Larry Schwartz

Here Are 20 Things That Are Most Likely to Kill You (Hint: Not Sharks or Terrorists)

We humans are a strange lot. When we are not busy deluding ourselves into thinking we’re going to live forever, we’re busy being anxious that we are going to die a horrible death, courtesy of a shark, plane crash or bolt of lightning. And if we somehow avoid those catastrophes, certainly the terrorists will get us.

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A Lot More of Us Are Committing Serious Crimes Than You Might Think

During Donald Trump’s inauguration speech, he spoke puzzlingly of "American carnage," a crime wave sweeping the United States that to listen to him, had Americans cowering in their homes, afraid to walk the streets. But the truth, as is usually the case with our 45th president, is somewhat different. The crime rate in the U.S., while slightly higher than past years, is still at a historically low point in modern history.

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America's Health Illiteracy: How Easy It Is to Buy into Health Myths

Ask any American for some medical advice and you're sure to get an earful. Everybody, it seems, has a surefire cure for the common cold, hangover or sore throat. But how much can you trust that advice? Maybe not so much. In a world where, according to one survey by the Pew Health Group, almost half of the respondents thought antibiotics were effective against the common cold or flu (the answer to that is a big fat no, in case you were wondering), one should be exceedingly careful about the source of one's medical information.

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The Depressing Trendlines That Are Driving America's Decline in Life Expectancy

The United States may be the world’s only true “superpower,” but when it comes to average life expectancy, we might as well be a third-world banana republic. Despite our enormous wealth relative to the rest of the world, the U.S., with an average life expectancy of just under 80 years old, ranks just 42nd in the world, behind such world powers as Monaco (89.5 years), Luxembourg (82.3 years), Liechtenstein (81.9 years), Norway (81.8 years), and the Cayman Islands (81.2 years). If Republican health care proponents get their way and succeed in repealing the Affordable Health Care Act, there is little doubt America will slide even further down the list.

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5 Surprising Facts About Near-Death Experiences

Descriptions of near-death experiences have become somewhat familiar. “I’m unconscious. Floating above myself. I see people gathered around my unmoving body. I am traveling through a tunnel. People I have loved and lost are waiting at the end of the tunnel for me. There is a bright light that brings me peace and a feeling of love. I am pulled back through the tunnel. I don’t want to go. I wake up to find I am alive. I have a feeling of peace and spirituality that I did not have before I died.”

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Trump Brags About Not Sleeping Much: Here Are 6 Catastrophes Caused by Sleep Deprivation

President-elect Donald J. Trump regularly boasts he’s the biggest winner, makes the biggest deals, and appoints the best people, and recently he claimed he’ll be the biggest job creator god ever created. He also brags that he does all these amazing things on next to no sleep. This 70-year-old pre-adolescent made numerous boasts on the campaign trail last year about his sleeping habits, saying he sometimes gets as little as an hour’s sleep a night. Most nights, Trump says he gets by on just three or four hours of sleep, which is half of the amount sleep experts recommend. “I have a great temperament for success,” he told the Chicago Tribune at an event in Illinois last November. “You know, I’m not a big sleeper, I like three hours, four hours, I toss, I turn, I beep-de-beep, I want to find out what’s going on.” 

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5 Things Your Sleep-Deprived Body Really Needs You to Know

If you’ve ever been in a hospital and been treated by a resident instead of a full-fledged doctor, you may have noticed a few things. Your doctor may have looked a bit disheveled, may have been somewhat curt or cranky, or even a bit too happy given the medical circumstances. The doctor may even have had a distinct unpleasant odor. The reason for all this can be summed up in one word: sleep. Or rather, lack of sleep. Residents often work killer shifts of 30 hours or more in a row. The lack of sleep can result in severe health issues for the sleep-deprived; not just hospital residents, but for all of us who don’t get enough shuteye.

