Disney Spends Millions to Make Hospitals Less Scary for Kids

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

Disney has always been a magical brand but they have a magical new cause! The media behemoth is using their famed “Imagineers,” the engineers behind Disney’s theme park designs, to re-invent hospital layouts so that they are less intimidating for the children staying there. They have pledged over $100 million for this global initiative.

Disney plans on incorporating their famous characters and stories into the hospital rooms and hallways to help ease stress, which can cause even more psychological and emotional damage to an already ill child. Interactive technology and customer-experience training are two of the biggest elements of the new plan and the first hospital to get the Disney treatment will be the Texas Children’s Hospital.

Combating Serious Illnesses With Bioengineered ‘Sonar’

Written by Benjamin Roussey

Medicine has reached a point where illness fighting microbes can be delivered deep into our bodies to fight the condition and inflammation caused by it. However, where do these microbe-sized warriors go? No one knows. There has been no way of finding out what these micro-agents are doing inside the body or how they are doing it. Until now!

Illumination with Sonar

A research team at the California Institute of Technology published a paper that tackled the lack of images and data in this situation. The experts regenerated the two most common bacteria – E. Coli and Salmonella, and integrated them with nano-sections of gas that act like sound waves underwater and produce ultrasound signals.

When placed inside a living being, these bacteria can be detected by ultrasound and reveal the precise location of microbes, just like sonar bouncing off underwater objects, explains Mikhail Shapiro, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Caltech.

According to Shapiro, there are many examples of genetically modifying a cell to go inside the body and treat the problem. Many companies are now receiving backing from investors to work on reprogrammed bacteria that can be used to detect gut inflammation or a tumor.

Mapping the Microbes

Nobody thought that these microbes could be mapped until the ultrasound, tissue-imaging method, was repurposed for this reason. Though no one thought The Force Awakens and Meet the Parents II were going to be that awful either. You never know how things are going to turn out!

So far, researchers monitored illness-fighting bacteria in the body by reprogramming them to glow in UV images. However, sometimes when microbes are buried deep inside the tissue, they are either blurry or not visible at all. Ultrasound makes it possible to precisely see these microbes as far as a hundred micrometers.

Shapiro and his research team members injected genetically re-engineered bacteria into the belly of mice. The results were far more specific, as compared to glowing bacteria that could only be located in the mouse’s stomach. Ultrasound picked up the precise location of gas-filled pouches in the mouse’s colon.

The researchers used the same experiment to map Salmonella bacteria that could be helpful in delivering cancer-fighting drugs directly to the infected tumor cells. This method can also be used to diagnose other illnesses in a non-invasive way.

Pack Your Diabetes Bag While On the Move

Written by Benjamin Roussey

For diabetics, there is a new acronym that is going viral – MSP, or Medical supplies, Sugar helpers, and Paperwork. The MSP is the magic bag of tricks that can quickly address sudden diabetes symptoms. Diabetics are familiar with the utter havoc that may occur due to unexpected blood sugar hikes or dips.

Consider these familiar situations if you are a diabetic: You have a busy day planned, and you suddenly feel acutely dehydrated; you are the life of a party, and the next moment you see yourself teetering towards a low mood; you are power walking your way to an active day at work, and you suddenly feel you are going to faint. These are the typical situations for a diabetic that can ruin an otherwise excellent day.

Well, with just a little bit of extra planning, you can navigate yourself around these annoying symptoms, and manage to get the best out of every day.

An MSP diabetes bag is your customized solution to give diabetes, or at least any unforeseen symptoms, the royal boot. First up are Medical supplies. It includes all sugar-regulating medication such as insulin shots with its props (sterilized needles or insulin pumps), metformin tablets, glucometers with test-strips, and a handy bottle of glucose tablets to immediately address those low-sugar driven faint spells.

Next up is Sugar helpers. A diabetic knows that a sudden burst of activity (or even lack of activity like a nap) can send their blood sugar screaming up, or even down. This is where it helps to have safe, diabetes-friendly treats to quickly disarm any alarm signals. Here, dry-fruit trail mixes, sugarless crackers and protein bars are top recommended snacks to address sudden hunger cravings without jeopardizing your sugar levels.

Lastly, a diabetic must carry a basic amount of Paperwork to help during emergencies. This simply lists out the medication you take (with prescription), a brief on your medical history (covering any allergies) and emergency contacts so in the odd event you do succumb to that fainting spell, the people around you are still equipped to get you immediate care.

