Friday, July 29, 2016

Men, tips for protecting your "swimmers"

With infertility out in the open (heck, it dominates on TV), Jesse Mills, MD, a clinical professor of urology and director of The Men's Clinic at UCLA, has some tips for the male side of the reproductive equation (it takes two to tango).

First, be cool. Sperm like to be cooler than the rest of the body. When you put your laptop on your legs, for example, it heats the thighs and testicles five degrees above sperm comfort level. Wi-fi signals and radiation can also be bad in that area. Sperm counts also can go down in men who perch their laptops there 2-3 hours a day. So no laps for laptops. Forget "hot yoga," too.

Eat your veggies. Diets high in antioxidants and deeply colored plants (beets, kale, blueberries) improve sperm motility (swimmingness, wiggliness).

Get moving. Get off the couch. Exercise, exercise, exercise, Mills says.

Coffee!  Coffee can be good for sperm--but not too much coffee. Two-three cups a day. Not six--that much has been shown to impair fertility.

C'mon, men. Now is the time to do your part--she will undergo the labor, so you are getting off easy.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Prepare now for fall allergies

Prevention nothing to
sneeze at.
Just the words "ragweed season" may make you jump back in the pool and try to forget. But this is the time to look ahead to fall allergies,says Bryan Martin, DO, president of the Am College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

If you suffer from allergies, you should take your medicine about two weeks before symptoms normally start--in the case of ragweed, that is mid-August.

So if you are allergic to ragweed pollen, meds need to start around the first of August.

A single ragweed plant can release a million grains of pollen a day. Wind can carry this 100 miles--so windy days heighten the effect.

Mold is also a menace and there can be more mold spores than pollen grains.


--Take meds before the season starts and keep on them two weeks after pollen counts go down.

--Keep car and house windows closed to keep out pollen.

--Leave your shoes at the door, take a shower and change clothes after working or play outside.

--Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mark when mowing the lawn or doing other outdoor chores. Take appropriate medication beforehand.

--See an allergist if you don't have one. The allergist can identify your triggers and provide appropriate shots.

These shots can even prevent asthma in children.

Now's the time...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Some people think throwing out food is good

Americans throw away 80 billion pounds of food a year. But only half realize food waste is even a problem.

In a peer-reviewed study published in PLOS ONE, 500 people were quizzed on food waste.

Only 53% saw this as a problem.  this was up 10% from an earlier Johns Hopkins study.

Still, you don't change your behavior if you don't think there is a problem.

Basically, those who responded had several ideas about waste:

--68% believed that throwing away food after the package date prevented food borne illness. Almost 60% believed throwing away old food ensured meals were fresh and flavorful.

--77% were guilty about throwing out food.  But only 58% saw this as bad for the environment.  And--only 42% saw this as a waste of money.

--51% thought it would be difficult to reduce this waste. Forty-two percent said they didn't have time to worry about it.

--Fifty-three admit they waste more food when they buy on sale or in bulk.

--87% thought they wasted less than other people.

The researchers said removing SELL BY and USE BY from packages would significantly reduce waste without harming anyone.

Making people more aware, they added, would only affect the behavior of 5-10%,.

My daughter asked me the other day could she eat sour cream that said SELL BY August. I said could it get more sour?

She lived.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cinnamon may make you a better learner

Smart choice?
Kalipada Pahan, a researcher at Rush University, has high hopes for the spice cinnamon.  In mice, anyway, cinnamon turns slow learners into good ones.

In a study in the June 24 issue of the J of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, poor-learning mice took 150 seconds to find the right hole in a maze test, but after a month of cinnamon treatment, they found it within 60 seconds.

Pahan thinks this comes from an ingredient in cinnamon called sodium benzoate, which ironically is found in many processed foods.

This chemical can have some health concerns, but the amounts we are talking about is considered safe.

The substance is absorbed very slowly from cinnamon.

Although the exact mechanism for increasing learning is not known yet, cinnamon did seem to erase a brain protein gap between slow and good learners.

They also looked at the brain cells of the mice--the sodium benzoate had enhanced the structural integrity of the cells.

