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Top 5 Non-Television Nurses of All-Time

December 28th, 2011

Whether working the front-lines of a military conflict or holding the hand of a family member who anxiously watches their loved one lying in a hospital bed, nurses possess an innate passion for helping others. Women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had the most profound impact on setting the standards for what compassionate care looks like. At the time, nursing was one of only a handful of vocations that allowed women to blaze their own professional trails.

  1. Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) – Florence Nightingale rightfully assumes a place in nearly every classroom history book. A visionary health reformer and tireless advocate, the Florence Nightingale Museum describes her as “the most influential woman in Victorian Britain and its Empire, second only to Queen Victoria herself.”

    Relinquishing her aristocratic privileges, Nightingale devote her life to improving the British nursing system, first during the Crimean War and later as an investigator of the health and sanitation conditions of Army personnel stationed in India. Penning more than 200 books, reports and pamphlets on hospital organization, planning and practices, she is also the founder of the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

  2. Clara Barton (1821 – 1882) – A humanitarian at heart, Clara Barton is the founder of the American Red Cross. Heavily influenced by her great-aunt, midwife Martha Ballard, Barton began her nursing career at the age of 40 by bravely delivering supplies on the front-lines to Civil War soldiers.

    In order to become an official member of the International Red Cross, the U.S. president had to sign the Geneva Treaty, which called for a multinational commitment to caring for soldiers during war. After petitioning three presidential administrations, Barton finally received approval to start her organization that would stand next to Americans in times of distress. She led the foundation until she retired at the age of 83.

  3. Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845 – 1926) – Co-founder of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN), Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African American Registered Nurse (RN). One of only three students to complete a rigorous 16-month certification program, Mahoney graduated in 1879, at the age of 34, from the New England Hospital for Women and Children Training School for Nurses. A devoted promoter of women’s rights and racial equality, at the age of 76, Mahoney was one of the first Boston women to stand in line to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment passed in 1920.

    The NACGN was later renamed the American Nurses Association, which currently represents more than 3.1 million registered nurses and sets the ethical standards in nursing practices. Every two years, the Mary Mahoney Award is bestowed upon nurses who make significant contributions in building interracial relationships.

  4. Mary Breckinridge (1881 – 1965) – Born into a wealthy Tennessee family with strong political connections, midwife Mary Breckinridge diligently campaigned for improved medical care in rural areas in the U.S. After losing her first husband, six-week-old daughter and four-year-old son, Breckinridge devoted her life to ensuring mothers and children had access to adequate health services.

    In 1925, at the age of 45, she opened Frontier Nursing Service, Kentucky’s first midwife program that used nurses as licensed obstetricians. Breckinridge often traveled by foot or horseback just to tend to patients in the remote regions of the Appalachian mountains. By 1939, she expanded the community health center to include a school for nurse midwifery. Today, the Frontier Nursing University (FNU) offers degrees for Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Science in Nursing, with specializations in Nurse-Midwife, Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner.

  5. Margaret Sanger (1879 – 1966) – A vocal advocate for women’s right to have access to birth control, Margaret Sanger is the founder of Planned Parenthood. A pioneer in nursing, Sanger opened her first clinic in 1916 to serve the women of Brooklyn, NY, during a time when contraception was illegal.

    A firsthand witness to the devastating effects of poverty and unplanned pregnancies, Sanger propagated her beliefs through The Birth Control Review, the nation’s first scientific journal devoted to contraception issues. She also founded the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in Manhattan and the American Birth Control League, which eventually merged into the modern day Planned Parenthood. A controversial figure, Sanger was only concerned with empowering women to take control of their health, family planning and well-being.

Breaking Bad: By the Numbers

August 30th, 2011

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15 Fascinating Facts About Your Five Senses

June 12th, 2011

Life is experienced through the five senses — they're the sight and smell of a colorful garden during the springtime, the taste of a freshly ripened fruit, the melody of a finely tuned instrument, and the soothing touch from someone you love. They give us the ability to perceive our surroundings on five different levels and beyond, something healthy people tend to take for granted. Given their advanced function and extraordinary capabilities, they're a fascinating study for those in the medical field and people who are merely interested in human physiology. Here are 15 little-known facts about your five senses.

