Best Way to Live Longer

One of the best ways to live longer (Corbis)

If you want to know how long you will live, you might stop fretting over genetics and family history and instead look at your educational achievements. Education is certainly not the only variable associated with longer lives, but it may be the most powerful.

Recent study findings published in the journal Health Affairs present a remarkable update to the already considerable research showing education to be a powerful predictor of longer life spans.

“The lifelong relationships of education and its correlates with health and longevity are striking,” the article said. “Education exerts its direct beneficial effects on health through the adoption of healthier lifestyles, better ability to cope with stress, and more effective management of chronic diseases. However, the indirect effects of education through access to more privileged social position, better-paying jobs, and higher income are also profound.”

While the findings are good news for educated Americans, they also indicate that medical and lifestyle breakthroughs that have triggered the much-publicized longevity revolution are not being enjoyed by less-educated Americans whose lifespans have fallen further behind over time. This trend has implications for the debate about raising the Social Security retirement age. It also adds a compelling mortality tale to the economic costs of the nation’s falling educational-achievement levels compared with other nations.

Within U.S. racial groups, educational achievement is associated with significant longevity benefits. But compared across racial groups, the longevity gap is even greater, which indicates continued race-based differences in how long Americans live. The Health Affairs article was co-authored by 15 leading academic experts in aging and longevity. The research was conducted by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society.

“We found that in 2008 U.S. adult men and women with fewer than twelve years of education had life expectancies not much better than those of all adults in the 1950s and 1960s,” the article said. “When race and education are combined, the disparity is even more striking.”

Within racial and ethnic groups, there was a pronounced longevity benefit when comparing people with 16 or more years of school with those with less than 12 years. Among women, the differences in life expectancy at birth were 10.4 years among whites, 6.5 years among blacks, and 2.9 years for Hispanics. Among men, the gaps were 12.9 years among whites, 9.7 years among blacks, and 5.5 years for Hispanics.

But the differences were more striking across all racial groups. “White U.S. men and women with 16 years or more of schooling had life expectancies far greater than black Americans with fewer than 12 years of education–14.2 years more for white men than black men, and 10.3 years more for white women than black women,” the article said.

“These gaps have widened over time and have led to at least two ‘Americas,’ if not multiple others, in terms of life expectancy, demarcated by level of education and racial-group membership.” Compared with similar 1990 measures, by 2008, the gap among men had widened by nearly a year, and among women, by more than two-and-a-half years.

“The current life expectancy at birth for U.S. blacks with fewer than twelve years of education is equivalent to the life expectancy observed in the 1960s and 1970s for all people in the United States, but blacks’ longevity has been improving with time,” the article said.

That hasn’t been the case for whites. “White males with fewer than twelve years of education currently have a life expectancy at birth equivalent to that of all men in the United States born in 1972, while white females with similar education have the life expectancy of all women in the country born in 1964,” it added. “And the longevity of these white males and females is growing worse over time.”

The impact of education on lifespans is so powerful, the authors said, that improving people’s health and lifestyle behaviors alone “are not likely to have a major impact on disparities in longevity.” The authors called on policymakers to “implement educational enhancements at young, middle, and older ages for people of all races, to reduce the large gap in health and longevity that persists today.”

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Star copies Miley’s edgy haircut

Since chopping off her locks and dying them blond, Miley Cyrus, 19, has gotten mixed reviews from her Twitter followers on her latest look. But Ellen DeGeneres proved she’s a big fan of Miley and her hair when she posted a pic of herself on Twitter sporting a very similar style, just a day after Miley debuted her new ‘do on the social networking site “I love @mileycyrus’ new haircut so much that I copied it,” the talk show host wrote. OK, so Ellen’s pic got a little help from the magic of Photoshop, but it was still a nice gesture!

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New Theory on Stonehenge

The mysterious structure of Stonehenge may have been built as a symbol of peace and unity, according to a new theory by British researchers.

During the monument’s construction around 3000 B.C. to 2500 B.C., Britain’s Neolithic people were becoming increasingly unified, said study leader Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield.

“There was a growing islandwide culture — the same styles of houses, pottery and other material forms were used from Orkney to the south coast,” Parker Pearson said in a statement, referring to the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland. “This was very different to the regionalism of previous centuries.”

By definition, Stonehenge would have required cooperation, Parker Pearson added.

“Stonehenge itself was a massive undertaking, requiring the labor of thousands to move stones from as far away as west Wales, shaping them and erecting them. Just the work itself, requiring everything literally to pull together, would have been an act of unification,” he said. [ Photos: A Walk Through Stonehenge ]

The new theory, detailed in a new book by Parker Pearson, “Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery” (Simon & Schuster, 2012), is one of many hypotheses about the mysterious monument. Theories range from completely far-fetched ( space aliens or the wizard Merlin built it!) to far more evidence-based (the monument may have been an astronomical calendar, a burial site or both).

