Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

TIPS TO NAVIGATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Lincoln, Nebraska, Dec. 19, 2019 — With the holidays approaching, University of Nebraska–Lincoln researchers are delivering top tips for navigating the season with good cheer. This listicle provides research-based recommendations on designing energy-efficient light displays; accommodating food allergies; adding healthy choices to the holiday buffet; recycling holiday decor; and decreasing stress to maximize the enjoyment of the season.

Counting calories in real time may curb overindulgence

During the holiday season, an average adult gains about a pound — which is often never lost. This trend may contribute to the U.S.’s increasing rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other long-term illnesses. 

Nebraska agricultural economist Christopher Gustafson is working to help people make healthier decisions about food consumption. In a 2019 study, Gustafson explored whether access to a real-time calorie counter would spur healthier choices. 

Compared to people without a calorie tracker, the participants who used the device had a more accurate view of the number of calories they selected over five sequential food choices. They also chose significantly fewer calories overall. The differences occurred in the last few selections, suggesting that people without a tracker overindulged down the line because they underestimated the caloric value of earlier choices.

This means people may make poorer choices at a later point in time — at dessert or during a second trip through the buffet line, for example — because they’ve undershot their caloric intake to that point.

Until free, real-time calorie trackers are available — a long-range goal of Gustafson’s research — people can help themselves by staying attuned to their actual consumption.

“At a time of year full of holiday celebrations — usually with tempting foods — people may be able to make their New Year’s resolutions easier to accomplish by trying to be honest with themselves about the foods they’re consuming now,” Gustafson said.

Boosting your home’s cheer, but not your energy bill

Holiday lights are beautiful, but they also sap power. Estimates from the Department of Energy indicate Americans’ holiday light use burns 6.6 billion kilowatt-hours annually — enough to fuel more than 800,000 homes for a year.

Luckily there are ways to mitigate power use without turning into the Grinch, said Jerry Hudgins, interim director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research and professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering.

Using LED lights rather than traditional incandescent bulbs yields significant savings, he said. They’re more expensive up front, with an LED bulb costing about $1.50 compared to 25 cents for a same-sized regular bulb. But over time, the investment pays off: LEDs use up to 70% less energy than traditional lights, and they last roughly 10 times longer.

“Because of the lower electrical power requirements, LEDs cause fewer greenhouse gases to be emitted from electric power generation, and so are more environmentally friendly,” Hudgins said.

Another power-saving tip is to put your outdoor lights on a timer, so that they’re running during high-traffic times, when the greatest number of people will enjoy them. Hudgins pointed out that after midnight, few people are out and about to admire your display.

Beyond energy-saving tips, Hudgins recommends people stay safe with outdoor holiday displays by using extension cords that are rated for outdoor use and have the proper gauge wire size. A lower number, or gauge, corresponds to a larger diameter wire and can handle a higher electrical load.

“A long extension cord with small gauge wire can overheat if the electrical load is too high,” Hudgins said.

Helping yourself — and your dog — stay calm

Depleted bank accounts, time with the family and an onslaught of parties and events is enough to bring on the holiday frazzle for many people.

One solution? Jeffrey Stevens, associate professor of psychology and director of Nebraska’s Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab, said turning to your four-legged companion for support is a scientifically backed way to ratchet down the pressure.

“Our research has shown that briefly petting a dog can improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety,” Stevens said. “So if things get a little overwhelming, spend some quality time with your pet to calm yourself and strengthen your bond.”

Remember, though, the holidays aren’t just stressful for people — dogs can get keyed up too, with extra UPS deliveries, guests in the house and packages on the floor to explore. Stevens said to watch out for dogs’ signs of stress — panting, yawning and lip licking in situations where those behaviors don’t typically occur.

“If it seems like your pet is stressed, make sure they have a quiet place to relax away from the hustle and bustle.”

Stevens launched the Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab in 2018, aiming to develop a better understanding of dog psychology and how interacting with dogs influences human behavior and psychology.

Enhancing children’s nutrition during the holidays

‘Tis the season for cookies, candy and sweets — but it’s also possible for families to celebrate the holidays healthfully by incorporating fruits and vegetables.

“You can make healthy foods festive by getting creative with fruits and vegetables to make fun snacks that are bright and delightful,” said Carly Hillburn, a Nebraska dietetics intern and collaborator on the Ecological Approach to Family Style dining program.

Examples include making “Grinch Santas” by stacking green grapes, banana slices and strawberries, or placing sliced strawberries and bananas into a candy cane shape.

