A small, new study revealed that placing the ubiquitous ear buds or other headphones too close to the chest could interfere with the proper functioning of the devices used to keep hearts beating at their proper rhythm.
Patients should not place the headphones, which contain magnets, in shirt pockets or drape them over their chest, lest they risk havoc with their heart-rhythm devices, researchers said on Sunday.
“For patients with pacemakers, exposure to the headphones can force the device to deliver signals to the heart causing it to beat without regard to the patients’ underlying heart rhythm,” said William Maisel of Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston and the study’s lead investigator.
Exposure of ICDs to magnets in headphones may deactivate them, causing the device to stop looking for abnormal heart rhythms, Maisel explained.
Results of the 60-patient study were presented at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in New Orleans. Researchers tested eight different models of MP3 player headphone with iPods. They found a detectable interference with the heart devices in 14 patients — 30% of ICD patients and 15%of the pacemaker patients.
* Found In: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners
* Recycling: Pick up through most curbside recycling programs, although some only allow those containers with necks.
* Recycled Into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing
HDPE carries low risk of leaching and is readily recyclable into many goods. Number 3 Plastics –– V (Vinyl) or PVC
* Found In: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping
* Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers.
* Recycled Into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats
PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don’t let the plastic touch food. Never burn PVC, because it releases toxins. Number 4 Plastics — LDPE (low density polyethylene)
* Found In: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet
* Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.
* Recycled Into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile
Historically, LDPE has not been accepted through most American curbside recycling programs, but more and more communities are starting to accept it.
Number 5 Plastics –– PP (polypropylene)
* Found In: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles
* Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
* Recycled Into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays
Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It is gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers.
Number 6 Plastics — PS (polystyrene)
* Found In: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases
* Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
* Recycled Into: Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers
Polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products — in the latter case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The material was long on environmentalists’ hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle.
* Found In: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, ‘bullet-proof’ materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, nylon
* Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them.
* Recycled Into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products
A wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate is number 7, and is the hard plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors.
All in all, it was probably a mistake to look for the answer to the eternal question. Does money buy happiness?This is from people who practice what’s called the dismal science. For when economists tackled the question, they started from the observation that when people put something up for sale they try to get as much for it as they can, and when people buy something they try to pay as little for it as they can. Both sides in the transaction, the economists noticed, are therefore behaving as if they would be more satisfied (happier, dare we say) if they wound up receiving more money (the seller) or holding on to more money (the buyer). Hence, more money must be better than less, and the only way more of something can be better than less of it is if it brings you greater contentment. The economists’ conclusion: the more money you have, the happier you must be.
Depressed debutantes, suicidal CEOs, miserable magnates and other unhappy rich folks aren’t the only ones giving the lie to this. “Psychologists have spent decades studying the relation between wealth and happiness,” writes Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert in his best-selling “Stumbling on Happiness,” “and they have generally concluded that wealth increases human happiness when it lifts people out of abject poverty and into the middle class but that it does little to increase happiness thereafter.”
That flies in the face of intuition, not to mention economic theory. According to standard economics, the most important commodity you can buy with additional wealth is choice. If you have $20 in your pocket, you can decide between steak and peanut butter for dinner, but if you have only $1 you’d better hope you already have a jar of jelly at home. Additional wealth also lets you satisfy additional needs and wants, and the more of those you satisfy the happier you are supposed to be.
The trouble is, choice is not all it’s cracked up to be. Studies show that people like selecting from among maybe half a dozen kinds of pasta at the grocery store but find 27 choices overwhelming, leaving them chronically on edge that they could have chosen a better one than they did. And wants, which are nice to be able to afford, have a bad habit of becoming needs (iPod, anyone?), of which an advertising- and media-saturated culture create endless numbers. Satisfying needs brings less emotional well-being than satisfying wants.
The nonlinear nature of how much happiness money can buyâ€”lots more happiness when it moves you out of penury and into middle-class comfort, hardly any more when it lifts you from millionaire to decamillionaireâ€”comes through clearly in global surveys that ask people how content they feel with their lives. In a typical survey people are asked to rank their sense of well-being or happiness on a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 means “not at all satisfied with my life” and 7 means “completely satisfied.” Of the American multimillionaires who responded, the average happiness score was 5.8. Homeless people in Calcutta came in at 2.9. But before you assume that money does buy happiness after all, consider who else rated themselves around 5.8: the Inuit of northern Greenland, who do not exactly lead a life of luxury, and the cattle-herding Masai of Kenya, whose dung huts have no electricity or running water. And proving Gilbert’s point about money buying happiness only when it lifts you out of abject poverty, slum dwellers in Calcuttaâ€”one economic rung above the homelessâ€”rate themselves at 4.6.
