They Survived Byberry

From a collection of artwork by Anna Jennings.

From a collection of artwork by Anna Jennings.

Philadelphia State Hospital — the psychiatric facility colloquially known as Byberry because of its location at Roosevelt Boulevard and Southampton Road in Northeast Philadelphia — was almost Anna Jennings’ last stop.

Six years after her stay there, the pretty, blue-eyed 32-year-old would die by suicide in the back ward of a different state hospital. But her tenacity had not yet reached its end point while she was at Byberry, despite more than a decade in and out of institutions where she endured terrible abuses and erroneously prescribed treatments — some of which were so awful they’re now illegal. In fact, if it were not for Anna’s persistence, Byberry might still be in operation today. Read more »

State May Expand Smoking Ban to All Clubs and Bars



There are still places in Pennsylvania where you can light up a cigarette publicly — but it appears even those few places are about to go away.

The Pennsylvania House is considering a bill that would eliminate most exemptions from the 2008 state law that banned most public smoking. NewsWorks says the new ban would extend to all bars, hotels, and private clubs. There appears to be little opposition to the bill. Read more »

The Brief: Philly’s Maternal Mortality Rate Is Worse Than Libya’s


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1. A new report digs into Philadelphia’s extremely high maternal mortality rate.

The gist: The city’s maternal mortality rate is 27.4 per 100,000 births, according to a new study by the Department of Public Health. “The surprising findings for many people was that so many of these tragic deaths were related to social-economic status,” perinatologist Jason Baxter told NewsWorks. Other causes include domestic violence, drug addiction, mental health issues and chronic disease. Read more »

Queen Village’s ZAKTi Fitness Studio Reopening in New (Larger!) Space Tonight

Never heard of ZAKTi? Not too surprising: The boutique-style fitness studio has garnered all of its clients by word of mouth since opening in 2012. So to give you some background: ZAKTi is a fitness studio that offers a range of classes from yoga to HIIT, plus nutrition and meditation services. And their focus, aside from making sure you get your sweat on, is to make sure you understand exactly how the exercises you’re doing are impacting your body. So they take a more holistic, educational approach than some, if you will.

The studio used to be located right next to DIG Yoga at 4th and Monroe Streets but, tonight, they’re reopening in a brand spankin’ new, larger location just a few steps away at 744 South 4th Street in Queen Village. And you are invited to celebrate with them! And yes (because we know you were wondering), there will be free wine.

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Nominate Your Health Hero: The 2015 Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge Is On

health hero
Attention, people! The Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge is back for its fourth year, and we need to hear from you. We just opened up the nomination form so, please, hurry on over and tell us all about the amazing people in the Philadelphia region — teachers, coaches, trainers, doctors, and the list goes on and on — who are helping to make your community healthier.

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Let’s Discuss: Why Do You Work Out?



Yesterday, I read a really interesting piece on Well + Good titled “What You Can Learn About Fitness and Body Image from the Girls of Girls.” As it turns out, the reasons the girl from Girls work out don’t have all that much to do with how they look on television. As Jemima Kirke, who plays Jessa, said, she works out because it makes her strong, and she needs to be strong to keep up with her kids. A practical answer if we’ve ever heard one. And Lena Dunham recently posted an Instagram photo of herself decked out in workout clothes, with a lengthy caption about how exercising has helped her with her anxiety, the most quotable portion of it being, “It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain.” Well said, right?

And it’s not just the girls from Girls: Be Well Philly contributor, Lauren Napolitano has echoed this statement in the past, saying CrossFit helped her to become a more sane parent, albeit more because of the community bonding than the burpees.

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An Orgasm a Day Keeps the Prostate Cancer Away

man in bed

A new study out of Harvard proves what horn dogs have been trying to tell us for years: orgasming doesn’t only feel good—it can make you live longer, too!

The study reveals that men who ejaculate more often during their lifetime—about 21 times a month—have a 22 percent lower risk of getting prostate cancer.

There’s some heft behind the results, too: There were 32,000 males in good health involved in the study over the course of 18 years, which makes it the largest scientific study to date on male ejaculation. To get the results, subjects chronicled and shared their monthly ejaculation practices—from masturbation to full-on sex—between the ages of 20 and 29, and 40 and 49.

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