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The Dark Conspiracy Theories That Consume the Mind of Donald Trump

If there was ever any doubt that conspiracy theories course through the dark, troubled mind of Donald Trump, his tweets in the weeks since he won the election should dispel that notion. Hot and bothered by the inconvenient fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by more than 2 million votes (and counting) and that he is president due only to the questionable decision by James Madison to deny direct voter election of our presidents and instead delegate that task to an Electoral College, the birther-in-chief-elect took to his preferred social media platform. On November 27, Trump tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

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Sobering Stats: Alcohol Abuse in College Far More Prevalent Than Thought

Animal House is an almost universally loved movie among the boomer generation. Say “Toga party!” to anyone of a certain age and you are almost guaranteed a smile. The memory of John Belushi and friends drinking and drugging their way through college brings big laughs, until we ponder the fact that Belushi’s appetite for drink and drugs things in real life led to his tragic early demise.

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The Real Reasons We Need Sleep May Surprise You

According to a National Sleep Foundation study, 45 percent of Americans have reported that, despite getting an adequate amount of sleep (about seven and a half hours a night), they feel that the quality of their sleep is poor or only fair. And 20 percent of Americans do not wake up feeling refreshed. Sixty-seven percent of American who have reported poor or only fair quality sleep also report that their health is poor or only fair.

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Is Your Office Tech Making You Sick?

It’s the 21st century and office tech is commonplace. We go to our offices and get swiped in with electronic badges, we sit at our desks and use mice and track pads to navigate our computers, and we place calls on our cell phones. After handling all these tech items, we grab a sandwich and eat lunch at our desks with the same hands that have been touching all these office items. The question is, when was the last time any of these tech items were cleaned? Sure, we may wipe down the desk surface occasionally, but how about our computer mouse? CBT Nuggets, an IT training company, decided to see what was lurking on our office tech, and what they found might make you a little queasy.

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When Bacteria Is a Good Thing: 10 Ways Probiotics and Prebiotics Can Change Your Life

In modern Western society, say the word “bacteria” and alarm bells go off. Germs! Disease! Danger! Modern society seems bent on viewing the microbial world with a combination of fear and disgust. The truth is, though, for the most part, microbes, those tiny single-celled organisms too small to see with the naked eye, are our friends—at least, the ones that live inside our gut and on the surface of our skin. Together, those tiny critters are known as the microbiome, and there are a lot of them. For every single human cell in your body, there are 10 microbes to match. A hundred trillion microbes. Three to six pounds of your total body weight consists of microbes. "The idea that we're more microbe than mammal is as or more profound than the theory of evolution," anthropologist Jeff Leach, of the American Gut Project, an effort to genetically map the microbiome, told Men’s Journal Magazine.

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8 Cold Remedies That Don’t Work

Winter is coming. No, not the dragon-infested, zombie apocalypse winter foretold in Game of Thrones. I’m talking about the real thing. After another record hot summer, we can once again look forward to puffy coats, hot chocolate, ski trips, snow boots—and drippy noses, stuffy heads, coughs, and sneezes. Cold season is upon us.

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New Study Links the Pill With Depression

A new large-scale study recently published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry suggests that there is a link between the use of hormonal birth control and clinical depression. The Danish study, conducted by University of Copenhagen researchers, followed more than one million female participants between the ages of 15 and 34 over a 13-year period (and an average of 6.4 years for each participant). While there have been smaller studies, as well as significant anecdotal evidence, of a link between hormonal contraceptives and mood disorders, this is the first study that seems to firmly establish the risk.

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The 20 Things That Are Most Likely to Kill You (Hint: Not Sharks or Terrorists)

We humans are a strange lot. When we are not busy deluding ourselves into thinking we’re going to live forever, we’re busy being anxious that we are going to die a horrible death, courtesy of a shark, plane crash or bolt of lightning. And if we somehow avoid those catastrophes, certainly the terrorists will get us.

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5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Lots of studies show that our happiest days are likely to be in our golden years. The combination of experience, wisdom, and maybe even a better sex life makes the post-50 years something to look forward to. But lurking in the background are two X-factors that have the potential to dampen the good times: Alzheimer’s disease and age-related dementia. These conditions, which rob sufferers of their memories, their identities and ultimately, their lives, strike fear in the hearts of most people. 

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What’s 11,000 Times Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat?

