Sunday, July 27, 2008

Viagra Given To Some Babies With Weak Lungs

In St. Petersburg, Fla., Dr. Gul Dadlani of All Children's Hospital, said sildenafil, the generic name for the drug, is a wonder drug for babies who're born with pulmonary hypertension.
"As the blood flow goes to the lung, the arteries in the lung become constricted or tightened," Dadlani told "With Viagra therapy, it relaxes those vessels and allows more blood flow to go to the lungs and improves the symptoms for the patient."The doctor said that the drug does not have the same effect it has on men who use it to treat erectile dysfunction.One woman said the drug helped save her son's life, though she did have some misgivings about trying it."The first thought in my mind was, 'What else is it going to do for him besides work as a pulmonary dilator?" Cherish Nero said.Viagra does carry some risk for babies. Doctors say if the levels are too high it can drop blood pressure. There are also no studies completed on long-term effects.Research from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in 2006 said that even a single does of sildenafil can have benefits as children are withdrawn from a respirator.

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Beers With More Alcohol Catch On


(BEND, Ore.) — Tucked in a corner at the Deschutes Brewery, barrels that once aged fine wines and whiskeys are nurturing beverages that are challenging drinkers to think of beer more like wine.

High-alcohol brews like Black Butte XX and The Abyss, known in the trade as big or extreme beers, are among many craft beers that are grabbing a growing market share in the United States from their mass-produced and heavily advertised counterparts. Even at prices ranging from $4 to more than $100 for a single bottle.

"We are looking for what we like to term that `Wow Factor,'" said Deschutes CEO Gary Fish. "We want somebody to take a drink, stop, look at the glass and say, 'What was that?'"

Sales of premium beers, which include the household names of Budweiser, Coors Light and Miller High Life, have been nearly flat�up just 1.9 percent last year according to Information Resources Inc., a retail research firm.

As consumer tastes change and rising costs for ingredients pinch their profits, the nation's biggest brewers are looking for relief in consolidation. No. 1 Anheuser-Busch is being taken over by Belgian beverage giant InBev SA. No. 2 Miller Brewing Co. and No. 3 Molson Coors Brewing Co. are combining U.S. operations.

Meanwhile, craft brewers are grabbing more of the market as they reshape the image of beer. They posted 17.1 percent growth last year over 2006 and accounted for 6.5 percent of the $9 billion in supermarket sales of beer in the U.S., up from 4.5 percent in 2003. Many in the craft beer industry expect their products to continue tugging at "premium" beers' share of a market valued at $95 billion, including sales in bars and restaurants.

"It is not a fad," said Julia Herz, director of craft beer marketing for the Brewers Association, a Denver-based trade group that represents more than 1,000 of the 1,400 craft breweries in the nation. "It's a solid direction the market is going."

It is uncertain how fast craft beers will continue to grow, but Herz said the indicators are good. After a shakeout in the mid 1990s, the nation's remaining 1,400 craft brewers have a stronger hold on shelf space and restaurant menus. Anheuser-Busch and Coors are making their own line of full-flavored beers. And the Brewers Association's book "Start Your Own Brewery" has sold more than 1,000 copies.

"A brewery in every town is not so crazy to think about in the future," she said. "It all goes back to the movement of consuming products that are locally produced.

"Who would have ever thought that Denver, Colo., would become the Napa Valley of beer?" she said. More than 60 breweries lie within in a 100-mile radius of Denver.

Their small size gives craft brewers the freedom to explore the outer limits of beer, and they are being rewarded by consumers who value good flavor, said Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Del.

"This hasn't happened because of some half-billion dollar advertising campaign on behalf of the big brewers," he said. "It's truly the consumer becoming self-educated.

"It's a kind of a blue-collar connoisseurship. Anybody can afford to buy the world's best beers. But if you wanted to buy a bottle of the world's best wine, you'd have to spend thousands of dollars."

