This urban population is leading the world in life expectancy

Story highlights In 2016, life expectancy was 81.3 years for men and 87.3 years for women in Hong Kong Life expectancies at birth for both sexes have steadily increased over the past 46 years Hong Kong (CNN)Skyscrapers for as far as you can see, people walking toward you from all angles on densely packed streets, lights flashing almost everywhere and a subway that typically gets you where you want to go in under 30 minutes. This is life with more than 7 million people living on a little over 420 square miles of land. It's the urban oasis of Hong Kong -- that's right, oasis. People go about their daily routines in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Dotted consistently through the more than 300 skyscrapers that tower over Hong Kong are well-used and -serviced city parks, quality hospitals accessible to all and restaurants filled with local cuisine that's much healthier than its reputation suggests. Just a few miles away, there are mountains for hiking and beaches for swimming or surfing. On Sunday afternoons, large families fill the streets, venturing out together for their weekly dim sum. Read More The result is a healthy, long-lived population boasting the highest life expectancy in the world. Narrowly beating residents of Japan and other "blue zones" such as Italy, men in Hong Kong are living, on average, up to 81.3 years and women even longer, 87.3 years, as of 2016. "Over the last few decades, (Hong Kong) has caught up in a big way," said Dr. Timothy Kwok, professor of geriatric medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Dr. Gabriel Leung, dean of the faculty of medicine at Hong Kong University, noted that "we inched past Japan about five years ago. It's not a position that we've found ourselves in for decades." As Hong Kong is not a country, it is not included in the Global AgeWatch Index, a measure of social and economic well-being in 96 countries, developed by HelpAge International. But Kwok's research team used the same criteria as the index, Continue Reading

Childhood Lead Exposure Not Linked To Adult Criminal Behavior: Study

Lead is a toxic for kids, and exposure the metal early in a child’s life can be detrimental to brain development and prolonged exposure can even prove fatal. As recently as 2015, there have been lead related child death epidemics. Over the years a myth had gained traction that kids who were exposed to lead grew up to become juvenile delinquents. The lead-crime hypothesis claims that elevated lead level at an early age causes a spike in criminal activity later in life. But, now a team of researchers have found no direct link between childhood lead poisoning and delinquency later in life. According to a comprehensive new study that tracked the lives of hundreds of lead-exposed New Zealand children born in the early 1970s showed the team that the link to delinquency is just a myth. The levels of exposure among kids from New Zealand was found to be very high. Not only that, unlike other countries where the most affected were the poor, in NZ every sector of the society was hit, giving the researchers a varied study group. This set helped the team counter the nagging socio-economic problems in past data. The results of the study showed the team that the findings "failed to support" the popular notion that a child's later criminal activity rises with higher exposure to the metal. According to the team led by Amber Beckley, of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, the study proved that the effects of lead were restricted to childhood alone and did not contribute to delinquency at later stages. The team analysed 553 individuals born between 1972-1973 from all socioeconomic groups. These individuals were observed till they turned 38. The team first looked at blood lead level readings from the data that had been taken when the study participants were just 11 years old. The team then looked at any history of criminal behavior years later when the average age of the same group was 38 years old. "It is most commonly found in lead-based paint used in old Continue Reading

Where Is Journalism School Going?

Last fall, by a vote of 38 to 5, faculty at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism approved a doozy of a name-change. The board of trustees then lent its final imprimatur in March, and with that, one of America’s leading journalism schools was henceforth known as – take a deep breath – “The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.” There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’d first call your attention to the faculty’s apparent rejection of Associated Press-sanctioned grammatical norms. Given the industry’s longstanding reverence for the AP stylebook as a semi-divine standard of journalistic propriety, this has the makings of a landmark decision. That aside, I’ve found that the most common reaction people had to the news was something along the lines of, “What the heck is Integrated Marketing Communications?” Northwestern’s website describes it as a “Medill-invented field,” which partially explains the widespread confusion. But even so, there seems something deliberately obfuscatory about the term; like it was “invented” in a boardroom by middle-aged white men desperately brainstorming ways to appear cutting-edge. Indeed, its function is ultimately reminiscent of those banal slogans often found in a college’s promotional material, like “Commitment to Excellence” or “Where Leaders Look Forward.” An IMC “certificate” is available to Northwestern undergraduates who complete five credits of requisite coursework. The program, according to Medill’s website, prepares students for entry-level positions in fields like advertising, public relations, and “corporate communications.” Of course, there’s nothing especially new or surprising about the actual curricula – business students are taught similar stuff, and PR-training has been a feature of journalism Continue Reading