Still, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says high quality evidence on the efficacy of cinnamon is lacking. Most of the research has been on whether cinnamon regulated blood sugar.

Before you start throwing cinnamon into everything, note this:

--Most cinnamon in stores is Chinese, which contains a compound called courmarin, which is toxic to the liver in large amounts (tons). Pahan says to look for Ceylon or Sri Lanka on the container.

Still, Prahan takes some cinnamon in honey each evening as a supplement.

You have to do your research and decide for yourself. Cinnabons are good...wait, did I type that out loud?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Houston Fire Dept screens for ambulance need

Under a program dubbed Ethan (Emergency TeleHealth and Navigation project), the Houston Fire Dept uses Panasonic Toughpad tablets on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network to screen patients at home.

Where appropriate the first responders set up a teleconference between the sick person and a physician using the tablets. The physician then monitors the patient's vital signs remotely and talks to the person.

Based on this, the situation can go one of several ways:

--Referral to the ER in the ambulance

--The patient is asked to go to a clinic appointment and offered a free taxi. If the person refuses, the taxi is provided to go to the ER.

--Or home care instructions may be offered. If this is refused, again a taxi to the ER will be provided.

Eighty percent of expensive ambulance trips are avoided.

I have often taken a taxi to the ER--but on one occasion did take an ambulance. It took me a year to pay the ambulance fee.

I think having the EMTs there, and a talk with a physician, would have been helpful and the ER could have been avoided.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Processed food may even be superior sometimes

Delicious lycopene.
We are harangued every day--only eat food from the outer aisles of the supermarket--nothing "processed," nothing enhanced...certainly nothing geneticaly altered, on and on.

Robert Clements, an adjunct prof of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the Univ of Southern California, says many consumers already know processed foods and reduce costs and improve convenience--but they did not know that food technology can increase food safety and boost nutrition.

You mean some processed food can be good for you?

Example: Tomatoes. These contain lycopene, an important dietary element linked to reduction of the risk of prostate cancer. When food companies "process" these tomatoes in sauce, juice, or paste--the lycopene is transformed into a form more easily used by the body.

You hear a lot about eating a "raw foods" diet--but cooking enhances the body's absorption of pigments such as lycopene, or the beta carotene (the orange in carrots) by softening it so it can be digested better. Adding some fat, as in pasta cause, enhances absorption even more.

Researchers urge people to eat both fresh and processed tomatoes.

Other processing techniques also make food more nutritious--for instance, companies freeze green beans within an hour--making frozen green beans better for you than the ones at the farmer's market.

Plus--vitamins are often added to food--such as the often-needed vitamin D to milk and cereal.

This isn't saying you should be jamming in the Hot Pockets, but don't turn up your nose at all processed foods.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Woman shamed by Playboy Dummy, I mean Bunny, strikes back

I don't know if you saw this, but a snarky Playboy Bunny took a naked photo of a larger woman in the gym and posted it to some social media, saying, "Since I can't unsee this, you can't either."

Her gym lashed back, banning her from all the chain's facilities--you are not supposed to take camera pix  in the locker rooms. What they thought about her body shaming the woman was not noted.

The target of the attack, Nicole Henry, handled that aspect fine herself.

She cheerfully posted, calling herself  lumpy bumpy or something like that, and pointing out the amazing things her body has done--volunteering in a slum school in Africa, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, running two 5Ks, becoming a foster parent, earning two  undergrad degrees and teaching kindergarten for 6 years.

Even then, she said, she wasn't asking for cheers for doing this--just recognition that everyone is more than a physical body.

Well, not everyone...I know one person who has banked on her looks. But looks don't last, honey--what will you do when you start to crumble?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Does smoking make you look old?

Like this look?
Dermatologist Romeo Morales, MD, of Advanced Dermatology in Albertson, NY, says YES.

Forty million people in the US still smoke, despite the warnings, studies, and gross pictures.

But now the researchers think smoking may also accelerate the aging process.

Oh, no!

Much of this shows up on the skin. Smokers face a telltale pattern of wrinkling, coarseness and discoloration. This goes for the whole body--not just the parts exposed to the sun. The number of cigs per day and how long you smoked directly correlate to the condition of even protected skin, like the inside of the upper arm.