America is a gas-guzzling, car-obsessed, open-road nation. Few things appeal to Americans more than a (traffic-free, ideally) leisurely drive to a fun, kick-back-your-heels destination, all the while enjoying the passing scenery. Of course, in order to achieve this bucolic vision of paradise, we need to fuel up the car, and in order to do that, we have to stop at the gas station. A study by Kimberly-Clark in 2015 investigating bacterial hot spots in the workplace fingered gas pumps as one of the unhealthiest things you can handle, and a new survey recently corroborates those findings.

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GABA: A Treatment for Depression or Just More Hype?

Depression, autism, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, insomnia, epilepsy. Ongoing studies over many years give tantalizing hints that all of these conditions have a common denominator, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA for short. GABA’s main job in the brain is to regulate neural activity by sending out chemical signals to the neurons in the central nervous system. In essence, GABA inhibits the neurons in your brain, preventing them from becoming overstimulated, telling them to slow down, cool it, take a chill pill. If that sounds a little like having a couple glasses of wine after work, that’s because it is. Alcohol actually mimics GABA’s effects on the brain.

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6 Fascinating Facts About Dreams

There aren’t many things that fascinate, frighten, sadden, intrigue, confuse, or enlighten us more than dreams. While science seems stumped about dreams, artists are inspired, creating countless books, movies, poems, paintings, dances and plays about dreams in an effort to understand more about this mysterious unconscious existence we enter when we sleep.

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9 Reasons to Drink Beer

We’ve all read about how great red wine is for our health, and how the French and the Italians, who love their wine, have a lower rate of heart disease than Americans. The belief is that antioxidants called polyphenols, derived from the skin of the grape, which are more prevalent in red wine than white, help protect the cardiovascular system from disease. The jury is still out on the truth of these health claims, since studies, as often is the case in matters of health, have fallen on both sides of the debate. Still, we know that a glass or two of wine a day won’t hurt us, and the relaxation and stress reduction that imbibing affords is an indisputable plus. Most doctors will say, “Cheers!” as long as your drinking is controlled, responsible and moderate, and there are no other health factors to consider (like diabetes or alcoholism, for instance).

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11 Things to Know About One of Your Most Important Purchases

There seems to be a consumer rebellion brewing against mattress stores. If you have ever gone mattress shopping, the dizzying variety of brands, lines and features might make you long for the simplicity of used car shopping. Combine that with markups of up to 200% and it is no wonder discount online mattress shopping has grown tremendously in the past few years. One online retailer, Tuft&Needle, even bases its sales pitch on the crookedness of mattress stores. Its pitch? "Mattress Stores Are Greedy."

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How Lucky We Are: How People Died 100+ Years Ago, and How We Die Today

An interesting new study compares the leading causes of death today against the leading causes of death in 1901, providing an eye-opening look at how much our world has changed over the course of a century.

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Is Toothpaste Dangerous to Your Health?

The average American will use 20 gallons of toothpaste in their lifetime, and a new study by the Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit organization that studies ecological best practices, makes clear we should all be concerned about exposure to toxic ingredients found in toothpastes. Chemicals in toothpaste are readily absorbed through the membrane that lines the mouth (oral mucosa), meaning that, regardless of whether you swallow toothpaste or not, you are exposing yourself to some level of absorption. Children, who we know often do swallow toothpaste, are even more at risk.

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10 Cities Where Dogs Are Treated Better Than Many People

I suppose there must have been a time when the phrase “It’s a dog’s life” made immediate sense. Today, however, as a signifier of a life of difficulty, this phrase doesn't convey as much suffering. Americans treat their dogs like… well, like themselves. We spend $23 billion on pet foods every year, much of that cash on gourmet varieties, including vegan and gluten-free (and just FYI, don’t do that, dogs are carnivores: They like and need meat, and if they could talk, they would tell you they could care less about gluten.) We spend $15 billion a year on medical care for our pooches. They accompany us to the grocery store, cafes, airports (JFK Airport in New York is set to open a terminal devoted to pets), even to work. Dog parks are proliferating in cities across the U.S. Doggie couture is real.