The EAT Family Style team also recommends:

> Getting children involved at mealtimes to pique their interest in trying their creations. For example, toddlers can dump ingredients into bowls and stir; preschoolers can use cookie cutters and rinse produce; and elementary-aged children can crack eggs and use vegetable peelers.

> Exploring healthy meals by engaging children’s senses and talking about nutritional benefits. Since children are curious about the world, ask them to explore their food using the five senses. You can ask specific questions about foods, such as “Did you hear the celery crunch when you took a bite?” or incorporate nutritional phrases into mealtimes, such as “Fruits will give my body energy.”

EAT Family Style is led by Dipti Dev, the Betti and Richard Robinson Associate Professor of Child, Youth and Family Studies. Saima Hasnin, doctoral student in child, youth and family studies, and Rachel Maloy, an undergraduate in nutrition and dietetics, contributed to this article.

Building happier, healthier families through storytelling

The holiday season is replete with family time and intergenerational gatherings.

Nebraska’s Jody Koenig Kellas, professor of communication studies and an expert on interpersonal, family and health communication, said the family stories we hear and tell can have a significant and lasting impact on family members. For this reason, the holidays can be the perfect time to intentionally engage in storytelling to learn about or revisit family history and create stronger ties.

Koenig Kellas said family stories help create a sense of family identity; socialize members about family meanings, values and beliefs; cope with and make sense of difficulty and stress; and connect with one another. 

But her research shows that how families share stories is crucial.

“Families who engage in storytelling by being present and warm, who share the floor and build on each other’s contributions, who seek out and honor each other’s perspectives on how things happened or the meaning of the story, and who work together to create the meaning or moral of the story – these families report higher levels of health and happiness than families who are distant, disengaged, don’t take each other’s perspectives into account and don’t work together to build story meaning,” Koenig Kellas said.

In short, being mindfully engaged, other-centered and collaborative during the storytelling process is one avenue for promoting family satisfaction and closeness.

Giving your Christmas tree a second life

During the holiday season, decor often includes a fresh-cut Christmas tree. But after the ornaments and lights are back in storage, most real trees end up in landfills, where they can take years to break down.

But there are other options for your evergreen, according to Nebraska Extension horticulture educators Nicole Stoner and Sarah Browning.

Here are their tips:

> Create a backyard habitat to feed the birds: After stripping the tree of decor, move it to the south or east side of your home, anchor it securely and decorate it with strings of popcorn, cranberries or raisins to create a bird oasis. 

> Boost local fish habitat: If you take your tree to a local lake designated for Christmas tree recycling, it will be placed on the lake’s ice in the winter. When the ice melts in spring, the trees fall into the water and function as fish habitat.

> Sustain local parks: Lincoln has several recycling points for Christmas trees, which are collected, chipped and used as mulch or pathway cover in city parks and arboreta.

> Beautify your garden: Chip your tree and use it as garden mulch in the spring. Alternatively, clean up the tree and use it to make a trellis, which can be used to grow cucumbers up off the ground.

Staying merry despite food allergies

Many people love to indulge in the traditional dishes and flavors of the holiday season. But for individuals and families with food allergies, these food-filled events can become dangerous.

“Food allergies are potentially life-threatening conditions affecting millions of Americans, and the only way to prevent reactions is strict avoidance,” said Melanie Downs, assistant professor of food science and technology and a member of Nebraska’s Food Allergy Research and Resource Program. “Even very small amounts of food can cause reactions.”

But Downs and Eleanor Garrow-Holding of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team, a FARRP collaborator, said food allergies are manageable, even during the holidays. Here are their tips for event attendees:

> Contact your host and alert them of the allergy and precautions, including not having the allergen present, if necessary.

> Offer to go a little early and help clean.

> Offer to help the host cook the food.

> Have your child eat a snack before you go, so they’re less tempted to grab food when you’re not watching.

> Bring separate dishes that you know your child can eat.

> Remind your child about not eating anything that you haven’t OK’d first.

> Always be prepared with an allergy and anaphylaxis emergency care plan and epinephrine, if prescribed.

More information is available on the FARRP and FAACT websites, https://farrp.unl.edu and https://www.foodallergyawareness.org/education.

Combating holiday blues in children

The wintertime hustle and bustle is overwhelming to some children, particularly those who have experienced a significant change in their life.