  1. Your eyes are capable of processing 36,000 pieces of information per hour: They efficiently deliver data for your brain to process so that you can contextualize and evaluate it instantly. This is how we understand not only the activity that surrounds us, but art, writing and other stimulating pieces of visual information.
  2. Your eyes will process 24 million images in your lifetime: Overall, they contribute toward 85 percent of your knowledge. Simply put, they're responsible for setting up how we react to the environments in which we live.
  3. One eye consists of more than two million working parts: Incredibly complex, your eye, as previously mentioned, is a highly productive and resilient organ that can adjust to different conditions and overcome a number of disturbances.
  4. Your eyes can recognize candle light from up to 14 miles away: Of course, this can only be done under perfect conditions, but it's impressive nonetheless. Your eyes are the strongest muscles in your body relative to their duties, and they function at 100 percent capacity. Capabilities such as this one prove they're one of the most powerful tools possessed by humans.
  5. Males are much more likely to be colorblind than females: Seven percent of the American male population, 10 million, see green and red abnormally. Meanwhile, just four-tenths of a percent of women experience the same problem. Researchers hypothesize that the genes causing colorblindness reside close to each other on the X chromosome — males, of course, only have one.
  6. Instantaneous hearing loss occurs at 120 decibels: Prolonged exposure to any sound reaching 80 decibels can cause hearing loss, but instantaneous hearing loss can occur at 120 decibels, which is the equivalent of sitting in front of speakers at a rock concert. At 140 decibels, the equivalent of a jet engine or a gunshot, hearing loss and actual pain can occur.
  7. Tinnitus affects at least 15 percent of the U.S. population: If you constantly hear ringing, clicking, hissing or roaring sounds, you're not alone. Common causes include exposure to loud noises and medication, and it can even occur as a side effect of issues such as high or low blood pressure, heart problems and the presence of tumors. Human ears are sensitive anatomical organs that should be treated with the utmost care.
  8. You can smell about 10,000 odors: Although our sense of smell is inferior to the sense of smell possessed by animals, many of which have inferior eyesight anyway, we're still capable of detecting a multitude of odors using the nose's olfactory receptor neurons. Those receptors are each encoded with a unique gene; if you lack a gene, then you lack the ability to detect that smell.
  9. Your sense of smell is closely linked to your memory: Part of the brain's limbic system, the olfactory bulb accesses the hippocampus and amygdala, which are responsible for associative learning and emotion respectively. People often link smells to events from the past as a conditioned response, a result of that smell being repeatedly paired with an experience.
  10. Females possess a better sense of smell than males: Another sense in which women have men beat. A study conducted in the U.S. a decade ago showed that women of reproductive age were able detect various scents at a higher rate than men, and it's possibly due to the influence of female sex hormones. When males and females are middle aged or older, however, their senses of smell are roughly the same.
  11. A woman's sense of smell is heightened during pregnancy: Some women experience such a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy that ordinary, normally pleasant smells become unbearable. Doctors haven't pinpointed a reason why this occurs, but there are several theories, one of which claims it's a side effect of morning sickness.
  12. Eighty percent of what we experience as taste is actually smell: It's common knowledge that smell affects taste. Every child has held their nose to avoid tasting nasty food they were forced to eat by their parents. Such a behavior hinders odor molecules from reaching the smell cells in your nose, enabling you to skip the displeasure that comes with eating what you don't like.
  13. Females possess a better sense of taste than males: Females and males have approximately the same number of taste buds, so the difference is in how they process taste impressions. A study conducted by the Danish Science Communication and food scientists from The Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) at University of Copenhagen determined that boys require 10 percent more sourness and about 20 percent more sweetness to recognize such tastes.
  14. You can't taste what your saliva can't dissolve: Saliva dissolves the chemicals in food allowing the receptors on your taste buds to detect taste. Without it, obviously, food is tasteless. To see (or taste) for yourself, dry your tongue with a paper towel and attempt to taste dry foods consisting of sugar and salt. It'll be as if you were devoid of the sense altogether.
  15. Your back is the least sensitive part of your body: Unlike more sensitive parts of your body, your back contains a very small section of the somatosensory cortex, and thus experiences only minor sensations when touched.

Sources: Livestrong, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), University of Illinois, Medline Plus, Discovery Health, BBC, Pregnancy Today, Live Science, Science Daily, University of Washington, Human Body by Linda Calabresi

10 Pioneering Male Nurses

June 8th, 2011

In the largely female-dominated field of nursing, men make up only 6 percent of the 2.6 million registered nurses working in the United States. Although it's somewhat rare to see a male nurse today, that wasn't always the case hundreds of years ago when men were called upon to heal the sick and save lives on and off the battlefield. Men have played a vital role in shaping and advancing the nursing profession into the respectable field it is today. Here are 10 pioneering male nurses:

  1. Camillus de Lellis: Camillus de Lellis entered the field of healthcare after he struggled with excessive gambling and aggression as a soldier. He became the director of a hospital that once treated him and eventually established his own congregation called the Ministers of the Sick (Camellians). The Camellians tended to the sick, specifically alcoholics and those stricken with the plague, as well as wounded soldiers on the battlefield. St. Camillus created the first ambulance service and was the first person to use the sign of the red cross that is still seen today.
  2. James Derham: James Derham was the first African-American man to practice medicine in the United States. Derham became interested in medicine because he was owned by several doctors. Although never formally taught, Derham began working as a nurse in order to buy his freedom from slavery in 1783. Once freed, he started his own medical practice and specialized in throat disorders and climate-sensitive diseases.
  3. Juan Ciudad: Juan Ciudad, also known as St. John of God, was a saint and important figure in nursing. After serving as a soldier in the Spanish Army, Ciudad became devoted to religion and helping the needy. He became the founder of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God and operated it all by himself for some time. Ciudad was honored for his heroic death, in which he tried to save a boy from drowning.
  4. Walt Whitman: Walt Whitman may be best known for his acclaimed poetry, but the humanist was also a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War. Whitman worked in crowded hospital wards in Washington, such as the Armory Square, the Judiciary Square and the Patent Office, where he kindly wrote letters for injured soldiers and read poetry aloud. Whitman's experience as a nurse had a significant impact on his life and certainly on his poetry.
  5. St. Alexius: This fifth-century Roman was an influential caretaker for the sick. He was the patron of pilgrims and beggars, devoted to the service of God. St. Alexius later became a patron of the Alexian Brothers ministry's first chapel, which had small groups of men and women who treated the sick, fed the hungry and buried the dead. The Alexian Brothers healthcare organizations can be found all around the world, where they continue to treat patients through healing ministry and patient care.
  6. Edward Lyon: Edward Lyon made history as the first man to be commissioned in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in 1955. He was named second lieutenant and broke the mold for all male nurses, who play a very important role in nursing military services.
  7. St. Benedict: St. Benedict, also known as Benedict of Nursia, is the patron saint for Europe and students, as well as dying people, fever, gallstones, kidney disease and inflammatory disease. St. Benedict became the founder of western monasticism and was known for his miracle work. His holiness and humility are still admired to this day, and his message lives on through the many hospitals and care units named after him.
  8. Friar Juan de Mena: Friar Juan de Mena is considered the first nurse to land on what would later become the United States of America. Friar de Mena was a notable Mexican nurse, who administered care to the sick as a lay brother of the Santo Domingo of Mexico. Nearly seventy years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, de Mena and other Spaniards were killed while shipwrecked off the south Texas Coast.
  9. Joe Hogan: Joe Hogan made history when he sued the Mississippi University for Women for denying Hogan admission because of his gender. Hogan was already a registered nurse who was working full time at Golden Triangle Regional Hospital in Columbus, Mississippi, but wanted to earn his bachelor's degree in nursing from the all-women's institution because it was the only local college offering this degree. Joe Hogan won his landmark case, and it forever banned gender discrimination at publicly funded schools for nursing.
  10. Brother Gerard: Brother Gerard, also known as Gerard Thom, was the founder of the Knights Hospitaller and the two major Orders of Chivalry that evolved from the group in Jerusalem. The Hospitallers were dedicated to treating sick and wounded patients in hospitals. Over time, the Hospitallers eventually opened their own hospitals and expanded to Europe and Jerusalem. The Hospitaller's Knights of Malta is the only original military nursing order still operating today.

