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cell phone and kids

It used to be warnings about cell phone safety were deemed conspiracy theory or quack science. Not anymore — the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends limiting cell phone use for children based on a large government study linking cancer with cell phone radiation.

The study found exposure to wireless radiation significantly increased the rates of highly malignant heart and brain cancer in rodents. In other words, cell phones caused cancer in these animals.

The cells affected in the research animals are the same cells in humans that develop into cancers in adult cell phone users.

These results were alarming enough to prompt the AAP to warn parents to limit children’s exposure to cell phones and wireless devices.

The study also showed cell phones damaged DNA in brain cells.

Children susceptible to cell phone cancer risk

The risks for cell phone cancer damage are believed to be higher for children than adults.

Children have thinner skulls, which makes it easier for cell phone radiation to penetrate and absorb into a child’s brain. Children’s nervous systems are also not fully developed and thus more sensitive to damage.

As a result of this information, the AAP warns adults not to keep cell phones on or near their body and that a child’s exposure should be limited or avoided.

How to reduce cell phone cancer risk

Sadly, it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without cell phones these days, despite the risks.

The AAP suggests the following ideas to reduce cancer risk in both adults and children:

  • Choose text messaging as much as possible, and for calls, use speaker mode or hands-free kits.
  • Hold the cell phone at least an inch away from your head.
  • Keep calls short.
  • Do not carry your phone against your body. The amount of radiation you absorb that way may be at an unsafe level.
  • To watch a movie on your phone or tablet, download it first and switch to airplane mode to view. This will help you avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • A weaker cell signal means more radiation because the phone has to work harder. Wait until you have a stronger signal before using your phone or tablet.
  • Avoid making calls in areas where the phone has to work harder for a signal through metal, such as in cars, elevators, trains, and buses.
  • Do not let a child use a cell phone as a toy or for teething.

Cell phone cancer risks little known

Fortunately, cell phone cancer risks are now being legitimized through new research, thus increasing awareness.

For more advice about general cancer prevention through nutrition and lifestyle, contact my office.

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613 sunglasses at night copy 2

Have you noticed how shockingly bright streetlights are these days? Although they’re great for night time visibility, the newer LED streetlights tamper with the body’s internal clock, skewing metabolic function and raising disease risk.

The effect of blue-rich white light at night on human health is so significant that the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a policy statement about street lighting.

It warns LED street lights are five times more disruptive to the human sleep cycle than traditional street lighting and that recent large surveys link brighter residential lighting with reduced sleep, poor functioning, and more obesity. The lighting also increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

These bright blue-white lights also strain the eyes and can cause problems walking or driving safely at night. Enough blue light can even damage the retina.

How night time lighting can be safer for health

LED lights were introduced because they consume less energy. The AMA suggests ways to make the lighting friendlier to human biology (and that of area wildlife):

  • Lowering the color temperature of the lights away from the blue end of the spectrum (which signals the brain it is daytime) and towards the orange end of the spectrum. Current lights have a color temperature of 4000K to 5000K. Compare this with the use of fire and candles human have used for most of history, at 1800K. The AMA recommends lights be no bluer than 3000K.
  • Better shielding the light to reduce eye-straining glare.
  • Using adaptive controls to dim or extinguish the lights.

Residents complaining about bright lights

You don’t have to understand the science to feel the effects of these lights. Residents in areas where they are installed around the country are complaining, saying the lights feel like a car lot or strip mall parking lot. The LED street lamps also light up the insides of homes, especially in hilly areas such as Seattle.

Davis, California residents found them so objectionable the city agreed to replace all existing LED streetlights with more biologically friendly lighting.

Do you need sunglasses at night?

Of course, it’s dangerous to wear dark glasses at night. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have recourse if LED streetlights are a part of your night life.

You can switch the light coming into your eyes to a more biologically friendly hue by wearing orange or rose tinted glasses that aren’t sunglasses. Examples include affordable Uvex safety glasses from Amazon, orange glasses from Low Blue Lights (these glasses are more expensive because they are scratch resistant), or rose tinted migraine glasses.

Also, cities are taking note of complaints, so be sure to add your voice.

Avoid night time blue lights indoors too

LED streetlights aren’t the only culprits when it comes to confusing your sleep-wake cycle. LED televisions, smart phones, tablets, computers, and LED bulbs also bombard you with too much blue light at night, hindering the output of sleep hormones.

Purchasing orange bulbs for lamps, orange filters to put over your screens, or wearing orange glasses a couple of hours before bed are ways to encourage the production of sleep hormones and maintain the delicate but important sleep-wake cycle.

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generosity good for health

While volunteering is good for those in need, the giver cashes in big on generosity, too. Studies show the benefits of generosity and volunteering include a heightened sense of well-being, increased self-worth, and improved emotional and physical health. 

How generosity makes you happier

Generosity and volunteering produce hormones that relieve stress, promote happiness, cause a natural high (endorphins), and promote bonding and tranquility.

Being generous makes us feel better about ourselves  It builds confidence, and encourages us to focus toward the world rather than ourselves.

When we improve someone else’s life, empowerment grows and we are better able to deal with life’s hardships.

Volunteering can help you feel better 

Generosity and volunteering also lower mortality rates, reduce cardiovascular risk, decrease anxiety and depression, and improve sleep. 

In fact, one study showed adults who volunteered at least four hours a week for one year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure compared to non-volunteers.

Another study of teens found those who spent an hour a week helping children in after-school programs had lower levels of cholesterol and inflammation than their non-volunteering peers.

Generosity must be genuine to benefit health

Don’t volunteer or be generous simply out of obligation in order to improve your health.

If you want to enjoy the health benefits of generosity and volunteering, it must be genuine. Make sure you’re focused on helping others and not just looking good.

2012 study found that older volunteers had a lower risk of dying in a four-year period than non-volunteers, as long as their volunteerism was for altruistic and not self-oriented reasons.

Tips for volunteering to improve your health

  • Offer to do something your enjoy.
  • Help with a cause you’re passionate about.
  • Be realistic about your schedule so you don’t stress out.
  • Volunteer with others so it’s socially beneficial.
  • Don’t give up if your first attempt is a bad match.

Receive generosity with grace so others can benefit as well

Remember, generosity and volunteering are good for everyone. Others may have chronic health conditions they are working to manage.

If someone is generous to you, don’t brush it off or feel undeserving — receive their kindness with sincerity and grace. This will bring you closer to the person and allow them reap the benefits of giving as well.

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