Current Events in September 2014

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    School anxiety: how can you help?

    Fear of the unknown is common as kids face a new year

    Starting school can be so exciting -- the new friends ,new teachers, a fresh box of crayons and a new backpack not to mention a hip lunch box.

    But starting school can also be a big stressor for kids. All of the things that we mentioned before can also have a negative effect and create anxiety.

    According to Dr. James Sparing, clinical faculty in child psychiatry at UCLA , “Some children have difficulty with transitions and need a lot of preparation and lead time to be ready.”

    The anxiety creates the famous stomachache we hear so much about and the headache that accompanies it. Sometimes these symptoms start happening Sunday evening as the school day approaches.

    Sparing suggests that if you see symptoms the evening before, have a conversation with your child and don't just ask yes or no questions. Don't diminish the fear by saying it's silly. That won't help much with the communication. Coach them to tell you more and open up about what they are feeling and what fears they may have.

    Fear of the unknown

    Nita Ferjo of Westwood, Calif., who holds a doctorate in education says the most common anxiety experienced by younger children on return to school is fear of the unknown – who is my teacher, where is my classroom, will I get lunch, who will pick me up after school, will I know anybody?

    Reassuring your child by mirroring their fears with a answer like "I understand you are worried I won't be there to pick you up. But I promise -- at 3:00 I will be sitting right in the parking lot waiting for you."

    Your child then knows you heard the fear you validated what you heard and confirmed you will be there.

    If your child knows you understand the fear it can help prepare them for any upcoming changes as they embark on the new school year.

    Starting school can be so exciting -- the new friends ,new teachers, a fresh box of crayons and a new backpack not to mention a hip lunch box. But startin...

    Train your brain to prefer healthy foods

    Tufts researchers say it can be done

    A brain scan study suggests it may be possible to train your brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, reversing the addictive power of unhealthy food.

    "We don't start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta," said Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. "This conditioning happens over time in response to eating -- repeatedly! -- what is out there in the toxic food environment."

    Scientists have long suspected that, once unhealthy food addiction circuits are established, they may be hard or impossible to reverse, subjecting people who have gained weight to a lifetime of unhealthy food cravings and temptation.

    To find out whether the brain can be re-trained to support healthy food choices, Roberts and colleagues studied the reward system in 13 overweight and obese men and women, 8 of whom were participants in a new weight loss program designed by Tufts University researchers and 5 who were in a control group and were not enrolled in the program.

    The study is published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.

    Both groups underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans at the beginning and end of a 6-month period. Among those who participated in the weight loss program, the brain scans revealed changes in areas of the brain reward center associated with learning and addiction. After 6 months, this area had increased sensitivity to healthy, lower-calorie foods, indicating an increased reward and enjoyment of healthier food cues. The area also showed decreased sensitivity to the unhealthy higher-calorie foods.

    "The weight loss program is specifically designed to change how people react to different foods, and our study shows those who participated in it had an increased desire for healthier foods along with a decreased preference for unhealthy foods, the combined effects of which are probably critical for sustainable weight control," said co-author Sai Krupa Das, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Friedman School. "To the best of our knowledge this is the first demonstration of this important switch."

    The authors hypothesize that several features of the weight loss program were important, including behavior change education and high-fiber, low glycemic menu plans.

    "There is much more research to be done here, involving many more participants, long-term follow-up and investigating more areas of the brain," Roberts added. "But we are very encouraged that, the weight loss program appears to change what foods are tempting to people."

    A brain scan study suggests it may be possible to train your brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, reversing the a...

    Forget toasters -- Russian bank uses cats as premiums

    Take out a mortgage and the bank will loan you a cat for a few hours

    In Russia they have a superstition which says it's good luck if a cat is first to enter your home. I suppose it's a good thing it's not a pig or some big horse. Let's face it superstitions aren't something invented last week they are years in the making, so it could have been some kind of farm animal.

    A Russian bank is taking that superstition to the bank so to speak and capitalizing on it by offering to loan a cat to customers who obtain a mortgage for a new home.

    It's the biggest bank in Russia -- Sberbank. Here is how it works: Customers are invited to choose from 10 cats, including Apricot the ginger tabby, Toffee the Siamese and a hairless Sphynx cat called Kuzma.

    A video on the bank’s website shows clients cheering the animals tentatively stepping over the threshold and delivery vans marked with cat logos driving around the streets of Moscow.