40 Awesome Blogs for Midlife Moms

May 16th, 2011

Whether it's due to career, infertility, or simply personal choice, many women these days are becoming moms later in life. So many are first-time moms in midlife, with different concerns and needs than that of their younger counterparts. Read on to learn about 40 blogs written by and for moms in midlife.

  1. Nurture: Nurture offers a collection of stories for new midlife mothers.
  2. Antique Mommy: This mom had her first and only child at nearly 44, and prefers to be called "antique."
  3. First Time Mom Over 40: This blogger became a first time mom at 42, and highlights other women who have given birth after 35 and 40.
  4. My Year of Spending Less and Living More: Follow this blog to learn about a midlife mom on a financial mission.
  5. Midlife Mom: Rebecca Haynes discusses navigating the teen years and beyond as a midlife mom.
  6. Home on the Range: On this blog, a midlife mom shares her love on the Maine wilderness, her family, and horses.
  7. In Sock Monkey Slippers: Read this blog for musings from a midlife mom wearing sock monkey slippers.
  8. Mid Life Mommy: Danielle feels as though she was woken up to life as it was meant to be when she had her daughter.
  9. MidAge Mom: Midlife meets motherhood on Jennifer Bingham Hull's blog.
  10. In the Mind of a Thirtysomething Mom: On this blog, you'll look into the thoughts of a thirtysomething mom.
  11. MomAgain@40: Karen is a mom with a two year old and a teenager over the age of 40.
  12. Just a Minute Mom: Just a Minute Mom is all about life as ordinary, middle aged moms of tweens, teens, and beyond.
  13. Tiramisu Mom: Tiramisu Mom shares her life as a thirtysomething mom, including bathing suit shopping for the formerly hot.
  14. Motherhood Later Than Sooner: Motherhood Later Than Sooner is written for moms with more life experience than baby experience.
  15. Mothering in the Middle: Mothering in the Middle shares news and resources for new midlife moms.
  16. Midlife Mom: Melissa Lee shares her random thoughts as she becomes a mom in her forties.
  17. Musings of a Middle Aged Mom: Lisa shares her life as a mom of twins and mother in law.
  18. You Can Get Pregnant in Your 40s: This blog discusses how you can get pregnant at age 40 or even beyond.
  19. Infertility Blog: Dr. Licciardi's blog offers help for those who have trouble conceiving.
  20. Pregnancy Over 44: On this blog, you'll read stories of pregnancy and birth past 44 years old.
  21. A Baby Boomer Woman's Life After 50: Find out what this mom's life is like after 50.
  22. Fertility Blog: Follow this blog for information about fertility, IVF, and TTC.
  23. Midlife Army Wife: Read this blog about a new midlife Army wife and homeschool mom.
  24. 999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility: If you're having trouble conceiving in midlife, laugh at infertility with this blog.
  25. New Midlife Mommy: This blogger discusses becoming a midlife mom after fertility.
  26. Kat Wilder: Kat Wilder is a divorced single mom in midlife.
  27. Confessions of a Mean Mommy: Denise writes about her thoughts on becoming a middle aged mom.
  28. Midlife Mama: This 40ish single mom shares her life with her daughters on this blog.
  29. The Midlife Woman: The Midlife Woman discusses home, family, food, and blogging.
  30. Mom to the Screaming Masses: Carmen is a middle aged mom to 6, and yes, she knows how it happened.
  31. Adventures of a Middle Age Mom: Darlene writes about being a middle aged mom to two teens, and almost being done with the daily heavy lifting job of being a mom.
  32. Refresh Moments: Mary Pielenz Hampton is a midlife mom turning the daily into devotion on her blog.
  33. Diaries of an Older Mom: Deborah Owensby Moore loves to discuss her life as an older mom.
  34. Ponderings of a Middle-Aged Mom: Read this mom's thoughts on life, family, and everything in between.
  35. The MisAdventures of an (almost) Midlife Mom: This mom is ready to take on midlife-almost.
  36. Diary of a Middle Aged Mom: Carrie's blog takes a look at the life of a middle aged mom.
  37. My So-Called Midlife: Karina Bland writes about meatloaf cupcakes, the blessings of insomnia, and other joys of midlife motherhood.
  38. Flower Power Mom: Flower Power Mom shares the truth about after-40 motherhood.
  39. Digital Mom Blog: Written for moms of any age, this blog is great for modern moms with careers.
  40. Pregnancy Stories by Age: Read these pregnancy stories of women in their 40s and beyond.

