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Thanks to Hipsters, "Beard Net" Sales on the Rise


Stone/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Hipsters haven't exactly been known for their hygiene, but that seems to be changing.

The Daily Mail is reporting that sales of “beard nets” have skyrocketed in the U.K. and abroad thanks to scruffy hipster dudes working in the food industry. It seems their penchant for bushy beards poses a problem while preparing and packaging food. One company in particular is addressing it.

Lion Haircare & Disposables said they have invested in more staff and equipment to keep up with demand of the beard guards. The Nottingham-based company supplies the nets globally and they’ve even introduced a new line of them with built-in antibacterial agents. They now sell over three million “beard nets” annually.

“The rise in demand seems to be coming from a combination of factors,” said Adrian Wright, chief operating officer at the firm. “Trends towards more facial hair, whether that is full beard or the stubble look and increasing quality assurance demands during food preparation. The two aspects go hand in hand.”

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Improper Use of ADHD Drugs Rampant in Colleges


The Image Bank/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For decades, college students have taken over-the-counter stimulants to stay awake and illegal drugs for recreational use to wind down from their studies.

However, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids says the latest problem on college campuses involves students using prescription medications to keep up with the demands of the classroom.

All in all, about 20 percent of respondents to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids survey say they've taken prescription drugs at least once while half in that group admit they do it in an effort to boost grades.

Often, they'll eschew coffee and energy drinks when pulling an all-nighter and instead take Ritalin and Adderall, which are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

However, while these drugs are known to improve attention and concentration, there have been previous studies that dispute the belief that Ritalin and Adderall also help students improve their grades, whether they suffer from ADHD or not.

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Report: Going Gluten-Free Is Not for Everybody


Moment/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- So you're into a gluten-free diet. So what?

Consumer Reports says that many Americans have got the wrong idea if they believe gluten-free foods are always the best choices.

The magazine doesn't dispute the fact that people with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine, can develop more complications if they consume foods containing white flour, whole wheat flour or semolina, for instance.

However, Laura Moore, a dietitian at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, told Consumer Reports, "If you go completely gluten-free without the guidance of a nutritionist, you can develop deficiencies pretty quickly."

Among the drawbacks about going gluten-free without knowing all the facts is that a diet may cost more plus leave people susceptible to weight gain as well as boost exposure to arsenic.

Ultimately, Consumer Reports says it's important to read the labels of gluten-free products because some may contain more sugar, sodium and calories than other foods.

The right diet, says the magazine, is one that includes whole grains and whole foods like fruit, vegetables, lean meat and poultry, fish, dairy, legumes and nuts.

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It's Good to See Eye-to-Eye with Your Restaurant Chef


Cultura/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apparently, one way to improve your restaurant experience is by making eye contact with the chef before placing your order.

A small Harvard research project reveals that cooks who can observe their guests dished out markedly better meals than when customers were out of their sight.

The findings were culled after Harvard Business School doctoral student Tami Kim and Chia-Jung Tsay, an assistant professor at University College London, set up four successive experiments in a working cafeteria over a two-week period.

The experiments included diners and cooks who couldn't view one another; diners able to see the cooks; cooks able to see the diners; and finally, diners and cooks making eye contact. Following each meal, diners rated their experience.

Kim and Tsay found that although customer satisfaction increased by ten percent when the cook could see the guests in the dining area, satisfaction went up 17.3 percent and service was 13.2 percent faster when they were able to see one another.

They attributed the improved experience to chefs feeling more motivated and inspired by seeing patrons. Still, not all restaurants should begin breaking down kitchen walls just yet since the researchers acknowledged that much more comprehensive study is necessary.

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Nearly Everyone Sides with Those Forced to Work Thanksgiving


OJO Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thanksgiving Day shopping is just three days away.

With more retailers than ever throwing open their doors on a day which once meant a holiday for everyone, PBS.org has conducted a poll to ask whether retailers should remain open on Thursday.

Apparently, Americans feel a lot of compassion for those who have to work Thanksgiving Day because about 98 percent of the 12,300 respondents have thus far agreed, "No, employees should be able to spend Thanksgiving at home."

"Yes, it's nice to have another option for Black Friday sales" received about 1.5 percent of the vote with the remaining few said they were "Unsure."

