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Basics of Cord Blood Donation and Storage

New parents are often faced with a tough decision – Should they donate their child’s cord blood, or store it in case the child needs it one day?

Cord blood is a potential treatment for leukemia, lymphoma, and several other diseases. You can see a list of conditions that can be treated with cord blood and/or bone marrow here.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is not recommending cord-blood-banking as “biological insurance” (for future self-use). Costs are relatively high, and it is difficult to predict what percentage of children will need the blood. The AAP also warns that:

The policy also points out that if cord clamping is done too soon after birth, the infant may be deprived of a placental blood transfusion, resulting in lower blood volume and increased risk for anemia later in life. (scroll down for source)

Here are some good resources if you are looking into storing or donating your child’s cord blood, or you just want to learn about this interesting issue:

AAP Cord Blood Statement – The AAP’s statement against “cord blood banking for future transplantation”.
Cord Blood FAQs – From Marrow.org, the National Marrow Donor Program.
About.com article – Deciding whether or not to bank cord blood, good overview and pros & cons.
Cordblood.com – The Cord Blood Registry

Featured post

South Beach Diet Supercharged

Just when we thought the South Beach Diet is good enough, now comes a new and improved makeover of the diet plan encapsulated in the book “The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life.” The book is created and developed by Dr. Agatston together with exercise psychologist Joseph Signoril, PhD introduces a fitness program to let you work out not longer, but smarter.

It is an expanded version of the plan which offers more ways to eat right, list of supercharge foods, 40 additional nutrient-rich recipes, tips to make healthier choices when eating at a restaurant and a fitness exercise. Together with the original diet plan’s three Phases, the eating plan now included a two part fitness program: Interval Walking and the Total Body Workout.

According to Dr. Agatston, the program is designed to “supercharged” metabolism to burn more calories and lose weight fast by a 20 minute-a-day walking.  The authors said, “With interval training, the higher the intensity of the exercise, the longer the afterburn; that is, you will continue to burn more fat and calories after you’ve completed your exercise session,” “This means you’ll burn more fat and calories while you’re going through your daily activities, and even when you’re resting.”

Though the supercharged is well received by the masses, Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, criticize Agatston claims. According to Church that people really do burn a few more calories when they exercise at a steady pace, but won’t burn “far more calories afterward.” In addition, the afterburn idea is not really suggested according to recent research and will only last for 15 to 30 minutes. John Jakicic, director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, somewhat supported Chruch’s criticism by testing a portion of Agatston’s theory. He concludes that what Agatston’s saying isn’t wrong, but he’s just inflating the impact. He added, “the majorities of are burned when you are doing the exercise.”

Dr. Agastton defended his theory and said, they “didn’t overstate afterburn. At most, you can nitpick some of what we say.” “You are going to be able to get greater caloric output per unit of time with this workout.” “Interval training is more efficient, and over time you will burn more calories. That’s my point, and I absolutely stick with it.”

Here is an overview of the two components of this program.

Interval Walking

Alternating periods of fast and or very fast walking with periods of slower recover walking

Boost metabolism, burn more calories and lose more weight fast

A great workout for the heart and lungs for cardiovascular health

Total Body Workout

A workout designed to target and work on several muscle groups simultaneously

Increases flexibility while toning your muscles and legs

Promotes stability, good posture and coordination.

What does it mean when you have a heart murmur?

Dr. Allen Douma, who writes an advice column, answers a 60-year-old patient’s question about what a heart murmur actually is. A heart murmur occurs when the blood traveling away from the heart backpedals, or goes the wrong way. Any of the four heart valves that control the flow of blood can leak.

Murmurs can be temporary: sometimes pregnant women will have them, and they can occur in young people and elderly alike. According to the column I read, a heart murmur does not necessarily denote a serious heart problem. “The most common symptoms are difficulty breathing, fatigue and chest pain.” Some people can go for years without heart murmers being detected. The condition seems to be problematic mostly for elderly people, because it could indicate a problem with the heart valve that could lead to a more permanent blockage, or heart attack.

Recipe Granola Bars

I have been trying to make snacks for my little ones that are healthy and not processed that they will actually eat. I have a picky three year old and not so picky one year old so the best non-fruit/veggie snacks are handheld like crackers, cookies, and bars. I’ve tried a few things that didn’t turn out but I finally got a keeper with these granola bars. I will likely leave out the whole flax seeds next time and use flax eggs instead.

