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April 30, 2013

Turkish sociologist declares that all children with autism are atheists and atheism is a form of autism


That’s the opinion of Fehmi Kaya, head of the Health and Education Associations for Autistic Children in Adana, Turkey. Autistic children are atheists, he said, “due to a lack of a section for faith in their brains.”
From TimeTurk (English edition) 4/22/13:
“Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” Kaya said, according to daily Milliyet.
Kaya said the underdevelopment of faith sections in the brain caused autistic children to not believe in God.
“That is why they don’t know how to pray, how to believe in God. It is needed to create awareness in these children through methods of therapy.”
Kaya added that autistic children should undergo treatment to “create areas of faith in their brain.”
Apparently, it’s not the children’s fault. According to Kaya whose degree is in sociology, they are born atheists because of the missing faith section. “Research,” he adds, “says atheism and autistic children are linked. Researchers in the USA and Canada say thatatheism is a different form of autism.”
A backlash from individuals and autism associations throughout Turkey has caused Kaya to complain that his remarks were taken out of context by news reports.

April 29, 2013

FBI claims default use of HTTPS by Google and Facebook has made it difficult to wiretape


A government task force is preparing legislation that would pressure companies such as Face­book and Google to enable law enforcement officials to intercept online communications as they occur, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the effort.
Driven by FBI concerns that it is unable to tap the Internet communications of terrorists and other criminals, the task force’s proposal would penalize companies that failed to heed wiretap orders — court authorizations for the government to intercept suspects’ communications.
Rather than antagonizing companies whose cooperation they need, federal officials typically back off when a company is resistant, industry and former officials said. But law enforcement officials say the cloak drawn on suspects’ online activities — what the FBI calls the “going dark” problem — means that critical evidence can be missed.
“The importance to us is pretty clear,” Andrew Weissmann, the FBI’s general counsel, said last month at an American Bar Association discussion on legal challenges posed by new technologies. “We don’t have the ability to go to court and say, ‘We need a court order to effectuate the intercept.’ Other countries have that. Most people assume that’s what you’re getting when you go to a court.”
There is currently no way to wiretap some of these communications methods easily, and companies effectively have been able to avoid complying with court orders. While the companies argue that they have no means to facilitate the wiretap, the government, in turn, has no desire to enter into what could be a drawn-out contempt proceeding.
Under the draft proposal, a court could levy a series of escalating fines, starting at tens of thousands of dollars, on firms that fail to comply with wiretap orders, according to persons who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. A company that does not comply with an order within a certain period would face an automatic judicial inquiry, which could lead to fines. After 90 days, fines that remain unpaid would double daily.
Instead of setting rules that dictate how the wiretap capability must be built, the proposal would let companies develop the solutions as long as those solutions yielded the needed data. That flexibility was seen as inevitable by those crafting the proposal, given the range of technology companies that might receive wiretap orders. Smaller companies would be exempt from the fines.
The proposal, however, is likely to encounter resistance, said industry officials and privacy advocates.
“This proposal is a non-starter that would drive innovators overseas and cost American jobs,” said Greg Nojeim, a senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, which focuses on issues of privacy and security. “They might as well call it the Cyber Insecurity and Anti-Employment Act.”
The Obama administration has not yet signed off on the proposal. Justice Department, FBI and White House officials declined to comment. Still, Weissmann said at the ABA discussion that the issue is the bureau’s top legislative priority this year, but he declined to provide details about the proposal.
The issue of online surveillance has taken on added urgency with the explosion of social media and chat services and the proliferation of different types of online communication. Technology firms are seen as critical sources of information about crime and terrorism suspects.
“Today, if you’re a tech company that’s created a new and popular way to communicate, it’s only a matter of time before the FBI shows up with a court order to read or hear some conversation,” said Michael Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor and a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie’s Washington office who represents technology firms. “If the data can help solve crimes, the government will be interested.”
Some technology companies have developed a wiretap capability for some of their services. But a range of communications companies and services are not required to do so under what is known as CALEA, the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. Among those services are social media networks and the chat features on online gaming sites.
Former officials say the challenge for investigators was exacerbated in 2010, when Google began end-to-end encryption of its e-mail and text messages after its networks were hacked. Facebook followed suit. That made it more difficult for the FBI to intercept e-mail by serving a court order on the Internet service provider, whose pipes would carry the encrypted traffic.
The proposal would make clear that CALEA extends to Internet phone calls conducted between two computer users without going through a central company server — what is sometimes called “peer-to-peer” communication. But the heart of the proposal would add a provision to the 1968 Wiretap Act that would allow a court to levy fines.
Challenges abound
One former senior Justice Department official, who is not privy to details of the draft proposal, said law enforcement officials are not seeking to expand their surveillance authorities. Rather, said Kenneth L. Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security from 2006 to 2008, officials are seeking “to make sure their existing authorities can be applied across the full range of communications technologies.”
Proponents say adding an enforcement provision to the 1968 Wiretap Act is a more politically palatable way of achieving that goal than by amending CALEA to redefine what types of companies should be covered. Industry and privacy experts, including some former government officials, are skeptical.
“There will be widespread disagreement over what the law requires,” said Albert Gidari Jr., a partner at Perkins Coie’s flagship Seattle office who represents telecommunications companies. “It takes companies into a court process over issues that don’t belong in court but rather in standards bodies with technical expertise.”
Some experts said a few companies will resist because they believe they might lose customers who have privacy concerns. Google, for instance, prides itself on protecting its search service from law enforcement surveillance, though it might comply in other areas, such as e-mail. And Skype has lost some of its cachet as a secure communicationsalternative now that it has been bought by Microsoft and is reportedly complying with wiretap orders.
Susan Landau, a former Sun Microsystems distinguished engineer, has argued that wiring in an intercept capability will increase the likelihood that a company’s servers will be hacked. “What you’ve done is created a way for someone to silently go in and activate a wiretap,” she said. Traditional phone communications were susceptible to illicit surveillance as a result of the 1994 law, she said, but the problem “becomes much worse when you move to an Internet or computer-based network.”
Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division, said good software coders can create an intercept capability that is secure. “But to do so costs money,” he said, noting the extra time and expertise needed to develop, test and operate such a service.
A huge challenge, officials agree, is how to gain access to peer-to-peer communications. Another challenge is making sense of encrypted communications.
Thomas said officials need to strike a balance between the needs of law enforcement and those of the technology companies.
“You want to give law enforcement the ability to have the data they’re legally entitled to get, at the same time not burdening industry and not opening up security holes,” he said.