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Study: 1.2 Million Veterans Have No Health Insurance


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Researchers from New York University and the Harvard School of Public Health say that more than one million veterans have no health insurance.

According to the study, published in the journal Lancet, more than 1.2 million veterans have no health insurance and less than 50 percent of U.S. veterans receive benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The lack of veteran insurance is at least in part due to a simple lack of enrollment. A number of veterans, though, have not been able to sign up, as they live in states that have opted out of the ACA Medicare expansion.

The Veterans Affairs health care system doesn't fully pay for health insurance for all veterans.

The study noted that the veterans with the largest risk for remaining uninsured are young, low-income African American veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Still, researchers believe that all veterans can be covered if the resources are used properly.

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Talk Therapy Could Lower Suicide Rate


Credit: Tetra Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Researchers say simple talk therapy could help to noticeably lower patients' risk of suicide.

According to a study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, researchers in Denmark analyzed data from over 60,000 patients who had recently tried to commit suicide. Some of the participants were given talk therapy, while others were given no therapy.

Researchers found that both one year and ten years later, those patients who had undergone talk therapy had a decrease in subsequent suicide attempts. In those receiving no therapy, about nine percent tried to commit suicide a second time, compared to about seven percent in those who had talk therapy.

Researchers estimate that for every 44 patients receiving talk therapy, one life would be saved.

It's not clear what aspect of the therapy directly lowered the suicide rate.

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Two Children Test Negative for Ebola in Ohio


Credit: Martin Barraud/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) --  Two young children who were admitted to an Ohio hospital today after they developed fevers following a trip to West Africa have tested negative for Ebola, health officials said.

Two sisters, ages 4 and 6, were taken to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus early Sunday morning after they showed signs of a fever, Jose Rodriguez, director of public affairs and communications for the Columbus Public Health Department.

Instead, the girls tested positive for Influenza A, Rodriguez said.

Before the test results came back, the two were kept in isolation and received supportive care, Jose Rodriguez, director of public affairs and communications for the Columbus Public Health Department, said today.

Besides testing the girls for Ebola and flu, doctors also tested them for other respiratory illnesses, including enterovirus D68, Rodriguez said.

The girls' mother was not held in isolation. She was not identified as a high-risk individual, Rodriguez said, because she was not in Sierra Leone as a health care worker.

The girls returned from Sierra Leone 17 days ago, Rodriguez said. Since returning, their temperatures have been monitored twice daily.

The Columbus Health Department was working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department on the situation.

Sierra Leone is one of the four countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

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Hookah Use Linked to Increased Presence of Chemical Linked to Cancer


Credit: Image Source/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A study conducted by researchers in San Diego found a link between hookah smoking an a toxin that has been known to cause cancer.

According to the study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, urine samples taken from a group of hookah smokers and non-smokers were tested to determine the amount of benzene in their body. Benzene, a chemical that has been linked to certain cancers, including leukemia, is often found in higher amounts in the bodies of those who smoke cigarettes.

Researchers said that the participants in their study who had smoked hooked had benzene byproducts in their systems at nearly 30 times the amount as in non-smokers. All participants were tested following a lounge event.

It was not clear whether a link exists between hookah use and an increased risk of leukemia.

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Generic Drug Prices Skyrocketing, Lawmakers Warn


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The prices of some common generic drugs have skyrocketed in recent years, but the reasons remain murky, lawmakers said.

The hearing of the Senate subcommittee on primary health and aging on Thursday was called after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings announced they were investigating why some generic drug prices have risen hundreds to thousands of percent -- putting a severe strain on the pocketbooks of many people who rely on generics to reduce costs compared to brand-name drugs.

To combat the rising prices, Sanders said he was introducing a bill that would require generic drug makers to pay a rebate to Medicaid if the cost increases faster than inflation.

The prices of more than 1,200 generic medications increased an average of 448 percent between July 2013 and July 2014, Sanders said during the hearing, citing federal records.

Among the drugs cited by Sanders and Cummings was a popular asthma medication, albuterol sulfate, which increased in price over 40 fold for two tablets, from $11 to $434, between October 2013 and April 2014, according to data from the Healthcare Supply Chain Association, a trade association representing multi-hospital systems, health care provider alliances and purchasing groups, among others.