Growing out of homebrewers' efforts to emulate British and German beers, craft beers started showing up about 30 years ago, and bigger varieties bubbled up in the mid-1990s on both coasts as brewmasters chased their fantasies to the outer limits.

That's when Vinnie Cilurzo, a former wine maker, made his first double India pale ale at the bygone Blind Pig Brewery in California. It's when Rogue Ales in Oregon packed extra hops into its Imperial Stout, Calagione opened Dogfish Head and Boston Beer Co. founder Jim Koch started brewing Samuel Adams Triple Bock, which evolved into Utopias. The market's strongest beer at 27 percent alcohol, Utopias is also its most expensive at $140 for a 24-ounce bottle.

"They are not lawnmower beers," cautioned Don Younger, owner of the Horse Brass Pub in Portland, who has been a close observer of the craft beer scene from its beginnings. "Your average run-of-the-mill lager will in most states come in around 3.8 or 4 percent alcohol. These have got something like 10 or 11 percent, so you are getting two and a half times the alcohol delivery with them.

"You've got to be careful with them. But they are self-limiting. They are very rich. It would be like trying to drink a quart of whipping cream. Your body will reject it because they are so rich."

The wine-level prices may limit their mass appeal, but plenty of people are still interested, brewers say.

"I sell beer for 15 dollars a bottle and I can't make enough of it," said Natalie Cilurzo, who co-owns Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, Calif., with her husband, Vinnie.

Unlike wine, which is just grapes, beer is generally made from three or four ingredients. Malted barley delivers the body, yeast ferments with the sugar in the barley to make the alcohol, and hops deliver the bitterness. Some are flavored with offbeat ingredients, such as coffee, chocolate, spices and fruit. Wooden barrels that formerly held wine or whisky can add nuance and structure.

"It's just become like an arms race," said Younger, the Portland bar owner. "One brewer did it. Another said, `I can kick it up a notch.'"

At Elegance, a wine and antiques shop in Grants Pass, owner Carl Raskin recently bowed to entreaties from local beer distributors to add high-end beers. He found them a refreshing change from wine, which besides being pricier seems more serious.

At one of his monthly tastings, he served beer floats in champagne flutes. The drinks consisted of apple-flavored Belgian-style ale with dollops of caramel-vanilla ice cream. Another tasting ran through a range of IPAs and finished with a Belgian-style ale in bottles sealed with a cork.

"To me, beer is just fun," he said. "Drink it. Enjoy it."

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Trans-fats banned in California

Trans-fats are used in many fried and baked foods

California has become the first US state to ban restaurants and food retailers from using trans-fats, which are linked to coronary heart disease.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the new legislation, which will take effect in 2010, represented a "strong step toward creating a healthier future".

Violations will incur fines of between $25 (£13) and $1,000 (£502).

Trans-fats are chemically altered vegetable oils, used to give processed foods a longer shelf-life.

Some cities, like New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle, have already banned the fats. Many food makers and restaurant chains have also been experimenting with replacements for oils and foods that contain them.

'Tremendous benefit'

Trans-fats are produced artificially in a process called hydrogenation which turns liquid oil into solid fat.

They can be used for frying or baking, or put into processed foods and ready-made mixes for cakes and drinks like hot chocolate.

Trans-fats are used because they are cheap, add bulk to products, have a neutral flavour and give products a long shelf-life.

The US Food and Drug Administration estimates that on average, Americans eat 4.7lb (2.14kg) of trans-fats each year.

A review by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 concluded that there was a strong connection between the consumption of trans-fats and coronary heart disease. It found they boosted "bad" cholesterol levels in the body.

The review said that eliminating artificial trans-fats from the food supply could prevent between six and 19% of heart attacks and related deaths each year.

The legislation signed by Mr Schwarzenegger will ban from 1 January 2010 the use of trans-fats in oil, shortening and margarine used in spreads or for frying.