Man arrested in rape of girl begs for DNA test, which later proves he's innocent. Sheriff said he would not give test because it was a 'waste of taxpayer dollars.'



A Sapulpa man who was held in jail for 84 days before DNA evidence cleared him in the brutal rape of his then-girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter plans to sue the Creek County Sheriff's Office for wrongful arrest. 

Tommy Braden's attorney, Don Smolen, of Tulsa, sent notice earlier this month that they plan to take legal action for wrongful arrest and detention, which they allege was the result of the Sheriff's Office negligence. 

"From day one he's begging them to do a DNA test," Smolen said. "They said they weren't going to do that because it was a waste of taxpayers' dollars." 

Braden was arrested shortly after the April 6, 2012, rape and was not released until a defense attorney, Lowell Howe, got a judge to approve a DNA test which cleared him on July 3. 

The DNA evidence was a match for Patrick Edward Misner, a convicted felon who lived in the same mobile home park at the time. 

"Three months later - after his life's gone to hell - the results he's been asking them to do comes up that he's not the guy," Smolen said. "Why wouldn't you do a DNA test? Even if it was him, why not do a test and confirm it? Why take three months?" 

After the crime, Misner moved to the Portland, Ore., area and was arrested on an unrelated matter. He was eventually brought back to Creek County where he is being held on a $750,000 bond on charges of burglary, rape and lewd molestation. He has waived a preliminary hearing and is awaiting a trial date. 

Records show Misner was convicted in 2009 of assault with a dangerous weapon in Tulsa County. 

Smolen said investigators should have looked into who was living next to the little girl and should have pursued DNA testing immediately. 

Records show the attack occurred in the middle of the night while the family was sleeping with the little girl at one end of the trailer and Braden, his girlfriend and their 2-year-old son at the other end. 

Howe said the mother left early for work that morning and that it was Braden who found the little girl in bed naked and bleeding and called 911. Records show she was hospitalized. 

According to an affidavit filed in the case, Braden noticed the little girl's bedroom window was broken and found blood on the front porch. 

Investigators believe the front porch blood came from one of the family dogs that was found dead behind the residence and appeared to have been stabbed. 

Howe said investigators thought the scene looked staged and didn't believe Braden was telling the truth. A lie detector test allegedly found him to be deceptive when questioned about the girl, he said. 

Perhaps the main appearance of guilt came when investigators said the little girl identified Braden as her attacker. 

Smolen said the 4-year-old made the statement after more than an hour of interrogation. 

The girlfriend filed a protective order against Braden soon after her daughter's attack. The state Department of Human Services filed a case against the mother for failing to protect her daughter when Braden was still being held for the rape, Howe said. 

Howe said the incident wrecked Braden and his girlfriend's relationship at first, but they reconciled and have since married. 

Braden and Howe said DHS still hasn't dropped the deprived child case. 

Braden said he and his wife did not know Misner or even recognize him. 

"We had no place to live when I got out (of jail)," Braden said. "I wasn't allowed to be around. We had to go through counseling to get back together. I lost my job. I lost pretty much everything." 

Braden said he was depressed while incarcerated, quit eating and dropped to 130 pounds from 190 pounds. 

Smolen said the sheriff has 90 days to respond, and if not, they plan to file a civil rights lawsuit in federal court. 

Current Creek County Sheriff John Davis said he couldn't comment because of the pending legal action. 