Smokers are also more likely to get non-melanoma skin cancers--basal cell and squamous.

Poor wound healing can also show up in smokers. Same for sagging breasts, psoriasis, dental issues, and hair loss.

And smoking impairs collagen production--which along with elastin, keeps skin smooth and springy.

And don't forget "smoker's mouth"--those purse string wrinkles from sucking on a tube,

Sure, you can get some relief from botox or plastic surgery--but wouldn't it be better to toss the cigs and prevent early changes?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Are we all going to be "wired"?

Some people have suggested "microchipping" humans who might wander. There are already teeny cameras you can swallow to spy on your insides.

But now researchers at Tufts have combined nano-scale (little) electronics and microfluidics into threads--from cotton to synthetics--which can then be sutured into multiple layers of your tissue to send back diagnostic data.

Hold the phone! Suture threads into us? Check this out in the July 18th Microsystems & Nanoengineering.

They call these "smart wearable systems." Apparently these threads then send signals of your stress, strain, temp, pH and glucose levels and other indicators to your cellphone or computer.

Well, I do sometimes regard the workings of my body as the enemy or at best, completely independent from "me."

One issue is long-term biocompatibility--which I think is sciencespeak for will the body attack these threads or set up an infection or rejection?

Maybe--they say--the threads could even be smart sutures for wounds--to monitor healing. This sounds semi-reasonable to me. Or the threads could "wick" medications in.

Is this a solution looking for a problem--or will be all be "woven" in the future.

Whichever--you heard it here first.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Health reasons to play Pokemon Go

I am completely quoting this and have no idea what this means. Pokemon Go is a GPS-augmented reality game happening across the nation.

OK, I got that.

Players known as "trainers" download it to their smartphones. To progress, trainers must walk around to find and catch Pokemon (avatars), which pop up on their screens, and access locations called Pokestops, where Pokeballs and other useful items are collected.

In short--all this requires a lot of walking.

What began as a game is now a hobby for 9-21 million people, including a lot of kids who would normally be hunched over their video games.

To "hatch one egg" (search me) you may walk 1-6 miles.

The game also promotes a sense of community--people meet face to face at the Pokestops.

Families walk around and play together--two or three generations, sometimes.

The game also broadens a sense of curiosity. Even the founder located new areas in his community he never knew about.

On the dark side, sometimes people fall off curbs or otherwise get injured as a result of staring into their phones.

Tip: Never play it while driving. Don't play at night in dark, isolated areas. Also, be wary of the heat and sun exposure of summer. Going out as a team is best.

Go, catch 'em all--and get healthier not hurt.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Not what, but WHEN, you eat

I know so many people who have different theories of "eating." No breakfast, eat only when hungry, eat small meals many times a day, don't eat this food group or that never ends.

Yesterday, I ate some (OK, too much) dark chocolate and suffered with horrible cramps for almost 24 hours now. Eating in MODERATION was an option--should have taken it.

Suzanne Judd, PhD, associate professor, University of Alabama Birmingham's Dept of Biostatistics, says when and how we eat foods is key.

This is a matter of personal taste and body chemistry, though. You have to figure it out.

Most of the body's chronic illnesses stem from inflammation--a vague term referring to an over-active immune system that responds even when there is no organism to fight.

Since a third of the immune system lies within the gut, what we eat is tied to the daily immune response.

My body did NOT like half a dark Godiva bar and told me so. And told me. And told me.

She says diets like Whole30, a month-long clean eating program, and Paleo, reduce pro-inflammatory foods but are hard to maintain.

One option is to take breaks from a regular diet of this sort and  follow the ideas bhind them to lower inflammatory load.

Or try the 90:10 rule---90% clean foods, 10% from the processed column.

Make a list of your favorite foods--not dishes, but the foods themselves.

Eat your favorite fruit/veggie, meat/grain/nut/seed every day.

--Eat six to nine servings of fruit and veggies. Raw, dried, cooked. Eat what's in season.

--Eat some "good" fat--avocado, walnuts, almonds, olives, chia, olive oil, grapeseed oil, or canola.