Friend leads walk to honor slain Brooklyn mom, fight domestic abuse

Leonida Nunez was a beloved mother of three whose smiling face was once a common sight on the streets of Greenpoint. She was brutally killed in 2008, allegedly by her abusive ex-husband. Next Sunday her best friend is leading a march and vigil to honor her memory - and help prevent the same tragedy from happening again. "Leonida was loved by everyone, and she was killed by an abusive man," said Diane Delgado, 42, a sales clerk from Bushwick who was best friends with Nunez for two decades. "I want to make sure that no one forgets her, and that hopefully this never happens to another woman," said Delgado. Nunez was a single mother with two young children in 2002, when she met William Davila, a maintenance man at the office where she worked. They were married two years later and moved to the Bronx, but trouble started soon. "He was crazy - getting jealous over the smallest things," said Delgado. After four tumultuous years of marriage, during which the couple had a son, Nunez and Davila split, but the abusive husband wouldn't let his wife go. Davila began stalking Nunez, who took out several orders of protection against him. He was jailed in 2007 for beating her and violating her order of protection. On May 14, 2008, Nunez's slashed and handcuffed body was found in Davila's truck in a Manhattan parking garage. Two days later, Davila turned himself in for the crime. He's currently in jail, awaiting trail for second-degree murder and faces 25 years to life in prison. Delgado started holding vigils to honor her dead friend a month after she died, and continued to do so each year on the anniversary of her death. "It's a way for us to remember the person we cared about so much - and who left us too soon," said Delgado. Friends and relatives attend the events, which Delgado organizes and pays for herself, making memorial cards, signs and shirts with her dead friend's photo. This year's march begins next Sunday at noon near Nunez's apartment at Continue Reading

The Williamsburg Special: From hipster haven to hotspot, this nabe is an NYC real estate draw

Forget the hipster stigma, housing crisis, lack of schools and stunted condominium projects. For style, culture, food, music and livability, Williamsburg might be the best neighborhood in the United States, surpassing the East Village, West Village and Silver Lake in Los Angeles as the place to build a young, creative life. If Williamsburg plays its cards right, and local business, real estate and political leaders think strategically about growth, parts of it could exceed Melrose Ave. and South Beach in defining cool for the fashion, design and young celebrity set, who have slowly marked their territory with stealth rentals, new boutiques and condo purchases. First, let's stop talking about it as one neighborhood. It's six, with areas as distinct from each other as the upper East Side is from Tribeca. Williamsburg is so huge that if you picked it up and placed it over lower Manhattan, it would stretch from Houston St. to the tip of the island. Ethnically, it's as diverse as any place in the city, with 80-year-old Italians who have lived there all their lives, multiple Latino nationalities, trendy twentysomethings, growing families, high-tech gearheads and artists and musicians sticking it out as once-desolate streets radically change every six months. Around here, though, the old guard doesn't mind newcomers who bring vitality, youth, energy and style to wide streets that overflow with sunshine due to the mostly low-scale architecture. WHY NOW? It might have been all of the above, but developers and residents are as high on these streets as anywhere else in the city right now. "There is no doubt that Williamsburg is and will continue to be the hottest neighborhood for the 25- to 35-year- old demographic for the next 10 years," says Jeff Levine, CEO of Douglaston Development, builder of the Edge, the 1,000-plus unit, mixed-use complex on the waterfront. "For fashion, arts, entertainment and now for home buying, there is no finer place in New York. It has Continue Reading

Lead in sensational 1955 Long Island kidnap mystery: Michigan man claims he was abducted child