As with all good solutions, the success of this simple MSP Diabetes Bag is up to you. With a little bit of awareness, discipline, and your own personal touch to the bag essentials, your MSP bag can be the best armor you need against unexpected diabetes symptoms. So the next time they catch you unawares, don’t panic. Just dip into your MSP bag for life-saving supplies.

10 Distinctive Health Benefits of Walnuts

Written by Benjamin Roussey

Walnuts are an ideal inclusion in the daily diet of anyone who wants to maintain salient heart health, prevent diabetes, and improve constipation.

Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Walnuts will promote the production of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in your body, which is excellent for your heart. A daily intake of about 25 grams of walnuts will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Though this may not be a big deal to you if you are the guard to the street hoodlum lawyer in the show Breaking Bad! Your health apparently is not a concern to you.

Boosts Immunity

Walnuts will boost your immune system against both viral and bacterial infections. This unique food even has anti-cancer properties to help you stay free from that dreaded illness.

Enhances IQ

Walnuts are powerful nourishment for your mind. As they contain high amounts of omega-3 unsaturated fats, they will nourish healthy cerebrum cells and enable the elimination of degenerated cells in the brain.

Builds Healthy Bones

Omega-3 works quietly to build mineralization and increases your bone strength. Additionally, omega-3 combines with manganese to improve the long-term resilience of your bones.

Counteracts Gallstones

Studies have demonstrated that walnuts play a vital role in counteracting gallstones, particularly in females.

Fights Insomnia

Melatonin, which supports healthy sleep, is found in walnuts. Eating a modest bunch of walnuts before heading off to bed will help in having sound sleep and fight off insomnia.

Lessens Unhealthy Cholesterol

Walnuts contain phenols, vitamin E, Gallic corrosive, and other agents that work to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol levels in your body. And if you are that large guy stuck on the island in Lost, you know your cholesterol is too high!

Keeps you Energized

Walnuts are an amazing source of proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. They also contain healthy fats and fibers to keep your vitality levels up.

Reduces Constipation

Walnuts are a rich source of fiber. They are useful in easing the blockages in the stomach because of their diuretic impact, and address chronic constipation.

Promotes Weight Loss

Walnuts are a key source of polyunsaturated fats, and include the alpha-linoleic corrosive compound. It helps to improve metabolism leading to weight loss and maintain a healthy gut system.

3 Ways Pregnancy Messes You Up

Remember the days you used to sleep in, make #2 without interruption, and actually have time for a (gasp!) manicure?


If those days seem like a distant dream, welcome to motherhood (because those are the key symptoms of a new mommy). Now you’ve got a bundle of joy—who seems anything but joyful—wailing in your arms, and you can’t remember the last time you brushed your hair…or your teeth.


Aside from stretch marks and sleepless nights, here are three other lesser known ways pregnancy might have stolen some of your sanity, not to mention dignity.


Your hair falls out like you’re living in a horror movie

You pull that hair band out of your hair and-eek!—it takes everything in you not to collapse at the sight of all of those precious locks. Unfortunately, severe hair loss post-pregnancy is quite normal. Fortunately, your hormones will return to normal…and so will your hair.


You’re an emotional wreck

Thought the waterworks would disappear once you popped that baby out? Well, aren’t you in for a pleasant surprise? Because your body is still becoming acclimated to the change in hormones post pregnancy, don’t be surprised to see that the water show hasn’t abated yet.


You hear crying all the time…everywhere

Not only do you cry, but you hear crying constantly—everywhere. Even if it’s not your own baby…or even anyone actually crying (like the neighbor’s cat meowing). Are you going insane? Definitely not. It’s just called being a mom and constantly being alert for any signs of distress from your baby.


Yeah motherhood comes with a lot of baggage, but in the end look at the amazing investment you got in return. We promise once the initial post pregnancy period passes, you’ll enjoy many, sweet blissful moments that you’ll one day in the (what may seem like distant) future miss!

How Depression Affects Your View of the World

Written by Salina Jivani

You can’t get out of bed.
You’ve lost interest in hobbies.
Happiness seems to escape you.

If any of these sound familiar, you’re likely suffering from depression—and that can affect you. Badly.

Here are just a few of the ways the dreaded “D” word can transform your outlook on life, leaving you a shell of your former self.

You let go of routine appointments
The dentist, your manicurist, and even your hairdresser are a thing of the past for the depressed. But even simple things like making your hair, or caring for your appearance and hygiene don’t happen because they seem like huge chores you no longer have sufficient energy for, or can accomplish with ease.