Nebraska Extension’s Lisa Poppe, who specializes in the social and emotional well-being of children, said holiday plans that are typically happy and exciting can be complicated by divorce, separation, remarriage or the loss of a parent or other important figure.

“When children are in these situations, the holidays may remind them of how their life was before, and the emotional conflict and stress can ruin their time,” said Poppe, who is part of the Metro Extension District.

Poppe provided the following tips to help children navigate the stress:

> Maintain family traditions even if a parent is absent. Children look forward to the normalcy of these traditions and feel safe in this routine.

> It’s OK if you don’t see everyone or do everything. Overscheduled children become burned out, overtired and cranky.

> Make sure children get plenty of sleep.

> Build in extra time for traveling, and bring plenty of snacks, games and books with you.

> Don’t forget to take care of yourself. When you’re overcommitted or on edge, children feel that stress.

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WRITER: Tiffany Lee, Office of Research and Economic Development

Turn – Washington Spies

TURN: Washington's Spies I really enjoyed this. Turns out to be quite factual as to names, places, dates and events. I recommend the series.

Mosquito Bites

An estimated 20 percent of people, it turns out, are especially delicious for mosquitoes, and get bit more often on a consistent basis. And while scientists don’t yet have a cure for the ailment, other than preventing bites with insect repellent (which, we’ve recently discovered, some mosquitoes can become immune to over time), they do have a number of ideas regarding why some of us are more prone to bites than others. Here are some of the factors that could play a role:

Find out more here —> https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-do-mosquitoes-bite-some-people-more-than-others-10255934/

Everyone Should Reset Their Routers

Raise your hands if you’re aware of the FBI’s directive to the public to reboot their routers. This is 2 months old but is verified on www.FBI.gov .  -keith—

https://www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/ftw-podcast-malware-targets-routers-053118.mp3/view

Raise your hands if you’re aware of the FBI’s directive to the public to reboot their routers. Raise your hands if you have actually rebooted yours. If you have no clue as to what we’re talking about or why you should even care – even a little – we’re going to break it down.

link here — http://www.ba-bamail.com/content.aspx?emailid=29869

The Importance of Elder Empowerment

Posted On 19 Jun 2018  By : 

In a traditional senior care setting, schedules are a way of life. There are specific times for when to get up, when to go to bed, when to have activities, exercise and have meals. For seniors who spent their entire adulthood living independently and making their own choices, the cultural shock can be considerable. (…) Read more by using the link below.

An Elder-Directed Environment

Green House communities, which follow the model established by The Green House Project, buck the traditional senior care model by putting elder decision-making at the heart of all they do. “We push the envelope by looking at the elder voice and learning how to access it, and also by determining what mechanics need to put in place to ensure the model is elder-directed,” says Wiegand.

The Green House model facilitates elder-directed lifestyles by creating a more intimate, residential environment. Each Green House home accommodates between 10 and 12 elders, as opposed to the environment of a traditional senior living model that typically has 100 residents or more.

https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/the-importance-of-elder-empowerment/

 

Anti-Aging Pills?

Can Aging Be Cured in Your Lifetime? It May Be So…

If there’s one thing we wish we could all have, it’s a way to stop aging and remain looking young forever. But, what if we could actually stop aging forever? Will it be possible to cure aging during your lifetime? Find out what this video has to say.

http://www.ba-bamail.com/video.aspx?emailid=30219

Cellular senescence From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cellular senescence is one phenomenon by which normal cells cease to divide. In their seminal experiments from the early 1960’s, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead discovered that normal human fetal fibroblasts in culture reach a maximum of approximately 50 cell population doublings before becoming senescent.[1][2][3] This phenomenon is known as “replicative senescence”, or the Hayflick limit. Hayflick’s discovery that normal cells are mortal overturned a 60-year-old dogma in cell biology that maintained that all cultured cells are immortal. Hayflick found that the only immortal cultured cells are cancer cells.[4]

Project explores why aging brains stay on the sunny side

Excerpt:

As people age, they become more motivated to enjoy life and savor the relationships they have, she added. Young people, on the other hand, are motivated to experience novelty, which doesn’t always go well, so they may be wired to err on the side of caution and view situations more negatively.    Read the story here —> 

https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/project-explores-why-aging-brains-stay-on-the-sunny-side/

Health Tips for the Summer Season

By Dr. Tony Sun, Chief Medical Officer, UnitedHealthcare of Nebraska

Summer is here, providing an ideal time for people in Nebraska to get active. While some people may talk about getting a “beach body,” fitness is more than just a matter of aesthetics – it can mean the difference between a long life and premature death.

