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LIFELINE
NEWS IN BRIEF

Become a lifeguard

The Jewish Community Center on North Forest Road in Getzville is offering three lifeguarding classes for certification from the American Red Cross. Classes will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays from April 30 to May 21. Participants must be at least 15 years old and there is a prerequisite swim test. Attendance is mandatory at all classes. For more information and to register, call Sarah DeVantier at 688-4114, Ext. 326.

Refined carbs raise blood fats

A spare tire and rising insulin levels are often the first signs that your risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes is taking off. You may be able to head off a third serious risk factor, high blood triglycerides, simply by choosing healthful complex carbohydrates over refined ones, French researchers found.

Prevention magazine reports that nine obese people with excess belly fat and insulin resistance -- but no diabetes -- ate a breakfast based on complex carbs similar to whole grain cereal on one day. On another day, they breakfasted on "bad" refined carbs like those in Danish pastry. Their blood levels of triglycerides rose 50 percent less following the good-carb meal than the bad-carb one.

Bonus: Sticking to complex carbs may also boost blood levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol, other research suggests.

An easier pill to swallow

Have difficulty swallowing pills? Common mistakes include taking too many pills together or tossing them back, which can lead to choking or having the medication become lodged in your throat. Here are some how-to tips from Family Circle magazine:

To make sure a pill goes down smoothly and completely, take it when you're sitting up or standing and with cool water instead of a hot beverage or soda. Prepare your throat by taking a few sips of liquid. After placing the pill on your tongue as far back as you can, take a big gulp to wash it down your throat. Finish with a full glass of water. Don't lie flat for at least a half hour after taking a pill, as this may delay its progress through the esophagus and into the stomach. Avoid gel capsules, which become sticky when wet and harder to swallow.

See a professional if you continue to have problems. Ask the pharmacist if a liquid or powder form of the medication is available.

Hold the caffeine

If you find yourself suddenly at a loss for words, consider how much coffee, tea, and cola you've been drinking. Italian scientists found that 16 students who took a caffeine pill equivalent to two cups of coffee (200 milligrams) had 66 percent more tip-of-the-tongue events, which occur when you find it hard to retrieve a familiar word, than the 16 students given dummy pills.

More coffee news: A Johns Hopkins University review of 66 studies found symptoms of headache, fatigue, nausea, and muscle pain can occur after stopping a one-cup-of-coffee-a-day habit.

Guarantee your baby's smile

The same nutrient, folate, that moms-to-be take to protect their infants from spinal deformities may also help babies' faces form properly. Prevention magazine reports that Dutch researchers compared supplement use by 377 mothers, half of whom had children with cleft lips or palates or both. Women who took 400 mcg (micrograms) of folate per day from four weeks before conception until the eighth week of pregnancy had about half the risk of having babies with the birth defect. Often overlooked: Take a daily multi with 400 mcg of folate if there's any chance you might get pregnant.

Compiled from News and wire service reports.