'Angel of Death' nurse who murdered at least 40 patients to become one of America's worst serial killers speaks from prison for the first time to chillingly claim: 'I thought I was helping'


A nurse who admitted killing at least 40 patients in his care but is suspected of murdering hundreds apologized for the deaths in his first ever interview from jail but still claimed they were mercy killings.
Charles Cullen was handed down six life sentences in 2006 after he admitted poisoning at least 40 people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over the course of his 16-year nursing career.
Considered one of the most prolific serial killers in American history and once dubbed 'the angel of death', Cullen said he wanted to end his patients' suffering, even though many of them were in good health.


The serial killer was interviewed for the first time ever about the murders by CBS' 60 Minutes, which was aired last night.

When asked if he got pleasure out of killing people, Cullen told 60 Minutes: 'No, I thought that people weren't suffering anymore. So, in a sense, I thought I was helping.'When asked if he considered himself a murderer, he said: 'I think that I had a lot of trouble accepting that word for a long time. I accept that that's what it is.'
When it was pointed out that many of his patients weren't in pain, he said: 'You know, again, you know, I mean, my goal here isn't to justify.
'You know what I did there is no justification. I just think that the only thing I can say is that I felt overwhelmed at the time.'
In the interview broadcast last night on CBS' 60 Minutes, Cullen admits that if he had not been stopped, he probably would have went on to kill more people.
At the time of his arrest in December 2003, Cullen told authorities he had administered overdoses to patients to spare them from going into cardiac or respiratory arrest.
Even though there were suspicions at several of the hospitals he worked at, these were never reported or marked on his record and Cullen was able to continue his killing spree at each place he was transferred to. 



More murders: Cullen pleaded guilty in May 2004 to three additional murders of patients in a hospital where he worked
When Cullen was hired at Saint Luke's University Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he had already been fired or forced to resign from five other hospitals. 
Yet none of this was in his file with the state nursing board. 
He admits to killing five people at St Lukes and even though there were suspicions, the hospital asked him to resign on the premise they would give him neutral references.
He was then hired as a critical care nurse at New Jersey's Somerset Medical Center, where he administered lethal injections to 13 patients over 13 months.
It was only when a Roman Catholic priest named Florian Gall died unexpectedly overnight while recovering from pneumonia, that the hospital discovered high levels of the heart drug digoxin in his blood.
It was the second unexplained overdose in two weeks and set in motion the events leading up to Cullen's arrest.
 

 

Asked why he thought he was able to go undetected for so long, he said: 'I think because it's a matter of worrying about lawsuits. 
'If they pointed out that there was a problem they were going to be found liable for millions of dollars. They just saw it as a lot easier to not put themselves in a position of getting sued.'
He also revealed that when he was at Somerset, he was allowed to work one more shift even though he was being fired over the suspicious deaths.
'The weird thing about Somerset Hospital was is that they were planning on firing me the night before. So they let me work one more shift knowing that they were going to fire me the next day,' he told 60 Minutes.
'So they let me work an additional shift with the suspicion that I had harmed patients. Which I, you know, was kind of a bizarre thing to do.' 

Judge sentenced to 28 years incarceration for "selling" juvenile offenders to private prison over minor infractions


Accused of perpetrating a “profound evil,” former Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for illegally accepting money from a juvenile-prison developer while he spent years incarcerating thousands of young people.
 
Prosecutors said Ciavarella sent juveniles to jail as part of a “kids for cash” scheme involving Robert Mericle, builder of the PA and Western PA Child Care juvenile detention centers. The ex-judge was convicted in February of 12 counts that included racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion.
 
In addition to his prison sentence, Ciavarella was ordered to pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution.
 
At his sentencing, Ciavarella acknowledged his illegal acceptance of money from Mericle. But he denied ever jailing a juvenile in exchange for money.
 
Once the case against Ciavarella surfaced, special investigative panels began reviewing cases he handled from 2003 to 2008. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that he denied about 5,000 juveniles, some as young as ten, their constitutional rights, leading to the vacating of their convictions.
 
Among the young people exploited by Ciavarella were 15-year-old Hillary Transue, who was sentenced to three months at a juvenile detention center for mocking an assistant principal on a MySpace page; and 13-year-old Shane Bly, who was sent to a boot camp for two weekends after being accused of trespassing in a vacant building.
 
Another judge, Michael T. Conahan, used his position to shut down the county-run juvenile detention center and redirect juvenile detainees to the private prisons. He pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.”