--Find a good proteins. Lentils, beans, seeds, fish, meat. Don't eat something because you should. Judd said she once ate nothing but fish--and was so miserable she binged on cookies.

--If you feel shaky, but have eaten within three hours, take a walk instead of snacking.

--Ask your doctor if you are low in Vit D.

--And if all this is too much, or not enough, ask a dietitian. Steer clear of anyone who claims to have a cure for obesity.

And this from me: Dark chocolate? Beware..

Thursday, July 14, 2016

New anti-cavity solution for kids

I remember getting fluoride goo smeared on my teeth as a child--and getting it for my daughter.

Now, according to Catherine St. Louis, NYT, July 11, 2016, a liquid called silver diamine fluoride (SDF), used for decades in Japan, is available in the US as Advantage Arrest.

It's been cleared by the FDA for use as a tooth desensitizer for adults 21 and older. But studies show it can also halt cavities and prevent them--and some dentists use it off-label for that purpose.

No drill, no injections--it is welcomed by Medicaid patients and taught at 18 dental schools.

A prominent dentist from the NY University College of Dentistry urged parents to ask about it.

Many insurers still won't cover it, but it is pretty cheap--$25 a tooth to stop a cavity without drilling at a private dentist, pennies per app in a clinic..

Nearly one-fourth of preschoolers have cavities--some of which must be treated in the hospital under anesthesia.

One drawback: It can stain the teeth. This is not too much of an issue in kids whose baby teeth will fall out.

Might be worth asking about.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How to look after yourself in the hospital

Yes, look after yourself. If you leave it all to them, you may regret it.

Kati Kieber, BSN, Rn, CCRN, is a critical care nurse in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.

Her book is titled: Admit one: What You Must Know When Going to the Hospital--But No One Actually Tells You.

Here are some of her tips:

Bring a list of the medications you take. The doctor in the hospital will decide which ones to keep you on and the pharmacy will provide those and any new ones.

Make a list of health team members. Many people will come and go from your room. Ask them what their role is. Make a note of  names and any instructions they provide.

Know your code. .Know how many measures you want them to take if something goes wrong. This is why people have Living Wills and Do Not Resuscitate Orders.

Assign a spokesperson. Make sure the hospital people know whom they can call. The person should be easy to reach and trusted with your health information. (I used to use my sister--but when I asked her what the doctor said, she would say, "I don't remember." Not helpful.)

Write down questions as you think of them--or have someone do it.  Doctors and others breeze in--it is easy to forget your issues.

Advocate for yourself.  Tell the nurses of changes you feel. If you are not happy with someone caring for you, let it be known.

Leave the equipment to the experts. There is a lot of high tech stuff in the room--if alarms ding or ring, call a staff member, don't attempt to reset or fix things by yourself. This can even result in---er, death.

I would add--don't be afraid to ask someone coming in to wash his or her hands. Often this is overlooked.

You also can refuse any service. But refuse wisely. Insist a medical professional discuss it even if it takes a few minutes.

Oh--and I would also add be sure you know what to do when you leave. Often, people take the prescriptions they get upon discharge and also continue their usual ones when they get home. Make sure this is what is intended.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What would you want genetically in a dad for your kids?

You know me--I have tried a lot of these diseases and treatments--so you don't have to. Yes, I am a saint.

I also used donor sperm as part of a long process of conceiving my daughter. I remember wanting a donor who was smart (med students, I was told, so reasonably intelligent). Also healthy--which in my case, meant lean and athletic (opposite of me). They said the students were. I finally selected Number 234--Irish background, musical ability--and then I met a guy---well, it's a long story...Anyhow--my daughter is NOT the product of Irish Eyes Were Smiling.

Now, they have done a study of  what women look for in a donor. (Done in Australia, 1546 women, and published in the Economics of Human Biology.)

In most developed countries--the researchers pointed out--women with fertility problems, single, lesbians, all sorts, can freely access sperm banks.

Women no longer need to stay within their proximity or social class or even race.

So the criteria seem to be boiling down to educational level and age of the donor.

The earlier criterion of ability to provide resources is not necessarily involved in these transactions.

Women also used to prefer older males--more likely to have resources (let's say money, shall we?). Now women make their own money and find younger male sperm more reassuring.

