Luxe Massages for the Budget-Minded

Thanks to the combination of a computer-focused job, regular workouts and a bad habit of carrying my stuffed-to-capacity purse and gym bag on the same shoulder, my upper back is a minefield of painful knots. In search of relief, I booked an appointment at Ardmore’s newly opened Massage Envy last Sunday. Read more »

Green Grocery Bags Could Make You Sick

If you’re one of the many Philly shoppers that stuff their reusable, green-friendly shopping bags into their bags and backpacks so they’re ready at a moment’s notice to tote home any and all grocery goods, it’s time to ask yourself one very important question: When was the last time you tossed ’em in the wash?

According to a recent joint food-safety research report issued by the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California, reusable grocery bags can be a breeding ground for dangerous food-borne bacteria, as they create an opportunity for cross contamination of foods. The study randomly tested 84 reusable bags carried by shoppers and found bacteria levels, including those of E. coli, that were significant enough to cause a wide range of serious health problems and even death. (Blame leaky milk cartons, meat products, or that time you tossed your books or sneaks in there in between shops.) However, with regular hand- or machine-washing of these bags, the bacteria levels were reduced by 99.9%. So stay green, but be clean. — Kelly O’Shea

CHOP Finds Gender Differences In Stress Response

There may be a biological reason why depression and other stress-related psychiatric disorders are more common among women compared to men. Studying stress signaling systems in animal brains, neuroscience researchers found that females are more sensitive to low levels of an important stress hormone and less able to adapt to high levels than males. The research appears online today in Molecular Psychiatry.

“This is the first evidence for sex differences in how neurotransmitter receptors traffic signals,” said study leader Rita J. Valentino, PhD, a behavioral neuroscientist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Although more research is certainly necessary to determine whether this translates to humans, this may help to explain why women are twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders.” []

Penn Medicine to Open New Buildings

Penn Medicine plans to open two additional out-patient centers this summer in Valley Forge and Woodbury Heights, New Jersey. Penn Medicine at Valley Forge, a 90,000-square-foot facility, is currently under construction, and will house more than 50 primary care and specialty care physicians, and on-site laboratory and radiology services. The three-story building will also serve as a primary care training site for University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine students. Penn Medicine Woodbury Heights [shown], a 37,500-square-foot facility, will also house primary care and specialty care physicians, on-site laboratory and radiology services, physical therapy, and an optical shop.

Penn Sleep Expert Tracks Astronauts’ Stress and Fatigue During 520-Day Mars Mission Simulation

David Dinges, PhD, chief of the division of chronobiology and professor of psychology in psychiatry at Penn Medicine, will lead a U.S. scientific team as part of a simulated 520-day Mars mission simulation. The researchers will be monitoring the six crew members’ rest-activity cycles, performance and psychological responses to determine the extent to which sleep loss, fatigue, stress, mood changes and conflicts occur during the mission. The 520-day mission is broken into 250 days for the trip to Mars, 30 days on the surface, and 240 days for the return to Earth. []

CHOP Makes Honor Roll

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has been ranked first, second, or third in nine out of 10 specialties in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Children’s Hospitals issue, 2010.

CHOP ranked number one in Neonatal Care, Pulmonology, and Diabetes and Endocrine Disorders; second in Cancer, Urology, Heart and Heart Surgery, and Gastroenterology; third in Orthopaedics and Neurology and Neurosurgery; and sixth in Kidney.

By ranking in the top 10 in all specialties, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia earns a place on the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. CHOP was the only pediatric hospital in the Tri-state area named to the Honor Roll. []

Wellness Wire

Is Watching Your Wallet Weighing You Down?
If finances have forced you to frequent more budget-friendly supermarkets as of late, consider this before tossing the $2 pizza rolls into your cart: The percentage of obese shoppers is nearly 10 times higher at low-cost stores compared to pricier markets. []

Hey, Memorial Day-ers: 1 in 8 Pools Could Make You Sick
Before you jump in, ask your pool operator to test PH levels. If the PH isn’t between 7.2 and 7.8, those crystal blue waters could be harboring bugs that cause intestinal infections. []

Pick Up Some Pistachios
New research shows that the nuts can increase levels of antioxidants in the blood of adults with high cholesterol. []

— Research by Jillian Skrocki

Wellness Wire

Another Reason to Bike to Work
Over the next decade, Philly plans to double the number of marked bike lanes. []

Daddy Blues After Baby
Women aren’t the only ones who can become bummed out post-baby. The pressure to be the emotional rock may have a negative affect on some men. Watch this video to learn more about postpartum depression in men. []

Legionnaires’ Disease Hits Close to Home
An employee at the  Social Security Administration at Third and Spring Garden Streets has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a severe bacterial infection that produces pneumonia. A co-worker tested positive for the bacteria but has not yet developed the related pneumonia. []

Drink Up (In Moderation, Of Course)
One new study has shown a direct, positive correlation between moderate drinking and lower anxiety and lower body mass index compared to those who rarely imbibe alcoholic beverages. []

— Research by Jillian Skrocki

Wellness Wire

You Might Wanna Rethink That Hot Dog
New research shows that regularly consuming the sodium and nitrate preservatives in processed meat—think bacon, sausage, or deli meats—increases the risk of heart disease by 42 percent and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 19 percent. []

Virtual Baseball Better Than The Real Thing?
The American Heart Association’s Healthy Check logo will soon appear on Nintendo Wii video game systems. But not everyone agrees “exergaming” deserves the AHA’s stamp of approval over the real deal. []

Can’t Sleep, But You Don’t Know Why?
With 40 million Americans suffering from chronic sleep disorders, it’s no surprise that people are trying to understand them. Check out this Q & A as one journalist attempts to get to the bottom of her own insomnia. []

— research by Jillian Skrocki

Wellness Wire

Dirty Water in a Glass?
Horticulturists have come up with a low-cost, green method for recycling wastewater so that it may soon be okay to drink. []

Another Reason to Buy Local: It May Help Prevent ADHD in Kids
If helping your community and getting pesticide-free produce wasn’t enough, new studies show that buying local and organic produce may also prevent children from developing ADHD. []

Lungs Love Vitamin E
New studies show that people taking vitamins regularly, particularly Vitamin E supplements may lower their risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. []

— Research by Jillian Skrocki

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