For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan’s president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency.
All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.
“We called it ‘ghost money,’ ” said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. “It came in secret, and it left in secret.”
The C.I.A., which declined to comment for this article, has long been known to support some relatives and close aides of Mr. Karzai. But the new accounts of off-the-books cash delivered directly to his office show payments on a vaster scale, and with a far greater impact on everyday governing.
Moreover, there is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan.
“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.”
The United States was not alone in delivering cash to the president. Mr. Karzai acknowledged a few years ago that Iran regularly gave bags of cash to one of his top aides.
At the time, in 2010, American officials jumped on the payments as evidence of an aggressive Iranian campaign to buy influence and poison Afghanistan’s relations with the United States. What they did not say was that the C.I.A. was also plying the presidential palace with cash — and unlike the Iranians, it still is.
American and Afghan officials familiar with the payments said the agency’s main goal in providing the cash has been to maintain access to Mr. Karzai and his inner circle and to guarantee the agency’s influence at the presidential palace, which wields tremendous power in Afghanistan’s highly centralized government. The officials spoke about the money only on the condition of anonymity.
It is not clear that the United States is getting what it pays for. Mr. Karzai’s willingness to defy the United States — and the Iranians, for that matter — on an array of issues seems to have only grown as the cash has piled up. Instead of securing his good graces, the payments may well illustrate the opposite: Mr. Karzai is seemingly unable to be bought.
Over Iran’s objections, he signed a strategic partnership deal with the United States last year, directly leading the Iranians to halt their payments, two senior Afghan officials said. Now, Mr. Karzai is seeking control over the Afghan militias raised by the C.I.A. to target operatives of Al Qaeda and insurgent commanders, potentially upending a critical part of the Obama administration’s plans for fighting militants as conventional military forces pull back this year.
But the C.I.A. has continued to pay, believing it needs Mr. Karzai’s ear to run its clandestine war against Al Qaeda and its allies, according to American and Afghan officials.
Like the Iranian cash, much of the C.I.A.’s money goes to paying off warlords and politicians, many of whom have ties to the drug trade and, in some cases, the Taliban. The result, American and Afghan officials said, is that the agency has greased the wheels of the same patronage networks that American diplomats and law enforcement agents have struggled unsuccessfully to dismantle, leaving the government in the grips of what are basically organized crime syndicates.
The cash does not appear to be subject to the oversight and restrictions placed on official American aid to the country or even the C.I.A.’s formal assistance programs, like financing Afghan intelligence agencies. And while there is no evidence that Mr. Karzai has personally taken any of the money — Afghan officials say the cash is handled by his National Security Council — the payments do in some cases work directly at odds with the aims of other parts of the American government in Afghanistan, even if they do not appear to violate American law.
Handing out cash has been standard procedure for the C.I.A. in Afghanistan since the start of the war. During the 2001 invasion, agency cash bought the services of numerous warlords, including Muhammad Qasim Fahim, the current first vice president.
“We paid them to overthrow the Taliban,” the American official said.
The C.I.A. then kept paying the Afghans to keep fighting. For instance, Mr. Karzai’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was paid by the C.I.A. to run the Kandahar Strike Force, a militia used by the agency to combat militants, until his assassination in 2011.
A number of senior officials on the Afghan National Security Council are also individually on the agency’s payroll, Afghan officials said.
While intelligence agencies often pay foreign officials to provide information, dropping off bags of cash at a foreign leader’s office to curry favor is a more unusual arrangement.
Afghan officials said the practice grew out of the unique circumstances in Afghanistan, where the United States built the government that Mr. Karzai runs. To accomplish that task, it had to bring to heel many of the warlords the C.I.A. had paid during and after the 2001 invasion.

By late 2002, Mr. Karzai and his aides were pressing for the payments to be routed through the president’s office, allowing him to buy the warlords’ loyalty, a former adviser to Mr. Karzai said.
Then, in December 2002, Iranians showed up at the palace in a sport utility vehicle packed with cash, the former adviser said.
The C.I.A. began dropping off cash at the palace the following month, and the sums grew from there, Afghan officials said.
Payments ordinarily range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, the officials said, though none could provide exact figures. The money is used to cover a slew of off-the-books expenses, like paying off lawmakers or underwriting delicate diplomatic trips or informal negotiations.
Much of it also still goes to keeping old warlords in line. One is Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek whose militia served as a C.I.A. proxy force in 2001. He receives nearly $100,000 a month from the palace, two Afghan officials said. Other officials said the amount was significantly lower.
Mr. Dostum, who declined requests for comment, had previously said he was given $80,000 a month to serve as Mr. Karzai’s emissary in northern Afghanistan. “I asked for a year up front in cash so that I could build my dream house,” he was quoted as saying in a 2009 interview with Time magazine.
Some of the cash also probably ends up in the pockets of the Karzai aides who handle it, Afghan and Western officials said, though they would not identify any by name.
That is not a significant concern for the C.I.A., said American officials familiar with the agency’s operations. “They’ll work with criminals if they think they have to,” one American former official said.
Interestingly, the cash from Tehran appears to have been handled with greater transparency than the dollars from the C.I.A., Afghan officials said. The Iranian payments were routed through Mr. Karzai’s chief of staff. Some of the money was deposited in an account in the president’s name at a state-run bank, and some was kept at the palace. The sum delivered would then be announced at the next cabinet meeting. The Iranians gave $3 million to well over $10 million a year, Afghan officials said.
When word of the Iranian cash leaked out in October 2010, Mr. Karzai told reporters thathe was grateful for it. He then added: “The United States is doing the same thing. They are providing cash to some of our offices.”
At the time, Mr. Karzai’s aides said he was referring to the billions in formal aid the United States gives. But the former adviser said in a recent interview that the president was in fact referring to the C.I.A.’s bags of cash.
No one mentions the agency’s money at cabinet meetings. It is handled by a small clique at the National Security Council, including its administrative chief, Mohammed Zia Salehi, Afghan officials said.
Mr. Salehi, though, is better known for being arrested in 2010 in connection with a sprawling, American-led investigation that tied together Afghan cash smuggling, Taliban finances and the opium trade. Mr. Karzai had him released within hours, and the C.I.A. then helped persuade the Obama administration to back off its anticorruption push, American officials said.
After his release, Mr. Salehi jokingly came up with a motto that succinctly summed up America’s conflicting priorities. He was, he began telling colleagues, “an enemy of the F.B.I., and a hero to the C.I.A.”