The president of the California Academy of Family Physicians, Jeffrey Luther, said that the law, "when it finally takes effect, will be a tremendous benefit", adding that there was no safe level of consumption, as with cigarettes.

The California Restaurant Association opposed the ban, but a spokesman said that it had no plans to challenge it in the courts, in part because some restaurants have already begun to phase out trans-fats to satisfy customers.

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Bartenders across the city might be pouring too much liquor in your drinks—so is it a problem or plus?

By Kyra Kyles

As the hip-hop infused "Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)," from Estelle played in the background, bartender Deborah Irvine made music with mixology.

Irvine, 24, grasped bottles of Ketel One and Grey Goose vodka, quickly pouring for customers at Streeterville's airy Niu Japanese Fusion Lounge.

Not once in the 30 minutes that RedEye observed did Irvine use a jigger—an hourglass-shaped liquor measuring device that she later showed RedEye, explaining that the tool was reserved for very complicated beverages.

Instead, the bartender measured how long she should pour by counting in her head, she said, moving her forearm up and down dramatically and rhythmically as she poured her potions.

"It gets to be second nature," Irvine explained of her pouring technique. "You know how much you're giving customers without necessarily having to measure it."

This method--called free pour--is common in Chicago, according to more than two dozen bartenders and managers from bars, lounges and entertainment venues across the city interviewed by RedEye. A common execution involves counting to three for a pour of approximately 1 1/2-ounces of spirits, the standard amount for a mixed cocktail, Chaise Lounge bartender Elizabeth Crotty said. "You get a feel for it," said Crotty, 23, who works at the Wicker Park lounge as a bartender and a party planner. "It's a timer in your head."

But some other local bartenders and bar managers who talked to RedEye—including the president of the Illinois chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild–oppose the free-pouring method, questioning its consistency and accuracy. Their arguments are bolstered by a recent study out of California that showed bar customers received, on average, more than 40 percent larger-than-standard servings of liquor in mixed cocktails.

Though there is no Illinois law regulating the amount of a pour, according to an official from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, free-pour opponents recommend using the jigger for mixed drinks because it's accurate and can limit variability and possible over serving.

"It's like having a scale in your hand," said Betty's Blue Star bar manager Scott Chasen. At Betty's, all bartenders are required to use the jigger, which measures liquor in 1 1/2-ounce amounts. "Over-pouring hurts your inventory, and it can hurt your customer if they end up over-served."

But some free-pour fans call measuring devices—including the jigger and an automated system that hooks up to liquor bottles to ensure that exact amounts are poured—a blow to the drinking experience that leaves patrons feeling slighted.

Streeterville's Jeff Myers told RedEye he would rather go to a venue where the bartender measures mentally, as opposed to using a device.

"I like them to top it off a bit," Myers, 27, said of bar staffers, when asked by RedEye. "Give me a little splash more. I'd tip them a few more dollars to do it."

Myers' attitude is a common one among bar patrons, according to Drawing Room mixologist Charles Joly.

"The jigger does not do well in the Chicago market," said Joly, who also is executive general manager for Three-Headed Productions venues including Evil Olive.

The Gold Coast-based Drawing Room uses jiggers for specialty concoctions, the 32-year-old Joly said, but in the adjoining Le Passage bar staffers free-pour. "If you use jiggers with regular drinks, customers often feel you are being cheap or that you are monitoring what they're drinking."

Not true, said Bridget Albert, president of the Illinois chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild.

Albert said the jigger is key to a new trend of high-end, fresh ingredient-heavy cocktails.

"It is expected that a professional bartender would use one," Albert said. "It is the only way to keep your cocktails consistent."

Measuring also keeps bars from going broke, Betty's Blue Star's Chasen said.

"Bartenders who use free pouring are over pouring," Chasen said. "It doesn't make sense. If you order a half-pound burger, that's what you should get. If you buy a pair of jeans at The Gap, you don't get one pair free unless there is a sale. Why should it be any different with alcohol?"

