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Despite the aches, pains, and decrease in vision that come with aging, Americans tend to get happier as they grow older. Based on phone surveys by the annual Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series, "People 55 and older are doing better than younger people across five parameters. When it comes to financial well-being, older people thrive at a rate of 53%, compared to 33% for younger people; they also score higher on measures of community, purpose, social, and health. They expressed higher satisfaction with their standard of living, said they worry less about money, and said they have enough money to do what they want. They also reported higher rates of having health insurance and a personal doctor, and lower incidences of obesity and depression than younger Americans."

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Location and antismoking laws greatly influence perceptions. People living in Hawaii, Arizona, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Colorado report the highest levels of well-being; the lowest levels are in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Indiana. Stronger antismoking legislation also correlates with higher rankings on the well-being index. Colorado and Arizona, for example, ban smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars, whereas West Virginia and Kentucky do not ban smoking. "Where people believe that their well-being is automatically cared about by their leaders, not only do they report a higher level of well-being, but their well-being continues to go up over time."- Accessed 12/21/2016



In New York City (NYC), nurses walk the streets looking to provide medical assessments, treatment, and referrals to homeless individuals. The Center for Urban Community Services' (CUCS) new street medicine program brings healthcare directly to homeless people where they are-on the streets.


CUCS is a new approach in NYC, according to its founder, Tony Hannigan. More than 60,000 homeless people live in shelters and 2,794 homeless individuals are on the streets of NYC. Hannigan states, "In some cases, they haven't had good experiences in clinics, or they're in denial that they even have medical issues. So a practitioner going out in the street can, through conversation, get them to start talking about their pain." Some of the most common health issues seen are open wounds, high blood pressure, diabetes, or foot problems.


A nurse practitioner and a registered nurse partner with CUCS social workers, who have already been conducting street outreach for years. The social workers help introduce the nurses to homeless individuals they've identified. "A person may not talk to a street outreach social worker, but in some cases, they'll talk to a healthcare professional because they have pain or are not feeling well," Hannigan said. "That, in turn, can be a pathway to the person trusting our outreach staff and engaging in other services, like psychiatric care and, of course, course, the end game, which is housing."


Hannigan noted that the program is "strategic" because the pairing of social workers with healthcare professionals may be the winning combination that gets homeless people to open up about their health issues.- Accessed 1/13/2017



About one-third of pediatric patients with concussion experience symptom spikes. Noah D. Silverberg, PhD, from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues characterized the incidence, course, and clinical significance of symptom exacerbations in children after concussion. "Data were analyzed for 63 eligible participants (41 boys, 22 girls), who were asked to complete a post-concussion symptom scale and record their activities for 10 days. Researchers noted that about one-third of the sample (31.7%) had symptom spikes, which tended to partially resolve within 24 hours. The risk of symptom spike was increased with an abrupt increase in mental activity (i.e., returning to school and extracurricular activities) from one day to the next (relative risk, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.21 to 3.21), but there was no documented increase in physical or mental energy preceding most symptom spikes. Patients with symptom spikes were more symptomatic in the emergency department and through the observation period, but there was no difference in cognition or balance 10 days following injury, for those with and without symptom spikes."


These findings suggest and support clinical guidelines for children and adolescents to slowly return to school and activities after concussion.- Accessed 12/21/2016



The number of children bitten by copperheads and other venomous snakes has more than doubled in recent years, a U.S. study suggests. Half of the 18,721 snakebites reported to U.S. poison control centers from 2000 to 2013 involved venomous snakes. Over that period, reported bites from copperheads surged by 137%, and bites from other types of venomous snakes increased 107%. Overall, 38% of the snakebites required hospital admissions.


Before antivenom treatments became available, one in four snakebites was fatal, whereas with rapid emergency interventions and antivenom treatment, less than 1% of snakebites are fatal. But one in five cases required admission to intensive care units, and treatment costs are enormous. "Treatment of a snakebite can cost more than $100,000 if anti-venom is needed," said lead study author Dr. Joann Shulte, a pediatrics researcher at the University of Louisville, Kentucky.


Most snakebites, whether venomous or not, will cause pain, redness, and irritation around the wound site. Venomous bites symptoms include swelling, death of tissue around the injury, low blood pressure, convulsions, hemorrhage, respiratory paralysis, kidney failure, coma, and death. Rapid emergency care and antivenom treatment can minimize these outcomes.


Snake bite tool kit:


* One-third of bites are reported in June and July;


* Two-thirds of the children bitten were boys, ages 3-14;


* Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia accounted for 39% of reported bites;


* Bites from certain snakes, like copperheads, are reported more, due to use of antivenom, and this often requires guidance from toxicologists at poison control centers.



If a child is bitten by a snake, identify the type of snake (if possible), seek immediate medical assistance so local experts can be consulted, and arrangement for transfer to a pediatric trauma center made, if necessary.- Accessed 12/21/2016



It seems people love puppy kisses, or they can't stand them. Although the affection can be enjoyable, there are reasons you may wish to pass. "Dr. Leni K. Kaplan, of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, explains what drives dogs to give you slobbery kisses and why it's actually pretty gross. The reason they lick your face comes down to three main factors: Licking is one of their ways to communicate, especially with other dogs. You, as their owner, have a familiar scent and taste that comforts them. They want attention. If you're a healthy person, getting a little dog saliva on your skin is no big deal. There's very little risk it will cause any problems, since skin doesn't absorb it. When they lick your face, however, zoonotic pathogens like Clostridium, E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter can make their way into your body through your eyes, mouth, and nose. The same thing can happen if they lick your hands and then you touch your face."


Especially if you have a compromised or underdeveloped immune system, it's best to avoid your dog's kisses.- Accessed 1/16/2017



"Peace in our time' expresses the longing inside each of us, as we view our own daily choices staring us in the face. Outside of ourselves, we hope against hope that international brushfire wars will not erupt into larger conflicts."


"Peace is the quest of every human heart. If it could be bought, people would pay millions for it. The skyrocketing sales of books dealing with peace of mind and soul testify that they have touched a resonant chord in the lives of millions. Psychiatrists' offices are jammed."


"Jesus says, 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest' (Matthew 11:28, emphasis added). Christ alone gives peace that passes understanding, a peace the world cannot give or take away. It is very moving to hear the life stories of those who have restlessly searched for years and have finally found peace in Christ. ...There is one available and trustworthy haven of peace. Real, lasting peace comes from Christ alone; 'He himself is our peace' (Ephesians 2:14)."-From Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little, 1988, IVP Books, Downers Grove, IL.


-PulseBeats compiled by Cathy Walker