9 Superfoods For Your Heart

Eat to your heart's content

With heart disease the number one killer of both men and women in this country, you would think a cure that could dramatically reduce these deaths would be big news. And yet the most effective remedy is so simple that most people can't seem to believe it works. "In traditional societies, where people don't eat processed foods, heart disease is rare," says cardiologist Arthur Agatston, MD, author of The South Beach Wake-Up Call. "If you start with a healthy diet in childhood, heart attacks are almost completely preventable." 
In fact, according to new research published in Circulation, people who eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish lower their risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by 35%. Researchers tracked the eating habits of 31,546 people with a history of heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes over five years, and found that those who ate the heart-healthy diet had the lowest chances of having a repeat stroke or heart attack. What’s more, the healthy eaters were 28% less likely to develop congestive heart failure.
But even if you've downed a small army's worth of french fries, cleaning up your diet as an adult can still have a profound effect. Studies have shown that up to 70% of heart disease can be averted with the right regimen, according to Walter Willett, MD, chair of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. But is diet alone as powerful as drugs? "Oh, no, it's much more powerful," says Dr. Willett. "Statins, the most effective single medications for reducing heart disease, only cut risk by 25 to 30%.
You would need a cabinet full of prescription drugs to bestow all the benefits of a serious heart-healthy meal plan. There's nothing a drug can do that foods can't do too—lower our blood pressure (like ACE inhibitors), slash "bad" LDL cholesterol (like statins), reduce harmful triglycerides (like fibrates), raise "good" HDL (like niacin tablets), and prevent the unwanted clotting that causes heart attacks and strokes (like aspirin).
Diet can be so effective that the British Medical Journal published a paper suggesting that doctors shelve the idea of developing a combination drug with multiple heart meds in it—the Polypill, as it's come to be known. Instead they recommended a Polymeal—a "tastier and safer alternative" that would include wine, fish, dark chocolate, garlic, almonds, and heaping servings of fruits and vegetables. "But the longer you wait, the more likely you'll need drugs," warns Dr. Agatston.
In that spirit, here are nine top foods for the heart. But this list is only a beginning. A truly healthy diet features a broad range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes—not a select few. So while you're shopping for kale, don't neglect Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and romaine. An orange is great, but so are strawberries, apples, bananas, and kiwifruit. Hippocrates understood the concept more than 2,000 years ago: "Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food."

Oranges

Rx Effect: Reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart failure
The Evidence: Oranges contain a pharmacy's worth of salves for the heart. The soluble fiber pectin acts like a giant sponge, sopping up cholesterol in food and blocking its absorption—just like a class of drugs known as bile acid sequestrants. And the potassium in oranges helps counterbalance salt, keeping blood pressure under control. But new research shows something even more startling: Citrus pectin helps neutralize a protein called galectin-3 that causes scarring of heart tissue, leading to congestive heart failure—a condition that is often difficult to treat with drugs. "Twenty percent of Americans over 50 have high galectin-3," says Pieter Muntendam, MD, CEO of BG Medicine in Waltham, MA. "A 2009 study showed that a diet high in fruits and vegetables decreased the risk of heart failure by 37%."
Try: Pectin is contained in the pulp and pith. You'll get more of it in juice with pulp. Or better yet, eat your oranges.

Kale

Rx Effect: Prevents atherosclerosis
The Evidence: Your mom was right: You need to consume your dark leafy greens. "Kale has everything you would want in a superfood," says Joel Fuhrman, MD, the author of the bestseller Eat to Live, who uses diet and exercise to help patients reverse their cardiovascular disease. For starters, kale boasts a bumper crop of heart-healthy antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin E. It's also rich in lutein, which correlated in the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study with protection against early atherosclerosis. Kale even contains an unusual compound, glucoraphanin, that activates a special protective protein called Nrf2. "It creates a sort of Teflon coating in your arteries to keep plaque from adhering," says Dr. Fuhrman.
Try: For a snack, try Brad's Raw Leafy Kale—actual kale that is dehydrated, then coated with ground cashews, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, and garlic.

Garlic

Rx Effect: Reduces blood pressure and plaque
The Evidence: Research suggests that, much like the ACE inhibitor drugs that fight high blood pressure, garlic ratchets down an enzyme called angiotensin, which constricts blood vessels. Though the effect is modest compared with medications, garlic seems to have a significant impact on the buildup of plaque. In three randomized trials, Matthew Budoff, MD, professor of medicine at UCLA, found that plaque progression slowed by more than 50% in people taking garlic extract, compared with the non–vampire slayers—"and the nongarlic group was on standard drugs," he says.
Try: The trials used 250 mg tablets of Kyolic aged garlic extract to standardize the dose. "But it's always better to eat the real food," says Gayl Canfield, PhD, RD, director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami.