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The Wedge Tech: A Locksmithing Tutorial

So you’ve locked your keys in your car and you need to get to work, but you don’t feel like paying a locksmith $100 dollars to do it and you don’t feel like smashing your window and having to pay for a new one later. What do you do?

If you owned a slim jim, you could use that, but slim jim’s are unreliable at best. Most of the time they just damage the mechanisms inside your door. Here’s the way professional locksmiths do it.

The parts you need

  • One or two solid plastic wedges
  • One 3-4 foot sturdy heavy gauge wire or coat hanger
  • One rubber tip for the end of wire (a rubber band works fine)

You’ll need one or two solid plastic wedges (either one small wedge and one door stopper, or just the door stopper – wedges that are one solid piece of plastic are always better) and a long 3-4 foot sturdy heavy gauge wire or even a straightened coat hanger with a 90 degree angle about a half inch from the end and a bit of rubber on the tip. The rubber tip is important, don’t forget it; you can wrap a rubber band around the end and get the same effect. They sell kits with these things, but they’re generally massively overpriced.

How To Break Into Your Car In Less Than 1 Minute

How to do it

Just slide the small plastic wedge into the gap at the side or top of where the door meets the body, and pry it slightly so you have a place to put the larger door stopper wedge, or just start off with the larger wedge if you can. Either way, once you get the door stopper in there, you’ll have an opening big enough to slide in your tool. Yes, I said “slide in your tool”. This is a filthy locksmithing tutorial. Whatever.

So once you have the opening, its just a matter of getting the wire in there and reaching the unlock button. This is the point where you’ll realize the importance of that rubber tip; you won’t get any grip on the button unless there’s a rubber end on the wire, you’ll be there for hours just sliding off to the side every time you try to hit it. Again, I realize this sounds filthy.

Anyway, if you do have a rubber end on the wire, it shouldn’t take long at all, from the time you start to the unlocking of the door, 10 minutes tops. If you know what you’re doing, you can get your car open in less than a minute. Easy.

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Ford Posts its Worst Quarter Ever

This is a guest post from Ben Nelson, forum member and electric motorcycle guru. Thanks, Ben!

Back in January 2007, the Washinton post reported how the Ford Motor Company had reported a loss of $12.7 billion in 2006, the worst in its 103 year history.

In the same article, “Ford…blamed the loss in 2006 on a profit collapse in its truck-dependent North American division.”

Today, Ford reported a second-quarter loss of $8.7 billion - the worst quarter ever.

Of course most of us sort of expect that. We hear in the news every day about the cost of food, energy, and healthcare. We hear about the housing market and banks going bankrupt.

But we plan ahead, we change as we have to, as do the motor companies.

In May, the F-150, the “best-selling vehicle in America” was outsold by Honda’s Civic and Accord and Toyota’s Camry and Corolla. None of which are pickup trucks, and all of which are know as well-built, fuel-efficient vehicles.

So, Ford is changing right?

In June, Green Car Congress reported that “Ford Motor Company will produce the new Ford Fiesta small car for North America at the company’s transformed Cuautitlán Assembly Plant—currently producing F-Series (F-150 to F-550) pickups for the Mexican market—beginning in early 2010.” North America - that means the Fiesta may or may NOT even be for sale in the United States. And sales two years from now aren’t doing Ford any good this summer.

Take a look at Ford’s main web page. In the “Vehicle Showroom” feature for the Ford brand, six of the vehicles are “cars”, everything else is a pickup, SUV or crossover. And that’s only if you count the Focus and Mustang twice.

While the Ford Escape Hybrid offers greatly improved city mileage over it’s standard engine brother, it comes at a premium of about $8000 extra. That’s if you can find one. This spring, when I checked on availability of that vehicle, I found that there was only one, literally just one, for sale at any dealership in the entire state!

