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Don’t forget an antacid for asthma

Don’t forget an antacid for asthma

ASTHMA is a relatively common lung problem, usually caused by allergies, heavy exercise or chemical exposure in the workplace.

But Dr Alexei Gonzalez Estrada, a Mayo Clinic allergy and immunology specialist, says most people don’t realise heartburn could be making their asthma worse.

Think of your lungs and airway as an upside-down tree.

“And what happens is you have inflammation of your airway tree, Dr Gonzalez Estrada says. “And what happens is it gets full of gunk, and that’s when people get wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness.”

That’s asthma.

“Heartburn can also irritate the airway, and you’re never going to catch your asthma if you don’t treat your heartburn symptoms, as well,” Dr Gonzalez Estrada says.

Heartburn is one of the first things he asks patients about when they come in for asthma treatment. He says there are two theories about why heartburn worsens asthma symptoms.

“There’s … the theory that (acid) actually goes all the way up into your throat, and it goes into your airway and irritates your airways,” he says. “Or the other theory that (acid) actually irritates your nerves, which are connected to the same nerves that are in charge of you having coughing.”

So the next time your asthma acts up, ask your health care provider if heartburn could be the real problem. – Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service

A good night’s sleep is a must

A good night’s sleep is a must

SLEEPING well is beneficial to your mental and physical health as well as quality of life. Lack of sleep, however, can affect your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance and even weight. Many, nevertheless, struggle to get the much-needed sleep, tossing and turning at night.

Your brain needs seven to nine hours of good sleep every day and a day well spent can bring about a peaceful slumber. Daytime routines and bedtime habits can have an impact on how well you sleep and here are some things that can deprive you of one:

Working late into the night – Avoid work or paying bills at night, particularly in the bedroom. They require too much concentration and have the potential to be upsetting or frustrating. Discovering that you do not have enough to pay the rent is not relaxing at any time of day, let alone at bedtime.

Spicy food and heavy meals – Your body needs coolness during sleep, but spicy food raises body temperature and gives you heartburn. Discomfort is also certainty when you lie down. Big, heavy meals are sleep killers too.

Caffeine and nicotine – Caffeine can cause sleep problems up to 10 to 12 hours after a cuppa. Similarly, smoking is another stimulant that can disrupt your sleep, especially if you smoke close to bedtime.

Alcohol – You may think that passing out after one too many drinks will get you deeper sleep, but you will often find yourself feeling as if you hardly slept at all. Going to sleep after a night of drinking disrupts normal sleep processes and can cause other side effects.

Body static – As we go about our daily lives coming into contact with or brushing against objects, our body picks up electrons, causing body static. The use of electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops also accumulates electrons and these can leave us feeling tense and uncomfortable.

The effects of static electricity are familiar to most people because people can feel, hear, and even see the spark. These electrons results in uneasiness in bed, preventing deep sleep. To make your sleep better, do you know how often should you change your mattress? According to the National Sleep Foundation, a good mattress lasts for nine to 10 years. However, it is advisable to replace your mattress every five to seven years if you do not sleep well.

Goodnite Mattress helps Malaysians get a good night’s sleep with comfortable beds and quality bedding materials, which contain the proprietary antistatic Statfree layer that neutralises static electricity. Statfree makes it possible for users to be free from static sleeping problem, headaches, fatigue and sickness.
Goodnite’s Statfree Love Series consists of three ranges with different designs – Forever Love, Eternal Love and True Love.

Statfree helps you sleep deeper and wake up fresher. This advanced sleep system allows you to recover from fatigue faster so that you can live life to the fullest.

For details, visit Goodnite at http://goodnite.com.my// or Goodnite’s FaceBook page: @Mygoodnite or call the hotline at 03-3250 2218.
An embattled mayo startup is slamming Jaden Smith’s brand for allegedly putting its own labels on another company’s products

An embattled mayo startup is slamming Jaden Smith’s brand for allegedly putting its own labels on another company’s products

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
  • Jaden Smith’s bottled water company, Just Goods, is suing an embattled vegan mayo startup that recently changed its name from Hampton Creek to Just.
  • In a lawsuit, Smith’s company claims Hampton Creek’s rebrand violates a 2014 trademark agreement between the two companies.
  • Just (formerly Hampton Creek) is now alleging that Smith’s company put Just Goods labels on products that weren’t theirs as a means of boosting their claim to the name.
  • A video shared with Business Insider shows a representative from Just (formerly Hampton Creek) peeling off what it claims is a fake label from Just Goods on a bottle of olive oil made in Spain by another company.