Studies show 80 percent or more of premature chronic conditions, such as heart attack, stroke or diabetes, are caused by modifiable lifestyle choices, as opposed to being caused by genetic factors. Yet, many Americans lack an understanding of the connection between lifestyle choices and chronic health conditions. A recent UnitedHealthcare survey found that just 16 percent of Americans correctly recognized that 80 percent or more of premature chronic conditions are caused by modifiable lifestyle choices, such as risk factors like smoking or obesity, not genetics.

To help make fitness a priority this summer, here are tips to consider:

Walk This Way: Studies have shown walking more and sitting less may help people maintain a healthier weight, ward off depression and prevent serious health issues like heart disease. And a recent report concluded that walking can help curb sweet cravings, boost the immune system and ease joint pain. To make walking more effective, think FIT, which stands for frequency (500 steps within seven minutes six times per day), intensity (3,000 steps within 30 minutes each day) and tenacity (at least 10,000 total steps per day).

Get Outside (Safely): The popularity of smartphones and streaming TV has made it easy – and entertaining – to stay inside. In fact, recent research has found that some people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, limiting exposure to daylight and fresh air. This can have negative consequences, including for children and their eye health. Studies have found that exposure to outdoor light may help reduce the risk of nearsightedness, the inability to see far off objects clearly. To gain the potential benefits of being outdoors while helping stay safe, children and adults should wear sunglasses that block both UV rays and blue light, as well as apply sunscreen to help reduce the risk of skin cancer.

 Maintain Your Hearing Health: Summer is a popular time for sporting events and music concerts, which can lead to exposure to loud sounds. Crowd noise at sporting events can exceed 90 decibels, while music concerts can reach 110 decibels. Prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can contribute to gradual hearing loss, so it is a good idea to use ear protection when seeing your favorite team or band. Likewise, extended listening to music or digital content through headphones or earbuds may damage hearing overtime. To help prevent that, turn the volume on your electronic device to 60 percent and listen for no longer than 60 minutes at a time, and never listen to earbuds while using power tools or a lawn mower.

 Stay Safe Overseas: With people heading out on summer vacations, it is important to recognize that up to 20 percent of travelers suffer an illness or injury while on vacation. Before traveling out of your home state, review your health plan and understand what it covers, including if you have access to a national or local network of hospitals and health care providers. For people traveling overseas, contact your primary care doctor or travel medicine clinic to determine what pre-screenings or immunizations might be recommended or required, based on your health history and countries on the itinerary.

Following these tips may help you focus on fun, friends and family during the summer, while helping maintain or improve your health now and in the future.

 

 

8 Habits to Help Reduce Arthritis Symptoms

According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, 54 million adult Americans suffer from arthritis. It’s not just the one disease either, but rather a collection of 100 conditions that affect the joints, causing stiffness, swelling, and pain. Though you can’t always prevent it, there are some things you can do to help reduce your arthritis symptoms if you have it. Below you’ll find 8 of them!

For details click here —> http://www.ba-bamail.com/content.aspx?emailid=29741

Summary only
1. Keep Your Weight in Check
2. Sip Green Tea

3. Drink Baking Soda – Recent research suggests that a daily dose of water and baking soda can help to combat inflammatory diseases.

4. Run a Little – Pounding the sidewalk surprisingly helps to protect joints, most likely because the activity helps people to maintain a healthy weight.

6. Eat a Rainbow

7. Schedule Workouts

8. Set a Bedtime

TECHNIQUE DOUBLES CONVERSION OF CO2 TO PLASTIC COMPONENT

Very exciting news unless there are unintended consequences. “The conversion of CO2 is very important to help offset the emissions that lead to global warming
TECHNIQUE DOUBLES CONVERSION OF CO2 TO PLASTIC COMPONENT
Lincoln, Nebraska, May 22, 2018 – Fossil fuels have long been the precursor to plastic, but new research from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and European collaborators could help send that era up in smoke — carbon dioxide, to be exact.
Produced almost entirely from burning fossil fuels, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have risen from 280 parts per million in the pre-industrial era to about 410 PPM today. That trend, combined with the finite supply of fossil fuels, has pushed researchers to explore methods for producing plastic from CO2 rather than petroleum or natural gas — recycling CO2 just as plastic is now.
“The conversion of CO2 is very important to help offset the emissions that lead to global warming and other detrimental processes in the environment,” said Alexandrov, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