For years, auto manufacturers have been saying that they just are giving the public what it wants, and that’s trucks and SUVs. Ford has continued its manufacturing based on outdated modes of thought about what people want in a vehicle.

Right now, what the public wants is something affordable to operate - not another gas guzzler.

Will Ford make changes to its lineup quick enough to continue as one of the major manufactureres, or will “Built Ford Tough” simply not be good enough?

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It’s Botox for You, Dear Bridesmaids

Nathan Millis for The New York Times

SOMETHING NEW Karen Hohenstein, left, jokes with her attendants-to-be at a Botox party at the Tiffani Kim Institute Medical Wellness Spa in Chicago.


AFTER the band was chosen and the napkins color-coordinated to match her shoes, Kacey Knauer, a bride-to-be, had another critical matter to address: her skin, and the skin of the nine women in her bridal party.

So Ms. Knauer, the 35-year-old owner of TempTrends, a staffing agency in Manhattan, invited her nearest and dearest — including her mother and future mother-in-law — for a night out at the TriBeCa MedSpa, replete with mimosas and cupcakes. An aesthetician assessed each woman’s face and devised a treatment plan — a quick chemical peel, say, or an injection of a wrinkle-filler. Or maybe, for a bridesmaid with age spots, a series of Fraxel laser treatments over months, allowing for recovery time.

For Ms. Knauer, who will be married in December, cosmetic interventions for herself and her entourage are as vital as the centerpieces or food. “If I were 25 or 26 and getting married, a bracelet, necklace or matching earrings would be fine,” she said.

But at 35? “Giving them a bracelet isn’t as special as spending an evening together. Plus, as you get older, everyone is more conscientious about their skin and appearance,” she said. “Giving them something for themselves — as opposed to something that they’ll never wear again — is more meaningful.”

And let’s not forget the pictures of college roommates-turned-bridesmaids quickly posted to Facebook. It is no longer sufficient to hire a hairstylist and makeup artist to be on hand the day of. Instead, bridal parties are indulging in dermal fillers and tooth-whitening months before the Big Day.

Some brides pick up the tab for their attendants, replacing the pillbox inscribed with the wedding date with a well-earned squirt between the eyes. In other cases, bridesmaids — who may quietly seethe about unflattering dresses — are surprisingly willing to pay for cosmetic enhancements. “Most women, when they come in here, they want it,” said Camille Meyer, the owner of TriBeCa MedSpa. “They know they’re aging.”

For Karen Hohenstein, who held her party at the Tiffani Kim Institute Medical Wellness Spa in Chicago, convincing her friends was as smooth as a Botoxed forehead. “It wasn’t me saying, ‘Hey, we all could use a little something,’ ” she said. “It was, ‘I want to do this,’ and a couple of people said, ‘I do, too.’ ”

But for every accommodating pal, there’s another who feels going under the knife is beyond the duty of bridesmaid. Becky Lee, 39, a Manhattan photographer, declined when a friend asked her — and five other attendants — to have their breasts enhanced. “We’re all Asian and didn’t have a whole lot of cleavage, and she found a doctor in L.A. who was willing to do four for the price of two,” said Ms. Lee, who wore a push-up bra instead.

Not for nothing are some maids known as slaves of honor, but this kind of cajoling is a recent development on the wedding front.

Marie Scalogna-Watkinson, the founder of Spa Chicks on-the-Go, a mobile spa, said she receives five to seven calls a month from brides seeking Botox or Restylane for their bridesmaids. Five years ago, collective makeovers were unheard of, she said.

Dr. Fardad Forouzanpour, a cosmetic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif., said his business has increased more than 40 percent since he began offering what he calls Bridal Beauty Buffets in 2006.

In the last two years, bridal party tuneups have increased roughly 25 percent, estimated Susie Ellis, the president of, a site that lists 4,500 spas worldwide.

