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In Living….

The Free Press WV

►  Original Owners Selling Their Frank Lloyd Wright Home

A house recently listed for sale in a Minneapolis suburb is causing a bit of a stir. That’s because, almost 60 years ago, Paul and Helen Olfelt worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in the year before his death to build their dream home in St. Louis Park; now in their 90s, having owned it all the while, the couple is ready to sell, reports Town & Country. Not only does the home, listed at $1.4 million, feature the angled roof and huge windows that Wright favored, but it’s still decorated with furniture and even fixtures he designed, including hexagon-shaped ottomans and built-in shelves, notes Smithsonian.

The home is one of a small but cherished generation of “Usonia” houses that Wright created with a vision of being simple, affordable, elegant, and custom-designed, reports 99% Invisible. They’re peppered across the country, and the first cost $5,500 in Madison, Wis.—just $85,000 today. Check out pics of the latest listing, which has three bedrooms on the main level and a family room in a very rare finished basement, at the Berg Larsen Group. Set on 3.77 “extremely private” acres at the end of a cul de sac, the home is described as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.“


►  The One Call Between Shooter and Victim That Changed It All

A July night in 1990 changed both of their lives forever, for the worse, but one phone call and the power of forgiveness then changed both their lives for the better. People details the story of Ian Manuel, who was just 13 when he was egged on to rob someone in Tampa, Fla., and he confronted 28-year-old mom of two Debbie Baigrie. He shot her in the mouth, nearly killing her, and was arrested three days later and eventually sentenced to life in prison without parole for attempted murder and armed robbery. As Baigrie went through an excruciating recovery, which included dozens of dental procedures to rebuild her shattered mouth, Manuel thought about what he’d done—and right before Christmas in 1991, he placed a collect call to Baigrie to apologize.

A curious Baigrie accepted the call, per a 2014 New York Times article, and finally asked, “Ian, why did you shoot me?“ “It was a mistake,“ the teen, who the paper notes had a troubled childhood, replied. They started exchanging letters, and over time she became one of his biggest supporters, pushing him to get his GED and eventually lobbying for his early release—despite loved ones telling her she was nuts. “She became a mother to me,“ Manuel, now 40, tells People (the Times notes his own mom, dad, and brother have since died). He was released from prison in November after a Supreme Court ruling that nixed life sentences for juveniles who hadn’t committed murder, and per WTSP, Baigrie was waiting outside to give him a hug. He is now “like my adopted son,“ she says of Manuel, who works for the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama while learning the life basics—laundry, cooking, driving—he missed out on while behind bars.


►  After Decades of Work, a Malaria Vaccine Is Here

Three African countries have been chosen to test the world’s first malaria vaccine, the World Health Organization announced Monday. Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi will begin piloting the injectable vaccine next year with young children. The vaccine, which has partial effectiveness, has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives if used with existing measures, the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said in a statement. The challenge is whether impoverished countries can deliver the required four doses of the vaccine for each child, the AP reports. Malaria infects more than 200 million people worldwide every year and kills about half a million, most of them children in Africa.

The vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, will be tested on children five to 17 months old to see whether protective effects shown in clinical trials can hold up under real-life conditions. The vaccine has taken decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi were chosen for the vaccine pilot because all have strong prevention and vaccination programs but continue to have high numbers of malaria cases, WHO said. The countries will deliver the vaccine through their existing vaccination programs. WHO is hoping to wipe out malaria by 2040 despite increasing resistance to both drugs and insecticides used to kill mosquitoes.

In Living….

The Free Press WV

►  Old McDonald’s Dipping Sauce Just Sold for Crazy Amount

This is either a big fan of the cartoon Rick and Morty, a hopeful collector, or a very brave and nostalgic soul: A packet of 1998 McDonald’s Szechuan sauce has sold for $14,700 on eBay, reports Time. The strange background: McDonald’s put out the dipping sauce in that year as a publicity tie-in for the Disney movie Mulan, and it received a giant nostalgic push when the character Rick from the popular Adult Swim show pined for it in a recent episode. That led to a viral campaign for McDonald’s to bring it back, complete with multiple Change.org petitions. The company has hinted it might do so, and hopeful fans have noted that a remake of Mulan is in the works for next year. But the eBay sale is the strangest component yet.

