New Study Finds That Acupuncture May Help Those Suffering from Fibromyalgia

Feb 23, 16 New Study Finds That Acupuncture May Help Those Suffering from Fibromyalgia

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Millions of people around the world use acupuncture to help with general soreness, but new research has indicated that it could also benefit those who suffer from severe medical conditions, particularly fibromyalgia. According to Fox News, a recent study in Spain has found that individualized acupuncture treatments are associated with greater pain relief for people with fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic widespread discomfort and pain. Individualized acupuncture, also referred to as tailored acupuncture, involves the use of traditional Chinese techniques targeting underlying issues such as “liver Qi stagnation” and “Yi deficiency.” For this study, researchers compared the effects of tailored acupuncture with standard acupuncture, also referred to as “sham” acupuncture by the authors. Sham acupuncture is essentially a “placebo” treatment that involves the random placement of needles to serve as a control in the study. The study included 164 adults with fibromyalgia who were divided into two groups. Half of the participants received tailored acupuncture for nine weeks, while the other half received sham treatments for the same amount of time. The researchers interviewed each participant both before and after the study to see how their pain has changed. As it turns out, people suffering from fibromyalgia and other related diseases respond much better to tailored acupuncture that involves these traditional Chinese techniques. “In…our pain clinic, we give individualized acupuncture not only for fibromyalgia patients, but also for any patient with different pathologies, and we can see the difference in the result with patients in which standard acupuncture is practiced,” said Dr. Jorge Vas, one of the study’s lead authors. Approximately three million Americans have tried acupuncture at some point in their lives, though most of these people seek relief from general bodily discomfort. For those suffering from fibromyalgia, these new findings could steer them towards a more specific form of treatment that provides long-term pain relief. According to the Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses, acupuncture is one of the leading forms of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) to emerge as a viable treatment...

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German Utilities Companies Urged to Pool Cash For Nuclear Clean-Up

In Germany, the costs of dismantling their nuclear plants has become a major issue for the country’s energy firms, with markets eagerly awaiting commission proposals due by the end of the month. The chairman of a government-appointed commission said that Germany’s ailing utilities should transfer cash into a fund in order to pay for the country’s exit strategy away from nuclear energy — unless they are willing to give up some of their assets. Germany’s “big four” utilities (E.ON, RWE, EnBW, and Vattenfall) have set aside 40 billion euros (about $45 billion) in provisions in order to fund the dismantling and storage of waste from their nuclear plants. The last of these will be closed in 2022. The costs of nuclear energy are one reason to start moving away from it. More than 1,500 industrial facilities use large quantities of water to cool their plants, which has been criticized as a wasteful and cost-ineffective. Concerns over the financial health of the power firms have sparked fears that the “big five” won’t be able to turn the provisions pooled for the shift away from nuclear energy into liquidity. In which case, taxpayers would be left to pick up the bill for the conversion. A “nuclear commission” has been tasked with finding a solution for how these provisions could be protected — likely, by setting up a government-controlled fund while also keeping utilities in a viable state. Utilities are betting on renewable energies and grids for future growth, especially considering an accelerating demise of their coal, gas and nuclear plants. These are being shut down or pushed out of the market by solar and wind...

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New Study Finds That One in Five People May Never Be Able to Retire Fully

Feb 19, 16 New Study Finds That One in Five People May Never Be Able to Retire Fully

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Saving for retirement is one of the biggest concerns for people all over the world, and new research has found that this uncertainty may be warranted. According to CNBC, a recent report from UK-based bank HSBC found considerable discrepancies between most workers’ will to retire in the near future and their actual ability to do so. As part of the study, HSBC surveyed 18,000 people online from 17 countries around the world. Approximately 65% of respondents would like to retire within the next five years, but 38% feel that this is an impossible goal. “Financial barriers are preventing many people from retiring when they would like to — or, in some cases, at all. Almost one in five people fear that they will never be able to retire fully,” said Charlie Nunn, head of wealth management at HSBC. While the improvement of healthcare on a global scale is certainly beneficial, governments are now tasked with finding different ways to bear the cost of aging populations. Therefore, there is less money available for workers towards the end of their careers, forcing them to work longer than expected. In 2014, Gallup published a similar report claiming that nearly half (49%) of baby boomers still working say they don’t expect to retire until they are 66 or older, including one in 10 who predict they will never retire. According to local Massachusetts news affiliate WWLP, a recent University of Michigan study also found that retirement is now more elusive than ever. In fact, about one third of the study’s respondents who had set their “goal retirement age” several decades ago are now unable to retire as soon as they had hoped. As for the research from HSBC, most respondents said that they would like to give up work for good so they can spend more time with family. Nearly 33% said they were just bored with their daily routine, and about 25% believe their current job is having a negative impact on their health. Nunn recommends that...