15 Fascinating Scientific Facts About Siblings

May 15th, 2011

While we have spent a lifetime with our siblings, getting to know every quirk, trait and annoying habit that they have, we often don't stop to think of the real impact that our sisters and brothers have on who we are and how we act. Whether it's the order you were born in or all that good-natured (or bad-natured as the case may be) ribbing to which you subjected each other, our siblings can have an intense and long lasting effect on our lives, influencing everything from our health to how we interact with others. To learn more about how your relationship with your brothers and/or sisters has shaped who you are, here are some facts drawn from scientific research on the subject that helping illuminate the true depth of relationships between siblings.

  1. Children spend more time with their siblings than with friends, parents, teachers or even alone. While siblings may not always get along, they do choose to pass a great deal of their free time with one another — more than anyone else in their life, in fact. By the time children reach age 11, they're spending about 33% of their free time with siblings. Even as they grow into adolescence and get busy with their own lives, a Penn State University study found that they still spend about 11 hours a week with one another. In big families, these numbers can be even higher, with kids passing 17 hours with one another.
  2. Siblings fight. A lot. Sometimes with a conflict every 10 minutes. Any parent of more than one child knows that they sometimes just don't get along. Whether it's a power struggle, competitive personalities or just plain irritation from being around one another, siblings spend a lot of time battling it out. One researcher found that brothers and sisters between 3 and 7 years old engage in conflict 3.5 times an hour. Younger kids fight even more, with a fight happening every 10 minutes.
  3. Sixty-five percent of mothers and 70% of fathers exhibit a preference for one sibling over another. Talk to most siblings and they'll tell you in a heartbeat who they believe their parents prefer. While most parents outwardly deny having a favorite child, studies have proven time and time again that this simply isn't the case. Many, if not most parents have a favorite and kids are well aware of it. Research has shown that many non-favored siblings use this situation to their own advantage, but that it can be damaging in the long run to their self-esteem and confidence.
  4. Having a sibling of the opposite sex makes boys and girls more likely to adhere to gender norms. Siblings can often try to mimic one another and follow in each other's footsteps, but another phenomenon known as de-identification can also come into play. This is when siblings make a purposeful attempt to be different from each other and stake out their own role in the family dynamics. It can come into play in strange ways with families who have one child of each sex. Studies have suggested that this may intensify gender identification, with girls seeking out more traditionally feminine activities and friends and boys playing up the rough and tumble traits more readily attributed to their gender.
  5. Having a sibling of the opposite sex may help you pick up dates more easily. Having a sibling of the opposite sex can have some other effects as well. Those with an opposite sex sibling were found in studies to have an easier time initiating and maintaining a conversation with a member of that demographic. The study revealed that those with older siblings of the opposite sex were seen as more likeable and were likely to strike up a conversation and smile, giving them a marked advantage on the dating scene.
  6. Firstborns are generally smarter than the younger siblings, having on average, a three-point IQ advantage over the second sibling. As unfair as it may be, siblings who are born first tend to have a substantial academic advantage. They outperform their younger siblings by the equivalent of having had an extra year of schooling and are more likely to score higher on an IQ test. There are several theories on why this is the case, the strongest being that older siblings spend time teaching their younger siblings, thereby reinforcing their own understanding of concepts and ideas. Oddly enough, other studies have shown that younger siblings are generally born with a higher IQ, but this disparity reverses by the time children reach age 12.
  7. Younger siblings tend to be more extroverted than older siblings in large families. Some believe that this is because they are so used to dealing with a large number of siblings, they are forced to speak up to get attention. It can also occur in smaller families for similar reasons. This extraversion can have long lasting effects, with surveys of siblings showing that younger siblings often have an easier time being funny and having lighthearted interactions with others. Younger siblings in the study were also found to be more creative, unconventional and rebellious than their older siblings, who were often much more serious.
  8. In general, siblings interact significantly less with each other if they are not fully related. As odd as it may be, siblings' interactions and relationships with one another may be partially determined by blood relatedness. While some step- and half- siblings may grow close over time, relationships are much more intense and warm between those who are fully related. Oddly enough, the same rules don't necessarily apply to adopted children as step-siblings and half-siblings. Studies done by the University of Minnesota have shown that these relationships aren't significantly affected by adoption.
  9. Your sibling's bad habits may rub off. For instance, a girl with a teenage sister who becomes pregnant is four to six times as likely to become a teen mom herself. If you have an older sibling who drinks, you're twice as likely to drink. With smoking the numbers are four times as likely. Yet it isn't a given that siblings will follow in each other's less-than-stellar footsteps. The closer siblings are in age, the less likely a younger sibling is to emulate the older. Researchers think this may be because the siblings are already so alike because of their closeness in age that each one may seek ways to differentiate themselves.
  10. A big part of individual personality develops in relation to interaction with siblings. All those fights with siblings may just change who you are as a person. Skills children learn in conflict resolution with siblings can carry over into other areas of life, making us better or worse at forming romantic relationships, working with others or having lasting friendships. Some other studies have suggested that birth order with siblings may also play a role in personality development, with older siblings being more nurturing and middle siblings being peacemakers, though many dispute these findings.
  11. Siblings can make you shorter. A study of 14,000 British children found that those with three siblings were, on average, about one inch shorter. Having an older sibling can literally stunt your growth, because by the time younger siblings arrive on the scene there are simply fewer resources to go around. With less time, money and attention, younger siblings may come up short.
  12. Have more older brothers may have an impact on sexual preference. It sounds strange, but having a few older brothers may make you more likely to be gay. According to new research, for every son a woman produces, the chance that her next son will be gay increases by 28-48 percent. It's called the Fraternal Birth-Order Effect and researchers estimate it plays a role in the sexual preferences of up to one in seven gay men. No similar effect is found with women.
  13. The number of siblings you have and your birth order can influence your health. Younger siblings are less likely to develop allergies and eczema than their older siblings, perhaps because by the time they arrive their home is already awash with germs brought in by other siblings helping to build a stronger, better immune system. Of course, all that health early on might not matter, as older siblings are much more likely to live past the age of 100. Researchers think it has more to do with the age of the mother when she gives birth than anything else, with the idea that younger eggs and wombs means healthier babies.
  14. Birth order does not affect personality. The effects of birth order on personality have been the subject of research for decades now. Many believe that older children, middle children and younger children develop traits based on where they are in the birth order and the role they play in the family. New research shows that might be true– to a point. These effects are only limited to familial interactions and do not extend to those that take place outside of the family unit. So while the oldest child may be sober and serious while at home, he or she may be quite different in the role he or she plays in the outside world.
  15. Siblings tend to resemble each other in looks and intelligence but are quite different in personality. Researcher Robert Plomin discovered that when it comes to home we look and how our brains work, we're usually pretty similar to our siblings. Yet when it comes to personality, even though we share similar genetic material and upbringings, brothers and sisters often can't be more different. Tests done on siblings to measure personality demonstrated that siblings might as well be strangers. Similar studies revealed something else as well. Even if you and your sibling are vastly different, those who didn't grow up as only children are generally happier than their counterparts.