The name represents fairness.

But this week, a legal battle over deception between two companies called “Just” began to simmer. One is a maker of vegan mayo, cookie dough, and salad dressings, formerly called Hampton Creek. The other is Jaden Smith’s Just Goods, which makes bottled water packaged in paper and allegedly had plans to sell other items, like olive oil.

Smith’s company sued Just last year for alleging that it violated the terms of an agreement between both companies which dictated when each could use the name “Just.” But most recently, Just shot back, alleging in counterclaims that Just Goods created fake products – in some cases, by allegedly sticking a fake label on another company’s items – in an attempt to bolster their claims to the “Just” label.

‘Misrepresentations and deceptions’

just label video


In the most recent court filing, representatives from the vegan mayo startup alleged that Smith’s company used “misrepresentations and deceptions” in a “hurried attempt to fabricate” products that would support its claims to the “Just” brand name.

One of those alleged deceptions is a package of olive oil which the vegan mayo company claims was not made by Smith’s company.

In a video shared with Business Insider, presented in court, and described in the counterclaim, a representative from Just (formerly Hampton Creek) can be seen ordering the olive oil, which is listed on Smith’s Just Goods website. In the video, the representative is seen peeling off a label that reads “Just Olive Oil” and revealing a different label hidden underneath that instead reads “ONLY: Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil.”

That label bears the same name and appearance as a product offered by a company called Lycompany, whose “ONLY: Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil” products are sold online through vendors like Amazon.

Ken Hertz, the attorney representing Smith’s Just Goods company, said in a statement emailed to Business Insider that the video and the vegan mayo company’s claims are a distraction meant to “besmirch Just Goods.” Hertz also told BuzzFeed News that its labeling of the olive oil was a “common practice as companies develop their businesses,” adding that having one company manufacture a product for another is “perfectly acceptable with the Trademark Office and in the marketplace.”

A representative for Lycompany told Business Insider in an email that it was unaware that its products were allegedly being used this way.

The beginning: A peaceful agreement

Just Mayo's 2014 lineup.

Just Mayo’s 2014 lineup.
Biz Carson/Business Insider

The olive oil debacle was not the spark that ignited the controversy between the two Just brands.

The apparent brand war appears to have begun as early as 2014 when then the company then known as Hampton Creek – which calls its leading product Just Mayo – entered into a trademark agreement with Smith’s Just Goods that outlined the terms under which each company could use the word “just.”

Just Goods’ demands in its 2017 complaint included that the mayo startup stop using the name “Just, Inc.” and adjust its use of the word “Just” in branding,” as well as pay damages suffered by Just Goods as a result of that branding.

From ‘Hampton Creek’ to ‘Just’

Beginning last June (roughly three years after the trademark agreement), Hampton Creek abandoned the Hampton Creek label and began calling itself simply “Just.”

Just's rebrand.

Just’s rebrand.

From a product design perspective, the name change could be seen as strategic. For years, Hampton Creek had been mired in controversies, ranging from a since-dropped federal inquiry into allegations of artificially-inflated sales figures to an investigation into whether its egg-free mayo product could legally be called mayonnaise.

Instead of containers of Just Mayo with the word “just” written in small, cursive letters and the word “mayo” in big, bold print in the center, newer packages condiment flipped the arrangement, showing the word “just” followed by a period in big letters and the word “mayo” (or another type of dressing, like “ranch”) underneath in smaller print.

To an outsider, it may have seemed like a somewhat logical leap.

But Smith’s company didn’t think so.

Several weeks after Hampton Creek’s partial rebrand, Smith’s company, Just Goods, sued the company and its CEO, Josh Tetrick. Smith’s company argued that Tetrick’s rebrand violated the terms of their 2014 agreement.