    Now before you cat lovers call your favorite animal rights group to protest, you don't really think a bank would give anything away do you? No, the cats are loaned out for two hours at a time.

    That's just enough time to cross the threshold of the house say a quick meow and move on back to their owners who just happen to be employees of the bank.

    In Russia they have a superstition which says it's good luck if a cat is first to enter your home. I suppose it's a good thing it's not a pig or some big h...

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      Completed foreclosures down sharply in July

      The inventory of foreclosed properties is also substantially lower

      There were 45,000 completed foreclosures across the U.S. during July, a decline of 21.2% from the 57,000 in July 2013.

      In its National Foreclosure Report, CoreLogic also said that on a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures were down by 8.5% from the 49,000 reported in June.

      As a basis of comparison, before housing meltdown in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.

      Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crunch began in September 2008, there have been approximately 5.1 million completed foreclosures across the country.

      A “considerably brighter” picture

      As of July 2014, approximately 640,000 homes in the U.S. were in some stage of foreclosure, known as the foreclosure inventory, compared with 976,000 in July 2013, a year-over-year decline of 34.4%. The foreclosure inventory as of July 2014 made up 1.6% of all homes with a mortgage, versus 2.4% a year earlier. The foreclosure inventory was down 3.3% from June 2014, representing 33 consecutive months of year-over-year declines.

      "The stock of distressed debt continues to rapidly decline, especially in western states," said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. "The number of seriously delinquent loans fell by more than 25% from the prior year in 10 states and 7 of those states were in the west."

      "Based on current trends, the overall foreclosure inventory could trend down to as low as 500,000 homes by year-end which is very positive news for the housing market. The picture is considerably brighter in the non-judicial states which maintain consistently lower foreclosure stocks and, in general, lower levels of serious delinquency," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "In total, there are now 36 states with an inventory of foreclosed homes lower than the national rate of 1.7%."

      Report highlights

      • July represents 18 consecutive months of at least a 20% year-over-year decline in the national inventory of foreclosed homes.
      • All but 2 states posted double-digit declines in foreclosures year over year. The District of Columbia saw a 6.3% decline and the state of Wyoming saw a 14.6% increase in foreclosures year over year.
      • Thirty-one states show declines in year-over-year foreclosure inventory of greater than 30%, with Arizona and Utah experiencing declines at 49% each.
      • The 5 states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in July 2014 were: Florida (120,000), Michigan (44,000), Texas (38,000), California (32,000) and Georgia (31,000).These 5 states account for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
      • The 4 states and the District of Columbia with the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in July 2014 were: South Dakota (73), the District of Columbia (110), North Dakota (307), West Virginia (498) and Wyoming (677).
      • The 5 states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: New Jersey (5.7%), Florida (4.8%), New York (4.3%), Hawaii (3.0%) and Maine (2.7%).
      • The 5 states with the lowest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Nebraska (0.4%), Alaska (0.4%), Arizona (0.5%), Minnesota (0.5%) and North Dakota (0.5%).

      There were 45,000 completed foreclosures across the U.S. during July, a decline of 21.2% from the 57,000 in July 2013. In its National Foreclosure Report...

      4C Foods recalls 4C Grated Cheese HomeStyle Parmesan

      The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

      4C Foods is recalling 308 cases of its 6-oz. glass jars of 4C Grated Cheese HomeStyle Parmesan, UPC 0-41387-32790-8 with code dates BEST BY JUL 21 2016 and JUL 22 2016.

      The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

      No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

      The product was distributed on July 24, 2014 to retail stores in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska. South Dakota and Wisconsin.

      The item is packed 12 glass jars per case. The code dates listed above can be located on back side of the jar toward the bottom portion.

      Consumers do not need to return the product to the store where it was purchased. Instead, they should dispose of the recalled product and its container.

      Consumers may call 4C Foods at 1-718-272-7800 ext. 176, Monday – Friday, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM (Eastern Time), for a replacement or full refund and for general inquires.

      4C Foods is recalling 308 cases of its 6-oz. glass jars of 4C Grated Cheese HomeStyle Parmesan, UPC 0-41387-32790-8 with code dates BEST BY JUL 21 2016 and...

      Recall of Regeneslim appetite control capsules expanded

      The product contains DMAA which may cause cardiovascular problems

      Regeneca Worldwide is expanding its August nationwide recallof RegeneSlim appetite control dietary supplement to include lot #823230415, lot #EX0616r 15813, lot # EX0616R15814 and lot #11414re5516.