50 Healthy, Low-Cal Cocktail Recipes for the Aspiring Skinny Girl

May 11th, 2011

While alcoholic drinks are never healthy per se, even the most health conscious among us still want to let loose and have a few to end a long week, celebrate life events or relax on vacation. The trouble is that so many alcoholic beverages contain loads of calories and can derail a day of eating healthy in a matter of minutes. Luckily, there are a number of tasty drinks out there that aren't too heavy on the calories, so you can have fun while still sticking to a diet plan. Check out these great recipes for cocktails perfect for the health conscious.

Basics

These drinks keep it simple, low-cal and delicious.

  1. Vodka and Sprite Zero: Choose a nice vodka, mix it with diet Sierra Mist or Sprite Zero and a twist of lemon or lime for a tasty, refreshing drink.
  2. Rum and Diet Coke: Often referred to as a "skinny bitch," this combo tastes best with a spiced rum like Captain Morgan.
  3. Gin and Tonic: You'll watch your waistline and still have a classy drink when you order this combo. Look for diet tonics when available.
  4. Vodka and Cranberry: This common combo tastes great and won't have you packing on the pounds.
  5. Maggie McQuade: If you're looking for low-cal, you'll find it in this drink that mixes diet ginger ale and vanilla vodka.
  6. White Wine Spritzer: Perfect for a balmy summer day, this cocktail blends white wine with a bit of club soda for sparkle.
  7. Classic Martini: Choose either gin or vodka to make this classic drink that will not only make you look sophisticated, but will help you watch your figure as well.

Low-Cal Versions of Classics

You don't necessarily have to give up on classic drinks to cut back on calories. Try these versions instead.

  1. Skinny Girl Margarita: Instead of using a pre-made, sugary mix, this recipe relies on fresh lime juice to mix up a tasty margarita.
  2. Low-Cal Coffee Mudslide: With only 83 calories a serving, this drink is a super tasty way to have a cocktail and get your chocolate fix.
  3. Low-Cal Long Island Iced Tea: A traditional Long Island can have as many as 700 calories, but this version knocks that down by about 80 percent.
  4. Sugar Free Whisky Sour: Whiskey, lemon juice, water and artificial sweetener combine to make this yummy drink.
  5. Lynchburg Lemonade: The regular version of this drink is loaded with sugar (up to 40 grams) but this twist lets you cut it down to almost nothing with 3 g carbs and 107 calories.
  6. Low-Cal Pina Colada: There are few drinks out there as unhealthy for you as a pina colada. If you can't resist the coconutty goodness, try out this recipe that packs a much smaller nutritional punch instead.
  7. Slim Screwdriver: Instead of using orange juice, this recipe uses orange vodka and diet soda.
  8. Skinny Arnold Palmer: Weighing in at just 70 calories, this drink is a delicious low-cal treat.
  9. Mimosa Lite: OJ can be filled with sugar and calories, so use light tangerine juice instead to make this low-cal drink.

Whiskey/Bourbon

If you're a whiskey drinker, consider one of these cocktails.

  1. Alabama Slammer: Pick up some whisky, amaretto and gin to make this boozy shot. Cut it with water or ice for a sipper.
  2. John Collins: This classic bourbon drink is pretty low-cal at 168 per glass, and better yet, it's super simple to make.
  3. Uomo del Mondo: This sexy drink uses Campari, bourbon and orgeat syrup.

Rum

Enjoy a tropical cocktail without hurting your waistline with one of these drink recipes.

  1. Mojito: This refreshing minty drink gets a low-cal twist by using diet soda and Splenda.
  2. Strawberry Daiquiri: With this recipe, you can get a beach-inspired drink without the hefty calories– just 144 per serving.
  3. Strawberry Kiss: Rum, strawberries, orange liqueur and lemon juice get shaken and poured into an ice-filled glass for a fruity treat with only 197 calories.
  4. Caipirinha: Finding this Brazilian rum may not be easy, but when you do you'll be able to appreciate this simple and delicious drink.
  5. Rumbling Papaya: Even in the dead of winter, you'll feel tropical when drinking this cocktail of coconut rum, papaya juice and raspberries. With just 133 calories, you'll be ready for the beach when summer comes around.
  6. Island Limeade: With 182 calories per serving, this tangy cocktail will become one of your summertime favorites.
  7. Hot Pomegranate Toddy: Brandy or rum can be used to make this classic drink with a twist.