Interesting. To me anyway.

Now let me add my take. Whether it's donor sperm or the casual hookup that results in a child or even a marriage--women could stand to be a little pickier there, too. Many things tend to have a genetic component--even get-up-and-go and enthusiasm for work and achievement, a tendency toward violence, and other important aspects of character that could affect the child and the mother.

Word to the wise...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Worried about losing your memory--exercise may be key

Francis Collins, MD, head of the National Institutes of Health, writing in Government Executive Magazine, July 7, 2016, says there is a growing body of evidence that exercise can boost memory and learning, while "possibly" delaying age-related cognitive decline.

An NIH-funded study identified a biochemical, a protein called cathepsin B (beta), that rises in the blood of people who exercise regularly. In mice, this same protein was associated with the production of new brain cells called neurons.  Mice unable to produce this protein did not experience a boost in memory.

Published in Cell Metabolism, the study set out to find proteins that muscle cells produce that could be transported to the brain. This produced a short list of possibilities. But one stuck out--this cathepsin B.

They also determined that this one was able to cross the blood-brain barrier--which blocks proteins that are too big or have the wrong biochemistry. And when it crossed, genes were expressed consistent with the growth of new brain cells.

Then the switched from mice to humans. They looked at 40 healthy young adults in Germany, ages 19 to 34, equally divided between men and women.

Regular fitness training showed an increase in cathepsin B. These subjects also showed better visual memory.

In mouse models, cathepsin B levels have been neuroprotective--delaying the onset of Alzheimer's.

Many questions remain. For one thing, what do those new neurons amount to?

Still, exercise has other benefits, too--so why not if you can?

Friday, July 08, 2016

Good news for old cat ladies

I am not old, I am experienced.
One in five pet cats in the United States is over 11. I know mine is--my daughter got her as a kitten while in HS and my daughter is now 34. We are not sure how old the old girl is--she just keeps walking around, hopping up on things,  begging for food, stuffing her face, and not dying. She's skinny, but doesn't seem worried about it.

Apparently the cat population, like the human one, is living longer.

International Cat Care says a cat is considered old if more than 15. That is the geriatric stage. This equals 76 in human terms. At 21, a cat is equal to a 100-year-old person in terms of age.

But what equals normal for an old cat? In a special, peer-reviewed issue of the J of Feline Medicine and Surgery, the experts broke it down.

In terms of cognitive ability, they defined a healthy aged cat as showing no signs of DISHA--disorientation, interaction changes, sleep/wake disturbances, house soiling, and changes in activity.

They also developed new blood and serum markers.

Why do this? First, it will provide a single resource for vets to provide the best care.  And second, it will form the basis of more research--such as interventions for aging cats.

The researchers described this as a "labor of love." Yup, that may be another good reason.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Half the drivers over 65--should we worry?

Driving takes a wide range of brainpower--judging distances, managing multiple inputs, reacting quickly, staying focused for long periods, and correctly interpreting signs and signals.

Once, when my daughter was in the stroller, we got a green light, a car was stopped at the crosswalk, I pushed the stroller out and the car that was stopped started forward...I pulled the stroller back onto the curb before it even consciously registered (some Mom reflex). The car went across the intersection, stopped, then the driver--an older woman--came back crying. She had looked at the light on the cross street and interpreted it as a "green" for her and had come off a standing stop.

My whole life, not to mention my child's, could have ended there.

In the next 30 years, up to 77% of drivers will be over 65. These adults have the highest crash rate per mile of any group.

A researcher at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at  Florida Atlantic University published a study in the J of Public Health Nursing. One conclusion is that it's not the person's age, but functionality that counts.

Memory is at the core. Memory provides the basic knowledge to operate the car, to remember the destination, the skills to turn left safely. Also--brain changes can affect visual processing itself.

And as a Catch 22--drivers with dementia and even their caregivers may not recognize the need to limit or stop driving.

The researchers suggest a three part process. (1) patient assessment and medication review, (2) a computerized simulation, and (3) a road test with a certified examiner.

Adult children need to step up and step in if need be.

My mother never drove. I never drove. But my father had a hard time handing over the keys--and even drove himself home from his first stroke.

