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August 25, 2014

Knee Defender in action

 
Knee DefenderNEW YORK, N.Y. - Airline passengers have come to expect a tiny escape from the confined space of today's packed planes: the ability to recline their seat a few inches. When one passenger was denied that bit of personal space Sunday, it led to a heated argument and the unscheduled landing of their plane, just halfway to its destination.
The fight started on a United Airlines flight because one passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 gadget that attaches to a passenger's tray table and prevents the person in front of them from reclining.
The Federal Aviation Administration leaves it up to individual airlines to set rules about the device. United Airlines said it prohibits use of the device, like all major U.S. airlines. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air take the reclining mechanisms out of their seats, leaving them permanently upright.
The dispute on United Flight 1462 from Newark, New Jersey to Denver escalated to the point where the airline decided to divert to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, according to Transportation Security Administration spokesman Ross Feinstein.
Chicago Police and TSA officers met the flight, spoke to the passengers — a man and a woman, both 48 — and "deemed it a customer service issue," Feinstein said. The TSA would not name the passengers.
The plane then continued to Denver without them, arriving 1 hour and 38 minutes late, according to the airline's website.
The Federal Aviation Administration can impose a civil fine of up to $25,000 for passengers who are unruly. In this case, no arrest was made, according to airport spokesman Gregg Cunningham.
The fight started when the male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the Knee Defender to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he was on his laptop, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak.
A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official says. That's when United decided to land in Chicago. The two passengers were not allowed to continue to Denver.
Both passengers were sitting in United's Economy Plus section, the part of the plane that has four more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.

August 18, 2014

Will Drinking Vinegar Actually Boost Your Health?

 

Apple Cider Vinegar
Image is curtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard about the much-touted health benefits of vinegar—in particular, apple cider vinegar. The ancient condiment—the earliest known use of vinegar dates back more than 10,000 years and has been used as both food and medicine—is enjoying a real resurgence lately. “Cleansing diets and juicing have become so popular, and I think that’s created the recent buzz around vinegar,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietician and author of “Read It Before You Eat It.”
As with any trend, it’s easy to get lost in the hype and start believing that vinegar is a miracle medicine (it isn’t). In fact, one of the most popular claims—that drinking a small amount of apple cider vinegar before a meal helps curb appetite and burn fat—has little scientific support, according to the Mayo Clinic.
So we did some digging and found some valid, science-back benefits to vinegar that are worth sharing. In fact, research shows that vinegars contain antioxidants, which slow premature aging and reduce the risk of cancer, for example.
Here are a few more ways vinegar can give your health a boost:
Vinegar improves blood sugar levels. Drinking apple cider vinegar before a high-carbohydrate meal improves insulin sensitivity—slowing the rate of blood sugar levels rising—in people who are insulin resistant (a prediabetes condition) or have type 2 diabetes, according to a 2004 study. The researchers note that vinegar may possess physiological effects similar to the anti-diabetes medications Acarbose and Metformin.
It protects your heart health. Balsamic vinegar prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is believed to contribute to atherosclerosis—a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries, blocking blood flow and in some cases, eventually leading to a heart attack or stroke, according to a 2010 study.
Substituting in vinegar can help you lose weight. The condiment can easily replace unhealthy fats—namely, in commercial salad dressing. “What I love to do is take a favorite dressing, even blue cheese, which is rich and high in calories, and I dilute it down with vinegar,” suggests Taub-Dix, who splits commercial dressing into two bottles and fills up the remaining half with vinegar. “The vinegar adds a delicious flavor and cuts calories in half. Or I make my own dressing at home with balsamic or champagne vinegar.”
It kills bacteria. Vinegar is thought to have antibacterial properties that can help fight the infection behind a sore throat. The acidity decreases the pH of tissue, which helps prevent bacteria from growing on its surface. In addition, a 2014 study even found that vinegar’s ingredient, acetic acid, which gives vinegar its tart flavor and strong odor, acts as a non-toxic disinfectant against drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria.
Vinegar may help reduce the risk of cancer. Vinegars are a rich source of polyphenols, compounds synthesized by plants to fight oxidative stress. According to 2006 research, consuming polyphenols enhances antioxidant protection and reduces cancer risk.
Bottom line: Vinegar can be beneficial in several ways, but it isn’t a magical cure-all and doesn’t replace common sense behaviors like eating a healthy, balanced diet, notes Taub-Dix. Plus, vinegar is an acid, so going overboard with it or not rinsing out your mouth after consuming it can erode tooth enamel over time.

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