Early to bed, early to rise is heart-healthy and wise.

by Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES

Not only is it important for us to sleep 7-8 hours a night, but a study published this past week in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine on more than
400,000 people ages 40-69, found that our chronotype – that is the timing of our sleep in relation to our circadian rhythm -  may be just as important. Researchers found that those ‘early to bed and early to rise’ were more likely to have heart healthy behaviors, not smoke, eat healthier, and be more physically active. The night owls and those who slept less than 7 or more than 9 hours were more likely to be sedentary, smokers, and have a poorer diet.

Source: University of Delaware. (2016, April 22). "Finding sleep's sweet spot ." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/309447.php.

Abstract of journal article is at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12160-016-9797-5

Use this news

A number studies touting the benefits of sleep have been addressed in Health News You Can Use. This study, however, is a bit different. It was designed to find out if the timing and number of hours slept made a difference in regard to activity level, tobacco use and dietary habits associated with heart healthy behaviors. From the results, it seems it does.

Timing of sleep, or whether you are a morning person, evening person or somewhere in between, is your chronotype. Chronotype is not only related to heart health, but also obesity, type II diabetes1 , depression2, sleep apnea, elevated stress hormones, greater food portion size, higher body mass index, and lower HDL ( good cholesterol.)3

The evening or night owl chronotype is the one research has found related to increased risk of illness. To find out your chronotype, complete this online Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire

If you are a night owl, you might want to work on making some changes to bring your sleep time and circadian rhythms into better alignment as a step toward living a healthier lifestyle.

For more information:

1.Associations of chronotype and sleep with cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

2. Association between depressive mood and chronotype in healthy subjects

3. Evening chronotype is associated with changes in eating behavior, more sleep apnea, and increased stress hormones in short sleeping obese individuals.

350 Sparta Avenue
   Suite B5
 Sparta, NJ 07871
Calling all runners...

Try paper (surgical) tape on your feet to prevent blisters  

    by Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES

Blisters are the bane of every runner’s existence. In a study
published last week in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, researchers found that putting paper tape on runners’ feet in blister prone areas, reduced blistering by 40%.

An abstract of the journal article is at:

Use this news

Blisters form as a result of friction or rubbing of the skin. A pocket of fluid (serum) collects between the top layers of the skin forming a bubble.  When they form on the feet they make walking and running painful. A number of conditions increase the risk of blisters including: poorly fitting shoes/sneakers, heat and sweat (moisture), fast pace walking/running, foot abnormalities such as bunions or hammertoes.  These conditions are intensified in runners, but they can happen in anyone.

While blisters are not generally dangerous, they can be painful and prevent a runner from finishing a race or cause significant discomfort when walking, for those of us non-runners. The prudent action to take prevention, is to prevent them, if possible.

As the research study above showed, using paper tape does prevent blisters a good portion of the time. Try it on blister prone areas – the back of the heel, ball of the foot, and tip or top of the toes. Make sure the tape is smooth and the edges are adhered to your skin.

Other ways to prevent blisters include:

-          Wearing synthetic socks that wick away moisture (cotton 
             socks retain moisture) with reinforced toes and heels

-           Keep your feet moisturized. Dry skin is more prone to

-          Use a lubricant like petroleum jelly before a race to keep
            your feet “slick” and reduce friction between your foot,
            sock, and sneaker.

-          Get properly fitting footwear. Sneakers that are too
            light/small will cause blistering. Always make sure there is
            at least a thumb width of space between the end of your
            longest toe and the end of the sneaker.

-          Wear properly fitting socks. Socks should be smooth
             across the toes, with no extra fabric there or at the heel.

(Source: http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/blisters)

If a blister does form, the Mayo Clinic suggests the following to relieve pain, drain the fluid and leave the overlying skin intact:

  • Wash your hands and the blister with soap and warm water.
  • Swab the blister with povidone-iodine (generic) (brand name- Betadine)
  • Sterilize a clean, sharp needle by wiping it with rubbing alcohol.
  • Use the needle to puncture the blister. Aim for several spots near the blister's edge. Let the fluid drain, but leave the overlying skin in place.
  • Cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage and antibacterial cream/ointment. 
·         Change the dressing every day or more often, if needed.

(Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-blisters/basics/art-20056691)

For more information

Runners World – Blisters

Podiatry Today – Foot blister prevention

Mayo Clinic – Blister first aid



April 11th, 2016


Cleaning your grill could be hazardous to your health!

 by Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES

Loose bristles from wire brushes used to clean barbecue  grills caused injuries to the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines,  of more than 1500 people, some severe enough to require surgery. 

This is what researchers found in their analysis of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data from hospital room visits between 2012 and 2014, published in the April 4, 2016 issue of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery.  The small number of injuries they found under represents the actual number because the data they analyzed only included emergency room visits and not visits to urgent care or other outpatient treatment centers.

Source:  Preidt, R. Lose Bristles from Grill Cleaning May Pose Dangers [Internet}. HealthDay; 2016 Apr 04 [cited 2016 Apr 10]. Available from: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_158131.html

An abstract of the journal article is at: http://oto.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/02/24/0194599815627794.abstract

Use this news

To avoid potential injury from cleaning your barbecue grill, follow these recommendations from one of the leading grill manufacturer’s or follow the recommendations from the manufacturer of your grill.

For all types of grills, first burn off any food left on the grates.

After the grates have cooled use a nylon grill brush to remove any remaining food.

For food that doesn’t come off with burning or a nylon brush, soak the grates in a mix of vinegar and baking soda. The combination of vinegar and baking soda breaks up the burned-on food.

  • Mix 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda in a garbage bag large enough to hold the grates. Be careful not to puncture the bag.
  • Seal the grates in the garbage bag with a rubber band.
  • Soak the grates overnight.
  • Remove the grates and rinse them off with water. The food that was originally stuck on the grates should fall off, but if there’s anything still stuck on you should be able to easily scrub off the rest.
  • Rinse with cool water and pat dry.

If you prefer using a wire bristle grill brush, here are some safety tips from another leading grill manufacturer:

  1. If your grill brush has worn down bristles or bristles clogged up with grease, throw it away and buy a new one.
  2. If the head of your grill brush is split or warped, this will cause the bristles to loosen, throw it away and buy a new one.
  3. If your grill brush looks OK, perform a simple safety check -  Take a pair of pliers, grab a bristle and pull it using moderate pressure, about the same pressure as pulling blades of grass out of your lawn.  If the bristle pulls loose, throw it away and buy a new one.

For more information

Grill brush safety

Alternatives to wire grill brushes -

Do You Want a Side of Listeria With That Sandwich?

     Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control
and  Prevention (CDC), published in the April 1, 2016 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that of the 298 deli establishments surveyed in six geographic areas across the country, almost half (49.5%) did not follow meat slicer cleaning protocols intended to prevent Listeria infection.  Listeria is the third greatest cause of food borne illness/death a year in the U.S. with meats sliced at delis the greatest source of the bacteria.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code, food contact surfaces, including slicers, should be cleaned and sanitized at least every 4 hours, and that food contact surfaces should be disassembled before cleaning and sanitizing. (1) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidance also recommends slicer disassembly before cleaning and sanitizing. (2)

In the study, the delis more likely to fully clean their slicers every four hours were chain delis that had more workers per shift and more shifts per day, more customers served on the busiest day, more meat slicers, and more tubes of meat sold daily and they required food safety training for the manager, had a manager with certification, and had a written policy on slicer cleaning. Smaller delis and independent delis cleaned their slicers less frequently than those of deli chains.


If you buy processed meats sliced at a deli, you might want to ask how often the meat slicer is taken apart and cleaned. If the person serving you doesn’t know, ask to speak to the manager. The answer you’re looking for is every four hours.  If it’s less frequently than that, walk away. After all, it’s your health or the health of your family that’s at risk here. Listeria can be deadly.

