Studies Reveal that Meds and Patches Do Help Smokers Quit

A recent study has finally confirmed that smokers have more success quitting when they use nicotine patches or prescription medications in their efforts.

Karin Kasza, the study leader, wrote in conclusion:

“Smokers in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States are more likely to succeed in quit attempts when they use drugs or nicotine patches.”

The study surveyed more than 7,000 adult smokers in the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia, discussing their previous attempts to drop the habit. The study then researched who had managed to stay smoke-free for at least six months. Around 2,200 of the participants used nicotine patches or prescription medications in their attempt, while the rest did not.

18% of the nicotine users, 15% of those who used antidepressants, and 19% of the varenicline users managed to stay away from cigarettes for at least half a year. In comparison, only 5% of those without medication managed to commit to their quitting attempts for the full 6 months.

The study also discovered that the successful, non-medicated smokers tended to be younger, healthier, less addicted to nicotine, and more confident. However, according to Reuters, “the study does not prove that the medications are responsible for the greater success in quitting, merely that people who use them are more likely to quit.”

Kasza’s report adds, “The disappointing reality is that even when people use these medications to help them quit, relapse is still the norm. It’s better than nothing, but it’s by no means a magic bullet.”

It’s a Plane, It’s a Car…No, It’s a Train

When traveling around Europe (or many other locations for that matter) people most often think about using a plane. What they don’t realize, however, is that traveling by train might actually be a better option for them. Here’s why:

  1. Check in times are much more complicated for a flight than they are for a train. If you think about the length of the journey, and add in check in times, baggage hassles and waiting time, you might just see that the train gets you there faster.
  2. You can bring more baggage. Remember, when you take the train, that there is no limit to your baggage. This is a big plus for many people, particularly today when they appear to be charging for every item you try to bring on the plane.
  3. Lines: There are much shorter lines when you take the train and security is nothing like it is with a flight.
  4. The seats are infinitely more comfortable on the train – and you can get up and walk around. Enjoy a snack in the buffet cars and walk the length of the train, as you desire. And when you’re ready to relax, you’ll find a far more comfortable seat than the one on the plane.

Find more information about trains around Europe with, and

‘Exergames’ Put the Fun in Cerebral Palsy Therapy

Darcy Fehlings is the physician-director of the child development program at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Center. She is also a senior scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute. In this position, she works on new therapies for children and teens suffering from cerebral palsy.

One of her recent projects was a collaborative two-year study with Nick Graham of Queen’s University. Alongside the computer science professor, Fehlings created “exergames”- videogames that aim to improve physical fitness and capability in cerebral palsy patients.

This past summer, the testing phase began. Seven teenagers are participating in the project by playing the games from home. Each player sits on a bicycle in front of a television screen. Pedaling powers the game, and game pads allow the players to control their avatars through numerous live challenges. An attached headset lets the players talk to each other during the game.

Fehling explains: “Part of the work of being a child is to play games. If we can address that interest, it will make therapies much more fun for kids with cerebral palsy.” Lara Wong, a 15 year old participating in the exergames testing, said: “It’s a very beneficial thing to do, and it’s just awesome and fun. The people in the group are my friends, and I’ve noticed a difference in them too.”

Save Money AND Time with Homemade Meals

Shifting economic conditions and busy markets have families and individuals grappling with the stress of maintaining full-time jobs and personal lives as household expenses and bills reach new heights. Thanks to long, tiring days and limited time at home, convenience foods like microwave meals, boxed-meals, frozen foods and pre-made mixes are becoming more popular amongst the majority of American households. These products are also some of the most expensive in the market.

Basic ingredients like flour, sugar, oil and eggs are all significantly cheaper, but demanding work schedules, lack of knowledge, and often laziness, deter many people from cooking homemade meals.  However, there are in fact many practical ways to take advantage of these inexpensive products. Not only will they save money on an almost daily basis; they pose as a great way to spend quality time with family members over the weekends as well.

Pizza dough can be stored in the freezer for months, so why not sacrifice one hour over the weekends to make a triple batch and save it for a later date? This can also double as dough for garlic bread sticks, which make a great side to vegetable or onion soup. Waffles, bagels, quiches and desserts can also be frozen and used the same way. Soup is another great option, as it can be kept in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, so one large pot made on Sunday will save money throughout the entire week. Though it takes hours to cook, the actual preparation time can be kept down to around 20 minutes.

There are hundreds more recipes and dishes that can be prepared in advance. Thanks to today’s internet, these time-efficient, money-saving meals are only a Google search away!


A Simple Bathroom Makeover

Are the long-neglected details of your home begging for a makeover? Thanks to creative, organized minds around the world, taking on this endeavor is not nearly as difficult as it seems.

Woman’ discusses several ways to add character to your home without too much effort or impact on your wallet. Here are some ideas for updating your bathroom’s look:

  • “Add a healthy dose of pattern and color to the inside of your medicine cabinet,” the magazine suggests. “Remove the shelves, then use spray adhesive to line the back of the cabinet with craft paper or wallpaper scraps.”
  • Next, “spruce up a set of plain store-bought towels with custom trim. Select thick grosgrain ribbon that suits your style, then stitch it along the edges of your linens.”
  • For hooks and racks, “hang a peg rack or an assortment of coat hooks instead of a traditional towel bar. Or fashion simple, rustic hooks from sturdy branches with good angles. Use a fine-toothed saw to make clean cuts, sand the edges and drill two holes for mounting.”
  • Make sure to reuse- “Repurpose everyday items into one-of-a-kind accessories: a galvanized metal bucket or ceramic planter is an unusual trash can, and screw-top jelly jars are cool catchalls for cottonballs, cotton swabs and bath salts.”
  • Consider using adhesive wall decals, which “transform a blank wall into a striking mural. An alternative to wallpaper and stencils, they add graphic punch and are easily removeable.”
  • Keep it green- “Treat the bathroom like any other room in the house by introducing natural elements such as a potted plant or fresh flowers.”
  • “Off-the-shelf vanity cabinets get an extreme makeover with high gloss paint,” Woman’s Day points out. “Go the whole hog or use painter’s tape to outline a thin faux trim in a peppy hue.”