Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Sleep is important: Americans are sleeping on the job

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey as part of their Sleep Awareness Week. They polled working Americans and asked them questions regarding their work and sleep habits. They found that Americans are getting a lot less sleep than they expected and many are “sleeping on the job.”

Respondants say they are getting 6 hours and 40 minutes of daily sleep, below the 7 hours and 18 minutes that most people say they need, and below the minimum of 8 hours that is recommended.

This leads to lower productivity, safety on the roads, not to mention medical and quality-of-life-related issues. 2/3 of the respondants acknowledged they knew it was a problem, but are not doing anything about it.

According to the National Institute of Health, more than 70 million Americans are affected by sleep problems. 

This random telephone survey of 1,000 individuals across the country, conducted at the end of 2007, found:

  • Respondents spend an average of almost 4.5 hours each week doing additional work from home. That’s after an average 9.5-hour workday.
  • One quarter of respondents have an eight-to-nine-hour workday; one quarter work nine to 10 hours per day; a third work 10 or more hours daily.
  • 28 percent said that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities at least a few days each month.
  • 29 percent reported falling asleep or being sleepy at work in the past month.
  • Respondents got an average of six hours and 40 minutes sleep per night on weekdays, although they said they needed seven hours and 18 minutes to be refreshed.
  • 36 percent have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving; 32 percent were drowsy while driving at least one or two times a month; and 26 percent drive drowsy during the workday.
  • 20 percent have lost interest in sex or have sex less often because of sleepiness.
  • 12 percent reported being late to work in the past month because of sleepiness.
  • 32 percent only get a good night’s sleep a few nights per month.
  • 65 percent have a sleep problem, such as difficulty falling asleep or waking up during the night; 44 percent said they had such troubles almost every night.
  • 17 percent get help falling asleep, in the form of alcohol or prescription/over-the-counter sleep medications, at least a few nights each week.
  • 58 percent drank caffeine to cope.
  • 38 percent chose foods loaded in sugar and carbohydrates.
  • 37 percent say they take naps.
  • 34 percent work at places which allow napping during breaks.

Read the entire article.

Cloned Meat, It’s What’s for Dinner

Ummm, this is pretty gross sounding. Cloning animals to produce more meat for consumption? If there is a shortage, I promise I will cutback! Maybe Hardees is to blame for using a pound of meat in their monster burger. Sure the FDA “says” it is safe to eat cloned meat, but they’ve been wrong before and we know a copy of something is never as good as the original. And maybe it really is safe and just as good for you, but again, cloned meat just does not make me want to run out for a burger. According to a national survey, 89% of Americans would like to know if the meat they are about to buy is from a cloned animal, so I am not alone in my sediments.

It’s also disturbing that meat in the US is not traceable. That is one reason why I like Whole Foods Market. They guarantee traceability on their meat products. And it’s free of antibiotics and growth hormones, which is really key for my household.

Here is the article:

Cloned Meat: Is Dolly for Dinner?
Company That Tracks Cloned Meat Wants to Pull the Wool From Your Eyes
By Martin F. Downs
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 14, 2008 (Boston) — Many consumers want meat produced by cloning to be easily identified as such. Now a company based in Ireland is promoting its system for tracing the meat of any cloned animal wherever it may go in the food supply. For this tracing system to work, however, the unique DNA profiles of clones must be publicly available.

Patrick Cunningham, PhD, chief science adviser to the Irish government and a founding executive of the company IdentiGEN, advocated for open access to cloned animal DNA at this week’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. Major chain stores and meat packers in the United States, he says, want to offer discerning shoppers certifiably “clone free” meat products. “They should have a right to do that,” he says.

Cunningham says companies that clone animals should keep a library of “snips” of their DNA. That way, anyone wishing to screen for traces of cloned meat in food could ask a company like his to compare product samples with the genetic profiles of clones on file. Big retailers and food producers in Ireland and the U.K. now use IdentiGEN to certify other qualities of meat products, as well as to assist in safety recalls.

In the United States, Kroger, Safeway, Dean Foods, and Whole Foods have considered marketing “no clone” meat.

Mark Walton, PhD, president of ViaGen, a company that clones animals for use in agriculture, says he doesn’t think a DNA tracing system is justified. “It’s hard to imagine a scientific reason or a health reason that you would need to follow animals at all,” he says.

FDA: Cloned Meat Safe
The FDA has repeatedly assured American consumers that meat produced by cloning is safe to eat, and the agency says it will not require special labeling on food containing products of cloned animals or their offspring sold in the United States. Europe’s food safety agency has reached the same conclusion.

Walton attributes consumers’ wariness of cloning to “the fear of the unknown.”
The use of cloning for producing food is often misunderstood. For one thing, it probably won’t be used to make thousands of copies of an animal expressly for slaughter. A cloned cow now costs about $13,500, compared with the market price of about $1,000 for a normal steer.

“Cloning technology is in fact a breeding technology,” Walton says.

The process is called “somatic cell nuclear transfer,” which is how the famous sheep “Dolly” was cloned in 1996. Producers use this process to clone highly desirable breeding animals. For decades, farmers have routinely ordered semen from choice male animals to artificially inseminate their herds, but one prize stud can only produce so much semen. In theory, 10, 20, 100, or more clones of him increase the yield of his genetic material that many times.

So the clone’s offspring is what will be most commonly eaten. That doesn’t mean people won’t ever eat clones, however. Even breeding livestock are sold for meat once they’re past their prime. At present, the food industry is supposed to be observing a voluntary moratorium on selling the meat of clones the U.S., but “it’s not illegal to put clones on the market,” Cunningham says.

A national poll conducted in 2007 by the Consumers Union, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, found that 89% of those polled wanted labels to identify food containing cloned animal products. The Consumers Union opposes the use of cloning in agriculture.

Labeling isn’t as simple as slapping a sticker on a steak that comes from a clone. Parts of a single beef cow, for example, can end up in countless different consumer products. DNA can be retrieved from meat even if it has been cooked, frozen, or processed in other ways. With genetic profiles, clones or offspring of clones could be detected in anything from soup to sirloin.

Otherwise, it is very difficult to trace meat in processed foods back to specific animals. Unlike Europe and Canada, the United States does not have a system in place to trace the provenance of meat from farm to feedlot to factory to freezer.
Walton says it could be years before cloning catches up with conventional breeding methods in terms of cost and becomes widely used, but it is being done today. He says his company has cloned about 400-500 animals in the past four years. “They’re out there,” he says.

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20080214/is-dolly-for-dinner.xml