The culture of Stonehenge
Along with fellow researchers on the Stonehenge Riverside Project, Parker Pearson worked to put Stonehenge in context, studying not just the monument but also the culture that created it.

What they found was evidence of a civilization transitioning from regionalism to a more integrated culture. Nevertheless, Britain’s Stone Age people were isolated from the rest of Europe and didn’t interact with anyone across the English Channel, Parker Pearson said.

“Stonehenge appears to have been the last gasp of this Stone Age culture, which was isolated from Europe and from the new technologies of metal tools and the wheel,” Parker Pearson said.

Stonehenge’s site may have been chosen because it was already significant to Stone-Age Britons, the researchers suggest. The natural land undulations at the site seem to form a line between the place where the sun rises on the summer solstice and where it sets in midwinter, they found. Neolithic people may have seen this as more than a coincidence, Parker Pearson said.

“This might explain why there are eight monuments in the Stonehenge area with solstitial alignments, a number unmatched anywhere else,” he said. “Perhaps they saw this place as the center of the world.”

Theories and mystery
These days, Stonehenge is nothing if not the center of speculation and mystery. The monument has inspired its fair share of myths, including that the wizard Merlin transported the stones from Ireland and that UFOs use the circle as a landing site.

Archaeologists have built some theories on firmer ground. Stonehenge’s astronomical alignments suggest that it may have been a place for sun worship, or an ancient calendar. A nearby ancient settlement, Durrington Walls, shows evidence of more pork consumption during the midwinter, suggesting that perhaps ancient people made pilgrimages to Stonehenge for the winter solstice, Parker Pearson and his colleagues have found.

Stonehenge may have also been a burial ground, or a place of healing. Tombs and burials surround the site, and some skeletons found nearby hail from distant lands. For example, archaeologists reported in 2010 that they’d found the skeleton of a teenage boy wearing an amber necklace near Stonehenge. The boy died around 1550 B.C. An analysis of his teeth suggested he came from the Mediterranean. It’s possible that ill or wounded people traveled to Stonehenge in search of healing, some archaeologists believe.

Other researchers have focused on the sounds of Stonehenge. The place seems to have “lecture-hall” acoustics, according to research released in May. One archaeologist even suggests that the setup of the stones was inspired by an acoustical effect in which two sounds from different sources seem to cancel each other out.

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Sandusky Guilty on 45 Counts of Sex Abuse

Image: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, leaves court in handcuffs after being convicted on Friday (© Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse Friday night and faces spending the rest of his life in state prison. His attorney said he would appeal the verdict.

Sandusky’s attorney, Joseph Amendola, asked Judge John Cleland to allow Sandusky to be released on house arrest, but Cleland summarily rejected the request, saying: “Bail is revoked. Mr. Sandusky is remanded to the custody of the sheriff.”

Michael Isikoff, John Yang, Ron Allen, Marianne Haggerty and Hannah Rapplye of NBC News and Jim Gold of contributed to this report by Kimberly Kaplan of NBC News and M. Alex Johnson of Follow M. Alex Johnson on Twitter and Facebook.

Sandusky was immediately led out of the courthouse in handcuffs as a large crowd of onlookers cheered. Sentencing was set for late September.

Sandusky, 68, the former longtime defensive coordinator for the Penn State University football team, had denied all 48 counts alleging that he abused 10 boys over 15 years. Two grand jury reports accused him of having used his connection to one of the nation’s premier college football programs to “groom” the boys, whom he met through his Second Mile charity for troubled children, for sexual relationships.

Several of the counts are so-called mandated felonies, meaning Cleland has no discretion in sentencing. NBC News reported that he faces a minimum of 60 years in prison.

Cleland, who is a senior judge in McKean County, was brought to Centre County to oversee the trial after local judges recused themselves.

Amendola, who was interrupted by hecklers outside the courthouse several times, said he had expected the outcome and respected the verdict of the jurors, who didn’t speak to reporters afterward.

Defense attorney Joseph Amendola speaks outside the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., after his client, Jerry Sandusky, was found guilty of sexually abusing children.

Amendola said he believed Sandusky had legitimate grounds for appeal, saying his client had “an uphill battle” because of the extensive pretrial publicity.

“We said we were attempting to climb Mount Everest from the bottom of the mountain. Obviously, we didn’t make it,” he said.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, whose office prosecuted Sandusky, said, “A serious child predator … has been held accountable for his crimes.”

Kelly thanked the victims, who she said “came forward to bravely testify in this trial and to finally put a stop to the crimes that were committed.”