Red Wine

Rx Effect: Boosts HDL, reduces unwanted clotting
The Evidence: Any alcohol nudges up HDL, the "good" cholesterol that helps prevent plaque. But red wine may offer additional benefits, says John Folts, PhD, professor emeritus of cardiovascular medicine and nutrition at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. "The key is not resveratrol—you would need 16 bottles a day," he says. Instead, compounds called polyphenols help keep blood vessels flexible and reduce the risk of unwanted clotting. "They're nearly as effective as aspirin," he claims. But note: More than one glass of vino a day ups the risk of breast cancer for women, and chronic heavy drinking damages the heart, so this is a case where more is not better.
Try: Dark beer such as Guinness stout delivers many of the same beneficial polyphenols.

Dark Chocolate

Rx Effect: Reduces blood pressure
The Evidence: The Kuna Indians off the coast of Panama have enviably low blood pressure—and unlike the rest of us, they don't develop hypertension as they age. When Harvard cardiologist Norman Hollenberg, MD, set out to unravel their secret, he assumed they carried some rare genetic trait. Instead he found they drink enormous quantities of minimally processed cocoa. It's rich in compounds called flavanols, which improve blood vessel flexibility. We can all get them from chocolate—a few squares a day. Dark chocolate is likely to have more, because it starts with a higher cocoa content—but that's no guarantee, since different processing methods can destroy them.
Try: Dove Dark has been shown to have high levels of flavanols.

Sardines

Rx Effect: Lower triglycerides, raise HDL
The Evidence: The omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish are crucial for heart health, and sardines have among the highest levels. These "good fats" lower harmful triglycerides, raise protective HDL, reduce potentially fatal heart arrhythmias, and tamp down inflammation. It's inflammation that ultimately destabilizes plaque, causing it to rupture and produce a heart-attack-inducing clot. Though you can get omega-3s from plant sources such as flaxseed, the "long chain" omega-3s in fish are far more powerful. A large Danish study last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a 38% reduction in ischemic heart disease among women who consumed the most.
Try: Wild Planet sells wild sardines in extra virgin olive oil with lemon.


Lentils

Rx Effect: Reduce blood pressure
The Evidence: One international study followed 12,763 people in the United States, Japan, and six European countries for 25 years. When the results were tallied, legumes—such as lentils—were associated with an 82% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease. The reasons include not only lean vegetable protein and fiber but also folate, magnesium, and potassium. George Mateljan, the author of The World's Healthiest Foods, calls magnesium "nature's own calcium channel blocker"—a type of drug that fights hypertension. And by counterbalancing salt, potassium is crucial for keeping blood pressure under control.
Try: TruRoots's new Sprouted Lentil Trio cooks in just 5 to 7 minutes.

Almonds

Rx Effect: Reduce LDL and fatal arrhythmias
The Evidence: "You don't have to be miserable to bring your cholesterol down," says David Jenkins, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto. The plant sterols in almonds reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the diet, while the unsaturated oils encourage the liver to make less LDL and more "good" HDL. When Dr. Jenkins gave patients a vegetarian diet including almonds (along with other cholesterol-lowering foods, such as lentils, eggplant, and soy) for a month, he found LDL reductions of 28.6%—comparable to those on 20 mg of lovastatin (Mevacor). Just 22 almonds a day will do. Another study found major declines in fatal arrhythmias with 2 servings of nuts a week.
Try: Don't limit yourself to almonds. Walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts are also great.


Pomegranates

Rx Effect: Reduce atherosclerosis
The Evidence: Bringing down LDL is important, but so is preventing the oxidation of that cholesterol. When LDL is oxidized, it tends to get stuck in arterial walls, initiating the formation of plaque. But Michael Aviram, DSc, professor of biochemistry at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, found that pomegranate juice, with its unique antioxidants, not only blocked the progression of plaque, but actually reversed some of the buildup when patients drank 8 ounces a day for a year. How does it do this? In later studies, Dr. Aviram learned that pomegranates activate an enzyme that breaks down oxidized cholesterol.
Try: For those who love pomegranates but not the messy job of cracking them open, Pom Wonderful now does the work for you. Look for the fruit-covered seeds (or "arils") in clear plastic cups under the brand name Pom Poms.

No Half-Hearted Measures

Unfortunately, you won't disease-proof your heart by simply adding chocolate, wine, and nuts to a diet full of doughnuts and bacon. Groundbreaking new studies explain why. For years, government panels told us that the main villain in heart disease was the saturated fat in meat and dairy. We did the logical thing and cut down on total fat while upping refined carbs. Bad move. Research now shows that the sugar and refined flour in our bagels, pizzas, cookies, and sodas are even more problematic. Stripped of fiber (and other nutrients), these unhealthy carbs zip-line through the digestive tract and into the bloodstream, where they deliver a triple dose of heart damage—raising harmful triglycerides, lowering protective HDL, and raising blood pressure. But saturated fat isn't off the hook. Some studies have appeared to exonerate it—but only because people in these studies replaced the bad fat in their diets with harmful carbs. "When you eat good fats instead of bad ones, cardiac risk goes down," says Harvard's Walter Willett, MD. So treat cheese as dessert, not the main course, and favor lean meat such as grass-fed bison.