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10 Ways Grocery Stores Rip You Off

An outing to the grocery store these days can feel like an all-out assault on your wallet. While incomes have been flat for a generation, your grocery bill has likely been mounting. In the past few years, the cost of basic items like eggs has increased by 40%, and overall, since 2005, food costs have shot up by 31.5%. The reasons for the increases are many, including the pernicious effects of factory farms (where avian flu spreads and sick animals die from filthy conditions, causing shortages) and drought (possibly caused by climate change). Often we find ourselves wandering the aisles in despair, looking for bargains, grateful for the “specials” our supermarket has advertised. Anything to save a buck. But how special are the specials?

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The Best (and Worst) Lunchmeats for Your Sandwich

When it comes to lunch, no wine, stinky cheese and crusty bread for the American palate. Leave that stuff to the French. For Americans, a lunchmeat sandwich carries the day. Every week, 15 percent of Americans purchase processed deli meat. That’s 45 million people. According to one survey, more than half of all Americans chow down at least once or twice a week on processed meat. In 2014, the deli meat industry totaled over $11 billion in sales. That’s no bologna, as they say in the meat biz.

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7 Facts About the Prostate That All Men (and the Women Who Love Them) Need to Know

If there is one organ that elicits mixed reviews from men everywhere, it is the prostate. The prostate is the gland that produces semen, the fluid medium that protects and nourishes sperm cells. On the one hand (no pun intended), the prostate can be an integral part of any intensely pleasurable orgasm. On the other hand, other than skin cancer, no other cancer is as prevalent in men than prostate cancer, which afflicts 1 in 7 men in their lifetimes. If you are African American, your chances are even greater that you will get it (and 2.5 times more likely you will die from it). Overall, more than 180,000 men will develop this cancer in 2016, and of those, over 25,000 will die from it. The bad news for men about prostate cancer is that the older you get, the more likely it is that you will develop it. The good news is that your chances of survival are actually pretty decent.

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12 Miraculous Beauty Treatments That Are Complete Bunk

The beauty industry is huge; huge enough to merit the tag Big Beauty. Thanks to advertising fueled by celebrity endorsements promising all the glamour of Hollywood and using science-y sounding terms like “clinically proven” and “detoxification,” the skin care industry alone is estimated to be worth $80 billion worldwide. Add in all the other anti-aging products, and you are looking at a $300 billion industry.

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Profits Are Sky-High, But Airlines Keep Coming Up With New Ways to Gouge You With Fees

The airline industry is whistling a cheery tune these days, and it sounds suspiciously like “Happy Days Are Here Again.” With gasoline prices at a level not seen in decades, the troubled post-9/11 airline industry seems a distant memory. In its place is an industry awash in profits. Delta Airlines reported $4.5 billion in profits last year. Southwest Airlines’ profits reached over $536 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 alone. United Airlines profits reached $823 million. In all, 25 airlines in the United States reported over $25 billion in profits last year, more than three times the profits of the previous year. Fuel prices, which were a whopping 35% lower last year than the previous year contributed mightily to the airlines’ bottom line, especially since little of those savings were passed on to passengers.

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Beware Bogus Treatments for Summer Miseries (and What Really Works Instead)

Warm weather, beaches, outdoor activities, barbecues, short shorts, and vacations! What’s not to like about summer? Nothing…well, almost nothing, anyway. There are a few summer miseries that dampen the spirits, resulting in desperate attempts to remedy them so as to continue your summer frolics. Beware, though. Don’t fall prey to bogus solutions to your seasonal dilemmas.

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6 Public Treasures Billionaires Just Had to Plaster Their Names On

There was a time when public buildings and institutions were named after people who had actually accomplished something notable. Think Albert Einstein or Louis Armstrong or Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, it seems, notable accomplishments are not necessary. Just dollars, millions and millions of them. All it takes, apparently, is cash to get a building renamed for you. As William Drennan, a Southern Illinois University law professor recently told the Financial Times, the change really came in the mid-1990s. “Before then, the wealthy were content to make their big donations to be on the board of directors,” he said. “Now, the wealthy donor wants everyone in the community to know they're generous and powerful." 

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