Ingredients:

3.5 cups of regular rolled oats
1 cup of nuts (I used a combo of cashews, almonds, and pecans)
3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2/3 cups of unsweetened coconut
2/3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup of whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
cup of coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)

Instructions:

Combine oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut in a large bowl then spread on a cookie sheet and toast for 10 minutes at 350 degrees – stirring at 5 minutes. Cool.

Combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt then set aside.

Combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, and milk then combine dry ingredients. Once mixed thoroughly add oat mixture. Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet or large cake pan. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes, let cool for a few minutes then cut. Yields 20 large bars.

What are your children’s favorite snacks?

How to prepare a low calorie Blueberry Cornbread

The addition of blueberries takes this savory side dish to a new level. If you don’t like blueberries, simply substitute cranberries – or delete the fruit altogether. For a spicy version (without fruit), add 1 teaspoon minced chipotles in adobo (from a 7-ounce can).

What makes this cornbread healthier than the original? By using egg whites instead of egg yolks, you can eliminate 5 grams of fat (per yolk). Substitute nonfat buttermilk for whole milk and regular corn for creamed corn and shed even more calories and fat. Here’s the tasty result:

Original recipe (per serving):
308 calories
9 grams fat (26%)
2 grams saturated fat
49 mg cholesterol

After makeover (per serving):
173 calories
2 grams fat (10%)
0.3 grams saturated fat
1 mg cholesterol

Ingredients

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 14-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup frozen blueberries (keep frozen until ready to use)
Non-stick cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 Fº. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Mix well with a fork, make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg whites and oil. Stir in corn and blueberries. Fold mixture into dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Pour batter into an 8-inch square cake pan that has been coated with non-stick spray. Bake 20 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan, on a wire rack, 10 minutes. Remove cornbread from pan and cut into 6 even pieces. Serve warm or room temperature.

Vertical Jump Program

Vertical Jump Program… What? Not Another One!

If you do a search for this phrase in Google, you
will find multiple websites that promise you a vertical
jump training that will deliver significant inches
to increase your vertical jump fast.

But…

What does it mean to you to increase vertical jump
fast? And how many inches do you really think you
can gain with any vertical jump program?

Furthermore…

How much would you pay for a vertical jump program
that could really show you how to increase your vertical
jump fast, say…

3-5 instant inches in 30 minutes or less?

If I told you that I could show you a short video that WILL
show you how to add 3-5 fast inches to your vertical
jump or jump higher fast without any vertical jump program…

Would you be compelled to take me up on it?

Or in other words, if I could show you a short video
where we literally go to a basketball gym and randomly approach
some guys playing basketball who are seriously trying to touch
the rim or even trying to dunk (unsuccessfully).

AND IF…

We were able to reveal some simple but powerful technical
JUMPING TIPS to those same basketball players
that could increase their vertical jump instantly, right
before their eyes and YOUR eyes…

So that they could go from barely skimming the
bottom of the rim to grabbing and snapping the rim.

Or…

So that they could go from multiple failed attempts
at dunking the basketball to throwing it down with
authority…

Would that be valuable enough information
for you to take the time to watch?

Yes It’s true…

The content on this site is FREE and very helpful
to anyone who is looking for information on how
to increase vertical jump.

But…

One of the main goals of this post is to show you
how easy it is to increase your vertical jump by
3-5 inches with our FREE VIDEO.

It does require you to voluntarily subscribe in our
FREE JUMPING TIPS VIDEO Opt-in box.

No worries…

When you do this, we will send you this amazing
Free Jumping Tips Video that will reveal all.

All you have to do is type in your name and email
address (on the right side of the screen). Hit the
Yes, I Want To Jump Higher Now! button and You will
then receive the video

Why am I stressing this Point?

Because the content in the Free Jumping Tips Video
is unmatched. There is nothing else like it online. It will
help you or a friend to increase your vertical jump by 3-5
Instant Inches.

How to get taller by using the natural resources?

In this world there are many men and women who are not satisfy about their height and wondering how to get taller,especially a midget and you can tell from other “normal person” by the standard of legal midget height. Due the lack of height the confidence level of these people are very low and they never feel strong enough to take any bold decision in their career and in result their life, career and relation all suffer.

There are many people who search about how to get taller everyday and very interested in knowing them. But they should consider the fact which is proven that men and women did not gain height after 20 – 25 age. But thanks to science and technology now there are many proven method and pills available that help you in gaining height. But beside these pills and methods there are also many natural ways that helps you in gaining your height.