Vodka

This low-cal spirit mixes well with just about anything, as these recipes will show.

  1. Sour Apple Martini: For a great 160-calorie treat, try this delicious martini made with sour apple liqueur and vodka.
  2. Watermelon Martini: Use fresh watermelon to help mix up this tasty twist on the martini.
  3. Spiked Strawberry: Pick up some strawberry vodka, diet lemonade, fresh lemon and strawberries to make this sweet and sour drink.
  4. Blended Raspberry Cocktail: If you prefer frozen drinks, this one is for you, combining low-cal raspberry cooler with vodka.
  5. Bloody Mary: Get in a serving of veggies with your drink by mixing up this low-cal, low-carb version of this breakfast favorite.
  6. Moscow Mule: Vodka, diet ginger ale, lime and some ice will give you this basic but delicious drink.
  7. Cosmopolitan: Vodka and cranberry with a splash of orange and lime make up this drink.

Gin

Here are some great recipes for low-cal gin cocktails.

  1. Blueberry Lemon Breeze: Gin and champagne pair up with blueberries and lemon juice to make this yummy drink with just 205 calories.
  2. Gin Sour: Keep things simple with this gin drink that mixes gin with lemon juice and sugar for a 122 calorie cocktail.
  3. Grapefruit Basil Martini: This super fresh-tasting combo will only cost you 161 calories.

Tequila

Get the party started right with these cocktails made with tequila.

  1. Bombay Magic: Putting together Cointreau, tequila, lemon juice, club soda and mint will yield this delicious drink with only 109 calories.
  2. Pomerita: This twist on a traditional margarita replaces some of that lime with pomegranate juice for a 196-calorie cocktail.
  3. Tequila Sunrise: Using low-cal and diet versions of the juices that go into this drink will cut down on the calorie count.
  4. Cran-tini: Tequila and cranberry juice mix to make this twist on a classic Cosmo.
  5. Jalisco Bramble: While a bramble is usually made with gin, this adaptation takes it south of the border and mixes things up by using tequila instead.
  6. Salty Chihuahua: Whether you're watching your weight or not, this drink is a delicious mix of tequila, orange liqueur and grapefruit juice worth trying.
  7. Blueberry Lime Margarita: Blend up some blueberries and lime juice to make this yummy frozen drink.

Other

If your tastes lean more towards wine, champagne or liqueur, check out one of these recipes.

  1. Fruity White Sangria: If you're a committed wine drinker, consider mixing up some sangria with your next bottle. Depending on the kind of fruit you use, the drink may have as little as 94 calories a glass.
  2. Grown Up Hot Chocolate: With just 132 calories a mug, this hot drink is perfect for a rainy day or snowy day.
  3. Bellini: You'll be happy to know that this classic drink is super low-cal, packing only 83 calories per serving.
  4. Kir Royale: Creme de Casis and champagne make up this tasty cocktail.
  5. Choco-lite Cocktail: Need dessert and a drink? Do both with this drink using Godiva chocolate liqueur.
  6. Elderflower Sparkler: Champagne and elderflower concentrate make up this drink. If you can't find elderflower concentrate, you can substitute an elderflower liqueur like St. Germain, though it might up your calorie content.
  7. Golden Sparkler: Use champagne or sparkling white wine to give this drink its sparkle. With only 68 calories per serving, you can afford to have more than one!

15 Florence Nightingale Facts Every Nurse Should Know

May 10th, 2011

Most students, in nursing school or otherwise, have heard of the famous Florence Nightingale. Yet many may not know some of the most interesting and amazing facts about her life that make her such an inspiration to those in the nursing profession around the world. In honor of National Nurse Week, take some time to read through these facts about one of the most famous pioneers in the field. You might just get inspired to lead your own health care revolution.