The mom left her toddler son and his baby sister outside a Long Island supermarket, told her boy to be good and ducked inside to buy a loaf of bread.Minutes later, when his mom returned, Steven Damman had vanished into thin air.Cops found a stroller nearby with his baby sister inside. But the nearly 3-year-old boy was gone, along with the bag of jellybeans he was munching on.It was Halloween Day 1955.More than 50 years later, there may be a major breakthrough in one of New York's most baffling disappearances. A middle-aged Michigan man recently came forward to claim he is Steven Damman, sources told the Daily News."The development is being treated seriously," said a source familiar with the investigation.DNA tests from the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., due back in about a month, could confirm the man's claim.Jerry Damman, the missing boy's father, who was an airman attached to the base at Long Island's Mitchel Field at the time, was reluctant yesterday to discuss the case."Naturally, you kind of give up after that long, but anything's possible," Jerry Damman, 78, told The News in a phone interview from his 300-acre Iowa farm, where he grows corn and beans.Steven's mother, Marilyn Damman, who is long divorced from Jerry, couldn't be reached for comment."I don't know to this day what truly happened, and I don't know enough about what is going on now to comment," the father said. "It's 50-something years ago, and it was awful. I really don't care for any publicity."Sources would not disclose why the Michigan man believes he is the long-missing boy. He approached Nassau County cops in March with his story, and they contacted the FBI in Detroit.The parents who raised him claimed to be his biological parents, the sources said.Steven Craig Damman was two months short of his third birthday on the day he seemingly vanished off the face of the Earth.Marilyn Damman had parked the baby carriage with Steven's sister Pamela tucked inside and little Steven standing next to it outside Continue Reading

Immigrants’ traditional medicines linked to lead poisoning in children

HOUSTON - Maria didn't mean to poison her children. Quite the opposite.Worried about her daughters' lack of appetite, the young Houston mother was merely following her grandmother's advice when she gave the two girls and a niece a dose of "greta" — a Mexican folk medicine used to treat children's stomach ailments.What Maria, who asked that her last name not be used, did not know then, but now will never forget, is that the bright orange powder is nearly 90 percent lead.Fortunately, doctors detected the dangerously high levels of the toxic metal in the little girls' blood during a routine checkup a week later.But others are not so lucky. Health departments around the country say traditional medicines used by many immigrants from Latin America, India and other parts of Asia are the second most common source of lead poisoning in the U.S. — surpassed only by lead paint — and may account for tens of thousands of such cases among children each year.Dozens of adults and children have become gravely ill or died after taking lead-laden medicine over the past eight years, according to federal and local health officials.The dangerous medicines are manufactured outside the United States and sold in the U.S. by folk healers known as curanderas and in ethnic grocery stores and neighborhood shops that offer herbs and charms. They are usually brought into the country by travelers in their suitcases, thereby slipping past government regulators."No one's testing these medications," said Dr. Stefanos Kales, an assistant professor of environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health who researched the problem. "There's no guarantee it doesn't have dangerous levels of lead."Lead is added to many of the concoctions because of its supposed curative properties, even though doctors say it has no proven medical benefits. In other cases, powders and pills become contaminated with lead from soil or through the manufacturing process."Instead of doing something good Continue Reading

How to reduce lead risks around your home

Carbon monoxide, radon gas and toxic mold aren't the only hidden hazards that homeowners need to fear. There's also the danger of exposure to a particularly harmful heavy metal – and not of the eardrum-splitting variety. The culprit is lead, and the threat is more pervasive and common than many people realize, especially in older homes, say the experts.Lead can be found in many forms throughout the home: in paint, toys, dinnerware, dust that you track in from the outside with your shoes, and even your soil, which can pick up lead from exterior paint and past use of leaded car gasoline, says Gregg Steiner, president of Green Life Guru in Santa Monica, Calif.Additionally, your older home may have plumbing with lead or lead solder that can leach the metal into your drinking water, and foods or liquids stored within lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain containers can likewise be contaminated, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.One of the biggest sources of lead contamination is old paint. Many residences built prior to 1978 used lead-based paint, stain, varnish and shellac, which was nationally banned by the Consumer Products Safety Commission that year, says Lee Wasserman, president of LEW Corp., an environmental service provider in Mountainside, NJ."Hazards around these older homes include all painted surfaces that are cracking, chipping, flaking, peeling and chalking, and all friction and impact surfaces that have not been proven to be non-leaded," Wasserman said. "The risk of lead poisoning is greater the older the home is. However all homes are potentially suspect to leaded products entering their environments."Lead is harmful to all humans, but especially children, who absorb more of it through their digestive tracts – between 30 to 75 percent, while adults absorb approximately 11 percent, says Debbie Lindgren, co-founder of Bluedominoes, Inc., a company dedicated to helping parents discover how environmental and dietary Continue Reading