At the time of the initial lawsuit, Tetrick’s company was still known as Hampton Creek, according to the state of California; its Just rebrand wasn’t officially recognized by the Secretary of State until February of this year.

Just(ice) can’t be rushed

In the counterclaim, representatives from Tetrick’s company allege that Smith’s company hastily added an “innovation” tab to its website to house fabricated items beyond bottled water that would make its claim to the “Just” label appear justified.

“Moreover, examining the nature of the food products it now claimed to be selling – namely, olive oil and snack foods – along with their labeling and the manner in which [Smith’s company] has sold them, reveals that [Smith’s company] rushed to make ‘token use’ of Just in connection with these goods – a technique the law forbids as a means of securing prior rights in a trademark. As but one example, [Smith’s company’s] ‘use’ of Just on olive oil turns out to be little more than slapping a sticker on to a third party’s olive oil product, even though JGI touts this product as an ‘innovation,’” the counterclaim states.

Hertz, the attorney representing Smith’s Just Goods company, said these claims are a distraction meant to “deflect from [Tetrick’s company’s] intentional breach” of the 2014 trademark agreement.

“Hampton Creek (now calling itself Just Inc.) is trying to steal the ‘Just’ trademark and take advantage of Jaden’s fame and his team’s hard work,” Hertz further claimed. “Just Goods will not stand for it.”

An insight into superfoods

An insight into superfoods

IN the Oxford Dictionary, superfood is defined as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”.

However, there is actually no standard definition or criteria of superfoods by any authority. Cancer Research UK states that the term “superfood” is a marketing gimmick with little scientific basis to the claim.

So, what is the superfood trend about?

The term superfoods was introduced by marketers and has been a fad on the internet, with lists of superfoods coming out annually, e.g. chia seed, kombucha, quinoa, goji berries, kale, green tea, cocoa, salmon and more.

Food products enriched with certain contents like omega-3, antioxidants or vitamins are also touted as superfoods.

Green tea is often advertised to aid in weight loss and prevent cancer, while DHA (a form of omega-3) is claimed to be good for children’s brain development.

Looking at the hype around superfoods, this article examines the truth behind the claims and how we should cultivate a healthy dietary habit instead of just focusing on superfoods.

Are superfoods really ‘super’?

Superfoods do have nutritional contents beneficial to health. Naturally found in oily fish, omega-3 is a type of essential fatty acid important for metabolism, while green tea is high in catechin, an antioxidant that scavenges free radicals harmful to health.

Superfood claims are usually accompanied with proof of studies showing high concentration of these substances in the food, or how these substances can prevent or even cure different diseases.

But most of these studies are sometimes inconclusive, with mixed findings being reported, and it is unlikely that any single food can have an effect on any disease on its own.

There is some basis in such studies but they usually do not reflect our real diet.

Research shows that catechin can suppress the growth of cancer cells, but laboratory studies use purified extracts of these beneficial substances from the said food.

Moreover, preliminary studies that are tested on animals do not accurately reflect effects in the human metabolism, with other factors to consider.

Some human trials on single or multiple derivatives from plant or animal foods are poorly designed, with a small number of subjects, short duration of study, and a lack of safety data, where there may be short term effects that warrant cautious judgement on its use.

Superfoods still can be a part of your family’s diet. However, eating too much of one type of food does not give you all the nutrients you need.

The bioactive compounds of cocoa in dark chocolate do have health benefits, but if eaten excessively, it becomes bad due to its high content of sugar and fat, leading to other health problems.

A superfood fan with poor dietary habits and lifestyle will not make a difference. Instead of following trends, cultivate a good dietary habit which is key to your health.

Focus on a healthy diet

Instead of relying on superfoods, aim for a healthy diet that is Balanced, Moderate, and Varied (BMV) for the family.

Achieve a balance in the diet by eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and less salt, sugar, fat and oil, according to the recommended intake.

Practise moderation by not eating too much or too little of something.

A variety of food in the diet is also important to provide different nutrients needed by the body.

One way for your children to have a healthy diet is by encouraging them to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables with different colours.

