Gadget: Coffee Mug and Donut Warmer

The Best Morning Ever Mug

This mug is designed to keep your drink hotter longer plus hold and warm a doughnut.

Watch video at You Tube (3:34 minutes) . . . . .

Source: Contemporist

In Pictures: Christmas Cookies

Review of Sugar Consumption in 18 Countries Around the World

A recent publication reviewed dietary intake of sugars across the globe using nationally representative dietary surveys conducted in 18 countries between 1995 and 2012.

The data were stratified by age groups, which provides further insights with respect to sugars intake across the lifespan from infants to older people, and can be used as a benchmark for ongoing surveillance.

Key points include:

  • Intake of total sugars (% energy) decreased over the lifespan.
  • Consumption of added sugars (% energy), which peaked during adolescence and then declined in adulthood, were reported in half of the countries.
  • Of the 18 countries represented, the majority are European (n=13), with a good representation of North America (Canada and USA) and Australasia (Australia and New Zealand). There were only scarce data available from South America (Brazil) and no data from Asia or Africa.

The review was published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, the official journal of The British Dietetic Association.

Read the review in full . . . . .

Electrical Stimulation May Ease Low Back Pain for Some

Treatment is effective with no side effects, researcher says.

Electrical nerve stimulation may offer some relief for older adults with chronic back pain, a new study suggests.

While wearing and activating the “transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation” (TENS) device, people had significant improvement in pain when resting, according to the researchers. The study participants also had a reduction in pain while moving, along with improvement in physical functioning, the researchers said.

“TENS is not a new treatment. It’s been around 50 years or more,” said lead researcher Corey Simon, a postdoctoral researcher, in the University of Florida’s Pain Research and Intervention Center in Gainesville.

The TENS unit is a small battery-powered machine that delivers low-volt electrical current through electrodes placed on the skin.

TENS can be used to treat acute pain, including pain with childbirth, or chronic pain, such as osteoarthritis, according to Simon. TENS most likely works by activating the same receptors in the brain and spinal cord that are targeted by pain-relieving drugs, he added.

TENS only works when the unit is turned on. Pain relief can last for a little while after the device is turned off, but like medications, its benefit quickly wears off, he explained.

“TENS is a safe, conservative treatment,” Simon said. “It’s inexpensive and may be comparable to drug treatment,” he added.

For the study, Simon’s team studied the effectiveness of TENS on 60 adults with lower back pain ranging in age from 18 to 79. Participants received four 20-minute sessions of TENS therapy over two to three weeks.

The unique aspect of this study, according to Simon, is that the dose of TENS used was higher than normal. The higher doses were most effective, while still being well tolerated and not painful, he said.

The researchers found that older adults needed higher doses than young and middle-aged adults to relieve pain, Simon said. The need for increased doses may be because the response to both pain and pain relief wanes as one ages, he suggested.

The report, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was published online recently in The Journal of Pain.

“TENS is a fantastic adjunct to use to help decrease the use of medications that all have side effects,” said Dr. Houman Danesh, director of integrative pain management in the department of anesthesiology-pain at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Danesh said that TENS units cost around $60 and patients can use them at home to help them manage their back pain.

Some insurance covers TENS devices, but these units are sold by medical supply stores and can cost $800 or more. And, since most people have a copay with insurance, Danesh thinks it’s usually better to get a less expensive unit that works just as well.

“TENS is a great alternative. I use it with my patients all the time,” Danesh said. “It’s safe, it’s effective and has no side effects and has the potential to make a big difference.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Fruity Crumble for Afternoon Tea


6 cups individually frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp grated orange zest
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter softened
2 tbsp maple syrup


  1. Combine blueberries, sugar, zest and cinnamon; sprinkle with cornstarch and stir until well combined. Divide among 12 greased 1/2-cup heatproof custard cups. Set aside.
  2. In separate bowl, stir together flour, rolled oats and sugar. Using fingers, rub in butter until mixture is crumbly. Drizzle with syrup. Toss to combine.
  3. Sprinkle crumble over berries. Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned and filling is bubbly.

Makes 12 servings.

Source: Style At Home

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