More —> https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/technique-doubles-conversion-of-co2-to-plastic-component/

How to Distinguish Between Alzheimer’s and Aging

Our memory capacity changes as we get older, but memory loss that adversely affects everyday life is not an ordinary sign of aging and may actually be a symptom of the onset of dementia. This phenomenon causes a slow deterioration of memory, reasoning, and logic, with the most common type known as “Alzheimer’s” – a serious disease that disrupts the functioning of brain cells and even stops their activity.
  • Changes in memory caused by old age will be related to the names of people or places, but changes caused by Alzheimer’s are expressed through forgetfulness that severely affects one’s ability to work and even engage in a social life and hobbies.

Brain Cells Keep on Growing, Even in the Elderly…

While many people assume that brain cells are gone forever once dead, new research has now revealed that humans actually continue to produce them long throughout adulthood, and their findings may have a significant impact on the way diseases like Alzheimer’s are treated.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM LAWS AN ALL-AMERICAN DISPUTE,

Lincoln, Nebraska, March 5, 2018 – A Colorado baker’s refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple is so divisive that it has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Following legalization of same-sex marriage, some states have passed laws that allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples based upon religious belief.
Yet new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln indicates that most Nebraskans – 64 percent of nearly 1,100 survey respondents – oppose such laws. The results mirror national polls that have shown religious freedom laws lack broad support among Americans.
Sociologists Emily Kazyak and Kelsy Burke analyzed responses to why Nebraskans support or oppose a business owner’s right to refuse service to gays and lesbians to gain insight into why these laws continue to gain traction in state Legislatures even though most Americans do not actually agree with them.  Mathew Stange, who received his doctoral degree in survey research and methodology at Nebraska and is now a survey researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, also participated in the study.
They found that both sides base their appeals upon bedrock American values of freedom and capitalism.
Those who side with the baker say he has the right to act upon his religious convictions and that free enterprise means that plenty of other bakers would serve the couple. Those who side with the couple say they have the right to be free from discrimination and that free enterprise demands that all customers be served.
Kazyak said both sides share the belief that Americans have a fundamental right to freely live their lives.
“The disagreement is not over the value of freedom or equality per se,” she said. “It’s over the questions of whose rights are most worthy of protection and whose freedom is potentially jeopardized in the current moment.”
The researchers noted that as LGBTQ people have gained acceptance and visibility, conservative Christians have begun to portray themselves as a group under threat.
“Protestant Christians have always been the dominant religious group in America, yet evangelical Protestant legislators are now leading efforts to pass these religious freedom laws,” Burke said. “They are thus sending a clear message that they believe their religious beliefs are under threat.”
The Supreme Court, which heard arguments in the Colorado case in December, is expected to rule on the matter by June.
The study was based on data collected by the 2015 Nebraska Annual Social Indicators Survey. NASIS is an annual cross-sectional omnibus survey of Nebraskans 19 and older, conducted by the Bureau of Sociological Research at Nebraska.
Findings were published online Feb. 28 in Socius, a  research journal of the American Sociological Association.

Lincoln’s self-driving system in downtown

 

Lincoln is one of 35 Champion Cities chosen to develop a self-driving micro-transit system in downtown.  

 

Bloomberg Philanthropies has named Lincoln as one of 35 Champion Cities for its idea to develop a self-driving micro-transit system in downtown.  Mayor Chris Beutler and others involved in the proposed project will discuss the award and the next steps at a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Friday, February 23 in Room 303, County City Building, 555 S. 10th Street.

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR 555 S. 10th Street, Lincoln, NE

The 10 Healthiest Eating Habits You Can Adopt

Diets and food plans can be hard to stick to, and will not necessarily result in any long-term success. This is because people tend to slip back into their old habits very quickly, despite their best of intentions. The inevitable byproduct of these failures is feeling disheartened or demoralized, but healthy eating doesn’t need to be this way. Here are the 10 healthiest eating habits you can adopt (and stick to):

1. Stay Away From Processed Food
2. Make the Switch to Whole Grains
3. Use Healthy Cooking Methods
4. Watch Your Portion Sizes5. Be Aware of Healthy Options when you’re Eating Out –  includes:  Set aside half the dish and ask for it in a takeaway container.
 6. Keep a Food Diary

7. Eat Healthily at Social Events
8. Plan Your Healthy Shopping
9. You Can Have a Treat – Occasionally
10. Drink Lots of Water

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