      Laboratory analysis has confirmed the presence of DMAA -- also known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine, methylhexanamine, or geranium extract – which is commonly used as a stimulant, pre-workout, and weight loss ingredient in dietary supplement products.

      DMAA is potentially dangerous to health as it can narrow blood vessels and arteries, which can cause a rise in blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems such as shortness of breath, arrhythmias, tightening in the chest, and heart attack.

      There have been no illnesses reported to date.

      RegeneSlim is purchased by and distributed through a direct sales force within the United States and Puerto Rico, and through online sales, for both personal consumption and retail sales.

      The product is packaged in approximately 3 1/2” by 3” green and white sachets that contain 2 capsules, with the name RegeneSlim displayed prominently on the front of the sachet.

      Consumers who have purchased RegeneSlim with the above-mentioned lot numbers should stop using the product immediately and return it to the place of purchase for a full exchange.

      Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-949-281-2600 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., PDT.  

      Regeneca Worldwide is expanding its August nationwide recall of RegeneSlim appetite control dietary supplement to include lot #823230415, lot #EX0616r 1581...

      PEDIGREE expands recall of Adult Complete Nutrition dog food

      The product may contain a foreign material

      Mars Petcare is expanding its previous recallof PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products.

      The product may contain a foreign material.

      The initial recall, which affected 22 bags shipped to Dollar General in four states, has been expanded to include 55-pound bags of the product sold in Sam's Club in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

      Some of the affected production lot was originally said to be held in inventory but was instead released to consumers.

      The company says it has received no reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product.

      The lot codes indicated below should not be sold or consumed:

      • 55-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Sam's Club will have the lot code 432E1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC and a Best Before date of 8/7/15. See below for a list of Sam's Club stores.
      • 15-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Dollar General stores will have the lot code 432C1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC and a Best Before date of 8/5/15. See below for a list of Dollar General stores.
      UPCDESCRIPTION
      23100 10944PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 15 pound bags
      23100 10731PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 55 pound bags

      Affected 15-pound bags were sold between August 18 and August 30 at Dollar General stores in:

      Arkansas

      • Perryville
      • Cabot

      Louisiana

      • Baton Rouge
      • Calhoun
      • Hineston
      • Jonesville
      • Pineville
      • Slaughter

      Mississippi

      • Magnolia
      • Vicksburg

      Tennessee

      • Memphis

      Sam's Club Affected 55-pound bags were sold between August 14 and August 30 at Sam's Club in:

      Michigan

      • Comstock Park
      • Muskegon
      • Jackson
      • Roseville
      • Saginaw
      • Saginaw
      • Kokomo

      Ohio

      • Dayton
      • Holland
      • Lima

      Mars Petcare is expanding its previous recall of PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products. The product may contain a foreign material. The...

      Nissan recalls Frontier Crew Cab vehicles

      The seat belt anchor bolt may not be attached as designed

      Nissan North America is recalling 1,319 model year 2014 Frontier Crew Cab vehicles manufactured June 11, 2014 to June 26, 2014.

      The affected vehicles were manufactured with an out-of-specification anchor nut installed on the weld nut plate where the rear seat belt anchor is attached. The seat belt anchor bolt may not be attached as designed.

      This could increase the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash.

      The remedy for this recall is still under development.

      The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Nissan customer service at 1-800-647-7261.

      Nissan North America is recalling 1,319 model year 2014 Frontier Crew Cab vehicles manufactured June 11, 2014 to June 26, 2014. The affected vehicles wer...

      Cooper Tire & Rubber recalls Wild Country Radial XTX Sport tires

      The tires may experience cracking and broken ply cords

      Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is recalling 1,492 Wild Country Radial XTX Sport 265/65R18 tires manufactured June 1, 2014 to June 28, 2014.

      The tires may experience cracking and broken ply cords in the lower sidewall on the intended outboard side above the rim, increasing the risk of a tire blowout and vehicle crash.

      Cooper will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and test the suspected tires, replace the ones that need to be replaced, free of charge. The recall began in August 2014.

      Owners may contact Cooper customer service at 1-800-854-6288. Cooper's number for this recall is 159.

      Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is recalling 1,492 Wild Country Radial XTX Sport 265/65R18 tires manufactured June 1, 2014 to June 28, 2014. The tires may e...