The Free Press WV

“I just bought a really old car, while cleaning it I found a packet of this sauce,“ the listing stated. “After watching the recent episode of Rick and Morty I went online to see if it was worth anything. Turns out it was. Also this comes with a packet of wasabi as well.“ A post at Eater notes that what it calls “nostalgic food” is popular on eBay, “but this is an unusually high price tag.“ No word yet on the identity of the buyer, or plans for the sauce, but the Daily Dot is issuing a challenge: The character Rick would definitely eat the stuff, “so how about it, new owner of rare McDonald’s Mulan dipping sauce. Are you squanchy enough to be a Rick?“


►  Daily Diet Soda May Take Toll on Your Brain

Diet soda might help with the waistline, but a new study suggests it’s bad for the brain. Researchers in Massachusetts found that those who drank at least one artificially sweetened beverage per day were about three times as likely to experience a stroke or dementia compared to those who did so less than once a week, reports the Guardian. Specifically, daily diet soda drinkers were 2.96 times more likely to experience an ischaemic stroke and 2.89 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, per the study in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. The study was based on questionnaires filled out by more than 4,300 adults as part of the Framingham Heart Study at Boston University.

“To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drink and increased risk of both all-cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimer’s disease,” write the co-authors. They emphasized that they found just an association, not a causal link, and say more research is necessary to expound on the results. But the author of an editorial accompanying the study says it suggests that artificial sweeteners could do damage to the brain “through a vascular pathway,“ per CNN.


►  Original Owners Selling Their Frank Lloyd Wright Home

A house recently listed for sale in a Minneapolis suburb is causing a bit of a stir. That’s because, almost 60 years ago, Paul and Helen Olfelt worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in the year before his death to build their dream home in St. Louis Park; now in their 90s, having owned it all the while, the couple is ready to sell, reports Town & Country. Not only does the home, listed at $1.4 million, feature the angled roof and huge windows that Wright favored, but it’s still decorated with furniture and even fixtures he designed, including hexagon-shaped ottomans and built-in shelves, notes Smithsonian.

The home is one of a small but cherished generation of “Usonia” houses that Wright created with a vision of being simple, affordable, elegant, and custom-designed, reports 99% Invisible. They’re peppered across the country, and the first cost $5,500 in Madison, Wis.—just $85,000 today. Check out pics of the latest listing, which has three bedrooms on the main level and a family room in a very rare finished basement, at the Berg Larsen Group. Set on 3.77 “extremely private” acres at the end of a cul de sac, the home is described as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.“

In Living….

The Free Press WV

►  Gray hair may reflect increased risk of heart disease

In medical school, I was told that by age 50, half of all men will be at least half gray, with respect to hair color.

I also learned that if the hair thins out evenly, you can lose about 50 percent of it before anyone will notice.

These lectures were delivered before we had medications to slow down the progression of male-pattern baldness. We have a couple of treatment options available today.

My medical school professors tended to focus on men, but we are increasingly aware of the same issues being of great importance to many women.

I guess another criticism might be a lack of attention to variability between populations. Gray hair is now garnering attention as potential marker for heart disease.

As reported by the Cleveland Clinic Internal Medicine Daily Brief, and several popular press outlets, a recent study links graying of men’s hair to heart disease.

Among 545 men, as reported by cardiologist Irini Samuel, of Cairo University, in Egypt, and collaborators, a trend was noted. Males, 42 to 64, were divided into groups ranging from “pure black hair,” to “pure white hair.”

According to findings presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting, in Malaga, Spain, a full 80 percent of participants were found to manifest abnormalities, by CT coronary angiography.

That is not shocking. We know that many middle-aged persons have some “occult,” or not-yet-apparent, narrowing of heart vessels, often with build-up of plaque, or calcium deposits.

What was surprising was an association with hair color. Participants with silvery manes were “significantly” more likely to manifest some heart pathology, compared to their not-gray friends.

This study reminds me of previous preliminary data suggesting that men with advanced male-pattern baldness get more heart disease. No one knew precisely why that might be so, but some postulated a relationship with male hormones, causing both baldness and heart disease.

Since bald men do not uniformly boast higher testosterone levels, the idea was that the effect of the testosterone was different in that group.

In a similar way, researchers are grappling with the Cairo University gray hair data. Could gray hair be a marker for other problems? What might those other problems be?

The cardiology world is buzzing.

One theory is that gray hair is a manifestation of cellular aging, and acquisition of cell damage over time. As cellular DNA begins to acquire mutations, the capacity of the body to maintain hair pigment wanes.

Similarly, other tissues begin to manifest damage, including heart vessels.

Gray hair might also be a marker for inflammation, causing cell damage. These are all highly speculative opinions.

Studies like this are a bit disconcerting to the reader. One might ask why we dwell on something that is not subject to medical intervention. There is not, after all, much likelihood that coloring one’s hair would mitigate against any risks associated with being a silver-haired elder.

The idea, as I understand it, is that those who have gray hair, perhaps compounded by traditional risk factors for heart disease, might do well to seek more regular health care check-ups.

Early screening for heart disease might be targeted at this population.

The correlation of gray hair with heart disease must be further replicated, before it gains widespread currency among doctors. We know that different populations manifest different rates of hair graying and male-pattern baldness.