To-do lists are pointless
You used to be a beast with to-do lists, zapping items off at record-breaking speed. But all of a sudden, you don’t know where your to-do list is, let alone what’s on it. You simply lack the motivation to do anything, because nothing seems worthwhile. If this disregard carries into your work responsibilities, it’s likely your declining performance will catch the eye of your colleagues or manager.


You push everyone away
One of the most painful things about depression is that it transforms relationships…for the worse. You might find yourself swinging between extremes of irritability or anger with the drop of a hat. Maintaining relationships with even your most favorite people may become increasingly difficult and require a lot more energy than you feel you have. Soon, you might find yourself distancing yourself…from everyone, because it’s easier than facing them.

Depression is a serious illness that can have long-term, devastating repercussions if it remains untreated. Seek counseling, try exercising or consider self-help practices. If your depression worsens, see a doctor. When it comes to depression, ignorance is definitely not bliss.

How to be a Gentleman When Your Woman’s Got the Monthly Blues

Written by Salina Jivani

Call it Aunt Flo or the punctuation at the end of a sentence, a period is a tough time of month…for both a woman and her guy pal. If you’re wondering how you can make it through it on a good note, we’ve got some tips up our wings…err…sleeves. And they come directly from women who know what it’s like to fight that monthly beast.


Be considerate

Understand that her hormones are going crazy…and all she really wants is for you to be sensitive to her aches, pains and emotions. Massage her shoulders, rub her feet, cuddle her. In other words, do whatever she wants. After all, you’re supposed to be there through thick and thin, right? Being there for her through her period is not even the tip of the iceberg, honey!


Don’t run and hide

If high emotions make you jittery, you might be tempted to clam up or stay away. But that’s not going to make her feel any better. She needs you, so hold her and comfort her. And let her know that you’re there.


Pamper her
Women usually crave sweet munchies like chocolate, cookies or a tub of their favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s. Why not get on her good side by hitting the store when you know her cycle’s about to start? Not only will it help her feel comforted, but it’ll also get you in her good graces…never a bad thing.

Periods are no fun…and it sucks that they’re not a one-time battle. But remember that all she really needs is you and some extra special loving. Do just that, and you’ll be considered a gentleman—and one she’ll appreciate.

Fresh Air- Let’s Be Real Sociey Creators Take on Mental Health Issues

By Francheska “Fancy” Felder & Quendole “Que” Johnson

While more entrepreneurs are coming forward and talking about mental health issues, mental health continues to carry a stigma within the Black community. Through their work with Let’s Be Real Society, co-founders, Fancy (publisher of SwagHer Magazine) and Que (host of The Purple Girl Show) often noticed mental health was and is the source of many issues plaguing the Black community. They also realized it was even causing setbacks in their own personal lives and business. Last month, they decided they would recommit to their brand and vision, so upon the release of Future’s “Hndrxx” album and inspired by his song, “Fresh Air”, Fancy suggested they come forward and openly address what living with depression and anxiety is like. Together the two opened up and shared their inner thoughts to raise awareness for others suffering in silence.
“I don’t know what that feels like.” “But Fran I can’t imagine how that might feel.” These are the similar things I’ve heard while trying to explain to loved ones how it feels to live with depression and anxiety. Depending on the person, they may actually pause for a minute and try to imagine the pain, the weight- THE WAIT- the doubt, the negative thoughts I battle within my own head daily. And if you are like my ex (who wasn’t my ex), then you simply blow it off and go back to real sh**, like how you are going to blow money you don’t really have in the club to hide the pain you are carrying). If you are a more caring person, then you may really try to understand but can’t.
For this reason, I began practicing how to describe this feeling, because I think if people know how it feels then maybe more can be done about it, instead of trying to force controlled drugs and propaganda on us.
Greetings, I’m Francheska Felder, but I go by Fancy, and I suffer with both anxiety and depression often. In a study conducted by CNN, “The Dark Side of Creativity: Depression + Anxiety x Madness = Genius”. It was discovered that creatives suffer from “unusually high mood disorders”.
Vincent Van Gogh described it as the following to his brother Theo in a letter, “I am unable to describe exactly what is the matter with me. Now and then there are horrible fits of anxiety, apparently without cause, or otherwise a feeling of emptiness and fatigue in the head… at times I have attacks of melancholy and of atrocious remorse.”

