Study: Attending a concert once every two weeks can add nine years to your life

Source: Consequence of Sound

Concerts can be daunting as you get older, what with late start times, a slew of opening acts, and the prospect of standing next to tall, sweaty people for several hours. A new study, however, claims that the effort’s worth it.

Conducted by behavioral science expert Patrick Fagan, the study finds that regular concert attendance can increase one’s lifespan by up to nine years. The logic here is that live music increases feelings of self-worth, closeness to others, and, especially, mental stimulation, all of which contribute to one’s sense of well-being. According to the study, there’s a “positive correlation between regularity of gig attendance and well-being,” and “additional scholarly research directly links high levels of wellbeing with a lifespan increase of nine years.”

These sensations of well-being were measured using psychometric testing and heart-rate tests, and the study says experiencing a gig for just 20 minutes can result in a 21% increase in feelings of well-being. The study’s recommendation is that one concert every two weeks will score one’s “happiness, contentment, productivity and self-esteem at the highest level.”

Does that sound like a load of hooey to you? Yeah, maybe, but who are we to argue? Some of the most fun we’ve ever had has been at concerts, and who’s going to disagree that happy people are likely to live longer?

Also, this isn’t the first time scientists have come to such a conclusion: An August 2016 study found that most folks who regularly attend concerts report feeling happier about their lives overall.

The study from researchers at Australia’s Deakin University surveyed 1,000 people and found that those who attended any sort of communal musical experience — whether that be Big Day Out (concert festival) or just a night out dancing — reported higher levels of satisfaction with their lives.

The study also specifically found that the communal aspect was the important part, as regularly listening to music alone did not cause the same effect on “social well- being”. Which means that music journalists will have to find another scapegoat for their cynicism and general grumpitude.

Source: NJ Spotlight

The state Department of Human Services announced yesterday that language changes in the recently adopted state budget would make it easier for Medicaid patients to obtain medications — like gums, lozenges, and skin patches — to help them quit. The revision removes the current managed-care requirements that a doctor provide prior approval for this treatment.

In addition, the DHS said that — starting in January — Medicaid patients would also have access to smoking cessation programs like federally approved group counseling sessions. There is currently no reimbursement for these types of services.

While smoking rates have declined in the Garden State — to less than 14 percent of adults, and nearly 12 percent of high school students — and continue to be below the national average, tobacco use is significantly higher among Medicaid members than the general public. Cigarette smoking has been definitively linked to lung cancer (87 percent of lung cancer is attributed to tobacco use), heart disease, stroke, asthma, diabetes, reproductive problems for women, and low birth-weight babies, among other conditions.

Michael Seilback, a national vice president and state public policy director for the American Lung Association, said the state’s change would make it easier for people to “quit this deadly addiction, once and for all.” The association had previously given New Jersey an “F” for its smoking cessation efforts.

At the Assembly hearing in May, officials with the American Heart Association said New Jersey spends more than $1 billion annually on treating smoking-related conditions among Medicaid patients. While there was no estimate available for what the expanded coverage would cost, federal data collected as part of the Massachusetts program showed the Bay State saved $3 for every $1 it invested in the expanded cessation programs.

“Expanding access to tobacco cessation treatment for Medicaid patients will save lives, improve health, and save the state money by reducing healthcare costs,” added Dr. Jacqueline Schwanwede, president of the Northern New Jersey Board of Directors of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, in praising the DHS’s decision to move forward on its own. “Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, but smokers often need help to quit this deadly habit.”

Under the changes instituted by the DHS, the state will now cover all seven tobacco cessation medications approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, as well as the three forms of counseling that have been shown to help smokers quit. The FDA also offers a free text-messaging service designed to help tobacco users give up the habit.

According to a Heart Association poll, three out of four smokers want to quit and 80 percent have tried; 45 percent have tried more than three times. (One lawmaker, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen), conceded it took her seven tries to kick the habit.)

In November, the state raised to 21 the legal age to purchase cigarettes.