If you naturally want to get taller then you need to keep one thing in mind, is that there are three essential things that helps you in gaining height. These three important things are, first is proper healthy diet, then second is daily exercise and third is free-mind sleeping. These all three are equally important for how to get taller and you can’t leave any of them.

Proper healthy diet is one of the most important if you want to increase your height. You need to do your best to avoid unhealthy foods like fast foods as much as you can and try to eat fresh vegetables and fruits. Try to eat foods that are rich in calcium, minerals and vitamins.

Exercise is also plays important role in increasing your height. If you want to get taller then you need to add exercise in your daily routine. There are some special exercises that are design to help you to increase your height. Exercises like vertical hanging and forward spine stretch are very effective for increasing your height.

Many people who follow proper healthy diet and do exercise daily but still fail to gain height the main hurdle for increasing the height in these people is that they don’t take enough sleep. According to doctors, 8-9 hrs sleep is necessary for every men and women. Many people neglect it and beat their mind how to get taller.

If you want to gain your height then you need to build proper daily routine in which you need to include all three things properly. By properly following these three tips then I am sure you will see your height increase and you get the answer of how to get taller.

Reducing Hospital Infections

RID is the committee to Reduce Infectious Deaths that occur during hospital stays & surgeries. These infections affect 2 million Americans and cause ~103,000 deaths per year. RID offers some simple steps to avoid this potentially life-threatening type of infection. Here are 3 of them:

Ask that hospital staff clean their hands before treating you, and ask visitors to clean their hands too.
Before your doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to your chest, ask that the diaphragm (or flat surface of the stethoscope) be wiped with alcohol.
If you need a “central line” catheter, ask your doctor about the benefits of one that is antibiotic-impregnated or silver-chlorhexidine coated to reduce infections.

Brent Blackwell’s 2008 Season Preview

After a decade and a half of owning the NL East, spending two years watching playoff baseball on TV has seemed like an eternity for Braves fans.  While the most current edition is no lock to return to past glory, it does appear to be Atlanta’s best team since the 2005 squad that last reached the postseason.  Returning a phenomenal offense and vastly underrated defense, Atlanta is hoping that through free agency and some rehabilitation, the pitching staff will be improved enough to once again be considered a strength.

Atlanta has conventional stars, like most teams, but it is production from the players at the non-traditional offensive positions that makes this offense so special.  That all begins with catcher Brian McCann.  After an outstanding 2006, McCann came back to earth in 2007 but still was quite helpful in the offense.  Expect a slight rebound in 2008, and there’s no reason McCann can’t hit near or higher than .300 this year.  Moving around the infield, 2007 mid-season acquisition Mark Teixeira is primed for his first full season in Atlanta.  Last year Teixeira hit roughly .800/.933/1.350 for two months in Atlanta – I kid, but doesn’t that seem strangely accurate?  Given that Teixeira, who besides being an ideal #3 or #4 hitter is also a Gold Glove candidate, is only guaranteed to be a Brave through the end of this season, the pressure is on the organization to take advantage of this great window of opportunity.  Across the diamond, team leader Chipper Jones returns for his 14th full season in Atlanta after leading the majors in EqA in 2007.  With Chipper, it’s never a question of whether he will produce, but whether he’ll be on the field enough to produce.  While Chipper has announced quite a lofty goal of 150 games, Braves fans will be happy with 130, a total he’s reached only twice in the 4 years since he returned to 3B.  Lost somewhere in Jones’ chase for the NL batting title last season was Chipper’s sudden and surprising improvement on defense.  Never a favorite among defensive analysts, Chipper upgraded his game last year, which was a huge help to Atlanta.  According to Revised Zone Rating, Chipper was among the league leaders in Out of Zone plays.  Up the middle, Atlanta will rely on 2B Kelly Johnson, an on-base machine who could approach 20 HR and who should be much improved defensively in his 2nd season at the position.  In 2007, coming off Tommy John surgery, Johnson played plus defense and was a quiet offensive force.  If he gets any better, he arguably becomes Atlanta’s most valuable player.  His double play mate will be SS Yunel Escobar, a solid defender whose best offensive attribute is his ability to make consistent contact.  While unlikely to match last season’s impressive stats, Yunel should still be reliable .

