HEALTHY FLYING: Low doses of warfarin,
an inexpensive blood thinner, have proved to be extremely effective in
preventing the recurrence of both DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and
pulmonary embolisms—two risks for
high-flying travelers. ...Australian carrier Qantas is pairing
with aviation and medical groups (the Civil Aviation
Safety Authority; the Australian and International Pilots Association;
and the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia)
to undertake a
major study of pilot fatigue. The three-year, three-phase
Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) study is said to be the first time
that an airline, pilots' group, and safety organization have teamed with
scientists to examine the risks associated with fatigue. ...Beginning
April 1, MedAire will provide Finnair with 24-hour access to
emergency medical services for in-flight medical incidents.
LEGAL UPDATES...In-Flight Second-Hand Smoke
Suit Stayed: A March 12 stay from the Supreme Court has postponed
$1.4 million payout to the family of an asthmatic flyer. The
deceased flyer, Dr. Abid Hanson, died
after an asthma attack reportedly triggered by exposure to second-hand
smoke from the smoking section on a 1998 flight from Athens to New York.
...The 55 claimants in a recent UK DVT suit are
appealing the High Court's decision that derailed their efforts
to sue over two-dozen air carriers including BA and American
Airlines. ...The Department of Transportation, responding to
passenger complaints about American Airlines' wheelchair handling and
related service complaints, had noted a number of violations and
proposed penalties of $2 million that were contested by the carrier.
Last week, American responded to the initial 2001 DOT complaint,
agreeing (after extensive negotiations) to pay $100,000 in fines in
installments with American receiving "full credit for previous
EATING ON THE GO: News From the
Fast-Food Front: You'll have healthy alternatives to those
tasty-but-nutritionally challenged Happy Meals' French fries when you're
in Great Britain. McDonald's says it will offer
pre-packaged grapes and apple slices starting in April. The
fast-food chain also started serving organic milk at Brit stores
beginning in February and is said to be considering organic desserts. On
the downside, McDonald's is backtracking on an earlier commitment to
switch to a healthier cooking oil. The company has not given a new date
for the chain-wide switch. ...Looking for healthy food on the road?
Check out the
Healthy Bites Grill in Boca Raton, Florida. A Health Express USA
franchise, the restaurant offers
gourmet food such as Portobello Philly Cheese Steak, a
meatless-but-yummy alternative to the fat- and calorie-laden original.
(Get a 10
percent discount coupon.)
Benefits Keep Growing: Want to feel less tired and smarter? A
study by a university in Wales has shown that eating high-fiber
cereal in the morning can reduce fatigue and depression while increasing
your mental acuity. ...Yet another study suggests that downing a
healthy breakfast every day can help you lose weight and reduce your
risk of diabetes.
Are a Less-Weighty Option: Nutrition advocates will never endorse
American's love affair with calorie- and sugar-laden sodas and soft
drinks. However, Danish researchers have shown that you'll put on less
weight if you opt for artificially sweetened diet sodas (and limit them
to two or three a day). Seems that downing sodas with sugar substitutes
can shave 140 to 150 calories from each 12-ounce can. (FYI: This is
not a license to "stockpile" those calories for fat-laden chips, fries,
or other snacks.)
FOOD SAFETY: If you're a beef-eating
regular of France's Buffalo Grill steakhouse chain, you might
want to rethink your menu choices. Legal proceedings initiated by the
families of two of four individuals who contracted the human form of mad
cow disease allege that the chain served banned British beef. The
link: The two victims who died of Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease were regulars
at the French chain. ...Dining on food made with fresh or frozen ground beef
purchased from Kroger's or Meijer's stores in Ohio, Illinois,
Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee,
Virginia and West Virginia? If so, check the
March 12 Food Safety Alert.
SPA SAVINGS: The five-month-old
Westin New York at Times
Square is drumming up business via a room/spa combo
that's tempting locals as well as out-of-towners. Through March 30,
you can book the one-night "Spa
Sunday" package for $229 (per room, per night; SPASUN rate
plan). The offer includes accommodations in a superior-class room;
complimentary use of the Fitness Center; and a $100 credit that can be
used for spa treatments and retail items at the hotel's 23rd-floor spa.
Given the cost of hotel rooms and spa treatments in Manhattan,
it's a real bargain. Can't make it on Sunday night? Ask about the
mid-week spa services discount (25%). Hotel: 888-627-7149; spa:
A PEACEFUL DISCOUNT:
The Phoenix, a funky,
44-room San Francisco boutique hotel frequented by rock singers
and other celebrities, is conjuring up a Sixties vibe with its new
"Imagine Peace" package. In addition to a discounted room rate of
$89 (does not include tax), the hotel throws in a John Lennon Imagine
CD; a peace-sign pin; and a list of "10 Things You Can Do to Stop the
War on Iraq" (from the SFO-based
Details: 601 Eddy Street; 800-248-9466; 415-776-1380. Mention the
SF Bay Area Peace Calendar event when reserving to get an additional
discount for participating in the March 15 Emergency Convergence at
the San Francisco Civic Center.
TRAVEL ALERTS: Epidemiologists caution
that the West
Nile Virus will be back sooner—and
stronger—than it was in 2002 with
some estimating that it will reach into all 48
contiguous states as it enters via new transmission routes.
Although it's been four seasons since it surfaced in the U.S. in 1999,
scientists admit that its identity continues to change, leaving many
important questions on transmission and treatment unanswered.
"There's a lot that isn't known
about transmission and the epidemiology," observes Sharone Green,
MD, associate professor of medicine in the Center for Infectious Disease
and Vaccine Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School
in Worcester in a March 10
American Medical News article.
With some areas entering their second or third season, some individuals
may have antibodies that could lead to false-positive readings if they
become sick from other causes.
figures as of February from the Centers for Disease Control and
• There were 54
deaths in Illinois, the state registering the most cases nationwide.
• West Nile has
been identified in 44 states and the District of Columbia since the
first U.S. case in 1999.
• Only four
Nevada and Utah—in the
contiguous U.S. have not yet experienced any West Nile activity.
HEALTHY BOOKMARKS: With a constant
stream of drug recalls and medical issues that could adversely affect
your personal health, it's important to keep up with breaking news.
MEDLINE plus' special section on
drug and medical device safety issues is a timely, one-stop
source of current data that can help you quickly identify relevant news.
features general health and condition-specific news, safety overviews,
and legal initiatives. Concerned about accuracy? The site is
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