  1. Born into a wealthy, upper class family in the early 19th century, Nightingale was never expected to pursue her own career. Her family wanted her to get married and have children, not work in a hospital. Yet she rejected marriage proposals, fearing that they would get in the way of her work, and pushed on with her career in spite of it being a great point of contention with her family.
  2. She got her name "Lady with the Lamp" from the lamp she carried with her as she checked on patients in the battlefield hospital during the Crimean War. She had a habit of checking on patients in the middle of the night while carrying a simple oil lamp, a romantic image of nursing that survives to this day in her legacy.
  3. She would play an instrumental role in setting up proper military hospitals in the United States during the American Civil War. Her experience in the Crimean War, along with her reputation for revolutionizing nursing care, made her an ideal choice to advise how the army should set up hospitals in the U.S. While she faced some initial opposition, her ideas were generally adapted.
  4. Nightingale founded the first secular nursing school in the world at St. Thomas' Hospital in London. It is still there today, training nurses for work as RNs and midwives and happens to be the number one nursing school in London.
  5. She traveled extensively, studying hospitals in places like Greece, Egypt and Germany– journeys which would be the inspiration for her career in nursing. It was during her time in Egypt that Nightingale wrote of feeling "called to God" to a career in nursing and when she returned to Europe, stopping in Germany she spent four months training at The Institution of Kaiserswerth on the Rhine. When she returned home, she was ready to begin her nursing career in earnest.
  6. Nightingale's own aunt worked under her during the Crimean War. Helping her tend to the wounded, along with 37 other women, her Aunt Mai Smith was by her side to work in the Ottoman Empire in the fall of 1854.
  7. At the beginning of the war, Nightingale believed high death rates in military hospitals were due to poor nutrition, lack of supplies and overworking of the soldiers. It was not until after she returned to Britain and was reviewing her work that she came to believe that most of the soldiers at the hospital were killed by poor living conditions. This understanding would change not only how she operated, but how nursing as a profession would be carried out.
  8. Nightingale was a proponent of medical tourism. Today, many individuals travel to foreign lands to get medical treatment that doesn't cost the astronomical sums that it does in America. It was no different in Nightingale's time and she was known to advise patients on smaller incomes to travel to places like Turkey, where they could have access to spas, medical treatment and good nutrition at a much lower cost.
  9. During her time in the war, she contracted Crimean Fever. She nearly died herself while trying to nurse the wounded men back to health, contracting a form of typhus, a disease from which many of her coworkers and patients would die. While she recovered from her illness, it would cause medical issues that would confine her to bed rest for much of her later life.
  10. Florence had a great love of mathematics and devoted much time in her later life to using statistics to better understand health care. She is credited with starting a health revolution in India, collecting data from military outposts through the mail and creating a detailed report based on the stats she was able to compile. Her findings helped push forth changes that would reduce the high death rates of soldiers and would improve health care and sanitation for everyday people as well.
  11. In 1883, Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale with the Royal Red Cross and in 1907 she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit. She is still a highly honored figure in England and around the world, with numerous awards and colleges named after her.
  12. Nightingale's book Notes on Nursing is still a classic read for nursing students today. It may not be up-to-date, but the fundamentals it lays out for patient care, cleanliness and treatment can be applied to modern health care settings as well.
  13. In the 1870s, Nightingale mentored Linda Richards, "America's first trained nurse." When she returned to the US with her newly acquired training, Richards was able to establish high-quality nursing schools, spreading information, training and expertise throughout the US and Japan.
  14. Nightingale was offered a place of burial in Westminster Abbey. This honor isn't handed out lightly and is usually reserved for royals, cultural elites and religious figures. Yet Nightingale's family chose a more humble burial for her, one that she would surely have appreciated, in the graveyard at St. Margaret Church in East Wellow, Hampshire.
  15. Her early writings are considered major texts in English Feminism. While not published until after her death, essays like Nightingale's "Cassandra" showcase her feelings about a woman's role in the world quite clearly. Nightingale believed that women were often unnecessarily deemed as helpless when they were quite capable and chided women like her sister and mother who chose a life of leisure despite being highly educated.

15 Facts You Need to Know for Blood Pressure Awareness Month

May 8th, 2011

Do you know your blood pressure? When was the last time you had it checked? In honor of Blood Pressure Awareness Month, there's no better time than now to get your blood pressure checked and learn a bit more about what your levels mean for your overall health. Read through these facts to get a quick education on blood pressure and learn why it's essential to keep yours within a healthy range to ensure you have a long and active life. It will also help educate those around you on the best health care practices for a happy heart

  1. High blood pressure affects about 50 million Americans and 1 billion people worldwide. This means that one in three adults or 31% of the population will be affected by the condition. In order to avoid becoming part of this statistic, start learning some ways to better monitor and lower your blood pressure today.
  2. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. Ever wondered just what blood pressure is? It's pretty simple and just measures the force of blood pumping through your body. Blood pressure is highest near your heart and in the major arteries and lowest in small arteries and capillaries. Because it can vary throughout your body, blood pressure is taken in a standardized place, usually on the inside of your upper arm along the brachial artery.
  3. People who have normal blood pressure at 55 years of age have a 90% risk of developing high blood pressure in their lifetime. Even if your blood pressure is fine now, it doesn't mean that it will always be the case. As you age, your risk of developing high blood pressure goes up exponentially, and older adults need to keep a much closer watch on blood pressure to ensure it stays within healthy ranges.
  4. Blood pressure is found by measuring the pressure in the blood vessels during a heartbeat and when the heart is at rest. You might have noticed that blood pressure is recorded with not one, but two numbers. The upper number, systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart pumps blood throughout the body; the lower number, diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxing. Healthy blood pressure should be 120/80 or lower.
  5. Sodium can have a big impact on blood pressure. Are you paying attention to how much salt you eat every day? If not, you should be. Increased levels of sodium in the body are directly correlated with increased blood pressure levels. Some individuals have a greater response to salt levels than others, but in most cases, lowering the sodium in a diet can substantially lower blood pressure.
  6. High blood pressure can lead to a number of serious conditions, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure. These are some of the leading causes of death in the US, so they're nothing to scoff at if you have HBP. In the short term, elevated blood pressure levels can make you tired, give you headaches, cause vision problems and give you an upset stomach– none of which are pleasant.
  7. All blood pressure levels above 120/80 increase your risk for health problems related to high blood pressure. When the systolic pressure is greater than 120 and the diastolic pressure is greater than 80, patients are diagnosed as having high blood pressure. These levels have recently been lowered from 140/90, so if were in the clear in the past, you may want to reevaluate your blood pressure and your lifestyle to stay healthy.
  8. The ranges for normal blood pressure in children and teens are different. Because they are smaller and their hearts and vascular systems may be functioning a little differently from adults, different levels are needed for children and adolescents when measuring healthy blood pressure. Check with your doctor if you're concerned your child may have a high blood pressure issue.
  9. Simple changes in diet and lifestyle, as well as a number of medications, can help you maintain or reach a healthy blood pressure level. About 70% of those with high blood pressure who took medication had their high blood pressure controlled or lowered. If you do not want to take medication, losing weight, exercising, eating a healthy diet, reducing sodium, caffeine and alcohol intake and quitting smoking can all help lower high blood pressure.
  10. High blood pressure is more common in older adults and more prevalent among African-Americans. Four out of 10 African-Americans have high blood pressure, and the chance of developing high blood pressure as you age is fairly high. If you are in either of these groups, it's important to talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your risk and get your blood pressure under control.
  11. Blood pressure that is below normal readings is called hypotension. It is possible for blood pressure to be too low. This condition is called hypotension and can result in a decrease in the amount of blood being pumped to the brain resulting in lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness and fainting. Extremely low blood pressure can be a sign of a severe cardiac disease and should be taken just as seriously as high blood pressure.
  12. High blood pressure itself usually has no symptoms. That is why it is often called the silent killer. Since there is often no way to tell that you have HBP, you should visit your doctor's office to get regular checkups.
  13. In 2010, high blood pressure will cost the United States $76.6 billion in health care services, medications and missed days of work. The health care impact of so many adults having high blood pressure is monumental. Those who do not have full health care coverage or none at all can be left to bear many of these costs out of pocket, so preventative care is essential.
  14. Twenty-five percent of American adults has prehypertension– blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal, but not yet in the high blood pressure range. Prehypertension raises your risk for high blood pressure and could be a sign that you need to take a hard look at your lifestyle and health choices.
  15. In patients who are older than 50 years of age, controlling systolic blood pressure is more important than controlling diastolic blood pressure. Why is this the case? Because systolic blood pressure is directly linked to the risk of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death for adults in the US.

