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July 6th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Would you want to live to be 150 years old or even older?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A leading British scientist says the first person who will live to the age of 150 has already been born.
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Doctor Aubrey De Grey, the chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, also believes that the first person to live to be 1,000 years old could be born in the next two decades. You heard right. A thousand.

De Grey made these comments in an interview at Britain's Royal Institution's academy of science.

So far, the longest-living person in the world on record lived to age 122.

But Dr. De Grey says we have a "50/50 chance" of bringing aging under medical control within the next 25 years.

He believes that aging is really just the accumulation of molecular and cellular damage in the body over a lifetime...and that some day doctors will be able to undo this damage. We'll all just go to the doctor for "maintenance checks"– you know, like a tune up for your car. But these visits will include gene therapies, stem cell therapies, and immune stimulation.

De Grey does have his critics. In 2005, the MIT Technology Review Journal offered $20,000 to any molecular biologist who could prove Dr. De Grey's theories were so wrong they were not worthy of debate. But no one ever won that cash prize.

Here’s my question to you: Would you want to live to be 150 years old or even older?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Longevity • On Jack's radar
May 18th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Would you want to know how long you will live?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: THINKSTOCK)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, the only certain things in life are death and taxes. Of course, one has always been a little easier to calculate than the other… until now perhaps.

A Spanish company has developed a blood test that it claims can give you a pretty good idea of how long you'll live.

The test, called Life Length, can allegedly convert your life expectancy to numbers, and will reportedly be available in Britain later this year according to the UK paper The Independent.

The simple blood test measures something on your chromosomes called telomeres which scientists say can help determine your biological age rather than chronological age. The shorter the telomeres are, the closer you are to death.

Researchers say the test can provide valuable information including a person's risk of illnesses such as heart disease, Alzheimer's and cancer.

Some scientists and medical ethicists have raised concerns that people who take the test will take on a fatalistic attitude and stray from healthy practices like eating right, exercising and quitting smoking. Critics also worry the information could be used by insurance companies as well as companies that could make and market fake anti-aging drugs and treatments.

But you can bet people will line up for the Life Length test as soon as it comes out. It will be sold over-the-counter in Britain for the equivalent of $700 U.S. dollars

Here’s my question to you: Would you want to know how long you will live?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Longevity • On Jack's radar
January 19th, 2011
04:42 PM ET

Make your child learn Chinese?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Forget the romance languages. If you really want your child to be ready for the future, you might want him to crack open some Chinese language textbooks.
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As President Obama meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House this week, there are more reasons than ever to believe China holds the key to all of our futures.

For starters, China owns us – or soon will, as they continue to snap up U.S. treasury bonds. China is now the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, just under $900 billion.

The Chinese also have a significant financial stake in many other countries around the world. It was reported this week that China has lent more money to developing countries in the past two years than the World Bank.

Then there's their military expansion – Chinese military spending is up 12% in the last decade.

A Chinese-developed stealth fighter jet recently took its first flight. They've also created a long-range missile that could hit U.S. ships in the pacific. And, they're building their first aircraft carrier to launch missions far off China's coast.

There's more: Beijing has become an integral player in nearly every major international issue, from the standoffs with North Korea and Iran to global warming.

In fact, one top NASA scientist says that China is the world's "best hope" in the fight against global warming. He says that our democracy – including lobbying dollars from the fossil fuel industry – makes it impossible for the U.S. to confront global warming.

Here’s my question to you: If you were the parent of a small child, would you make him/her learn Chinese?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Children • China • Education • On Jack's radar
January 3rd, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Technology replacing personal interactions at what cost?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"The year we stopped talking to one another."

That's what USA Today dubs 2010, in light of the unprecedented use of technology.
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We are awash in technology. It's estimated that 93% of Americans now use cell phones or wireless devices. And one-third of those people are using so-called smartphones, which means the users can browse the Web and check e-mail on their phones.

According to an industry trade group, from June 2009 to June 2010, cell phone subscribers sent 1.8 trillion text messages. That was up 33% from the year before.

In other words, most of us spend our days walking around with our noses buried in our cell phones, BlackBerrys, iPhones, etc.

And while we're doing that, we're tuning out the people who are actually in the same room as us. We seem to have long ago crossed the line as to where doing this stuff is appropriate - people take calls while they're out to dinner, text or check e-mail while on a date, you name it.

Some experts say it's time to take a step back and reassess. They're reminding people that technology can be turned off, and that it's important to connect with people in person. They worry that kids won't know what it's like to share a story or actually look someone in the eyes. And that's sad.

But others point out the benefits of all this technology - staying in touch with friends and family, efficiently using time once spent doing nothing and being able to check in from anywhere.

Here’s my question to you: At what cost has technology replaced personal interactions?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: On Jack's radar • Technology
November 16th, 2010
04:25 PM ET

Would you pay extra for flight with no children?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More in the Cafferty File today on the pleasures of modern air travel:
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After you're groped, X-rayed and looked at like a common criminal, you finally make it onto your flight only to find you're seated in front of, next to or behind someone traveling with one or more small children.

For the duration of your flight, you can look forward to screaming, crying, kicking, food-throwing and yelling parents.

The New York Times says for some, sitting near such an uncontrollable child is "the second biggest fear of flying." They report on a growing push for airlines to create child-free flights or to designate "family-only" sections on planes.

A recent travel survey shows 59 percent of passengers support creating these special sections, while close to 20 percent say they'd like to see flights with no children.

Some travelers say they'd gladly pay extra to fly with no children on board. Even some parents support the idea of separating kids from the rest of the passengers.

They say a family-only section would give parents and children more freedom to make a little noise. They also point out it's stressful for parents when their kids are screaming and won't calm down.