I have a friend whose mother sideswiped a car and then ran in a store and hid.

These can be difficult times for families.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Suzie Sweet Pea helps sell kids on veggies

Don't forget Donna Dressing.
Kids like cartoons, but don't always love the veggies. So--bam--why not make veggies into cartoon characters?

A salad bar called Super Sprowtz, featuring 10 characters with super powers, has some evidence that kids are more likely to pile on the veggies if they are named Miki Mushroom, Zach Zucchini, and Suzie Sweet Pea.

The researchers at Ohio State emphasize that a healthy diet improves learning.

The group invented the system while at Cornell and placed it in 10 NY elementary schools.

They wrapped the salad bars in the art of the characters. And they played Super Sprowtz videos in the lunch room. In some cases, they did both.

In the schools with the banners, 24% of the kids took veggies, twice what the researchers observed the week before. In the schools with both banners and videos, the veggie crunching increased to 35% of kids.

Boys usually selected fewer veggies, but with the characters, both genders went for the healthy stuff in equal numbers.

This has to be rolled out in elementary school, they said. Later and it doesn't do much.

And--discouragingly, the researchers learned not many schools even have salad bars.

If a child selects the vegetable, he or she is more likely to eat it than if a careteria worker plops it on the plate.

So true.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

These plants are out to get ya

Leaves of three, let me be.
Yes, there are poisonous plants--and I don't just mean poisonous-tasting (kale, you know what I am talking about).

In fact, 50 million Americans a year are attacked by toxic plant life.

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are the most common.

PI, as we called it as kids, is a three-leaf plant mostly found in the Eastern US in moist shady areas--it is a vine and can climb tree trunks,

Poison oak is also three leaves and found on the West Coast and some places in the South. It is a shrub. It may have clusters of greenish yellow or white berries.

Poison sumac is found in wet marshy regions such as riverbanks and looks like a small tree or shrub. It can get to be 115 feet high, It has 7-13 smooth, oval leaves that are arranged in pairs.

Another plant, Virginia creeper, is often mistaken for PI--but it has five leaves. It can cause skin irritation and blisters in sensitive people but is not as severe as PI.

A substance called urushiol is found in these plants year-round.

--When outdoors in "bushy" areas, wear long pants and sleeves.

--If you see a suspect plant in your garden, uproot it wearing gloves.

--Don't burn it--the smoke can cause a reaction in your lungs.

--There is also a product called Ivy Block you can get over the counter. Reapply every 4 hrs.

About 85% of people will get a rash, and 10% of those will have a bad reaction. Reaction varies by the person. I remember kids getting horrible cases when I was young...others rubbed it on themselves and gloated that they were immune. Don't do that, by the way, because your body can decide it's not immune at any time.

If you have a rash, you can transfer it to other parts of your body. Pets can also transfer the oil to you without getting it themselves.

Think you have been exposed? Wash quickly with soap and water or even rubbing alcohol (easy on that with kids).

If you get a urushiol rash, it can take 1-2 weeks to heal.

--Use a topical steroid, available over the counter.

--Calamine lotion is still helpful.

--Aluminum acetate with a cool compress can help in the blistering phase.

--Soaking in an oatmeal bath for 15-20 mins can quell some itching.

If it gets near your eyes, call the doctor and don't use cortisol on your face.

An old enemy but still around...

Friday, July 01, 2016

Like making mix tapes?

Check out a group called Music and Memory ( This is a nonprofit that makes tapes of favorite tunes for Alzheimer's patients. High school kids often are the ones making the tapes.

The students interview the patients, acting as detectives to see what music from their past has affected them most. They hand out the music, help the residents, many in assisted care, with their iPods.

The kids say when the patients put in their earphones, they seem to "wake up." You see a different them, one said. You see them happy. You see them move around.

My own mother used to love Perry Como--played his tapes all the time.

Music and Memory has been instituted in more than 2,000 facilities in all 50 states and many countries.  It is the standard of care in Wisconsin and Utah.

Often, too, it can substitute for the antipsychotic meds that can be prescribed and which react badly to the systems of older people.

Sounds like a great group!