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While You Were Sleeping: November 2013 

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Running on the treadmill and swimming a few laps in the pool might seem like your typical morning workout, but what about for your dog? Obesity has become an epidemic for man's best friend, and while owners may not resist the wide-eyed beggars during dinner, many trainers have been working hand-in-paw to shave off those puppy pounds. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 50 percent of American dogs are overweight, propelling doggie fitness organizations, such as the Morris Animal Inn in Morristown, New Jersey, and the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, to help slim down these furry friends. As in humans, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and diseases of the kidneys and respiratory system are all linked to obesity, and breeds like dachshunds, beagles, and Labradors are all prone to such ailments. "[Dogs] don't hunt for their food anymore," says popular dog trainer Cesar Millan, "but they should work for food."

Source: New York Times

Though baby wipes may make your bum feel nice, flushing these towelettes down the toilet may be causing discomfort for many more. These small cloths, even those labeled as flushable, are being blamed for sewage clogs and backups across the nation. Clogs reached such severity that sewage officials in western New York State set up traps in the sewage systems to find what houses were flushing wipes, later pleading for them to stop. The problem lies in their inability to dissolve in the water. In Vancouver, Washington, sewage officials dyed multiple wipes to see if they would break down. Aside from a few rips and tears, none decomposed, even those claiming to be flushable. "Only flush pee, poop, and toilet paper," says Nicholas Arhontes, director of facilities support services in Orange County, California, "because those are the only things that sanitary sewers were really designed for in the old days."

Source: ABCNews

What if the story of Pocahontas, a tale of a girl whose land was tragically ripped away by foreigners, ended in her body dangling from a tree of her own will? This has become the fate for many young men and women in indigenous Brazilian tribes as their suicide rates reach among the highest in the world. With the bodies of young men and woman being found dead weekly hanging from trees by ropes, belts, and cloth, many refer to this epidemic as a "silent genocide." Human rights lawyer Mary Nolan blames the tribe's lack of land: "The Guarani people think their relationship with the universe is broken when they are separated from their land." Suicides began in the 1970s amongst the first generation of tribe members to grow up on reservations. The issue has only worsened since as indigenous leaders who try to reclaim the land from wealthy farmers are beaten and murdered.

Source: Guardian

Public health advocates and professionals have noticed a growing trend of eroding brown teeth in the residents of Appalachia. The infamously sugary drink Mountain Dew has been enduring the bulk of criticism as the epidemic has been commonly deemed "Mountain Dew mouth." Surveys have shown that 26 percent of preschoolers in the region have tooth decay, while 15 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds have had tooth extractions from decay. Reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 67 percent of West Virginians 65 or older have lost six or more teeth from tooth decay or gum disease.

Source: National Public Radio

With more than half of US states rejecting the Medicaid expansion, the poor blacks, single mothers, and low-wage workers who expected healthcare coverage will be denied. The 26 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion are home to nearly half of the country's population and 68 percent of poor uninsured blacks and single mothers. Many have even surfaced an argument regarding race, a subject rarely mentioned in state-level debates, claiming that exclusion maintains discriminatory undertones. Mississippi Republican leaders claim that many are already on Medicaid and that only a third of the state would have been insured with the program upon passing the expansion. However, poorer individuals excluded from the expansion will not be subject to fines for lacking coverage. Nearly eight million Americans who are impoverished and uninsured will be ineligible for the Medicaid expansion as a result of the 26 states that rejected the healthcare plan.

Source: New York Times

Though climate change has become the scientific term designated to the environmental epidemic of the 21st century, global warming might fit the bill a bit more accurately. Scientists predict that, by 2047, the globe's coldest temperatures might be higher than its highest temperatures of the past if greenhouse emissions continue increasing. The tropics are thought to experience this climate change sooner than other regions, placing greater stress on the coral reefs and forests found there. However, the models that have predicted this environmental shift project that, upon global efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses, the change could be thwarted 20 to 25 years. Camilo Mora's research, as conducted by a group of graduate students, compared temperature changes in specific places to historical norms, something the thousands of previously published climate change models had not explored. Specifically, the test concluded that annual climates will be dramatically hotter in 2047 than anything experienced between 1860 and 2005.

Source: New York Times

The fear of sexual harassment persists for employees across America, but with strict laws protecting people in the workplace, their worries are greatly diminished. That fear, however, now remains for unpaid interns who cannot file for sexual harassment against their employers. Lihuan Wang, a recent intern at Phoenix Satellite Television US, was denied her legal standing for charges she made of sexual harassment after her supervisor, Liu Zhengzhu, allegedly made sexual passes at her. Wang claims that, when alone, Zhengzhu wrapped his arms around her, grabbed her buttocks, and tried to kiss her, proclaiming, "Why are you so beautiful?" The US District Court for the Southern District of New York decided that, as an unpaid intern and not an employee, Wang could not file a suit for sexual harassment under the New York City Human Rights Law. Wang is now filing for failure to hire since she did not submit to the sexual advances. Pheonix, however, claims that Wang never applied for a paid position.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Many often joke that they are addicted to junk food, but recent studies show that this might be entirely accurate. A neuroscience research team at Connecticut College found that lab rats became as addicted to Oreos as they had to cocaine. The experiment put rats into a maze with rice cakes on one side and Oreos on the other. Similarly to humans, the rats much preferred the Oreos over the rice cakes, while eating the creamy fillings first. The scientists compared this experiment to the results of another in which rats on one side of a maze got injected with saline and cocaine on the other. As was not the case for the rice cakes, the rats spent an equal amount of time on the cookie side as the cocaine side. In fact, evidence reveals that sugary treats activate more neurons in the brain's "pleasure center" than do drugs like cocaine.

Source:Today Show

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