Health Buzz: New Virus Doesn't Spread Easily Among People

5 ways to reflect, refocus, and renew your life; have your cocktail, and drink it too--sans weight gain

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SARS-like Virus is Not Easily Transmitted From Person-to-Person, says WHO

Today, the World Health Organization announced a silver lining to the SARS-like virus found in a Qatari man this weekend: "From the information available thus far, it appears that the novel coronavirus cannot be easily transmitted from person-to-person," WHO said in a statement. Many experts, including those at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which monitors disease in the European Union, now believe the virus is zoonatic, which means it originated from animals. Since Sunday, health officials around the world have been on high alert for symptoms of this coronavirus that made a Qatari man critically ill and killed a Saudi Arabian man earlier this year. Because there's no evidence that these men ever crossed paths, they may have both caught it from animals. The new virus is particularly worrisome because it looks very much like SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome—the infection that killed around 800 people worldwide throughout 2002 and 2003. The WHO will continue to monitor the development of the virus but has not recommended any travel restrictions.

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  • 5 Ways to Reflect, Refocus, and Renew Your Life

    We're not afraid of dying; we're afraid of living, the rabbi said. I've heard many sermons since that one, delivered several years ago on Yom Kippur, Judaism's holiest day, writes U.S. News reporter Rachel Pomerance. But I often recall that line, and its implicit challenge, which echoes throughout the holiday: Can we seize our potential, right here, right now, before it's too late?

    Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement," asks Jews to take a day to take stock. It's the ultimate reckoning—we're meant to consider our countless transgressions before God and each other and ask for another chance, specifically, another year, to get things right. The liturgy makes this quite literal. We beg forgiveness, beating our chests for a litany of sins that we, either as individuals or as a community, may have committed, and ask God to seal our names in the "Book of Life," granting us healthy and happy days in the coming year (which, according to the Hebrew calendar, is the year 5773). Prayer, repentance, and acts of justice, it's said, improve one's fate.

    To help attain a spiritual state, we abstain from physical comforts—food and drink (including water), sexual relations, leather shoes, perfume, and bathing. Some people even wear the traditional white cloak that's used for burial. These practices are meant to mimic dying, because there's nothing quite like death to narrow one's focus on the urgency of life. Combine that with the elation of enduring the day's trials for a fresh meal, and a clean slate, and you can see why Yom Kippur is also considered the most joyful of the Jewish holidays. Like the joy of recovering health after sickness, the process aims to restore one's appreciation for living.

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    • Have Your Cocktail, and Drink it, too—Without Weight Gain

      Many of us, though not all, enjoy our cocktails, writes U.S. News blogger Keri Gans. I will admit I'm a lover of a vodka (Kettle One to be exact) martini—hold the vermouth, with olives. And it never ceases to amaze me when my patients think that in order to lose weight they must forego all alcoholic beverages.

      Yes, too much alcohol equals too many calories and weight gain, along with a long list of health risks. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, if you choose to drink alcohol, you should do so only in moderation: up to one drink a day for women, and two drinks a day for men. Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to a possible decrease in heart disease and stroke.

      Examples of one drink include: Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters); Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters); Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)