6 Ridiculously Fattening Appetizers

Diet bombs in small packages

When you order an app, you don’t expect it to equal or exceed the main meal, right? Unfortunately, many popular appetizers contain astronomically more calories, fat, and sodium than you should consume in a whole day, let alone in your entrée. What’s worse is that apps tend to be a shared experience, with a three-or-more split between everyone at the table, so it’s easy to lose track of how much you actually eat. Our advice? Skip the apps in favor of a small green salad. Or, if you're faced with apps at a party, recreate these pre-meal favorites for a fraction of the calories and fat.


1. Stuffed jalapeno poppers

These spicy stuffed poppers not only come at a high heat, they also come at a steep caloric cost. One plateful of these peppers tallies over 1,900 calories, 135 g of fat, and over 6,000 mg of sodium! (Yes, that’s right 6,000 mg of sodium.) You could have ordered 9 chicken enchiladas and still saved 36 g of fat and 2,000 mg of sodium.


2. Boneless buffalo wings with blue cheese

Stop trying to kid yourself that the celery stalk that comes with the basket of wings makes this starter a healthy choice: One order of these saucy snackers amounts to almost 1,500 calories and 4,590 mg of sodium. That’s the salt equivalent of gorging on over 2 large bags of potato chips before your main entrée.

3. Stuffed potato skins

While potato skins are not regarded as a typical healthy choice, these "loaded" appetizers may be far worse than you anticipated. The boat-like munchies are usually brimming with high-calorie and high-fat ingredients like sour cream, bacon, and a medley of melty cheeses, but all that indulgence comes at a price: One plate of these is 2,070 calories. It’s also got 135 g of fat, the equivalent of over a dozen chocolate donuts.

4. Guacamole and chips

We absolutely love avocado: It’s got a rich, buttery taste, and it’s packed with belly-flattening MUFAs. Unfortunately, not all guacs are created equal. Some restaurant versions really pack on the calories and salt—one platter of chips and dip could amount to close to 1,400 calories and 84 g of fat, not to mention over 2,000 mg of sodium.

5. Beef nachos

It’s hard to resist the tempting call of layers of tortilla chips, melted nacho cheese, onions, peppers, and juicy beef. But you would be all the wiser to stray from this fattening app tower: One plate has 1,700 calories and over 3,500 mg of sodium.

6. Chicken strips

Ordering an individually sized chicken appetizer may make you believe that you are playing it safe when it comes to keeping your eye on your waistline. Think again. A single serving of sesame chicken strips amounts to more than half of your day’s calories and over 2,600 mg of salt.

Students flock to Georgia high school's first EVER racially integrated prom


For any teenager, prom is a monumental night, but for students at a Georgia high school, it has been more than 40 years in the making.
For the first time ever, students at Wilcox County High School, in Rochelle, Ga. danced together at a prom that wasn’t segregated.
For decades, the school board has avoided officially endorsing prom festivities, instead relying on parents to host and control invitations leading to year after year of two dances — one for white students, and one for the black students.

Students have lobbied over the years to end the practice. This year, a group of Wilcox County seniors decided to take matters into their own hands.
The four girls, two black and two white, created a Facebook page asking for support and donations to fund an independent bash open to all.
“We were doing that so we could get the word out, so that some people would be able to donate and help us out with what we were doing,” said senior Mareshia Rucker.
On Saturday night, nearly half of the school’s student body came out to the event.
“Hopefully when everything is said and done, people in our county will really realize, that there is no sense in the way things are right now,” Rucker told ABC News affiliate WGXA.
Despite this year’s groundbreaking integrated dance, once again this year there was a segregated prom attended only by white students.
It wasn’t an officially sanctioned event, but a private one organized by white parents.







Heartbreaking video shows wolf-dog sobbing at grave of owner's grandma

It's well known that dog is man's best friend.
But Wiley the wolf-dog was pretty fond of it's owner's late grandmother Gladys - so much so that he appears to cry at her graveside.
In this heart-breaking video, posted to YouTube on April 14 by user SarahVarley13, the adorable wolf-dog lays on the tombstone, shaking, and makes what appear to be sobbing noises as the family gathers around him.

The handler can be heard in the 10 second clip saying 'We miss her too,' as she comforts the dog. 
The video has garnered some 362,000 views since it was posted to YouTube.
It was also posted to the website of the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, a Ventura County, California, shelter that specializes in the care of wolf-dogs and horses.
The LARC website describes Gladys as 'a family member, and a supporter' of the animal rescue center. 

'She will be forever missed, especially by Wiley,' the site reads. Sarahvarley13 writes under the video that Wiley is one of a number of 'service wolves' that help veterans returning from war deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, providing therapy and care through LARC and a program called Warriors and Wolves. Responding to queries from YouTube users, she explains: 'I am not a vet so I can't say if he's reverse sneezing as some of you are stating. 'I can tell you that he has never done that before and hasn't done it since. I may be anthropomorphizing his actions but its how I'm choosing to deal with loss...' 'Also, for those stating he is dying, I promise he's not. We have a veterinarian on staff at the sanctuary and Wiley is just fine.'