Another drug, an antibiotic called doxycycline hyclate, rose in price from an average of $20 to $1,849 per bottle between October 2013 and April 2014 -- a more-than 90-fold increase -- according to data from the association.

Other medications for blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart attacks increased in price between three-fold and 40-fold, association data showed.

Sanders and Cummings sent letters in October to various pharmaceutical companies asking for comment about price increases and invited officials from three companies to testify at Thursday's hearing, but none of them agreed to attend, Sanders said.

But in a statement, the CEO of Generic Pharmaceutical Association called the proposed legislation "misguided."

CEO Ralph Neas said the findings were too narrowly focused on just 10 drugs "in a marketplace of more than 12,000 safe, affordable generic medicines."

"In actuality, generic drugs continue to be a resounding success in lowering health care costs and benefiting patients," wrote Neas, who also noted that generic drugs saved consumers $239 billion in 2013 over brand-name drugs, an increase of 14 percent from 2012.

Neas suggested a more competitive marketplace and a more timely review of drug applications by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could help lower prices.

Rob Frankil, a pharmacist and member of the National Community Pharmacists Association, testified that one patient accused him of price gouging after his heart failure medication went up from $15 to $120 for a 90-day supply.

"That's an increase of 800 [percent]," Frankil told the lawmakers.

A January survey of 1,000 NCPA members found that more than three-quarters of the pharmacists reported higher prices on more than 25 generic drugs, with the prices spiking by 600 percent to 2,000 percent in certain cases.

"I'm seeing it in real dollars and cents on my invoices," Frankil said.

A patient, Carol Ann Riha, of Des Moines, Iowa, testified that her prescription costs have increased from $849 to more than $1,700 due to price increases.

"How can anyone on a fixed income deal with these vagaries in the system?" Riha said in written testimony. "You sure can't budget for costs that change month-to-month. And it's not a few pennies, as you can see. These are significant percentages."

Manisha Solanki, a pharmacy owner who was not at the hearing, told ABC News that he's seen generic medications priced similarly to their name-brand counterparts.

"I've had people postpone getting a medication, so if they're supposed to get it this week and they don't have the funds to pay for it they'll say, 'Okay, let me wait a few days. Let me wait till this comes up. Let me see if I have more funds,'" Solanki said. "So we see them slowly pushing back when they should be taking it."

Panelists and lawmakers debated at the hearing whether regulation by the FDA could be contributing to the price hikes, but Dr. Aaron Kesselheim of the Harvard School of Medicine said that was unlikely to be the sole reason.

"These regulatory issues have been around for a very long time, and this is a new issue so I can't see how this is a regulatory issue," Kesselheim said. "I think we all want high quality, safe drugs and we want the FDA to monitor the safety of our drug supply. ...I see this as a market failure and a bunch of individual market failures, in some cases."

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Wool Workout Wear Warms You Up, Cools You Down


Minus33(NEW YORK) -- You've relied on wool socks and sweaters to stay warm during cold weather months. And now, the natural fiber is making its way from your winter wear into your gym clothes.

It might sound strange, but manufacturers are going full steam ahead with the trend.

"When you think of wool, you think of old scratchy sweaters your grandmother used to give you and that just isn't the case anymore," said Craig Sexton, marketing and assistant sales manager at Minus33, an online shop selling wool workout wear. "Merino wool is ultra-soft, natural and provides ultimate performance in almost any setting."

Typically, athletic clothing is made from man-made materials such as spandex, Lycra and polyester. But according to Sexton, wool workout wear outperforms familiar fitness fabrics in many ways.

"While synthetics are passive, Merino wool is active, reacting to changes in body temperature to keep you warm when you're cold, but releasing heat and moisture when you're hot,” he said, noting that wool performs equally well during indoor and outdoor workouts. "The best part is that wool naturally reduces chafing, odor and dries incredibly fast."

Because of its benefits, high-profile companies are incorporating Merino wool into their fitness apparel.

"Lululemon and Nike are keeping up and other brands will continue to surprise us by pushing the boundaries," said celebrity fitness expert Lacey Stone. "I've seen the trend [Merino wool] worn in my classes and I actually love it."