Just as timing matters when it comes to securing a hall, it’s best that brides-to-be don’t delay scheduling appointments, aestheticians and doctors say. “You wouldn’t get a cut and color the week before,” said Dr. Jessica Wu, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills who advises coming in three to six months before the big day. “We do a trial run of Botox about four months ahead of time. Then, two weeks before the wedding, we do that last treatment.”

Ms. Meyer of TriBeCa MedSpa suggests that a bride contact her the minute the question is popped. “Brides really appreciate the fact that we put everything in a regimented schedule for them,” she said. Since February 2007, she has staged more than 30 bridesmaid parties and has 18 planned so far this year. “If you have to do eight treatments, six weeks apart, that could take up to a year,” she said.

Fraxel laser could also set you back $1,200 a session, which even without the economic downturn, amounts to quite a bit. These days, Robyn Bomar, an event planner in Destin, Fla., overhears brides doing cost-benefit analyses. “They will never choose Botox over a great dress, but they will say ‘Maybe I’ll have a buffet over a sit-down at the rehearsal dinner,’ ” she said. Or: “I’ll spend the money on Botox rather than lunch.’ ”

In June, Jennifer Peterson, 31, a production director in Los Angeles, and eight friends indulged in Botox, Restylane, massages, facials and microdermabrasion at Infinity MedSpa in Valencia, Calif. Her friends chipped in for her treatments, but she is considering giving them each a $100 certificate to the spa — a gift she is sure they will appreciate. “Everybody does Botox out here,” she said.

The beauty procedure thank-you gift is becoming more common, said Ms. Bomar, who coordinates about three parties a month. Time was when the bride arranged for everyone to get manicures at the same time, followed by lunch. But today? “It’s much more likely that she is footing the bill for eyelash extensions, airbrush tanning and a bevy of other cosmetic procedures,” she said.

Five years ago, plastic surgeons, dermatologists and tooth-whitening centers “were virtually absent” from bridal expos, said William F. Heaton III, the president of the Great Bridal Expo Group, which produces events in 40 cities nationwide. “Now we’re getting a half dozen phone calls a week.”

This year alone, American Laser Centers, a chain, has participated in 830 bridal shows, said Amanda McInnes, a marketing director.

Two weeks ago, Health Travel Guides, a medical tourism company, exhibited at the Dallas Bridal Show for the first time. “We received 30 requests for quotes among the bridal show attendees — mostly for plastic surgery such as liposuction and breast augmentation,” said Sandra Miller, the company’s chief marketing officer. “But also many for cosmetic dentistry and inquiries for providing quotes for bachelorette getaways that will feature beauty treatments.”

A bride’s request that you whiten your grayish teeth can strain a relationship. Samantha Goldberg, a wedding planner in Chester, N.J., recalled a bride who asked her attendants to get professionally spray-tanned for a Hawaiian-theme reception.

Alas, two women were claustrophobic and couldn’t bear standing in a tanning capsule. “They asked the bride if they could use regular tanning cream from a salon,” Ms. Goldberg said. The bride refused; she wanted everyone to be the same shade. The women ultimately declined to be bridesmaids. “Friendships of 20-plus years gone over a spray tan?” Ms. Goldberg said. “Sad!”

And how does a bride break it to a mother-in-law that she’d love her crow’s feet to be frozen into submission? Very delicately.

“My mother is in her 60s. She’s been talking about it for so long, so I said ‘Let’s do it,’ ” said Stacey Berlin, 29, a marketing consultant, who is having a party at Aquamedica Day Spa in Long Branch, N.J.

It was trickier with her future mother-in-law. “To her,” Ms. Berlin said, “I said it as a joke: ‘You should do Botox for the wedding!’ She giggled, and then I said, ‘I’m serious. It’s exactly what you need to freshen up.’ At first she kind of laughed it off, but the more we talked about it and I told her my mom was going to do it, she said ‘O.K.’ ”

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