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In These U.S. Cities, Millennials Are Competing With Their Grandparents For Housing

Feb 19, 16 In These U.S. Cities, Millennials Are Competing With Their Grandparents For Housing

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America’s slowly aging senior population is like a slow-moving freight train. Every day, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers pass the age of 65, and by 2050 seniors will make up 21% of the population (81.7 million). Despite this clear data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the supply of senior housing will soon fall short of demand, and in many cities, it already has. Forbes recently released a list of the the U.S. cities with the most rapidly aging population. And while some cities aren’t particularly big draws for Millennials (Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas), the other cities on the list are some of the most popular destinations for young people and recent college grads. Atlanta, Raleigh, Portland, Denver, and Austin were all named on the list of rapidly aging cities, and at a time when more people are renting than ever before, a housing crisis is slowly building in many cities. The Urban Land Institute recently reported that one in two Millennials are renters, compared to just 35% of the overall population. In Denver, where real estate and rental prices are rising fast, Millennials and seniors often end up competing for the same coveted apartments for rent. Which means trendsetting hipsters are squaring off against their elders for a dwindling supply of affordable housing. Both groups have their own unique economic challenges. Young people are struggling under an epic $1 trillion in combined college debt, while many U.S. seniors are on a fixed income or Social Security. Aside from the most rapidly aging U.S. cities, Forbes also counted down the cities with the highest share of older citizens. Overwhelmingly, these cities are located in the country’s Rust Belt, where many young people leave for cities like Atlanta, Raleigh, Portland, Denver, and Austin. Sadly, an incident in the New York City borough of Brooklyn might be a sign of things to come. Residents of the Prospect Park Residence in Park Slope, a long-term care facility for seniors, were evicted in March 2015 with only 90 days’...

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President Obama’s Budget Proposal Includes 1.6% Raise for Federal Employees

Feb 18, 16 President Obama’s Budget Proposal Includes 1.6% Raise for Federal Employees

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As America’s economy begins to slowly rebound, it looks as though federal employees may be in line for a pay raise if President Obama’s current budget proposal is passed by Congress. According to The Washington Post, the president’s proposal would result in a 1.6% pay raise for federal employees, although it would not be effective until Jan. 2017. A budget document notes that the potential 1.6% raise would mark the eighth straight year that federal raises would fall below the employment-cost index, which compares private-sector wage growth to that of federal employees. If the proposal is passed in its current state, the result would be “a relative decrease in civilian pay compared to the private sector of about 9% since 2009,” the document explains. The average raise that a private sector employee can expect is 3%, but given the cost of inflation, it typically amounts to just 1% in additional spending power. The government has been particularly stingy about raising the wages of federal workers for quite some time, which has led them to fall behind the pace set by private sector employers. Following a three-year halt on raising federal salaries, the government issued raises of 1% in 2014 and 2015, with a raise of 1.3% being paid in 2016. Despite this positive momentum, President Obama’s proposed pay hike is still much lower than what federal employees have requested. According to FedSmith.com, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) recently announced that Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA) has introduced legislation that would give federal employees a raise of 5.3% in 2017. Connolly’s legislature, which is known as the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (FAIR), is being seen as an attempt to “highball” the President’s budget proposal so the two sides can meet somewhere in the middle. However, AFGE national president J. David Cox maintains that federal employees deserve a 5.3% raise, if only to keep up with the increased cost of living in America. “AFGE has led the call for a 5.3% pay raise...

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