Different colours indicate different nutrients, e.g. red fruits and veggies like tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant. Yellow/orange ones like carrots or papaya have beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the body. Purple ones like blueberries and beetroots contain anthocyanin, another antioxidant.

Parents should also be conscious of the nutrient content of food products they purchase. Read labels, look for nutrient information panels and food ingredients, and know what you are feeding your children.

Teach children about a healthy diet, and guide them to look at labels and ingredients when buying food.

Beware of marketing gimmicks, and do not be tricked by attractive packaging and bombastic words.

Your dietary habits have a bigger influence on your health than a couple of superfoods.

Superfoods are not harmful but you do not need to rely on them entirely. After all, there is no single food that can provide all the required nutrients for health.

It is more practical to practise BMV in your diet based on the Malaysian Food Pyramid, every time and everywhere.

Local superfood?

Superfoods that are popular online tend to be pricey and uncommon in Malaysia as the trends start from Western countries.

However, we also have our own affordable version of superfoods, such as tempeh (rich in protein, fibre, calcium), spinach (vitamin K, calcium, iron), rambutan (fibre, vitamin C), and papaya (vitamin A, folate).

Assoc Prof Dr Azrina Azlan is a nutritionist. This article is courtesy of the Malaysian Paediatric Association’s Positive Parenting programme in collaboration with expert partners. The opinion expressed in the article is the view of the author. For further information, visit www.mypositiveparenting.org. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.
23andMe plans to send DNA kits to try to reunite families separated at the border — but privacy issues loom

23andMe plans to send DNA kits to try to reunite families separated at the border — but privacy issues loom

John Moore/Getty Images
  • On Thursday, congressional representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) talked to 23andMe about possibility of using genetic testing to help reunite families separated at the border.
  • The next day, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki tweeted that the company had offered to “donate kits and resources to do the genetic testing to help reconnect children with their parents.”
  • A 23andMe representative told Business Insider on Friday that the company is currently working on a plan, but details have not yet been finalized.
  • There are several issues with tracking down family members via DNA testing, most of which involve privacy concerns.

The Trump administration has vowed to reunite the more than 2,300 migrant children and parents who’ve been forcibly separated as the result of the “zero-tolerance” policy enacted by the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.

But the logistical challenges of bringing families back together are only beginning to emerge. Because the cases of parents and children have been handled by separate agencies – and some parents have already been deported – reuniting kids with their parents is a dauntingly difficult and complex task.

Members of Congress are searching for potential solutions. On Thursday, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) talked to 23andMe about the possibility of using genetic testing to help reunite families, BuzzFeed News reported.

The next day, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki tweeted that the company had offered to donate some of its spit-in-a-tube DNA-testing kits, along with “resources to do the genetic testing,” to help families reconnect.

A 23andMe representative confirmed to Business Insider that the company is working on a plan for this, although “program details haven’t been finalized.”

To use DNA testing for this purpose, people would have to carefully collect spit samples, then send them to a certified lab to be tested and submitted to 23andMe’s database. It’s unclear what would happen after that, or what a system that uses genetic data to match these separated families might look like.

“We are waiting to see the best way to follow up and make it happen,” Wojcicki wrote in her tweet.

Consumer genetics tests like 23andMe's require you to submit samples of saliva.

Consumer genetics tests like 23andMe’s require you to submit samples of saliva.
Hollis Johnson

Some experts have criticized the effort as unnecessary, however, suggesting that spreadsheets and photographs might be easier tools to accomplish the same goal.

“I find it astounding – astounding – that these families would have been separated in such a way that DNA would be required to reunite them,” Tom May, a professor of bioethics at the Hudson Alpha Insitute for Biotechnology, told Business Insider.

If genetics tests do wind up being used for this purpose, consumer privacy concerns may arise.

Once genetic data has been submitted to a database like those kept by 23andMe, Ancestry, or one of the other myriad companies providing these services, it is difficult and in some cases virtually impossible to delete. Some experts fear the data can be hacked, used in a discriminatory manner by insurance companies or employers, or used to locate other family members without their consent.