The Listeria bacteria causes serious infection (listeriosis) primarily in pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and those with weak immune systems (organ recipients, people on chemo, those with liver or kidney disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS or an autoimmune disease).  It can result in miscarriage, meningitis, or a blood infection. In approximately 1 out of every 6 people with listeriosis, it’s fatal.(3)

Listeria is found naturally in soil, water, poultry and cattle.  Cooking kills it, but the problem is when food gets contaminated after it’s cooked or cooked, as is the case with deli meats. The same is true of hot dogs. If they were contaminated at the time of packaging, and are eaten before they are cooked, or if the liquid in the package comes in contact with other food that is eaten uncooked, for example salads, listeria can be spread. Other risky foods are refrigerated meat spreads, soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, (Feta, Brie, and Camembert), cold smoked seafood, and raw sprouts. Listeria survives just fine in the refrigerator, so keeping food cold is not a good prevention strategy.

The symptoms of a listeriosis can take anywhere from a few days to more than two months to show, which makes it difficult sometimes to figure out the source of the infection. The symptoms include:  fever, stiff neck, confusion, weakness and vomiting that may come after diarrhea.  Anyone with a fever and stiff neck should be seen by a health care professional immediately. Not only are these symptoms of listeriosis, they are also symptoms of meningitis. 

Fortunately, a listeria infection can be treated with antibiotics, but rather than depend on that, prevention is key. To reduce the risk of infection, especially if you or someone you know is among those at greatest risk of a Listeria infection, follow these CDC recommendations:

  • Before eating hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, other deli meats (e.g., bologna), or fermented or dry sausages, heated them to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot just before serving.
  • Avoid getting fluid from hot dog and lunch meat packages on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces, and wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats.
  • Do not eat refrigerated pâté or meat spreads from a deli or meat counter or from the refrigerated section of a store. Foods that do not need refrigeration, like canned or shelf-stable pâté and meat spreads, are safe to eat. Refrigerate after opening.
Soft Cheeses
  • Do not eat soft cheese such as feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, brie, Camembert, blue-veined, or panela (queso panela) unless it is labeled as made with pasteurized milk. Make sure the label says, "MADE WITH PASTEURIZED MILK."
    • Be aware that Mexican-style cheeses made from pasteurized milk, such as queso fresco, likely contaminated during cheese-making, have caused Listeria infections.
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is contained in a cooked dish, such as a casserole, or unless it is a canned or shelf-stable product.
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, and mackerel, is most often labeled as "nova-style," "lox," "kippered," "smoked," or "jerky."
    • These fish are typically found in the refrigerator section or sold at seafood and deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens.
  • Canned and shelf stable tuna, salmon, and other fish products are safe to eat.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any whole melon, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew. 
  • Scrub the surface of melons, such as cantaloupes, with a clean produce brush under running water and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting. Be sure to sanitized the scrub brush after each use, to avoid transferring bacteria between melons.
  • Promptly consume or refrigerate cut melon. Keep your cut melon refrigerated at, or less than 40 degrees F (32-34 degrees F is best), for no more than 7 days. 
  • Discard cut melons left at room temperature for more than 4 hours.
 For more information:

Food Safety.gov - Listeria

CDC – Reducing risk of Listeria

FDA – Keep commercial deli slicers safehttp://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/IndustryandRegulatoryAssistanceandTrainingResources/ucm240666.htm


1.        Food and Drug Administration. Food and Drug Administration Food Code. Chapter 4. equipment, utensils, and linens. Silver Springs, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration; 2013. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/UCM374510.pdf

2.       US Department of Agriculture. FSIS best practices guidance for controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in retail delicatessens. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture; 2015. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/29d51258-0651-469b-99b8-e986baee8a54/Controlling-LM-Delicatessens.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

3.       Scallan E, Hoekstra RM, Angulo FJ, Tauxe RV, Widdowson MA, Roy SL, Jones JL, Griffin PM. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States--major pathogens[PDF - 9 pages]. Emerging infectious diseases. 2011;17(1):7-15.