Source: Hudson Reporter

Representatives of Christ Hospital, the Mo’Hair Foundation of Jersey City, and local elected officials cut the ribbon for a new Mo’Hair Foundation Salon at Christ Hospital intended to help men, women, and children struggling to maintain their self-esteem while battling cancer.

In a room filled with pink balloons and posters depicting before and after shots of people who received wigs to compensate for hair loss from cancer treatment, officials praised the work of Mo’Hair Foundation founder and CEO Monique Smith Andrews and said they looked forward to bringing her work to Christ Hospital.

The Mo’Hair Foundation is a Jersey City-based non-profit organization that provides free non-surgical hair replacement for cancer patients and other individuals who have lost their hair as a result of their medical treatment.

Along with developing a clientele of celebrities, sports figures, and politicians as well as people in the community, Andrews is considered a master stylist and makeup artist who has received numerous awards for her charity work. A native of Bayonne, she graduated from Natural Motion Beauty School in 1983 and opened her salon Monique’s Techniques in 1988.

Andrews’ mother was diagnosed with cancer when Andrews was still studying to become a hair stylist. Her mother didn’t seem to have any other viable options while being treated — many patients she met were forced to wear bad-fitting and poor-looking wigs or cover their heads with scarves. So she started researching human hair alternatives to wigs and soon plunged into the world of non-surgical hair replacement. This led to the establishment of the Mo’Hair Foundation to provide services for free to people who cannot afford them.

Since 2009, Andrews has been performing the free temporary hair replacement service and has helped more than 100 people at her business location. She said the opening of a salon at Christ Hospital was a dream come true. She said her mother’s dream was to help cancer victims. She opened the hair replacement salon at Christ Hospital in honor of her mother. The new Christ-hospital location offers patients greater access as well as increased privacy, while reaching an even greater population.

“We are honored to partner with the Mo’Hair Foundation to bring this important service to those individuals who need it most,” said Dr. Natasha Deckmann, chief executive officer for CarePoint Health. “We are constantly working to foster partnerships such as this to help us deliver the highest quality of healthcare to the community as well as added services that improve our patients’ overall experience.”

CarePoint Health CEO Dr. Natasha Deckmann and others said people who feel good about themselves tend to heal better. One of the professionals at the ceremony could speak from experience — a social worker who is an 8-year cancer survivor who struggled with self-esteem during treatment.


At age 12, Antonia Montalvo was given drugs by a family member who struggled with substance abuse; that person would leave her in New Brunswick while seeking a high.

She went to Rutgers Preparatory School, but lived a “double life,” hanging around drug dealers in New Brunswick. She suffered physical abuse, rape and domestic violence. She is afflicted with Crohn’s disease and sarcoidosis. She has overdosed several times and has even been pronounced dead. Her father was murdered.

She lived at four treatment centers and two recovery homes, but she said she wasn’t ready to do the work. “I was logically doing it, but wasn’t doing it through the heart,” she said. On June 13, 2015, she overdosed for the last time – coincidentally on St. Anthony’s Day, her namesake.

She had an experience where a shaman lady helped guide her through energy she received through her awakening from Christ. She experienced emotional freedom techniques to release her stored traumas. She said she saw a vision in the clouds, almost like her ego dismantling itself. That’s when Montalvo decided to change her life for good:

“There is never a moment in time I don’t think and feel the wreckage of what I did, it never goes away, but it can get better and it will get better. The minute you decide you’re going to change, you’re getting better. Allow the space, the wreckage, to keep you humble — and use the pain for strength and purpose.”

Six months into her recovery, Montalvo founded the Antonia Maria Foundation. On March 14, 2017, she established Gracie’s House (named after her grandmother) in a house her family owns in North Brunswick.

There are six beds – two singles and two doubles – for stays that range from three to 24 months. There is a shared bathroom and kitchen, plus a nook to sit and read and a living room with a shared television. Each woman gets her own bed with fresh linens, a closet and a dresser.

There are goddess cards, spirit animals, essential oils, Native American medicine, crystals, imagery, vision boards, yoga and reiki available to help connect each woman to her creative self. There is no religious affiliation, as women can follow whichever spiritual path fits them best.