But it's unlikely any of this will happen. A major airline trade group says the industry is working hard to return to profitability; and they don't want to start turning people away from certain flights.

As for family-only sections, they say it would be too complicated. Plus it could set a dangerous precedent once you start separating passengers by age. What if there are calls for elderly-free flights or obese-only sections?

Here’s my question to you: Would you pay extra for a flight with no children?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Airlines • Children • On Jack's radar
August 25th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Is too much technology a bad thing?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Multitasking is a way of life for millions Americans... and to many, it seems like the more technology we can squeeze into every waking moment, the better.
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Maybe not.

The New York Times reports that digital devices and distractions - from cell phones, to laptops, iPods, e-mail and mobile games - could deprive our brains of necessary downtime.

People use phones and other electronic devices to get work done almost anywhere these days - from the gym, to the grocery store checkout line, the bus stop or a stoplight. Many see it as a way to make even the smallest window of time productive - or entertaining.

But researchers say that downtime is essential - it's a way to let the brain go over experiences it's had and turn them into long-term memories. And you can't do that if your nose is always stuck in some electronic device.

Scientists also say that even though people like multi-tasking - they might in fact be taxing their brains and tiring themselves out. Some people say they feel stressed out by the pressure to constantly stay in contact.

Meanwhile, there's a new study out that shows teens are becoming addicted to texting - with the average teen sending 3,000 texts a month.

3,000.

Experts say the same part of the brain is stimulated with both texting and using drugs, like heroin. Signs of being addicted to texting include: losing track of time, not eating or sleeping, ignoring other people or lying because of texting and always needing to receive more texts.

Here’s my question to you: Is too much technology a bad thing?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: On Jack's radar • Technology
August 18th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

South Carolina to spend $2.4 million on weight loss surgeries for state workers

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

South Carolina is about to spend $2.4 million to pay for 100 obese state employees to have weight loss surgery.
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The state has approved a pilot program, which would put the money toward gastric bypass and lap-band surgeries. They can cost up to $24,000 each.

The state health plan will monitor these state workers - chosen first come, first serve - for 18 months to see if the plan is worth it.

The idea is South Carolina will save money in the long run by paying for these surgeries upfront. If these fat people will lose a lot of weight after the surgeries, it should alleviate other health issues often related to obesity - like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea. That in turn would hopefully drive down health care costs, prescription costs, etc.

Critics say special interest groups won out here over taxpayers. They suggest this money would be better spent elsewhere, considering the state is furloughing workers.

But one South Carolina surgeon says several other southeastern states - including North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia - cover weight loss surgeries for state workers.

He says in the long run, the state will save "a boatload of money."

They better hope so. You should pardon the expression, but in South Carolina obesity is huge. Nearly 63 percent of adults and 34 percent of children are overweight or obese; both those numbers are above the national averages.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good idea for South Carolina to spend $2.4 million on weight loss surgeries for state workers?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Obesity • On Jack's radar
May 14th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Should govt. keep track of how fat our children are?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: THINKSTOCK)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The government might soon be in charge of tracking how fat or skinny American children are.

Under the Healthy Choices Act - states would receive federal grants to track the body mass index of children ages two through 18 years old. The bill would require doctors in these states to collect this information and then pass it on to the state government... which would in turn pass it along to the feds.

The bill says that federal officials would use this data to identify obesity trends in different parts of the country... and how those trends change depending on gender and socioeconomic status.

Also, if a child's body mass index is greater than the 95th percentile, the bill requires the state to give the parents information on how to lower it... and on local child obesity programs.

One of the bill's sponsors - Democratic Congressman Ron Kind from Wisconsin - tells Cybercast news service that no one would be forced to come into their doctor to get their body mass index tested.

It would be taken when the child is at the doctor for a regular visit. The bill's sponsors also point out that any data collected will not include the patients' names.

This is all part of the larger measure that funds several programs and introduces new regulations meant to reduce obesity. Many would argue this is long-past due... with One-third of all U.S. children and two-thirds of all adults either obese or overweight.

Being fat also means being more likely to have everything from diabetes to heart disease to some kinds of cancer. And the costs of treating those things affect us all.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government start keeping track of how fat our children are?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Children • Obesity • On Jack's radar
April 21st, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Three-fourths of youth unfit for military service

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the U.S. fighting two wars and threats like a potentially nuclear-armed Iran on the horizon, there is a very scary truth that needs to be addressed.

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Three-fourths of the young people between the ages of 17 and 24 are unfit for military service. It's a national disgrace.

There are a number of reasons for a lack of a sufficient pool of recruits for the military to draw from. These include factors like having a criminal record, not graduating from high school, or having health problems.

But the biggest reason is that a boatload of young people in this country are fat. In a report titled "Too Fat to Fight," a group of 130 retired military leaders says the top medical reason is young people are simply too heavy - and can't handle the physical requirements of being in the military.

One fourth of young Americans are just too fat to fight.

The report blames unhealthy food in school lunchrooms; and they're calling on Congress to pass a wide-ranging nutrition bill that would make school meals healthier. But the problem extends far beyond the school lunchroom.

We have become a sedentary society that doesn't exercise enough, spends way too much time in front of the TV or computer and exists on a diet of fast food and/or junk food. The price tag for that is sacrificing the future of the U.S. military.

The authors of this troubling report say all branches of the military now meet or exceed their recruitment requirements… but if these obesity trends don't change, they could wind up threatening our national security by the year 2030. That's less than 20 years away.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about our country if three-fourths of our youth are unfit for military service?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Obesity • On Jack's radar • U.S. Army • US Military • US Obesity
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