For Black Men in US, How a Haircut Could Mean a Longer Life
Dwight Woods has his blood pressure checked by Meghan Welsh at Flotrin's Barber Shop in St. Louis in this file photo | | Download audio (MP3)|
This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
A neighborhood barbershop might seem to some Americans like a thing of the past. Today men often get their hair cut at the same salons as women. But the traditional barbershop still holds a special place in black culture. A barbershop is a place of trust where men can talk about things they might not want women to hear. This is why black-owned barbershops increasingly offer more than just a haircut. Men also receive health education and testing that could save their life. Right now a program called the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program is traveling to fifty cities across the United States. A doctor started the program in California in two thousand seven. It tests men for diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions, and provides information about how to stay healthy. Black men are three times more likely than white men in the United States to die from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.. They are also more likely to get diabetes.
A new study has examined the barbershop health-care model in Dallas, Texas. The study involved about one thousand three hundred customers at seventeen black barbershops. Researchers had the barbers at eight of the shops continue to just give haircuts. The other barbers learned how to measure blood pressure and offered it with every haircut. If a customer had a high blood pressure, the barber would intervene. The customer would be urged to see a doctor.
If the man did not have a doctor, then a visit to one would be set up. Customers who went to a doctor would get their next haircut free of charge. The study lasted ten months.
All of the men had their blood pressure taken at the start. They also received educational materials about hypertension. The study found that blood pressure rates decreased at the shops where the barbers intervened and also at those where they did not. But the difference was in the amount.
Twenty percent of the men who were urged to see a doctor got their blood pressure down to a healthy level. So did only eleven percent of the men who just got haircuts. Researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles did the study, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Doctor Ronald Victor, the study leader, says barbers historically were members of the medical profession. So he thinks it makes a lot of sense for today's barbers to act as "health care extenders" by sharpening their skills. And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. You can comment on our reports on our website, voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Steve Ember. PC Recycler Strikes Gold in Old Computer Chips | Download audio (MP3)| This is the VOA Special English Technology Report. Each year, Americans throw away millions of tons of electronic devices. That means business is good for a small electronics recycler in Chantilly, Virginia Company President Jeremy Faber established PC Recycler. He spoke to us from the floor of his company’s processing center. Workers were busy taking apart televisions, cell phones and computers -- anything electronic. Jeremy Faber says the flow of discarded electronics is only increasing. JEREMY FABER: “Electronics recycling is the fastest growing waste stream in the United States right now.” Recycling electronic waste is not a single job. Newer devices can be rebuilt and resold. . Breaking down electronics into small parts for refiners to melt and purify is another part of the business. Operations Manager Andrew Portare says computer circuit boards are rich resources. ANDREW PORTARE: “Boards have the highest scrap value in them so you can actually see on the back you’re looking at different types of metals. This one is a really good example. Some of the older ones are mainly all gold.” Gold now sells for more than one thousand three hundred dollars an ounce. Twenty-five percent of PC Recycler’s sales come from selling parts to refiners. Refining companies pay more than ten dollars a kilogram for computer boards. PC Recycler can also lift profits by holding metal-rich parts until prices rise. ANDREW PORTARE: “If copper’s up one day, we can ship all of our copper extract and capitalize on the market.” Computers also hold private or secret information. And securing that data is the fastest growing part of PC Recycler's business. Completely removing data from a computer hard drive is not easy. PC Recycler can remove data magnetically or completely destroy and recycle the drives. Discarding waste in a way that meets government environmental protection rules is also important. Old TVs can contain over a kilogram of lead as well as cadmium -- both highly poisonous. PC Recycler supports the Basel Action Network, which seeks to limit harmful waste and technology. The company says it does not export electronics to China, India or Africa where environmental rules are weak. Jeremy Faber says PC Recycler has been in business since two thousand three, expanding from waste management to other, more technical services. JEREMY FABER: “There really isn’t a lot of industries out there that are like this. There’s either the scrap industry where they’re shredding cars and shredding tires and there’s the refurbished PC market and we’re sort of sit right in between both of those.” And that’s the VOA Special English Technology Report. Go to voaspecialenglish.com and click on the Classroom to explore our new English teaching activities. I’m Mario Ritte|
Fight to End Rinderpest Is Declared a Success
Cattle in Dertu, Kenya | Download audio (MP3)|
This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. In nineteen ninety-four, animal health experts started a worldwide campaign to end rinderpest. This disease is closely related to the measles virus but it does not infect people. Yet for thousands of years rinderpest has affected people by killing cattle and other animals and causing starvation. The last known outbreak of rinderpest took place in Kenya in two thousand one. Now the World Organization for Animal Health is declaring victory against this much-feared sickness.Official confirmation is not expected until May, when the organization will have reports from the last few countries. But the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has announced it is ending field operations against riderpest. Jacques Diouf is head of the FAO. JACQUES DIOUF: "Rinderpest affected Africa, Asia and Europe for millennia and caused widespread famine and decimated millions of animals, both domestic and wild." Experts believe rinderpest first came from Asia. The name means "cattle plague" in German. The disease was common in Europe until the nineteenth century. In Africa in the eighteen hundreds, rinderpest killed eight out of ten infected cattle. Whole herds died, leaving people without meat or milk and damaging economies. Rinderpest can spread quickly through the air and in water containing waste from animals with the virus..The disease was deadly in eighty to ninety percent of cases. It mainly sickened cattle and buffalo, but also other animals including giraffes, yaks and antelope. Some areas of the world escaped rinderpest. This was probably because of careful efforts to prevent the import of sick animals. In nineteen ninety-nine, Walter Plowright won the World Food Prize as a hero of the fight against rinderpest. The British researcher fought the disease in Africa in the nineteen fifties and sixties. He led the development of a vaccine called TCRV. A single dose of it could protect animals against rinderpest. Food production increased. Now, rinderpest expert John Anderson calls the end of the disease "the biggest achievement in veterinary history" Officials say they must still decide where to keep some of the virus and infected tissue for future research. Rinderpest is only the second disease ever declared to have been eliminated. The other disease is smallpox. And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. You can read and download our programs at voaspecialenglish.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Bob Doughty.|