St. Jude Study: Promising Signs for Early, Life-Saving Detection of Infections in Childhood Leukemia Patients

Non-Invasive Blood Test May Provide “Crystal Ball” for Early Detection of Infections Leading to Increased Cure for Pediatric Leukemia

Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the nation’s premier pediatric cancer research institution, have conducted a new study showing promising signs for utilization of a non-invasive blood test to provide for the early detection of infections in childhood leukemia patients days before symptoms appear which could lead to increased cure rates.

Using the Karius Test, a non-invasive blood test using artificial intelligence and DNA sequencing to detect over 1,400 bacteria, DNA viruses, fungi and parasites, St. Jude researchers are seeing early results in a new study published in the JAMA Oncology that could be the game-changing technique necessary for predicting infections in patients with weakened immune systems.

“Parents of children with cancer often wish they had a crystal ball to know what’s coming next and this new study is showing promising signs we may have found one for them,” said co-senior author Joshua Wolf, M.D, Ph.D., an associate faculty member of the St. Jude Department of Infectious Diseases.  “Infections are the leading cause of death for children treated for leukemia in the United States.  This works is going right to the heart of detecting new infections before symptoms appear and that is nothing short of a game-changer in how we treat and combat deadly infections in children with cancer.” 

How to Keep Your Kids Out of McDonald’s

Around 34% of children aged 2 to 19 eat junk food on a daily basis. Interestingly enough, the American Heart Association estimates that one in three kids in the United States is overweight. It’s not hard to see the correlation between obesity and junk food, isn’t it?

McDonald’s Role in the Obesity Epidemic

As we all know, there’s an obesity epidemic going on out there. Instead of eating at home, most children prefer to eat at fast food restaurants, most noticeably, at McDonald’s. 

While we can’t blame all of our nutritional and health problems on McDonald’s it’s fair to say that the company played a huge role in it. The biggest problem isn’t even the food quality – it’s fast food, so you can’t expect much – it’s actually McDonald’s marketing department. 

For decades at this point, McDonald’s has marketed their products to children. They are pretty sneaky about it too: the company dedicates more than 40% of their marketing budget to advertising in schools. That associates their brand with learning and education.

If you want your children to stop eating so much junk food, you need to invest some time and effort into it. Here are a few things you need to do…

Start Preparing Healthy Snacks 

Another option is to start preparing more healthy snacks back at home. By healthy snacks, we don’t mean to make your kids eat more fruit or veggies.  Despite what many people think, there are, in fact, healthy snacks that will keep your child healthy and satisfied.

Here are some healthy snack recommendations from the Food Network:


  • Crispy rice treats
  • Oatmeal snack cakes
  • Frozen fruit pops
  • Flavoured popcorn


If you want to go all out, you can also prepare healthy cookies and milkshakes. Preparing these is easier than you think. Modern milkshake makers only require you to put the ingredients in, push a couple buttons, and voila, you have a healthy milkshake. 


Italy currently has the largest coronavirus outbreak in Europe. The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) recommends against all but essential travel to towns in Lombardy and Veneto already isolated by Italian authorities. Because of the high risk of infection, the FCO also recommends avoiding travel to all Category 1 countries/areas including Wuhan City and Hubei Province in China, Iran, Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, and Hong Kong. What rights do passengers who have already purchased tickets to a coronavirus risk country have if they cancel their flight?

Due to the high risk of coronavirus infection, airlines such as British Airways and Air China have cancelled flights from the UK to China and Hong Kong until April 17th and offer a free change of flight date service or ticket reimbursement.

All other countries with outbreaks, including Italy, have nearly all flights running to schedule. British Airways, however, has cut some services to Milan until the 11th of March. No airline has suspended any of their Italian routes and all airports remain operative. Should a passenger with a flight to Italy wish not to travel, they can cancel or rebook the flight if the airline permits. However, the chances of a refund if cancelled are low, and additional costs may apply for a change of travel dates. If travelling with a low cost airline or if a reduced or special offer flight was purchased, the cost of changing dates may not be cost effective. But you should keep in mind your passenger rights. “Cancelling a travel contract with an airline may appear difficult, but passengers may try to claim exceptional circumstances, that is the real risk of contracting a coronavirus. This is the same as what airlines do when cancelling flights to infected regions”, says Aleksandra Detyniecka, lawyer at GIVT who specialise passenger compensation claims for delayed and cancelled flights or denied boarding due to overbooking.

2020 Life Hacks: Some Genuinely Helpful New Year’s Resolutions

Society is turning against the idea of the New Year’s resolution. What did you hear when you went back into the office after the holidays? Probably a lot of people claiming they either didn’t make resolutions or expected to break them soon.

There is still a benefit to resolutions though — they just need to be actually achievable and manageable. If you’re struggling to make a little change that improves your productivity, happiness and fulfillment take a look at our 2020 life hack new year’s resolutions. 

Be more sociable 

In the early months of the year, everyone is usually a bit sick of socializing. Winter can be a lonely season though, so it’s good to keep your relationships strong and try to build new friendships. Lots of people give up drinking or plunge themselves into their work as part of their resolutions, which can end up being isolating. 

Make a concerted effort to be more sociable in 2020. Join clubs for your hobbies so you can meet likeminded people. Start attending events on your own and force yourself to talk to new people who look friendly. It can be a daunting experience, but one that will genuinely help your confidence and social life in the long run. 

You don’t even need to be super-social so achieve this resolution. Rekindle relationships by inviting old friends over for dinner parties and Friday night get-togethers. There’s no need to do anything extravagant, you just keep yourselves entertained with a friendly game. Classic card games are incredibly easy to learn in their simplest form and don’t require much attention, so no arguing over the rules if things do get a bit heated!