Studies tracking changes in a population’s reported level of happiness over time have also dealt a death blow to the money-buys-happiness claim. Since World War II the gross domestic product per capita has tripled in the United States. But people’s sense of well-being, as measured by surveys asking some variation of “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life?,” has barely budged. Japan has had an even more meteoric rise in GDP per capita since its postwar misery, but measures of national happiness have been flat, as they have also been in Western Europe during its long postwar boom, according to social psychologist Ruut Veenhoven of Erasmus University in Rotterdam. A 2004 analysis of more than 150 studies on wealth and happiness concluded that “economic indicators have glaring shortcomings” as approximations of well-being across nations, wrote Ed Diener of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Martin E. P. Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania. “Although economic output has risen steeply over the past decades, there has been no rise in life satisfaction â€¦ and there has been a substantial increase in depression and distrust.”
That’s partly because in an expanding economy, in which former luxuries such as washing machines become necessities, the newly affluent don’t feel the same joy in having a machine do the laundry that their grandparents, suddenly freed from washboards, did. They just take the Maytag for granted. “Americans who earn $50,000 per year are much happier than those who earn $10,000 per year,” writes Gilbert, “but Americans who earn $5 million per year are not much happier than those who earn $100,000 per year.” Another reason is that an expanding paycheck, especially in an expanding economy, produces expanding aspirations and a sense that there is always one more cool thing out there that you absolutely have to have. “Economic success falls short as a measure of well-being, in part because materialism can negatively influence well-being,” Diener and Seligman conclude.
If money doesn’t buy happiness, what does? Grandma was right when she told you to value health and friends, not money and stuff. Or as Diener and Seligman put it, once your basic needs are met “differences in well-being are less frequently due to income, and are more frequently due to factors such as social relationships and enjoyment at work.” Other researchers add fulfillment, a sense that life has meaning, belonging to civic and other groups, and living in a democracy that respects individual rights and the rule of law. If a nation wants to increase its population’s sense of well-being, says Veenhoven, it should make “less investment in economic growth and more in policies that promote good governance, liberties, democracy, trust and public safety.”
(Curiously, although money doesn’t buy happiness, happiness can buy money. Young people who describe themselves as happy typically earn higher incomes, years later, than those who said they were unhappy. It seems that a sense of well-being can make you more productive and more likely to show initiative and other traits that lead to a higher income. Contented people are also more likely to marry and stay married, as well as to be healthy, both of which increase happiness.)
If more money doesn’t buy more happiness, then the behavior of most Americans looks downright insane, as we work harder and longer, decade after decade, to fatten our W-2s. But what is insane for an individual is crucial for a national economy that is, ever more growth and consumption. Gilbert again: “Economies can blossom and grow only if people are deluded into believing that the production of wealth will make them happy â€¦ Economies thrive when individuals strive, but because individuals will strive only for their own happiness, it is essential that they mistakenly believe that producing and consuming are routes to personal well-being.” In other words, if you want to do your part for your country’s economy, forget all of the above about money not buying happiness.
Worried about that niggling pain in your arm? Concerned about those persistent headaches? If you’ve searched online for information about medical woes you’re not alone……....click & see
The number of so-called cyberchondriacs seeking health information on the Web has soared to about 160 million in 2006 a 37% rise over two years, according a new poll. “Cyberchondriacs now represent 84% of all online adults, up from last year’s 80%, and 72% in 2005,” Harris Interactive, the market research firm that conducted the poll, said.
“The reasons for this increase are that the total number of Internet users has increased somewhat and the per cent of people online who have looked for information has increased as well,” it added. The nationwide telephone poll of 1,010 adults conducted earlier this month showed cyberchondriacs on average search the Internet almost six times per month and the majority find what they are looking for.
Eighty-six per cent of people questioned in the poll said the health information they found online was reliable, which was a slight drop from the previous year when 90% were satisfied with the data.
“Cyberchondriacs are not only using the Internet to educate themselves, many are also using it to assist in their conversation with their physicians,” the company added .