Health Buzz: Plastic Surgery 'Botax' May Help Fund Reform and Other Health News

Obama's new gray hair probably due to stress; readers weigh in on curbing texting while driving.

Video: Cosmetic Procedures

Video: Cosmetic Procedures


"Botax" on Plastic Surgery May Help Fund Reform

A piece of the proposed Senate health reform bill could levy a tax on elective cosmetic procedures—and plastic surgeons are not happy about it, the Associated Press reports. The 5 percent excise tax would affect patients going in for face-lifts or even teeth whitening, according to the AP, but not those having surgery to repair an injury or deformity. The "Botax" could raise $6 billion, but Phil Haeck, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, tells the AP it would hit more than wealthy women, who are the stereotypical plastic-surgery seekers. The majority of women receiving cosmetic procedures have incomes between $30,000 and $90,000, he said.

[Read The 3 Best and Worst Cosmetic Surgeries for Your Career and Botox Alternative May Safely Smooth Forehead Lines.]

Obama's New Gray Hair Probably Due to Stress

As is the case with all our presidents, we are watching Barack Obama grow older before our eyes. It's almost as if someone pushed the fast-forward button on his natural aging process, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz writes.

Obama insists that his new hue has nothing to do with the burdens of his office. He said during an NBC interview Wednesday from China, "My hair's gotten a lot grayer, there's no doubt about that, but I'm not sure whether that's just because I was about the age where my hair was going to start getting gray." But he seems to have gotten a lot older looking in a very short span of time.

Kotz asks Michael Roizen, a physician and chair of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic: Can Obama's gray hair be due to stress? "Yes," he says, "we have good anecdotal evidence that stress can cause melanocytes [pigment cells within our hair follicles] to turn off the production of melanin, which gives hair its color." While it's true, as Obama implies, that we all have a genetically determined time when our hair begins to gray, this process can be accelerated by a high level of stress hormones due to, oh say, knowing that the future of the country is in your hands. An inordinate amount of tension can turn off melanocytes, causing hair to lose its color. Read more.

[Read How to Avoid 'Recession Wrinkles' and Frown Lines and 5 Common Myths About Aging.]

Our Readers' Smart Tips to Stop Teens From Texting While Driving

If you have teenagers, you know that two of their most beloved pieces of hardware are the cellphone and the car. Put them together, and it's teen nirvana. One quarter of teenagers say they text while driving, according to a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, despite the many public-safety campaigns pointing out the dangers. Half of the teenagers polled say they have ridden in a car while the teenage driver was texting, U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute reports.

To say texting while driving is a dumb idea is an understatement, given that all the research shows that doing so—or even just talking on the phone—makes an accident much more likely. (A recent Virginia Tech study says texters are 23 times more likely to have a crash.) But since we regard cars as mobile living rooms, it's easy to see why it's hard for us all, teenagers and adults alike, to resist, Shute writes. U.S. News readers offered their tips to keep teens from texting while driving.

[Read Is Constant Texting a Sign of Insecurity, Narcissism, or Both? and What Parents Don't Know About How Their Kids Use Facebook, MySpace.]

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