Now, Montalvo considers herself to be the victor, not the victim. She said she uses her past addiction to empower herself. That desire to want more and more has turned into growth.

Montalvo is selling Nama-slay My Recovery T-shirts to help fundraise, and she hopes to open a second house in the fall.

Gracie’s House is at 828 Livingston Ave., North Brunswick. To donate, volunteer, partner, visit
Antonia Montalvo can be reached at 888-633-2693 or 732-823-8350.


When Bridgewater resident Patricia Guest stumbled upon an unresponsive raccoon in her back yard, she didn’t hesitate to jump into action: “I own a pet-sitting business and I work in rescue. I’ve been around animals my whole life; it’s my nature to help animals in need.”

After putting on gloves, she gently pushed the animal into a box before transporting it to her car to AnimERge, a 24-hour veterinary hospital in Raritan. Staff members told her that the animal had the potential to be rabid and that they would be sending it to a lab for testing. They gave her a document about what her next steps should be. “I have to admit, I didn’t read it right away,” Guest said.

What she should have done is gone for treatment for her and her four dogs the next day. Four days later, Guest was informed by the New Jersey Department of Health that the raccoon that she touched had tested positive for rabies, and that she and her dogs needed to be treated as soon as possible.

Guest received the Post-Exposure Prophylactic Regimen (PEP), which includes one initial shot, immune-globulin injections based on the patient’s weight, and three additional shots in the days following. “Most people think that the vaccines are getting shots in your stomach, but they’re not,” Guest says. “They’re like tetanus shots — you’re a little sore afterwards but that’s it.”

Her dogs were in the middle of their three-year vaccination, and were taken in for their rabies booster shots the day after the initial contact. Additionally, they will need to be observed for the next 45 days.

Though shaken and exhausted by her ordeal, Guest is looking to educate other people to prevent them from making the same mistakes that she did. “I feel that it’s important for people to know the procedure for what to do and what not to do.”

If you find a suspicious or dead animal, Guest urges you to contact Animal Control or the police department, and to not make the same mistake that she did. “They have the expertise to deal with a potentially dangerous or even a fatal matter,” she said.

Peter Leung of the Bridgewater Department of Health stresses the importance of washing the wounds with soap and water after contact with an infected animal along with scheduling a doctor’s visit. “If you wash yourself or your dog or cat right away, it inactivates the virus right away.”

According to the NJ Department of Health, there have been a total of 250 cases of rabies in New Jersey since 2017.
Do NOT interact with a potentially hazardous animal.
Rabies Fact Sheet | Wagging Tail Walkabouts Pet Sitting

Group B Strep Awareness: Group B Strep · Centers for Disease Control · Donate

Source: New Jersey Department of Health

Group B streptococcus (STREP-toe-KAH-kiss) is a type of bacteria that is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborns: About 10% to 30% of pregnant women carry the GBS bacteria in their genital tracts, and pregnant women can pass GBS to their newborns shortly before or during delivery. It is the most common causes of sepsis (invasive infection). Two forms of GBS infection occur in newborns:

Early-onset symptoms usually are present within the first 24 hours of life (range: 0 to 6 days) and may include:
– Respiratory distress (gasping and difficulty breathing)
– Shock
– Pneumonia
– Meningitis (swelling of the lining around the brain)

Late-onset conditions usually happen 3 to 4 weeks (range: 7 days to 3 months) of age, and symptoms include:
– Bacteremia (bacteria in the blood)
– Meningitis

To prevent GBS in newborns, pregnant women should be screened for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. If a health care provider suspects GBS, samples of the patient’s blood and/or spinal fluid will be examined. GBS infection is treated with antibiotics.

GBS can also occur in other age groups of both genders. In adults, GBS affects mostly the elderly and persons with chronic health problems and weak immune systems, causing infections of the urinary tract, blood, lungs, skin, soft tissue, bones, or joints.
To prevent GBS in adults, practice good hand washing habits (rubbing hands together under warm soapy water for at least 15 seconds), or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.