Can one study generalize with respect to a putative link between graying and heart disease? What are the implications of these findings for the health of aging women?

Recall that we can focus on other risks for heart disease. For example, don’t smoke, try to exercise, and eat sensibly.


►  Girl Creates PowerPoint Presentation to Win Over Boy

If there’s one thing young men find irresistible, it’s a professional presentation. At least that’s what 19-year-old Lizzy Fenton appeared to be banking on when she emailed her crush a PowerPoint slideshow titled “Why You Should Date Me” last month. “I wanted to win Carter over with sardonic wit, so I chose PowerPoint as my artistic medium,” the University of Minnesota student tells People. The presentation, which Fenton made in three hours at a coffee shop, includes bullet points of her attributes, including “tantalizing conversationalist” and “will look classy at Thanksgiving.“ She also brags that because she can pull off so many looks, dating her is like dating at least three different girls, Heavy reports.

Fenton, who’s double majoring in genetics and Spanish, made sure to include data to prove her point. In a slide boasting that her “boobs exhibit steady growth over time,“ she concludes through extrapolation that “each breast will be roughly the circumference of a human head by the year 2025.“ So how’d Carter take it? “This is very nice. Please stop contacting me,“ was his apparent response. But Fenton tells People she and Carter “get along swimmingly.“ Though Fenton won’t say if they’re dating, it does appear as if she and Carter are at least friends. And when it comes to sending someone a random PowerPoint presentation, that’s got to be seen as a win.


►  Trump Inspires GQ’s List of Best New Restaurants

While the rest of us were taking in Donald Trump’s inauguration, GQ‘s Brett Martin was zipping around the US visiting restaurants that had opened in the last 18 months. But not just any new restaurants. Martin chose to check in on restaurateurs who were born outside the US or were the children of immigrants, and “dedicate” his resulting 10 Best New Restaurants list to them. “These are times in which it seems that everything that should go without saying needs to be said—among them that the very qualities of pluralism currently under attack are what make our eating more exciting than ever before,“ he writes. His resulting list has its roots in places as varied as Israel, Korea and Sweden. Among them:

Click to read about some of Martin’s favorite dishes at the full list of 10 restaurants.

In Living….

The Free Press WV

►  Blood in Umbilical Cord May Improve Our Memories

Oh, the proverbial fountain of youth. As we age, can we somehow tap into it? Researchers are exploring this in a literal way as they study the effects of blood from human umbilical cords—which is about as young as it gets—on aging mice. Reporting in the journal Nature, they found that mice injected with human plasma from umbilical cords (several times over the course of weeks) in late middle age seemed to acquire better memories. The mice preformed better in maze tests, and memory-making genes in the brain fired back up. It’s one of the first findings that young blood “might be having an effect on the brain itself,“ one researcher tells NPR.

Still, while an outside researcher tells Science magazine that these “are exciting results,“ others note that there are several caveats that temper them. First, they have yet to be replicated in humans. And the protein that seems to be helpful, TIMP2, happens to be found in higher levels in people with Alzheimer’s. One leery researcher tells NPR that aging isn’t about running out of positive things but about accumulating negative things. Introducing new blood may only go so far in counteracting that accumulation, though more research may provide answers.


►  The Nonsurprising Surprise in Starbucks’ Unicorn Frap: Sugar

If riding an enormous sugar high can help you start to see unicorns, Starbucks’ new Unicorn Frappuccino is your ticket to a world of magic. Otherwise, it’s likely just the fast track to an insulin therapy regimen. The limited-edition drink—which the Washington Post snarks tastes like “sour birthday cake and shame,“ while the Federalist labels it “an abomination”—may be spurring plenty of Instagram posts during its five-day run through Sunday, but its ingredients list is what’s really raising eyebrows, BuzzFeed notes. The concoction, which changes colors and flavors as it’s mixed, contains whole milk, whipped cream, a variety of flavored syrups, and blue and pink “fairy powders” sprinkled on top—all of which serves up 59 grams of sugar in the Grande (16-ounce) version.

That may not mean much on its own, but BuzzFeed offers context: For starters, 59 grams (about 15 teaspoons) significantly exceeds the American Heart Association’s recommendation of no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons of sugar daily. If you’re more of a visual learner, consider that a can of Coke has about 39 grams, or that you’d have to eat nearly six servings of Frosted Flakes to come near the Unicorn elixir’s sugar content. If you can stomach all that sweetness, there’s another reason you may want to hold off on ordering the specialty drink: It’s irritating the baristas. Or at least one of them, per Mashable. Braden Burson took to Twitter Wednesday to rant about the frap he says is difficult to whip up, posting a video in which he complained, “I have unicorn crap all in my hair, on my nose” and that he’s “never been so stressed out” in his whole life. “Please don’t get it!“ he pleaded.

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