'She will be forever missed, especially by Wiley,' the site reads.
Sarahvarley13 writes under the video that Wiley is one of a number of 'service wolves' that help veterans returning from war deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, providing therapy and care through LARC and a program called Warriors and Wolves. 
Responding to queries from YouTube users, she explains: 'I am not a vet so I can't say if he's reverse sneezing as some of you are stating. 
 
'I can tell you that he has never done that before and hasn't done it since. I may be anthropomorphizing his actions but its how I'm choosing to deal with loss...' 
'Also, for those stating he is dying, I promise he's not. We have a veterinarian on staff at the sanctuary and Wiley is just fine.'

9 Tips for a Longer Life that You Shouldn’t Be Following

Extend Your Life
"Stop drinking coffee and alcohol." "Take an aspirin daily." How many times have you heard that advice for adding years to your life? Turns out, lots of long-held wisdom just isn't true. Read on to see which suggestions you should ignore and what actually ups longevity.

1. Lay off the java.
You've probably read that multiple cups of coffee a day can be bad for you (jitter city), but research published in the New England Journal of Medicine may prove the opposite. Male and female participants who had two or three cups a day and didn't smoke were 10% and 13% less likely, respectively, to have died during the 14-year-long study than those who never or rarely drank coffee. Men and women who drank a single daily cup were 6% and 5% less likely, respectively, to pass away. According to the researchers, more cups mean a lower risk of stroke, diabetes and heart and respiratory disease. But watch the cream and sugar-extra fat and calories could negate any longevity benefits.


2. Get eight hours of sleep every night.
While research suggests snoozing fewer than six or more than nine hours a night raises your mortality risk, "everyone has different sleep needs," says Shelby Harris, PsyD, director of the behavioral sleep medicine program at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY. So if you wake naturally after only, say, six-and-a-half hours a night, forcing yourself to reach eight hours won't lengthen your life. To learn how much sleep you need, try awakening without an alarm for a week, if you can swing it. If you feel good and have enough energy most of the day, you've found your ideal amount of rest.

3. Lower your body mass index (BMI).

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, weighing a little more can lengthen your life span. Adults with a BMI that qualified them as overweight but not obese (that's between 25 and 29.9) were 6% less likely than all others in their age groups to die. While BMI isn't always an accurate measurement of a person's health risks, registered dietitian Jen Brewer, author of Stop Dieting and Start Losing Weight, says if the extra weight comes from muscle mass, you're more likely to have lower cholesterol levels and a better ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) to LDL (bad cholesterol). It may also lower your risk for life-threatening heart disease, stroke and diabetes. And that's good for staying alive.

4. Don't worry, be happy.
Actually, being a glass-half-empty kind of person may keep you kicking longer. In a study published in Psychology and Aging, 65- to 96-year-olds who thought life would get worse outlived those who anticipated better days ahead. "Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade," says lead author Frieder R. Lang, PhD, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. "Pessimism about the future may encourage people to take health and safety precautions."

5. Take a daily aspirin.
Popping that pill can help you live longer by preventing heart attacks, strokes and even cancer-right? "If you're a healthy, 45-year-old female, it may not make a difference," says Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at New York University's Langone Medical Center in New York City. In fact, taking a daily aspirin can lead to bleeding, allergies and upset stomach. Ask your doctor if you can skip the pill, suggests Dr. Goldberg.

 

6. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Once believed to be the amount everyone needs for proper hydration, a longevity essential, a 2002 study from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, NH, debunked the 8X8 rule. As Dr. Goldberg explains, "there's no magic number of glasses," emphasizing it's more about getting fluids, not necessarily from straight-up H20. Herbal tea and juices are hydration helpers (though soda isn't), but fruits and vegetables (like celery and leafy greens) are an even healthier way to get your liquids.

7. Milk does the body good.
You're taught that drinking it by the glassful keeps bones healthy and prevents fatal injuries. Yet a 12-year-long Harvard study found that women who drink milk three times a day break more bones than women who drink less than one glass of milk per week. While lowfat dairy may agree with you, calcium is what's key for strong bones. You can get it from leafy greens, beans, vitamin D (sunshine!) and even lifting weights.

8. Cut out booze.
A daily glass of wine not only can help your heart but also add years to your life. University of Texas at Austin researchers found that moderate drinking, such as a small glass of wine (about four ounces) a day, reduces mortality among older and middle-aged adults. Dr. Goldberg says it's because heart disease is the leading killer of women, and wine is chockfull of antioxidants, which prevent serious sickness. So fill 'er up-without overflowing that glass.


9. Take a multivitamin.
Even though half of all adults pop one, the 2011 Iowa Women's Health Study found that women taking multivitamins don't live longer than those who get their nutrients from food alone. Only calcium supplements are linked to a lower death risk, with 37% of users dying compared to 43% of nonusers in the study. Researchers' conclusion: Get the vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables, not capsules.