That is one of privacy experts’ main concerns about genetic data in general: that people beyond the individuals who choose to do a genetic test could be affected by its results. In the case of the Golden State Killer, for example, the suspect was tracked down using samples that a relative submitted to public genealogy database GEDmatch.

“You might be informed about the risks of doing a test like this, but other people might not,” May said.

Importantly, 23andMe is a private database, not a public one like GEDmatch. But private data was hacked last month at DNA testing and genealogy site MyHeritage, compromising the data of 92 million users.

May said that although he believes 23andMe’s offer to help unite families is well-intentioned, he hopes some ground rules will be established before the company gets involved.

“I think it would behoove [them] to supplement their good intentions by taking steps to make sure this travesty is not being used as a surreptitious way for authorities to enter individuals’ genetic information into a law-enforcement database,” May said. “I hope, therefore, that it is 23andMe’s intention to destroy this information after its use for this discrete purpose of reunification, and refuse to enter this into a database.”

A mosquito virus that had never been identified in humans was found in a Florida boy — here’s what to know about the Keystone virus

A mosquito virus that had never been identified in humans was found in a Florida boy — here’s what to know about the Keystone virus

  • A viral illness that’s never been known to infect humans, Keystone virus, was identified in a Florida boy, according to a recent study.
  • Keystone virus is widespread in the Southeast and is part of a family of viruses that can cause encephalitis, or brain inflammation.
  • This case is a reminder that new viruses carried by vectors like mosquitoes are worth looking out for.

When a 16-year-old boy showed up at a north central Florida urgent care center in August of 2016, no one could figure out what he was infected with.

According to a report recently published on the case in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the boy (who remains anonymous) had a fever of around 100 degrees. A rash that started on his chest was spreading to his abdomen, arm, back, and face. It was aggravated by heat and sunlight, though didn’t cause pain.

The boy said that he’d been bitten by numerous mosquitoes while attending band camp.

The case appeared in the midst of the Zika outbreak, but the teen tested negative for Zika, Chikungunya, and dengue. However, in one of the urine samples collected by doctors, researchers eventually identified a virus that’s been known to infect animals, including squirrels, raccoons, and whitetail deer: Keystone virus.

This was the first time that a Keystone virus infection has been confirmed in a human, though it’s known to be widespread among animals in the southeastern US, from the Chesapeake Bay to Texas. The disease comes from a virus family that’s known to cause encephalitis, or brain inflammation. And it’s a reminder that there are always emerging diseases to be watching out for.

The virus is carried by a relative of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry Zika.

The virus is carried by a relative of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry Zika.
Thomson Reuters

Diagnosing the Keystone virus

Identifying the infection was no easy task, since there’d previously been no way to test for Keystone virus. But because of the Zika outbreak happening at the time, researchers were determined to identify the condition to see whether there was reason to be concerned about more new diseases being spread by mosquitoes.

“We couldn’t identity what was going on,” Dr. Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, told WUSF Public Media. “We screened this with all the standard approaches and it literally took a year and a half of sort of dogged laboratory work to figure out what this virus was.”

It’s possible that Keystone virus is more widespread amongst people than experts realize, according to the case report. Surveys conducted almost 50 years ago found antibodies to the virus in about 20% of people in the Southeast, indicating that they’d been exposed, though live virus had never been found in a person before.

Most likely, any symptoms of the virus that people have experienced have been mild, like fever or rash. There are no reported symptoms in animals, though in some areas, 30% of squirrels or 10% of deer surveyed have been found to be infected with Keystone virus.

Researchers are most concerned by the fact that Keystone virus is part of the “California serogroup” family of viruses, which are known to cause encephalitis, or brain swelling, that can be dangerous. It’s possible that Keystone could cause this in some cases, based on observations of the virus in cell cultures and the behavior of related viruses. But that didn’t happen to they boy in the case report.

As the researchers wrote, doctors should start looking for Keystone virus in cases when patients have unexplained viral encephalitis.

“It’s one of these instances where if you don’t know to look for something, you don’t find it,” Morris said in a statement.

Plus, they wrote, this finding underscores the fact that there are all kinds of diseases circulating out there that could one day infect humans.

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