Friday, October 6, 2017

Wiggle Balls recalled by Toys "R" Us: choking hazard to infants

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported today, October 5, 2017, a recall involving Bruin Infant Wiggle Ball toys also called a giggle ball. They were sold exclusively at Babies “R” Us or Toys “R” Us.

"The firm has received six reports of rubber knobs breaking off, including four reports of pieces of the product found in children's mouths." the report said.

From the news release:

This recall involves Bruin Infant Wiggle Ball toys also called a giggle ball. The blue ball has textured bumps for gripping and has orange, green and yellow rubber knobs around the ball. The ball wiggles, vibrates and plays three different musical tunes. It has an on/off switch and requires 3 AA batteries to operate. The recalled wiggle balls have model number 5F6342E and Toys “R” Us printed on the product.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled balls, take them away from babies and return them to Babies “R” Us or Toys “R” Us for a full refund.
The firm has received six reports of rubber knobs breaking off, including four reports of pieces of the product found in children's mouths.
Sold Exclusively At:
Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us stores nationwide from June 2016 through January 2017 for about $13.
Toys “R” Us Inc., of Wayne, N.J.
Toys “R” Us Inc., of Wayne, N.J.

Toys “R” Us at 800-869-7787 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at and click on Product Recalls for more information.
Manufactured In: 
About 29,700 (about 3,000 were sold in Canada)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Does your dog vote “lets go” or “stay” by sneezing?

When it comes to domesticated dogs, there is no evidence that sneezing is used to communicate, but in the African Wild Dog population of Botswana, sneezing seems to be used to vote: “Let’s go on a hunt” or “lets not”. 

Free cartoons at

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Research: Specialized talk therapy and antidepressants help children and teens

A specialized mental health treatment called, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been clinically shown, many times over the last few years, to help patients deal with common diagnoses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders.
CBT is a form of talk therapy that teaches patients how to challenge negative patterns of thought, about themselves and their world; thoughts that often lead them to self-destructive decisions and behaviors.
This research looked at how CBT worked by itself, and with mental health medication, for childhood anxiety disorders.
The medications were:
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), are a class of antidepressants that work by increasing levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the brain. SSRIs slow how quickly the brain picks up serotonin from between the nerve synapsis, thus leaving more available for the nerves to use.
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), is a class of antidepressants that work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters) in the brain. SNRIs slow how quickly the brain picks up serotonin and norepinephrine from between the nerve synapsis, thus leaving more available for the nerves to use. SNRIs affect a wider range of neurotransmitters and are often used with multiple types of mood disorders.
Size of the study and its findings
•This meta-analysis looked at data from 7,719 patients in 115 studies. 4290 (55.6%) were female, and the mean (range) age was 9.2 (5.4-16.1) years. A meta-analysis statistically analyzes data from multiple studies.
•When SSRIs were compared to placebo pills, this study found that SSRIs significantly reduced anxiety in patients.
•Patients in this study taking Benzodiazepines and tricyclics (Older forms of anti-anxiety medication, tranquilizers.)
•Concerning CBT the researchers wrote:
When CBT was compared with wait-listing/no treatment, CBT significantly improved primary anxiety symptoms, remission, and response. Cognitive behavioral therapy reduced primary anxiety symptoms more than fluoxetine and improved remission more than sertraline. The combination of sertraline and CBT significantly reduced clinician-reported primary anxiety symptoms and response more than either treatment alone.
•It was noted that medication had some negative side effects while CBT did not:
Adverse events were common with medications, but not with CBT, and were not severe. Studies were too small or too short to assess suicidality with SSRIs or SNRIs. One trial showed a statistically nonsignificant increase in suicidal ideation with venlafaxine [antidepressant brand name Effexor XR].
• Cognitive behavioral therapy had fewer patient dropouts than placebo pills or medications.

Read the research paper
Citation: Wang Z, Whiteside SPH, Sim L, Farah W, Morrow AS, Alsawas M, Barrionuevo P, Tello M, Asi N, Beuschel B, Daraz L, Almasri J, Zaiem F, Larrea-Mantilla L, Ponce OJ, LeBlanc A, Prokop LJ, Murad MH. Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Pharmacotherapy for Childhood Anxiety DisordersA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. Published online August 31, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.3036

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Humans, monkeys, and rats laugh, but why?

I am asked this question often, "Why do we laugh?" My common answer is, "As social animals it helps us deal with the stress of being social animals."

In this 17 minute TED Talk, Dr. Sophie Scott, talks about her own and other's research into the subject.

Most of this TED talk is information based and quite interesting, but by the end I was gasping for air in full laughter. Then she explained why. Educational and fun... not a bad way to learn.

Sophie Scott, Ph.D is the deputy director of the University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Did you hear about the lady that said she was haunted in L.A. California?

In this TED talk we meet Carrie Poppy. She feared she was haunted. Her story is fascinating.

Even after a home cleansing ritual she heard voices, she felt uncomfortable, she was scared and confused... She needed to know the truth.

(13 minutes long, worth every second.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What makes a happy and healthy life... Long term study says:

Robert Waldinger is the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a 77 year longitudinal study looking at what makes us happy and healthy throughout out lives.

Some of the original subjects were Harverd College men, others were the poor of the poor from inner city Boston. 

In this 13 minute TED talk you get an update on this study and what it means for you personally. What makes people happy and healthy over a lifetime isn't, money or wealth its is...