Think back to a time you had a bad thought, for example the thought of losing a loved one. They’re fine right now but the thought just crosses your mind. Ok now did you cut it off and resume your day? In my experiences with depression, my thoughts continue to spiral downward. Now I’m thinking of this person passing, and how they will leave others behind, and how one day I will too, and how there’s so much pain the world, and why is there so much pain, why do we create things like greed, lust, and division amongst us…. and you see where this is going?
I can’t turn them off. I have to work to control them. That’s depression for me.
Other times, I’m waiting for something to happen. What I don’t know, but it’s a big test. Everything is a big test, and I’m waiting but I’m nervous as hell. I’ve studied, I’ve failed. I’ve studied harder. I have opened my mind. I have revamped. I’m ready. Put me in the game coach- but wait I’m going to be sick.
“I need fresh air! I need to get out on my own.” (Future, 2017, Track 8).
Both depression and anxiety have caused me to ruin or miss important moments in my life and career. They have held me back from growing into the woman I aspire to be, but this year I decided I could no longer live trapped in my own mind. I must face these illnesses head on.

” I can’t breathe” we all heard this phrase before. Rather it was from a senseless act to an asthma attack! Have you ever considered there are people in your face every day who can’t breathe and you don’t even know it! Yep, I am one of those people. Hi, my name is Que Johnson I’m a mother, entrepreneur, smart- oh did I mention cute, and I suffer from anxiety -a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Physiatrist describe it as a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Although it’s not life threating, and it doesn’t have life expectancy on how long you will live with it, it can affect your day to day activities. Women are twice more likely to suffer from it than men. According to the HHS office of Minority Health Black/African American, adults are 20% more likely to report serious phycological distress than white adults!
Now that you have a clearer understanding, I want to let those know who are suffering in silence “you are NOT alone” (Michael Jackson, 1995), (one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs), but really you’re not!
I made the decision to no longer hide, be embarrassed and could care less what people think! Anxiety has at times crippled my decision making, ruined relationships, put off projects. It has pretty much slowed me down from things that were very important to me.
When it came time to do certain things or be around certain people my anxiety symptoms would start to flare up like getting light headed, or a headache, constant nervousness in my stomach sometimes even vomiting. I would get the shakes, sweat or just completely shut down! How do you share this with people? I didn’t, but you can!
It’s time for “Fresh Air” take a deep breathe in and exhale the bull$h!t! It’s time to live again. People say you only live once, but I don’t believe that. You only die once, but you can live again each day you have breath in your body. I’m not completely healed from anxiety, but it no longer has me in bondage! I feel free. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Let’s be real about this! You cannot do this alone. If you feel that you are, shoot us an email, creators@letsberealsociety.org or join our Facebook group, “Let’s Be Real Society- Breathe”.
Williams, L.A. (2014, January 22). The Dark Side of Creativity: Depression + Anxiety+ Madness =Genius.
Manta, King BNJMN, Major Seven, Future. (2017). Fresh Air. [Recorded by Future]. Hndrxx [Album].
R. Kelly. (1995). Heal the World. [Recorded by Michael Jackson]. “You Are Not Alone” HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I [Album].

4 Surprising Reasons Stress May Be Making you Fat

Written by Salina Jivani

Maybe your relationship’s on the rocks.

Maybe your dog’s missing.

Maybe your job’s on the line.

Stress happens. In fact, in life it’s inevitable.

But do you notice your clothes fitting tighter? Or that you’ve sprouted some extra “love” on those love handles?

Unfortunately, stress often affects more than your state of mind. In fact, it might be the very culprit behind the extra weight you’re suddenly lugging around. Understanding how stress can contribute to an unhealthy weight can help you battle the bulge and be more motivated to combat stressors. Here are four key ways stress may be contributing to your expanding waistline—and teetering weigh scale.

Causes insulin resistance

When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, signaling your body to put all “non-essential” body functions on hold until the stressful situation disappears, which is signaled by the dip in cortisol to a normal level. As a result, when cortisol is released, the body tries to preserve as much energy as it’s able through blood glucose, so it signals insulin to stop accepting blood glucose into the cells. When the stress disappears, insulin will once again balance blood cortisol levels, allowing cells to accept glucose again. However, when you’re in a constant state of stress, your body becomes immune to signals to resume activity as normal, such as insulin signaling the cells to accept glucose again, which leads to insulin resistance.

What happens when your body resists insulin? Well, among other issues, your body won’t be able to use up the energy from the foods you eat, since glucose won’t be allowed to enter the cells, which leads to weight gain.

