Surgeons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have successfully transplanted kidneys from a genetically modified pig into the abdomen of a 57-year-old man, who was clinically brain dead.

According to the New York Times, the kidneys functioned well without signs of rejection. The landmark procedure occurred just weeks after University of Maryland surgeons completed a successful pig-to-human heart transplant.

Researchers believe that organs grown in genetically modified animals could potentially save countless lives. In the United States alone, more than a dozen people die every day while waiting for a kidney transplant.


1 large butternut squash, peeled and sliced (discards seeds and pulp)

2 red onions, cut into wedges

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 1/2 tablespoons light tahini paste

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon za’atar spice

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss squash and onion in a bowl with olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt and some black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are fully cooked.

For the sauce, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic and teaspoon of salt until you have a liquid the consistency of honey. Add more water or tahini as necessary.

To serve, spread the vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle with the tahini sauce.

This is a heart-healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipe. Butternut squash is also high in insoluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar to promote fullness and regulate blood sugar.

Tahini-based sauce, made from sesame seeds, is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The olive oil, which is used to roast the squash, contains omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol.


Freedom Day, Feb. 1. This day commemorates the signing of a resolution for the 13th amendment to the American Constitution, which proposed the abolishment of slavery.

Groundhog Day, Feb. 2. This American tradition celebrates the weather prediction made by a groundhog.

National Pizza Day, Feb. 9. Whether you call it a pizza or a pie, it's time to celebrate that crowd- favorite food and top it with whatever you like!

Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Don't forget to express your love and affection to the one who matters most to you.

National Chili Day, Feb. 23. Celebrating the ultimate winter cook-off dish! Do you prefer it with or without beans?


Heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires in North America. But during winter, it is the leading cause according to the National Fire Protection Association. To avoid home-heating fires, remember these rules:

Portable heaters fueled by gas, kerosene, wood or coal: All heaters must be at least 36 inches away from anything that can burn. Never leave them on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep. And never dry clothing on a heater.

Kerosene heaters: Use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. (Never use gasoline!) When refueling, turn off the heater and let it cool before adding fuel. Wipe up spills promptly. Store kerosene away from heat or open flame in an approved container.

Fireplaces: Have the chimney inspected prior to the start of the heating season and cleaned if necessary. Creosote builds up in chimneys and causes chimney fires. Always use a sturdy screen when the fireplace is in use. Remember to burn only wood. (Never burn paper or pine boughs.) And never use flammable liquids in a fireplace.

Wood stoves: Be sure the stove meets local fire codes and is properly installed and maintained. Chimney connections should be inspected at the beginning of each heating season. Follow the same safety rules for wood stoves as for space heaters. Burn only wood, and ensure the stove has approved stove boards below it and behind it to protect floors and walls.


Nearly 20% of cars on the road have a loose gas cap. The Car Council says an unsealed cap allows gasoline to vaporize, reducing your mileage by up to 2 miles a gallon. That's as bad as under inflated tires, dirty air filters and worn spark plugs.

Always twist the gas cap until you hear it click. On older vehicles, check for a  tight seal.

Driving 55 mph saves gas, but as long as you keep your speed at 65 or under, you'll save fuel on a trip, according to

On dry roads, use cruise control to maintain a steady speed. On frozen roads, don't use cruise control because you'll want to speed up and slow down as conditions and traffic allow.


Pumping iron is no longer just an activity for young men. Women in their 70s and 80s have taken it up to maintain or increase their strength and fight cognitive decline. The weights they use are determined, at first, by what they can lift and how often.

According to Tufts University, both aerobic activity and resistance training helped prevent a decline in thinking. Tufts reports research in which 86 women ages 70 to 86 were divided into three exercise groups. One group trained twice a week with machines and free weights. The second group was assigned to aerobic exercise, which was mainly an outdoor walking program. The third group performed only balance and stretching exercises. The Stroop Test measured mental performance for selective attention and the ability to deal with conflicting information. The test also involved problem solving, visual attention and task switching.

After six months on the program, the aerobics group and stretching group became physically fitter and had improved balance. Those who lifted weights and did resistance training significantly improved their average performance on the Stroop Test and tests of associative memory. If these findings nudge you to get started with strength training, then check out Growing Stronger, a step-by-step program developed by Tufts experts.


According to legend, there was a stone that looked like an ordinary stone, but when held in your hand, it could make your dreams come true. The stone was hidden on a rocky riverbank among millions of look-alike stones. A person knew when he or she found the real stone because of its warmth, while all the other rocks felt cold.

Hearing about the legend, a man sold all of his possessions and camped on the river. The next morning, he began testing stones.

He picked up an ordinary stone, threw it away if it was cold, picked up another one and threw it again. He repeated the process for hours and then for days. Days turned into weeks. He became good at the process.

One day, he picked up a warm stone and, without even thinking, threw it into the river. Suddenly, he realized what he had done! He had developed such a strong habit of throwing every stone into the river that when the magic stone came along, he still threw it away.

It’s important to notice that not all habits are bad. Sometimes a habit is simply a behavior we’ve repeated enough times that it becomes automatic. Consider the new goals, dreams and aspirations you are pursuing this year, and notice any old habits that could be blocking your pursuit.

Deciding to “throw them away” might require less energy than maintaining habits that are unproductive.

Gino Pezzani
DIEN Realty


Delayed flights, bad weather, clogged airports - and once you make it through the winter travel obstacle course, you might have to sit next to someone with a nasty cold. Save yourself some time and energy and cut back on your stress with these tips.

Pick a morning flight. If your flight is canceled because of bad weather, then you're more likely to find another flight the same day.

Try to find a non-stop flight. If that isn't an option, then look for connecting flights out of airports that aren't experiencing severe weather. In other words, skip that layover in Buffalo.

Charge your electronic devices and have your cables handy. You might not be able to find replacements at the airport, and if you do, they're often wildly overpriced.

Book a window seat. People in middle or aisle seats are more likely to catch colds from other passengers and the flight crew.

Don't forget hand sanitizer. Keep your hands clean and away from your face to reduce your risk of illness.

Have a plan B. You can't control the weather and you probably don't control the FAA, either.


Some high schools require students to complete a certain number of community service hours before graduating. If you are raising your teens or grandkids to be generous and thoughtful individuals, then stress to them the importance of giving back. Here are three ways you can help your teen cultivate a spirit of generosity and a willingness to serve: 

Make it a family affair. Be the example of stewardship you want your teens to follow. Find an organization or a cause that the entire family can get involved with and participate in together.

Let them decide. If your teens have a service project they want to explore, then support them in their efforts. Their ideas are being shaped by their interests and experiences. Your encouragement at this crucial stage in their development will help validate their sense of self-worth and provide an additional boost of motivation.

Even small gestures count. Raising money for charity or volunteering a couple of hours a week at a food bank or a similar civic-minded organization are great ways to give back. So, too, are neighborly deeds, such as shoveling an elderly neighbor’s driveway or pulling their trash cans out to the curb. Teach your teens to never overlook small ways in which they can make a difference.


Here are some silly points to ponder:

  • Age 60 might be the new 40, but 9 p.m. is the new midnight.

  • It’s the start of a brand-new day, and I’m off like a herd of turtles.

  • The older I get, the earlier it gets late.

  • When I say, “the other day,” I could be referring to any time between yesterday and 15 years ago.

  • I remember being able to get up without making sound effects.

  • I had my patience tested. I’m negative.

  • Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, then it comes back as a Tupperware lid that won’t fit any of your containers.

  • If you’re sitting in public and a stranger sits next to you, do you ever just stare straight ahead and say, “Did you bring the money?”

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