Anchoring the outfield will be RF Jeff Francoeur, who spent 2007 working on his biggest problem – plate discipline.  It’s rare to see players try to reinvent their hitting approaches and much rarer to see them have such success in doing so.  Granted, a cursory glance at Francoeur’s ’07 season might indicate a loss of power, given that his HR count dipped from 29 to 19.  However, Francoeur cut his strikeout rate, doubled his walk rate, and got more loft in his swing, increasing his fly ball and line drive rates.  In 2008, Francoeur should finally put it all together, and I’m calling for a .300/.350/.500 season with 30 HR.  Given that he has added 17 pounds of muscle this offseason and considering the natural progression of offensive growth, that could be quite a realistic forecast and possibly even a modest one.  In CF is newcomer Mark Kotsay, who hasn’t been healthy since Mike Hampton was simply an overpaid pitcher rather than an overpaid injured pitcher.  Kotsay’s back problems are unlikely to go away for good, but if he can rediscover his youth just a bit in Atlanta, he should be at least league-average offensively.  His defense won’t remind anyone of his predecessor, Andruw Jones, but it won’t be as big a drop-off as might have been expected when Atlanta announced Jones’ departure.  Since Kotsay comes extraordinarily cheap, Atlanta is hoping he can be on the field for 125 or so games, and contribute a line somewhere in the vicinity of .275/.325/.400.  In left field, Atlanta returns Matt Diaz, who will continue to be the quietest .300 hitter in the game.  Despite Bobby Cox’ natural instinct to platoon Diaz, he has the ability to hit right-handers at a .300+ clip and his defense was ranked 5th among Major League LF according to fielding guru John Dewan’s +/- ratings.

While the offensive optimism is unbridled, a look at the pitching staff encourages more optimism, but with a dose of caution.  Leading the way is John Smoltz, who returns for another season as Atlanta’s ace.  While his increasing age is of course a red flag for injury concerns (which we’re already seeing with his shoulder), Smoltz is one of the 5 most reliable pitchers in the game in terms of predictable performance.  He’s probably not going to go 1996 on us anymore, but we can trust that he’ll pitch like the ace he’s counted on to be.  Atlanta also returns #2 starter Tim Hudson, who in 2007 finally put an end to his National League struggles.  The groundball pitcher should be due for an even better 2008 considering he’ll have a full year of Mark Teixeira and Yunel Escobar in the field, both of whom are vast improvements over last year’s combo of Scott Thorman and Edgar Renteria, and Huddy will also benefit from Kelly Johnson’s defensive progression.  Sliding into the third slot is the familiar face of Tom Glavine.  Let’s not get too nostalgic about this signing – Glavine isn’t the pitcher he used to be, we don’t need him to be the pitcher he used to be, and we’re not paying him to be the pitcher he used to be.  That’s important to remember when we take a look in June and see an ERA closer to 4.50 than what we’re used to from him, which is about half that.  42 year olds without strikeout capabilities don’t tend to age as gracefully as the John Smoltzes of the world, so let’s not expect too much.  With that being said, what Glavine will lose by moving from pitcher-friendly Shea to neutral Turner Field, I think he’ll make up for in happiness.  Glavine will be more at home in Atlanta, and that will play a part, even if it’s a small one.  Next is the young Jair Jurrjens, acquired in the Edgar Renteria trade.  His impressive spring made it impossible to leave him in Richmond to begin the season, and to be quite honest, I think he might be the 3rd best pitcher on the team.  Jurrjens won’t blow you away with ability, but his pitch selection and pitch location are his biggest strengths, and that’s something we’ve been missing in Atlanta.  The fifth starter will be – and I can’t believe I’m actually typing this sentence in late March – Mike Hampton.  The last time Mike Hampton threw a major league pitch, Darren McFadden was entering college and hoping for some playing time as a freshman.  As McFadden prepares for the NFL draft, one can’t help but think that even if Hampton is truly healthy, and I really hope he is – won’t there be some rust after so long?  His spring has looked decent enough to make me think he might actually be able to help.  If Hampton can defy critics, Father Time, and Mother Nature, he’ll be a great boost for this team, possibly enough to push them well past the Mets.  If he can’t, don’t worry – Atlanta will still be in the race.  If the old guys get hurt, Jurrjens struggles, or Hampton remembers his true identity, Atlanta has several other options for the rotation, and it’s that sort of flexibility that I do love about this year’s pitching staff. In the mix is Jo-Jo Reyes, off a disappointing rookie year, Jeff Bennett, winner of this year’s “I Pitched 5 Dominant Innings In A Spot Start So I Automatically Get To Be Mentioned In The Rotation Battle Like Oscar Villarreal Award”, Buddy Carlyle, and Cox favorite Charlie Morton.  Being a Cox favorite doesn’t mean much, though – I guess Morton can start a bowling team with Trey Hodges, Anthony Lerew, Chris Brock, and Travis Smith.  In all seriousness, though, at least Cox has finally targeted a real prospect with his affection.  Morton seems like a real future asset.

