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New Studies on CPR, Pets, Falls and Diets

In case you have gotten too busy with life to keep up with all the health news - it's impossible, after all, to hear and read everything - here are a few interesting, if not unrelated, tidbits I've come across recently...

Hands-Only CPR: It will be a great relief to many people to know that no longer is mouth-to-mouth contact necessary to accompany chest compressions. (There are so many people who are not only unsure of their skill in doing this somewhat difficult combination, but who are also intimidated and frightened by the untold germs and diseases they might pick up.) According to the American Heart Association, if you're a bystander who witnesses the sudden collapse of an adult, after you've dialed 911, start chest compressions immediately, pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim's chest. And if you don't know how fast to compress, sing that old song by the BeeGees, Stayin' Alive. Its 103 beats per minute come very close to the recommended speed of 100 beats a minute.

Don't Trip: I can relate to this, having done it (and luckily and miraculously surviving intact) and having too many close calls to count. There's a new study out from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It says that over 86,000 people are seen each year in the emergency room with injuries suffered from tripping over the family pet. That figure really surprised me. It translates into about 240 people a day - which is about 1% of all fall-related ER visits. Although cats can get underfoot, the bulk of these mishaps are from our best friend, the dog, and usually happen when we're out walking them. (But watch out for those toys scattered around the house, too.) That's when my fall happened - I was taking care of a friend's dog, who crossed right in front of me and literally swept me off my feet. Now, whenever I go out to walk my own dog, I always grab my cellphone and take it with me, just in case I have to call for help. You just never know.

Low-Fat vs. Low-Carb Diets. With all the diets out there, you've probably tried both of these, right? Researchers found that when they followed overweight and obese people on diets of low-carb and high-fat vs, high-carb and low-fat, both groups lost about equally - around 30 pounds in a year. And both groups showed about the same improvement in mood. (When I first read this I thought, sure, I'd be in a good mood, too, after losing that much weight.) But the good mood lasted only about eight weeks for those who were on the high-fat diet, returning to where it was before their diet. What is it about low-fat that retains good moods? While they're not entirely sure, scientists think it could be the difficulty at resisting foods high in carbohydrates, like the ever-present pastas and breads. Or, it could be something more complicated at work - like the effect of protein and fat on serotonin or other brain chemicals.

Want to know more about any of these topics? Suggested reading:
Staying Fracture-Free - Keeping your home and lifestyle safe and secure
Weight Loss Reminders - Tips for losing - and keeping it off
Understanding Heart Disease - Heart Disease 101

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