“We hope that our search for justice will help them and perhaps others looking on nearby and afar,” she said.

Grace Gordon, 49, of Bellefonte, also welcomed the verdict but lamented the damage the trial had done to Bellefonte and Centre County.

“It’s hard. It really is, to see a small town torn apart like this,” said Gordon, who was outside the courthouse with her 23-year-old son and his girlfriend.

Gordon said her father, wrho worked with Sandusky at Penn State, “would have just been devastated to know about this.”

“You’d never, ever have dreamed that he’d be that kind of person,” Gordon said. “What he did to those kids is just horrendous.”

The university that Sandusky served for decades said in a statement late Friday that “we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing.”

The university said it would seek to “fairly … compensate” the victims and invited them to participate in a program to “facilitate the resolution of claims against the University arising out of Mr. Sandusky’s conduct.”

It said it intended to get in contact with lawyers for the victims “in the near future.”

A trial that riveted the nation
The trial, which opened June 11, culminated months of intense attention that led to the firing of head coach Joe Paterno, who won more games than any other major college football coach in history, many of them with Sandusky at his side.

Paterno died exactly five months ago, a few weeks after the Penn State Board of Trustees dismissed him for not having done enough to stop Sandusky’s abuse.

Jurors heard often-graphic testimony from eight of the 10 victims whose accounts were included in two grand jury reports. They told how Sandusky would first win their trust by giving them gifts and taking them on trips with the football team before progressing to hugging, kissing, increasingly sexual touching and, in some cases, oral and anal sex.

In a rare occurrence in an abuse trial, prosecutors also presented the testimony of a corroborating eyewitness — Sandusky’s former Penn State coaching colleague Michael McQueary, who said that he saw a young boy, identified in the first grand jury report as “Victim 2,” in a Penn State shower with Sandusky.

McQueary said the boy had his hands against the wall and that Sandusky was standing up against him from behind. He said he heard a “skin-on-skin smacking sound” and that he had “no doubt” that Sandusky was engaging in anal sex with the boy.

Because they were sequestered, without access to computers, phones or any other way to hear news coverage, the jury of seven women and five men wouldn’t have heard newer, potentially damaging information from two other accusers that emerged after they began deliberations.

Sandusky’s adopted son Matt said he had been prepared to testify that he, too, was a victim of abuse by his father, according to a statement issued Thursday by attorneys who said they are representing the younger Sandusky.

(NBC News and generally do not identify victims of sexual assaults, but Matt Sandusky chose to identify himself in a public statement released through his attorneys.)

Matt Sandusky: From staunch defender to possibly his father’s most damning accuser

Amendola said Friday night that Jerry Sandusky abandoned plans to testify in his own defense because of the prospect of damaging rebuttal testimony by his son.

Nor would they have heard the account of Travis Weaver, 30, of Ohio, who attended Second Mile camps as a youth. Weaver told NBC News in an interview that aired Thursday night that Sandusky performed oral sex on him in the upstairs bedroom of the Sanduskys’ home.

Weaver testified to one of the two grand juries but wasn’t mentioned in the grand jury reports or called as a witness during the trial.

The end of the trial doesn’t mean the case is over.

Two former top Penn State officials, former Athletic Director Timothy Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz, face perjury charges in connection with their grand jury testimony in December, in which prosecutors alleged that concealed what they knew about Sandusky’s conduct.

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Casey Anthony breaks silence: ‘Obviously, I didn’t kill my daughter’

 Image: File photo of Casey Anthony during her trial (© Joe Burbank/Pool/Reuters)

Casey Anthony, the Florida mother who was acquitted in the death of her 2-year-old daughter , addressed the murder charges Tuesday for the first time since her trial last summer.

In a phone interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Anthony, 26, reportedly said she had been enormously proud of her daughter Caylee, who was last seen June 16, 2008.

“There’s obviously several misconceptions. Obviously, I didn’t kill my daughter,” Morgan said Anthony told him on the phone. “She said that very firmly.”

Morgan did not play the phone interview, but spoke with one of Anthony’s attorneys on “Piers Morgan Tonight” about the conversation.

“If anything, there’s nothing in this world I’ve ever been more proud of, and there’s no one I loved more than my daughter. She’s my greatest accomplishment,” Morgan said Anthony told him.

Caylee was not reported missing until nearly a month after she was last seen, when Anthony’s mother, Cindy, called the police. Morgan said he was “struck” by Anthony’s desire to reiterate that she was innocent.

Casey Anthony sued by man who found her child’s remains

“She said that to you without any prompting, without any rehearsal, without any lawyering whatsoever,” attorney J. Cheney Mason Mason told him Tuesday.