The 2008 bullpen will be unheralded but solid.  Closing is Rafael Soriano, who has dominant stuff and should be very solid in the role, as long as he can put last summer’s home run struggles behind him.  Considering that despite those struggles, he still ranked as one of the NL East’s best relief pitchers last year, he should be very valuable, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Soriano become the NL’s best closer in 2008.  Setting him up will be Peter Moylan who, according to the Win Probability Added stat available at FanGraphs (a wonderful tool/toy), was the most valuable reliever in the division in 2007.  Moylan sets batters up with a mid 90’s sinker and devastates them with a slow, sweeping slider.  Due to his side-arm delivery, it creates an unfavorable effect from the hitter’s perspective.  It’s no surprise that right handed hitters were helpless against Moylan, batting .183/.244/.290.  Atlanta is looking forward to a mid-season bullpen boost when Mike Gonzalez is slated to return in June.  Until then, the lefty duties will go to either Will Ohman, a talented youngster who posted a 4.95 ERA in limited duty with the Cubs last year, or Royce Ring, acquired at the trading deadline last year.  Also available is Jeff Ridgway, picked up from Tampa Bay this offseason.  All three are adept at getting out lefties, and it’s likely that’s all they’ll be asked to do.  The final spots will be duked out in spring training and most likely will be some combination of Chris Resop, Manny Acosta, Jeff Bennett, and Blaine Boyer.  There is great uncertainty with such an unproven pen, but also great potential.  The bullpen most certainly holds the key to Atlanta’s season, because the unknown is such a major factor here.

All in all, Atlanta should be improved from 2007’s 84-78 record, but the roster adjustments were slight, so don’t expect a huge improvement.  Still, there’s some room for optimism.  Last year’s team probably underachieved a little bit, and was good enough to have won close to 88 games.  If Atlanta improves by a few wins thanks to upgrades here and there, 90 wins isn’t out of the question.  I’m a loyal fan, but I’m also a realistic fan, and I know the Mets are improved and hungry.  Guess what?  That’s fine.  Atlanta is my favorite to take home the NL Wild Card in 2008, and that’ll make this Braves fan very happy.  After all, the last 6 World Series have all featured at least one Wild Card team, and to me, that goal is much, much bigger than simply beating the Mets.

The Debate: Smoltz vs. Glavine

So Chipperboy and I were talking the other day about the Braves. I made the comment that Smoltz was the 2nd best pitcher behind Maddux. He took offense to the comment and we started to argue. We stopped arguing and decided that we will continue this on the blog. I agreed to post my argument first. He will post his argument tomorrow. We will then continue the debate on the forum. Feel free to join us in the debate. John Smoltz was better than and still is better than Tom Glavine. He was the second best pitcher on the Braves during the streak. To prove this we will look at the numbers.

What is the first stat that comes to mind when you think of pitchers? To me, it’s ERA. So let’s look at the career ERAs of both players. Smoltz’s career ERA is 3.26 compare that to Glavine’s poultry ERA of 3.51. When it comes to ERA+, Smoltz once again has the edge. Smoltz’s career ERA+ of 127 is good enough for 53rd all-time, while Glavine’s is 119 which places him 118th all-time. Glavine’s career WHIP is 1.309, that places him 482nd all-time. Smoltz’s WHIP of 1.1696 places him 82nd all-time.

Smoltz has better stuff. I do not think anyone can deny that. Glavine’s game has always been built around his control. But Smoltz has a better K:BB ratio and it’s not even close. Yes, Smoltz strikes out a lot more hitters, but, if Glavine’s control was so great then the number of walks he allowed should be much less. Smoltz’s K:BB is 3.02 while Glavine’s is 1.76.

If it had not been for Smoltz’s injury problems over the years, he would be approaching 300 wins. He basically did not start a game for 5 straight seasons (2000-2004). He started 5 games during those 5 years all of them coming in 2001. From 2002 to 2004, he was the most dominating closer in the game. This versatility proves just how good Smoltz truly is/was.

I am not saying that Glavine was not a great pitcher. Glavine is a 2-time Cy Young Award winner. He was a great pitcher. But he was not better than and is not better than Smoltz.