Parents Fret After Powdered Baby Formula is Recalled
Cans of a popular brand of baby formula were recalled by the millions Wednesday, after beetles were detected in the products and in a plant where they're made. Abbott Laboratories voluntarily recalled 5 million containers of its Similac powdered infant formula, and warned consumers to stop using the products as a precaution. Abbott's liquid formula is not involved in the recall. It's unlikely, the company said, that any of the formula already sold is tainted with insect parts, and if it were, babies probably wouldn't suffer serious harm; the likeliest symptom would be a mild stomach ache lasting a few days, the Associated Press reports. Still, worried parents bombarded Abbott after the announcement; the company's website was so busy, it crashed, according to the AP. Consumers who return containers of the recalled formula will be reimbursed.
Trouble Coping With Stress Under Pressure? Train Your Brain
"Pencils down." Even years later, recalling those words can bring back painful memories of choking on tests, knowing you were sunk no matter how hard you'd studied. Stress still makes your brain freeze in a job interview, during a critical presentation, or going up to bat with bases loaded, writes U.S. News's Megan Johnson.
Hey, you're human. You can't win 'em all. But the stakes are getting higher, with more students fighting for college spots, more applicants for increasingly scarce job openings, and more layoffs looming.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the likeliest chokers are the very people who should be best equipped to succeed, says Sian Beilock, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Chicago who studies human performance. They were the "smart kids" who could drill their way through a complicated problem in class but got hung up during tests. Already uncertain when they started, they would make a small mistake, panic, and spiral out of control. Such individuals should have a huge advantage. Their brains house more working memory than the average person or, as Beilock calls it, "cognitive horsepower." But under stress, some of those resources are shunted into "worrying about the situation and its consequences," she says.
A star basketball player who misses a shot at the buzzer suffers from a different variety of brain cramp, Beilock writes in her new book, Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To. He may have been thinking too much. Top athletes are so well-practiced that thinking throws off their game. They need to simply do what they do so well, like putting the ball in the net, she writes, and not suddenly focus on the technique. Musicians face the same danger. Woe be to the pianist who thinks about her fingers in the middle of a complicated run, or to the surgeon who thinks about his knotting technique as he sutures instead of letting his hands do what they've done a thousand times. [Read more: Trouble Coping With Stress Under Pressure? Train Your Brain.]
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Heart Failure Treatment: Counseling Not Necessary
Heart failure is the most common reason seniors wind up in the hospital, and many patients are hospitalized again and again. They find it's just too difficult to properly manage their condition with its complex drug regimens, dietary restrictions, and frequent monitoring—all of which have been shown in studies to reduce their risk of severe disability and even death. Family doctors often have a hard time getting patients to adhere to their advice on managing their heart failure and assume that any additional one-on-one counseling would be beneficial. Turns out, though, that may not be the case, family physician Kenny Lin writes for U.S. News. A study published in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that patients with heart failure who receive customized support are no less likely to suffer from disabling symptoms, be hospitalized, or die prematurely than patients receiving standard educational materials.
That's very disappointing considering that heart failure—in which the heart can't pump enough blood through the body—affects some 5 million Americans and kills 300,000 every year. The approach investigated in the study, called "self-management support", has been shown to improve blood sugar control and quality of life in patients with diabetes. It differs from traditional patient education in that it enables patients to better monitor their own conditions, set personal goals, and overcome any physical or psychological impediments that prevent them from controlling their disease. Rather than, say, simply handing a patient a brochure about the disease and its treatments, health care providers help patients implement problem-solving strategies and tap into community resources. For example, providers might help patients sketch out exercise plans or help them join a local YMCA or neighborhood walking group. They would also check in with patients every week or two to see if those exercise promises were being kept. [Read more: Heart Failure Treatment: Counseling Not Necessary.]
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