HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

November/December 2010

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Charitable Donations:
Gifts That Keep Giving

One of the most satisfying aspects of the holidays is making the perfect match between gift and recipient (for healthy and eco-friendly gift ideas, see page 37). However, there are some people (some adults, at least) who will say, “But I don’t need anything”—and mean it. What do you give then?

An increasingly popular option for the person who says “No more knickknacks, please” is the donation gift. Americans are known for their generosity; the Giving USA Foundation says that US charitable giving exceeded $307 billion in 2008. So it isn’t surprising that this urge to give has become another way to honor loved ones during the holidays.

The best-known charitable gift catalog comes from Heifer International (www.heifer.org,
800-422-0474), which donates farm animals as a source of food and income to poor people around the world. Gifts cover a wide price range, from $20 for a flock of chicks, ducks or geese up to $500 for a heifer; larger projects, such as $10,000 for livestock development, are also available for sponsorship.

The latest development in charitable donations is the one-stop giving website, which allows the donor to pick a charity that best fits the recipient (animal rescue for Aunt Ellie the cat lover, wilderness preservation for cousin Mark the deep ecologist). To make your perfect match, click onto one of these sites.

Alternative Gifts International: Allows donations to be made by mail; www.altgifts.org, 800-842-2243

Changing the Present: You can browse by cause or find a specific group; www.changingthepresent.org

Just Give: Includes tools to “help make your generosity count”; www.justgive.org, 866-587-8448

TisBest: You can personalize the gift card by uploading your own image; www.tisbest.org

Charity Choice: The recipient can designate where the money goes; www.charitygiftcertificates.org

 

Want to ensure that your gift will be spent wisely?
Check out charities at

charitynavigator.org
,
give.org
or guidestar.org.

 

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Diabetes-Fighting Foods

Diabetes rates are skyrocketing as the average waistline widens. But scientists believe that a number of whole foods may help control blood sugar and keep this disease at bay.

A research team from Louisiana State University has reported that compounds taken from blueberries helped increase insulin sensitivity by 22% in a group of overweight people. As reported in the Journal of Nutrition, the participants all had insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells don’t respond properly to insulin and that often leads to diabetes.

In another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers from Canada’s University of Manitoba gave some overweight women muffins containing yellow pea flour while others in a control group ate wheat flour muffins. After 28 days, the women in the pea-flour group showed improved insulin levels. What’s more, these women also had less abdominal fat; excess fat in this area is
now recognized as a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

 

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RESOURCES

Cancer Risk Meter

What It Is: A simple dial that allows you to easily figure out which factors increase and decrease risk for different cancers; free from the American Institute for Cancer Research

Contact: www.aicr.org, 800-843-8114 ext. 3901


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Green Tea May Defend
Against DNA Damage

The antioxidants in green tea have long been believed to help reduce cancer risk. Now
scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong may have discovered why: Drinking green tea appears to reduce the DNA damage that can cause a cell to become cancerous.

Eighteen healthy volunteers drank either two cups of 1% green tea or water every day for four weeks; after a six-week washout period, they switched substances. Body fluid analysis showed a 20% drop in DNA damage, according to results published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

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Quote

I love what I do for a living—it's the greatest job in the world—
but you have to survive an awful lot of attention
that you don't truly deserve…I'm always trying to balance that
with what is really important.

—Tom Hanks


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MEDIA

Updating a Classic

It has been called “the bible of breast-care books,” and with good reason. Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, now in its fifth edition from Da Capo Press, has been the go-to guide for millions of women concerned about breast disorders—cancer in particular—since it was first published in 1990.

Love says that the latest edition reflects “a shift in paradigm we use to think about the breast and its problems.” This shift is based on two major changes in what we understand about breast cancer. One is that this disease consists of at least five or six subtypes, each of which requires a different treatment approach. The other is that cancer is more than just a mutated cell; the cell exists in a cellular framework that can either encourage or discourage tumor development.

At 736 pages the Breast Book is a definitive resource, with chapters on breast cancer biology, risk reduction, screening, diagnostic testing, decision-making, treatment and recurrence. Love and her coauthor, writer Karen Lindsey, present technical information in clear prose meant to be understood by the average woman.

“My goal is to stop this disease once and for all,” says Love. Until that happens, Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book will deserve a place on every breast cancer patient’s bookshelf.


 

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CALENDAR - NOVEMBER

Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness

THE IDEA: Calling attention to the needs of people with Alzheimer’s—and of the caretakers who love them

SPONSORED BY: Alzheimer’s Association

ACTIVITIES: The association is introducing two resources: Caregiver’s Notebook, which provides care tips and other information, and Comfort Zone, a GPS-based location service for people with Alzheimer’s

CONTACT: www.alz.org, 312-335-8700; 24/7 helpline: 800-272-3900

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NUMBERS

Expensive Dementia

$604 Billion
Estimated global cost of dementia care, including Alzheimer’s disease

1
Rank, in terms of annual revenue, of dementia care if it was a
company (by comparison,
Wal-Mart takes in $414 billion)

85%
Estimated increase in worldwide cost of dementia by 2030

Source: World Alzheimer Report 2010

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