The 40 Best Blogs for Crohn’s Support

May 4th, 2011

As an inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's isn't always the most comfortable condition to talk about, even with medical professionals. But those who suffer from Crohn's need to discuss their disease and experience with others, including other sufferers. These bloggers share their triumphs and pitfalls in Crohn's and related diseases.

  1. Living with Crohn's Disease: This Crohn's disease sufferer discusses the disease and battling Crohn's as a runner, soccer player, father, husband, and professional.
  2. Journey Through Crohn's: You can read about one woman's Crohn's journey on this blog.
  3. SCD Lifestyle: Read this blog to find out how you can be successful on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
  4. The Bright Side of Crohn's: This woman takes a look at the bright side of kicking Crohn's disease butt.
  5. In Sickness and In Health: In Sickness and In Health is a great blog for couples deal with illnesses like Crohn's.
  6. Organically Autoimmune: Organically Autoimmune discusses treating autoimmune diseases with an organic and Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
  7. A Chronic Dose: Read this blog about chronic illness, healthcare, and writing.
  8. Crohn's Help Now: Find a helping hand for Crohn's on this blog.
  9. Gluten Free Girl and the Chef: Gluten Free Girl has food, stories, recipes, and tips for eating gluten free.
  10. Dr. David Klein's Colitis & Crohn's Health Recovery Center Blog: Dr. David Klein discusses self healing and staying well the natural way.
  11. Know Your Gut: Galina blogs to encourage Crohn's patients to better understand digestive wellness.
  12. Undercoverostomy: This blogger discusses undergoing an ostomy.
  13. My Crohn's Disease: William shares his ongoing battle with fibrostenotic Crohn's disease.
  14. Jpouch Life: Learn about the Jpouch surgery, life without a colon, Crohn's, and related diseases on this blog.
  15. Stronger Than Crohn's: Angela is determined to show that she in stronger than Crohn's disease by participating in races to raise money for the disease.
  16. Crohns TeamChallenger: Find out about the fight against Crohn's on this blog.
  17. The Digestion Blog: The Digestion Blog shares news and reviews for Crohn's and related disorders.
  18. Heal Crohn's Now: This blog discusses how you can heal Crohn's disease naturally.
  19. Crohn's Disease Blog: Kelly R. writes to build a Crohn's community.
  20. The Crohn's Baby: Rosie was diagnosed with Crohn's at the tender age of 17, and has now been living with the disease for 10 years.
  21. Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness: This blog advocates for chronic patients, including those with Crohn's.
  22. Adapt Cookbook: This blog covers Crohn's friendly cooking.
  23. My Crohn's Disease Journey: Read this blog to find out how to live with Crohn's.
  24. The Dietary Adventures of Jilluck: Jilluck writes about her experience with Crohn's and management with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
  25. But You Don't Look Sick: This blog offers a resource for anyone with an "invisible" disease like Crohn's.
  26. Eating SCD: This blogger is treating Crohn's with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
  27. Crohn's Lives With Me: On this blog, you'll read about the personal experiences of a Crohn's sufferer-and their favorite bathrooms.
  28. The SCD Girl: The SCD Girl shares diet and cooking ideas with all conditions that can benefit from an SCD diet, including Crohn's.
  29. Awesome Life of Crohnsboy: Crohn's boy takes a no BS approach to Crohn's disease.
  30. How We Can't Eat Anything: This blogger discusses the battle between Crohn's and her attentions.
  31. A Life of Sugar and Spice: This blogger celebrates not what she can't eat, but what she can.
  32. No More Crohn's: Erin discusses following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet on this blog.
  33. Bits & Pieces: Jenni shares the lingering effects from Crohn's disease on this blog.
  34. Chronically Me: Chronically Me covers life with a chronic illness.
  35. Crohn's Disease and My Experience: Read this blog about Jason's experience with Crohn's disease.
  36. Crohn's Disease Relief: Read this blog to learn about this woman's personal story as a person with Crohn's.
  37. ChronicBabe: ChronicBabe offers an online community for young women with chronic health issues.
  38. Engaged: A Blog on the Bog: See how this blogger negotiates endlessly flaring Crohn's disease on Engaged.
  39. Crohn's/IBD News: Check in on this blog to find the latest news for Crohn's and IBD.
  40. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America: Check out this blog for updates on Crohn's and Colitis, and what you can do about it.