Other labels, including Adidas and Icebreaker, currently have wool exercise leggings and running shirts in their lines.

Sexton said he is confident that the trend will continue to grow.

"Once consumers try the product, they don't go back," he said.

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Why Heavy Drinking Doesn't Make You An Alcoholic


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Heavy drinking does not make you an alcoholic, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While one out of three adults drink excessively, Dr. William Brewer with the CDC says 90% of adults aren't booze-dependent because they don't have the chronic medical condition of alcohol dependency.

However, he says, "that doesn't mean that the drinking that they're doing isn't still putting themselves and others at risk of harm."

Every year, 88,000 people in the United States die from excessive drinking.

So how many glasses of wine or bottles of beer are safe to drink? For women, that is no more than one drink a day, and for men, no more than two a day.

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Evelyn Lozada Opens Up About Motherhood and Regaining Her Confidence Post-Baby


Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After Evelyn Lozada gave birth to her son this past March, it took her awhile to feel like herself again.

However, the Basketball Wives star has since lost 55 lbs. and learned to love her new, curvier body.

"I kept reminding myself that I just had a baby and went through a beautiful experience and this is what matters the most. When I had [my 21-year-old daughter] Shaniece, I was a teenager and I bounced back within 24 hours, but as you get older, your body changes and I didn't bounce back as fast," she told ABC News. "I'm very satisfied with my appearance now! I'm a bit more curvier and I love it."

Lozada, 38, and Shaniece have teamed up with youthH2O, an age-defying solution, for a new campaign aimed to inspire women to look and feel their best. (Lozada has long represented the brand, while Shaniece is its new face.) The campaign, for which mothers and daughters are asked to post photos on youthH2O’s social channels with the hashtag #ForeverYoung, was a natural fit for the pair.

"Shaniece was and still is super positive," Lozada gushed. "She would actually take the role of big sister and do the night shift sometimes when I wanted to go work out. She was my lifesaver."

She's also been inspirational to Lozada during her weight loss journey. The reality TV star credits Shaniece for teaching her to eat healthier and "exercise without complaints."

"We only speak in a positive manner when it comes to our appearance and I'm her biggest cheerleader," she added. "I make certain to recognize her when she excels and I support her on all of her projects. As a mom, it's important to encourage your child, this helps them to build confidence and we hope to help so many women do the same."

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Infectious Disease Expert Says Ebola Must Be Suppressed in West Africa


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addressed the National Press Club Friday on thet opic of Ebola and said there is no reason for widespread panic.

"Is there a large influx of Ebola people infected with people who are trying to get into the United States?" Dr. Fauci said. "The answer is no."

Regarding Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the disease last month, Dr. Fauci said, "Yes, Duncan got in to the country but that was a very rare event because of what we know now when we do screening."

Dr. Fauci said the best way to protect the U.S. is by keeping an eye on West Africa.

"The best way to protect Americans or anyone else throughout the world is to completely suppress the epidemic in West Africa, so that there isn't any risk of it going any place else," he said.

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Harvard Finds Cooks Serve Better Food When They Can See Diners


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Looking for the most flavorful and fastidious dining-out experience? Try to make eye contact with your chef before placing your order.

A Harvard research project recently found that cooks who were able to observe their guests dished out markedly better meals than when customers remained anonymous to them.

The findings were culled after Harvard Business School doctoral student Tami Kim and Chia-Jung Tsay, an assistant professor at University College London, set up four successive experiments in a working cafeteria over a two-week period.

"In the first, diners and cooks couldn’t view one another; in the second, the diners could see the cooks; in the third, the cooks could see the diners; and in the fourth, both the diners and the cooks were visible to one another," stated the research. Following each meal, diners could rate their experience.

Due to the noted limitations of the project, the researchers acknowledged that much more and deeper study is necessary.

Kim and Tsay found that customer satisfaction increased by 10 percent when the cook could see the guests in the dining area.

"But even more striking, when customers and cooks both could see one another, satisfaction went up 17.3 percent, and service was 13.2 percent faster," stated the research. "Transparency between customers and providers seems to really improve service."

Kim and Tsay attributed the improved experience to chefs feeling more motivated and inspired by seeing patrons. Still, not all restaurants should begin breaking down kitchen walls just yet.

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