Makes you hungry

In stressful situations, you may either lose your appetite or gain one. If the latter is true for you, you can thank good ol’ cortisol—again. As we already know, our body releases cortisol when it’s undergoing stress. But what you may not know is that this hormone is also responsible for making you feel hungry. So if you’re a “stress eater” that means your body reacts to signals sent by the release of cortisol, which makes you hungry and immediately prompts you to reach for that king-size chocolate bar…or anything else within your reach.

Promotes sleep deprivation

When you’re stressed, you’ll likely notice a disturbance in your sleep patterns and find it more and more challenging to get a restful night’s sleep. Lack of sleep causes more than just grogginess and irritability—it alters your appetite, affecting the hormones your body releases throughout the day.

For instance, ghrelin increases appetite while leptin decreases it—and both of these hormones are released interchangeably throughout the day as your body cues and ceases hunger signals. However, when you’re tired, your body releases ghrelin to keep you going throughout the day, which often will cause you to continuously reach for fatty, carb-filled junk foods (think office vending machines!).

Moves fat to your tummy

One of the hardest places to lose fat from is your belly, yet that’s exactly where your body will store fat during stressful times. And it’s thanks, again, to cortisol. When you’re stressed and your body releases cortisol, that cortisol will direct fat from all parts of your body directly to your belly, where it becomes visceral fat—which extremely difficult to get rid of.

Learn healthy ways to combat stress so that you can keep a normal routine going in your life to avoid the negative impacts of stress. Yoga and other forms of exercise are terrific stress reducers, plus they’ll help you stay in good shape. Also consider things like talking to someone you trust or journaling your feelings—all wonderful ways to let go of some of the burden. Remember, a healthy mind makes for a healthier body.

5 Strange Things That Could be Diminishing Your Lifespan

Written by Salina Jivani

In middle school, my classmates and I used to secretly launch silly games and websites on our browsers when the computer lab teacher wasn’t looking. One that used to be pretty popular was a death clock that predicted the date and time of your death, counting down years, hours, even seconds. Sounds pretty morose, even perverse, as I’m writing about it now. But hey, it was middle school. We were only getting warmed up with the crazies!

The good news is the death clock was actually pretty generous and didn’t predict anyone would clonk out before the age of sixty.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work nearly as favorably and it certainly doesn’t dance to the tune of the death clock, granting everyone plenty of time to live out life.

As most of us know, promoting longevity requires effort and healthy practices like staying away from drugs, exercising and eating healthy. But here are five weird habits we bet you (and that death clock) never thought would shave off years from your longevity calendar.

You don’t laugh enough

We’ve all heard that we need a healthy dose of laughter in our lives. It’s why concepts like laughter therapy exist! But did you know your sense of humor can impact how long you live? In fact, studies prove that women who have a healthy sense of humor are 43% less likely to die from illnesses, infections and other ailments than those who don’t. And men have a 74% reduced risk of passing away from those same ailments.

You’re not getting any action in the sack

Everyone needs a little lovin’. But men in particular who haven’t had sex in a long time or have vowed celibacy can push their mortality rates up double of those who do get some sack action at least once a week. (A great way to bribe your woman into having some fun with you, especially when she needs some prodding!)

You don’t drink

No, that’s not a typo. You’re probably used to hearing quite the opposite, but recent research proves that, given you’re drinking responsibly, a regular helping of alcohol can actually combat diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia and heart disease. Another surprising fact: a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that mortality rates are actually higher in non-drinkers than those who drink heavily. Quite a shocker, yeah?

You don’t get along with others

Relationships are an important part of your wellbeing, because they affect your mood and stress levels, which have an impact on your body. So your relationships with people you spend a lot of time with—namely your family and co-workers—has a huge impact on your health. Studies show that those who get along pleasantly with their coworkers had a higher life expectancy because of lower stress, which promoted healthy cholesterol and blood pressure ranges.

You eat food that’s been sitting around

You’re in desperate need of bread and you’ve got exactly two slices remaining—just enough to make a sandwich for lunch. Problem is, one of the slices is slightly molded all the way in the corner. You look around, tear off that edge and toss it in the trash. And no one’s the wiser, right?

Well, not quite.

According to studies, eating food that’s even slightly spoilt or has been hanging around your refrigerator shelves just a bit too long can actually cause you to lose your lifespan. When scientists performed experiments on yeast, fruit flies and mice, they found that those that consumed a diet of ingredients derived from older components lived an average of 10% less longer than those that consumed fresher components.

In humans, when we eat foods that are old, we end up accelerating the aging of our cells, which ends up hindering life expectancy.

So while you’re out there piling on leafy greens and vegetables in your grocery cart, don’t neglect to toss out the items in your fridge that are past their due dates!