Anthony’s high-profile murder trial was held last July in an Orlando courthouse, which attracted crowds of protesters. During the 13-day trial, Anthony’s lead attorney, Jose Baez, argued Anthony did not report her daughter’s disappearance because Caylee, 2, had accidentally drowned in the Anthony family’s pool, and she feared being accused of intentionally killing the toddler.

Video: Anthony jailhouse tape released

Baez argued Anthony’s father, George, helped dispose of the body after Caylee drowned, calling the death “an accident that snowballed out of  control.” George Anthony denied any involvement.

Six months after Caylee was last seen, her skeletal remains were found less than a mile from her grandparents’ Orlando home. Prosecutors claimed Anthony drugged Caylee with chloroform, and then duct-taped her mouth.

Casey Anthony and her lawyer Jose Baez leave the Orange County Jail in Orlando

Pool  /  REUTERS

Casey Anthony and her lawyer Jose Baez leave the Orange County Jail in Orlando, Fla., on July 17, 2011.

Anthony was acquitted of murder, and she was released from jail on July 17, 2011, to people yelling, “Baby killer!” as the vehicle she was in drove her away from jail. She has lived in an undisclosed location since then amid fears for her safety.

Judge releases Casey Anthony jailhouse video

In the conversation with Morgan – which reportedly lasted about 10 minutes – Anthony reflected on past interviews with the media. “I’ve looked back at some of the interviews. I’m ashamed in many ways of the person that I was, because even then, that wasn’t who I am,” she said, according to Morgan.

In the weeks following Caylee’s disappearance, photos showed Anthony partying in clubs. Baez addressed her seemingly carefree behavior in his defense, arguing Anthony had been sexually abused by her father as a child, and was accustomed to hiding her feelings. George Anthony vehemently denied the molestation claims.

Mason said on CNN on Tuesday, “Casey had a bad background, lots of problems in her history … She didn’t trust anybody.”

Although Anthony was acquitted of murder, she was found guilty of four counts of lying to authorities investigating Caylee’s disappearance.

“I’m 26 now, and I’ve gone through hell,” Anthony reportedly told Morgan in their phone conversation.

Anthony has dropped out of the public eye since her trial, surfacing only on YouTube in January when she released a video diary in which she spoke about the dog she adopted and the computer she owned. The clip didn’t mention Caylee.

Video: Casey Anthony speaks out in online video

“I’m not making gazillions of dollars at the hands of other people, or trying to sell myself to anyone willing to throw a couple of dollars at me,” Anthony said, according to Morgan. “The caricature of me that is out there, it couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Video: Attorney: Don’t ‘read into’ Casey Anthony videos

She is currently serving a year of probation stemming from an unrelated check fraud conviction in 2010.

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Man calls 911 from tree after being mauled by a bear

A hiker who clambered 30 feet up a tree in the Alaskan woods after being mauled by a brown bear is recovering after state troopers rescued him.

From high up in the tree, Ben Radakovich called 911 early Sunday to report the attack three miles from the head of Bird Creek Trail.

“I was mauled by a brown bear,” he gasped in the call. “I’m bleeding bad.”

Radakovich told the emergency operator that he was bleeding from his back and neck, and asked for an ambulance. The call appeared to disconnect at one point, and when Radakovich got back on the line, he told the operator that a bear cub was also on the scene.

“I can hear the brown bear, it’s still huffing in the trees,” he said. “I was able to climb a tree. So I’m as high up in a tree as I can get.”

“The damn thing was batting at me,” he later added.

Troopers reached Radakovich about two hours after his 911 call, KTUU-TV reported.

“He was pretty cold, shivering,” Trooper Tim Lewis told the station. “He had multiple injuries, serious injuries.”

The Associated Press reported that Radakovich, of Eagle River, used ski poles to protect himself.

Radakovich has been released from the hospital, KTUU-TV reported.

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Febreze kills your pets

Image Detail

Please do not use Febreze anywhere near your pets! If you have used it near your pets or on their bedding, clean the bedding/area thoroughly to remove the Febreze, and move the animals away from the area.

Please pass this information on to other pet owners/caretakers,before more animals are injured or killed, and find a safer method of odor control.

Febreze: This product is marketed as something that removes odors without covering them up. However, there is a strong smell to it, but worse than that, Febreze contains zinc chloride. Many birds have already been killed after this product was used in any proximity to them whatsoever, and some dogs have also died. Other dogs have become ill without dying. This product is marketed as safe around animals, and people have sprayed their dogs' bedding to remove the doggy smell, only to discover later on that their dog became deathly ill from it. There is one dog who lost most of her hair after being accidentally sprayed with some Febreze, though this particular incident also had a second factor involved (diet change).The Febreze bottle, as of December, 1998, has a picture on the back of a dog, which leads some people to believe it's safe to use in their bedding.

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