD memory and HSDPA, but not Wi-Fi.

Both phones were easy to use, with decent keypads, good screens, and ergonomic designs, although we weren’t all that keen on the 5220’s asymmetrical look. The 5320 had a curious “Say and Play” feature that lets you speak the artist or song you want to listen to, and the handset automatically plays it. To our genuine surprise, it worked when we tried it out.

Technical specifications are as follows:

  • Quad band GSM support, with EDGE support, and dual-band HSDPA support
  • 2 inch QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) screen, supporting up to 16 million colours
  • S60 3rd Edition, with FP2
  • Dimensions: 108 x 46 x 15 mm
  • Weight: 90 grams
  • 3.5 mm jack
  • Dedicated Hi-Fi audio chip
  • 890 mAh battery
  • 24 hours music playback
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • Micro SDHC card slot
  • Say and play – say an artist, r song name, and the song will start playing

PMA set to firm up rule for docs

April 24, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

FOLLOWING the recent controversy hounding the medical profession, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) has decided to revise its code of ethics.

Dr. Rey Santos, incoming PMA president, said the amended code of ethics is expected to be approved in their general assembly next month.

“We’re submitting the amendments to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) after the general assembly approves it,” Santos said.

He admitted that the recent surgery scandal that happened in Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City, where the procedure of removing a perfume canister from the anus of a male patient was uploaded to YouTube, has “tainted” the image of the doctors and nurses.

Because of the “unfortunate event,” he said it is even more important to strengthen the ethical guidelines for physicians.

“It should not be tolerated,” he added.

According to Santos, the surgeon who performed the procedure is “in-charge” of what was happening inside the operating room (OR), adding that the giggling among medical staff that was shown on the video was “not a usual attitude” at an OR.

The incident became a scandal as videos of the operation showed one of the staff holding the body spray and aiming it on those inside the OR while others took photos and video using cell phones.

While the patient’s case was “unusual,” Santos stressed that it was “not an excuse” for the medical team to behave unpro-fessionally while treating a person.

“Basically, the issue here is respect for human dignity. The patient was very helpless at that time,” the incoming PMA president said.

He added that medical students are also aware of the ethical practice of the profession because it is taught in schools.

In an investigation conducted by the VSMMC team, it was learned that a student was responsible for uploading the video clip to YouTube.

Aside from the behavior of medical practitioners, the amended Code of Ethics, Santos said, will include the guidelines against the endorsement of products by some doctors.

Sleep Tips

April 22, 2008
I used to pull all-nighters back in college, forcing myself to stay awake to cram for an exam or finish a paper on art history, my major. I did it because I thought it would help me get ahead, but in the end it always set me back—I wound up tired, cranky and unproductive the next day.

Even though I’ve grown up (and wisened up) since then, I still have trouble convincing myself to crawl into bed at night: I keep a running tally of all the things I haven’t crossed off my to-do list—reading manuscripts, prepping for a TV appearance, even laundry! And I’m always tempted to stay up just a bit longer to get everything done before morning.

So what stops me from burning the midnight oil? Not only has personal experience proved that I’ll be more stressed (not to mention less chipper) when I’m sleep-deprived, but studies suggest that not getting adequate zzz’s can increase your risk for heart disease and depression, and even cause weight gain (ever found yourself heading to the fridge or the vending machine when you’re tired? I have!).

Try these tips to help relax before you hit the sack:

Avoid having long conversations on your cell phone before bed: Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit found that people who were exposed to the slight radiation that emanates from cell phones took longer to fall asleep and spent less time in the deep stages of slumber.
Make Your Bedroom a Haven
Draw the blinds and turn on a fan or a soothing CD of nature noises to block out distracting sounds. Swapping ordinary bedroom bulbs for yellow ones (GE makes a 25-watt version sold at drugstores) can help you feel more tranquil as you’re getting ready to nod off. Consider treating yourself to a cozy new comforter or putting flowers on your nightstand so that being in your bedroom—and sleeping!—becomes something you look forward to.
Say Thanks
Once you’re under the covers, take two minutes to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Studies show that practicing grateful thinking makes people more optimistic. And going to sleep with happy thoughts will help you sleep more soundly.

Credit Crisis in America

April 20, 2008

There is an increase in consumer credit costs due as people failed to keep up with payments on mortgages, unsecured personal loans, credit cards and auto loans.

“Our necessities never equal our wants.”

Buy what thou hast no need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessities.

Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.

Life is Difficult

April 19, 2008

The most important and stone-hard fact of life is that it will be difficult and there will be problems. Death is inevitable and inescapable. So enjoy life.