Walk more

One of the easiest New Year’s resolutions to implement into your routine. Walking more requires minimal effort and thought, and best of all it’s free! You just need to get out of the house and start walking. Even the subtlest change in walking habits can improve your mindset and wellbeing massively. 

Six Tips to Help Avoid Diabetic Foot Ulcers

When you are a diabetic, your blood sugar level is higher than it should be. This condition can cause complications to other parts of the body. The feet are the most prone to having other complications due to diabetes. Actually, diabetic foot ulcers are a leading cause of diabetic-related amputations. A small blister on the foot of somebody diabetic could result in another big problem that you could not imagine was as a result of the small blister. Luckily, such ulcers are preventable when you have diabetes and keep your feet safe as you strive to control your blood sugar levels. Below are some of these ways through which you can avoid diabetic foot ulcers.

Check Your Feet Every Day

Ideally, for people with diabetes, it may be hard for them to realize when there is pain on their feet due to the reduced sensitivity of the feet. For this reason, it is advisable to inspect your feet as often as possible. Look out for cracks, blisters, or cuts, among other signs of a wound. Touching the feet and lower legs will help you identify some of the unusual issues such as blisters on soles of feet, among other conditions that could need medical attention. Additionally, you could use a mirror or request help from somebody around. This way, it will be easier for you to seek medical help before it is too late.

Get The Right Shoes

The shoes that you wear have a big impact on the overall health of your feet. For this reason, if you have diabetes, you need to be more careful with the type of shoes that you wear. For instance, make sure that the shoes you have are tight enough to avoid rubbing on the skin, thus causing blisters. However, they should also be loose enough to avoid crowding the toes as this will also increase the risk. Consider going for shoes that are made for the fit, size, and shape of your feet to help ensure that your feet are comfortable. It is also paramount that your shoes have breathable fabrics. 

Benefits of Ural Cranberry Supplements

Cranberries are a popular everyday treat, especially during the holidays. However, did you know that these small, tart, bright-red berries have numerous health benefits thanks to the antioxidants they come with? Well, nowadays, you don’t have to eat cranberries every day to enjoy some of these health benefits since there are cranberry capsules that are formulated to give you a concentrated daily dose of cranberry. Also, you don’t have to go through a lot of trouble to get these capsules as they are available both over the counter at drugstores and can be purchased online as well. So, are you thinking of getting yourself a cranberry supplement and not sure if it’s worth it? The following benefits should help you make a better decision;

Prevention of urinary tract infections

Taking cranberry capsules can be the best solution to prevent recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs). One of the crucial compounds in cranberries is proanthocyanidins and is responsible for preventing E. coli from getting attached to the urethra and bladder lining. When the bacteria can’t stick to the tissues, it becomes hard to multiply and cause an infection as a result. According to several studies, taking cranberry capsules that contain 36 mg of proanthocyanidins daily for two months can reduce the frequency of getting a UTI significantly, especially among women. 

Make your old age comfortable

From birth, you have to prepare for old age. The secret is in leading a healthy lifestyle and controlling modifiable risk factors. The idea is to create a culture of prevention. Do not just limit yourself to going to the doctor when the disease is already present.

The first step of prevention should be good, educational information about the care of your integral health.

Also, keep in mind that the family plays a very important role in the physical and mental health of an elderly person.

In general, to reach a healthy old age, it is important that you follow these tips: 


Follow a balanced diet that includes different types of foods. Avoid excess saturated fats and sugars.

A healthy elderly should consume all food groups, approximately 2000 calories, 20 percent less than what adult eats. You should prefer complex carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, pasta, bread and not eat a lot of sugars: include protein of animal and vegetable origin and consume enough fiber (fruits, vegetables and oatmeal).

Among the important nutrients to take care of are calcium (milk and derivatives), to avoid osteoporosis; chromium (peanut oil, grains and sea products), prevents them from becoming glucose intolerant; Zinc (meats, dairy and seafood), helps immune function and improves appetite, and selenium (meats, dairy, eggs and grains – peanuts and nuts included), is an anti-cancer antioxidant.

If there are diseases such as diabetes or hypertension, the diet should be adapted as directed by the doctor. The interactions between medications and micronutrients must also be taken into account. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a caregiver, such as beserk.

In general, it is important that you use natural condiments: thyme, bay leaf, garlic, onion, parsley and lemon; Eat your low salt meals and provide a pleasant atmosphere at the time of eating: tablecloth, dishes, cutlery, using contrasting colors, and good company.

Exercise moderately and routinely 

Exercises in the neck must be performed to strengthen muscles routinely. Sitting, in a chair, since in some opportunities it can cause dizziness and vertigo, raise and lower the head. Take it to the right and left side. Turn it in a circular shape.

  • Practice some daily activity, but before starting any program, consult an expert on the subject and have a previous medical check-up.
  • Remember that exercise reactivates the organism and all its systems and guarantees good functioning.
  • Stretch your shoulders.

Avoid excesses from a physical, mental and work point of view

These can lead to the appearance of some diseases.

Blood pressure

Check your blood pressure, at least every six months, much more if you are over 60 years old.

Regular tests

One of the most important diseases in elderly women and that can be prevented and treated curatively if diagnosed early, is breast cancer.

China Tells Tourists to Stay Home

China announced the temporary closure of most touristic attractions in the country, as the government launches an aggressive plan to contain and defeat the coronavirus before summer.

According to China travel experts, most of scenic spots are closed in China to prevent the virus from spreading. The annual holiday has been extended to February 9th, and tourists, both local and foreign, are encouraged to stay home and avoid crowded places. It would be an unwise decision to travel to China for tourism these days given that the virus still hasn’t been fully contained and the tourist hotspots are closed anyways. The experts suggest tourists wait at least 2-3 months before booking a China tour or trip.