Katie Couric: Sexism is more common than racism

Katie Couric says she and Sen. Hillary Clinton are victims of sexism which, she contends, is tolerated more than racism."I find myself in the last bastion of male dominance, and realizing what Hillary Clinton might have realized not long ago: Sexism in the American society is more common than racism, and certainly more acceptable or forgivable," the "CBS Evening News" anchor was quoted in an interview on the Web site of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. "In any case, I think my post and Hillary's race are important steps in the right direction." The comments caused some observers to suggest a highly paid anchor like Couric might be out of line comparing her struggle succeeding as a news anchor to the problem of racism. Couric's spokesman said something may have been "accidentally lost in the translation" of the newswoman's interview. "Katie wouldn't, and didn't, say sexism is more prevalent than racism," he said. "Her point was sexism seems more tolerated than racism." Couric sat for the interview in Tel Aviv, where she talked about her struggles in the anchor chair and how the job changed over time from what she was hired to do to what she's doing now. Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Washington-based Project for Excellence in Journalism, isn't buying into Couric's claim of news being the last bastion of male dominance. He noted there was a host of other professions - firefighting, the military and police - where women had a rough go. "I can imagine many, many others that could be a heck of a lot tougher than hers," Rosenstiel said. "I suspect that she may be fairly well-compensated for what she does and, the last I looked, the most important, and often highest-paid people in that profession are anchorwomen." Couric's latest interview came just days after she told journalists she thought the intense media scrutiny of her job at CBS was dying down and vowed she was there to stay. "I have no plans to leave anytime soon," she said. "I'm very committed to the people here Continue Reading

Diet Pepsi is ditching aspartame, but the sweetest  thing you could do is stop drinking soda altogether

PepsiCo is finally removing aspartame, a controversial artificial sweetener, from Diet Pepsi. This will be one of the biggest changes the brand has faced in roughly 30 years. The country’s largest food and beverage business announced last week that it will start using another sweetener, sucralose (what we know as Splenda), later this year. PepsiCo claims it is removing the sugar substitute in response to consumer concerns about the safety of aspartame. If we look at the numbers, those concerns seem clear as club soda. Sales of Diet Pepsi in the U.S. dropped 5.2% last year, while Diet Coke, which also contains aspartame, suffered an even bigger loss with a 6.6% drop in sales. SAMADI: UNDRESSING THE FACTS ABOUT MALE INFERTILITY “Aspartame is the number one reason consumers are dropping diet soda,” says Seth Kaufman, a vice president at Pepsi. The phony sweet has been controversial ever since its approval in the 1980s — even though the FDA says it is one of the most thoroughly tested food additives. So why won’t the controversy fizz out? There have been a number of studies that linked artificial sweeteners, aspartame in particular, to some of the most debilitating illnesses that the so-called “diet” products are supposed to prevent, including heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Here’s the hidden truth: More than 6,000 food and drink products — items that millions of us buy every day — contain aspartame. Did you know that? I didn’t think so. Aspartame is actually one of the most common, yet dangerous, food additives. We recognize aspartame by its widely marketed brand names, including NutraSweet and Equal. SAMADI: MEN CAN LEARN FROM RITA WILSON'S BREAST CANCER Aspartame is also commonly hidden under labels marked “diet” or “sugar-free,” which is actually Continue Reading