Author: John Kling

Should you use Wikipedia for medical information?

No, pal. Let me explain:
even though Wikipedia is one of the Webs most popular reference sites,
it is not a credible resource because anyone is allowed to be a contributor to
the project.

Wikipedia Academic has posted an article explaining everething here

Below is the article:

Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic
community, from first-year students to professors, as the easiest source of
information about anything and everything. However, citation of Wikipedia in
research papers may not be considered acceptable, because Wikipedia is not a
creditable source.

This can be avoided by following two simple rules:

  • Do your research assignment properly. Remember that any
    encyclopedia is a starting point for research, not an ending point.
  • An encyclopedia is great for getting a general understanding of a
    subject before you dive into it. But then you do have to dive into your subject,
    using books and articles and other appropriate sources. What you find in your
    other sources will be more detailed, more precise, and more carefully reasoned
    than the summary you found in an encyclopedia. The sources you cite in your
    paper will be the more detailed sources you have used. All you need to do with
    Wikipedia, then, is thank it in your heart.

An encyclopedia is great for checking little details.
Little details may be:

  • General knowledge that you have forgotten, like the starting date
    of the

    First World War
    or the boiling point of

mercury. In that case, you should recognize the information once you find
it, and know it’s right. Citation is not needed for things that are general

  • A somewhat obscure point, like the population of

    . If this matters for your assignment, you should verify the
    information using a tried and tested source, such as the

    CIA World Factbook
  • A very obscure point, such as the names of the founders of the

Social Democrat Hunchakian Party. This may be almost impossible to find
anywhere other than Wikipedia, unless you read

, which you probably don’t, or are prepared to spend an hour in the
library, which you probably don’t want to. In this case, you should rely on–and

Use your judgment. Remember that all sources have to be


  • If your professor has assigned you an article or a chapter, that
    means your professor thinks it is basically OK. Do you trust your professor?
    That’s usually enough.
  • If a book is in your university library or published by a

    university press
    , or if an article is in a standard

    academic journal
    , that means that several professors at some point thought
    it was basically OK. But time may have passed, and the book or article may now
    be out of date.
  • If your source is a website, it may be great or it may be awful.
  • A Wikipedia article may be as good as (or better than!) an article
    assigned to you by your professor, or it may contain inaccurate information and
    eccentric judgments. It is unlikely to be as bad as the worst sort of website.
    You have to judge.

Progressively Wikipedia data will be referenced with scholarly references. Ideally when you see a reality in Wikipedia you will have the option to rapidly confirm it with an on the web, scholarly source, which you can refer to rather than Wikipedia.

Health Savings Account Change In 2018 Could Trip Up Some Consumers

Health Savings Account - image illustrate coins in a glass

Members of Congress have said they want to loosen rules for health savings accounts. Did they do it in the latest spending bill? Do people who were uncovered for one month in 2017 owe a tax penalty? And how can immigrants who move to the U.S. to retire get insurance? These are the questions I’m tackling for readers this week:

I heard that health savings account rules would be loosened under the new spending bill passed by Congress last month. Did that happen?

No. In fact, the standards have become slightly tighter this year.

In recent years, members of Congress from both parties have supported expanding eligibility for health savings accounts and also expanding the list of ways that money can be spent. To date, though, those proposals, as well as other changes regarding the accounts, haven’t become law.

Health savings accounts, which are linked to high-deductible health plans, continue to multiply. In 2017, there were 22 million accounts totaling more than $45 billion in assets, an increase of 11 percent in the number of accounts over the previous year, according to Devenir, a firm that offers advice on HSA investments.

Consumer News

Money deposited in HSAs is tax-deductible, grows tax-free and can be used without owing tax to pay for medical expenses. Advocates promote the plans as a way to help consumers play a larger role in controlling their health spending, and say that the tax advantages help people afford care.

The Internal Revenue Service announced last month that the maximum amount individuals with family coverage could contribute to their health savings accounts would actually be reduced slightly from their previously announced limit for 2018. The maximum contribution for people with individual coverage in 2018 remains $3,450.

The family coverage contribution reduction of $50 — from $6,900 to $6,850 – isn’t much of a change. It happened because the federal government altered the way it calculates inflation adjustments to the contribution limits.

But ignoring the new limit could create headaches for people who have already made the maximum HSA contribution for the year based on the $6,900 figure, says Roy Ramthun, president of HSA Consulting Services. If you don’t ask the bank that handles your HSA to return the $50 plus any earnings that have accrued before the next tax season, your taxable income will be off by that amount, plus you’ll be on the hook for a 6 percent penalty for exceeding the maximum contribution allowed.

That’s not going to amount to a lot of money, but there’s more than financial pain to consider, Ramthun says. “Do you really want to give the IRS a reason to come find you?”

I didn’t have health insurance for one month last year, in January 2017. Do I owe a penalty for not having health insurance when I file my taxes this spring?

If you were uninsured for only one month in 2017, you won’t owe a penalty. People can be uninsured for up to three consecutive months during the year without triggering a tax penalty for not having coverage, says Tara Straw, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

This year, for the first time, the Internal Revenue Service won’t accept electronically filed tax returns unless filers report whether they had health insurance all year, were exempt from the requirement or will pay a penalty for not having had coverage. Any tax refund, too, may be delayed if it is tied to a paper return that doesn’t have this information, according to the IRS.

In your case, you’ll file federal form 8965 with your tax return to report a short-term insurance coverage gap and claim an exemption from the coverage requirement. Your employer — or your insurer, if you purchased coverage on your own — will send a form to the IRS stating that you were covered for the other 11 months, Straw says.

Those penalties — $695 or 2.5 percent of your household income, whichever is greater — are also in force for 2018 coverage. But starting next year, you won’t owe a penalty no matter how long you may be uninsured. The tax reform law eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance in 2019.

What health insurance options are available for my parents, who are seniors who worked in India and are now retired in the United States with green cards?

Depending on their situation, people like your parents who are legally entitled to reside permanently in the United States have a number of options.

From your description, it’s unclear whether they live on their own or with you. If you claim them as dependents on your taxes, you might consider adding them to your own health insurance plan, says Shelby Gonzales, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Assuming your parents haven’t worked for at least 10 years in the United States, they’re probably not eligible for premium-free hospitalization coverage under Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older, Gonzales says. If they’ve lived in the States for at least five years and their income and other resources meet state eligibility guidelines, however, they could qualify for Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people.

If they don’t qualify for either government health program, they could consider buying a health insurance plan on the state marketplace or through a broker.

If they buy a marketplace plan, they could be eligible for premium subsidies if their income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $66,000 for a couple in 2018), says Gabrielle Lessard, a senior policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.

US Tells Ankara Iran-Sanctions-Case Suspect In ‘Good Health’

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag says Washington has told Ankara that jailed Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab — a gold trader who is awaiting trial in the United States on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran — is in good medical condition.

Bozdag made the remarks on November 16, a day after Turkey announced it had sent a diplomatic note to U.S. authorities inquiring about Zarrab.

Photo by Faruk Melik ÇEVİK

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons website last week listed Zarrab, 34, as having been released from prison on November 8. But U.S. prosecutors said that posting was an error and he remained in jail.

Turkish leaders have pressed repeatedly for the release of Zarrab, who has close ties to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan and other Turkish leaders have raised the issue directly with the White House.

Media reports last week said U.S. special prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating whether Turkish officials discussed paying former national security adviser Michael Flynn $15 million to secure Zarrab’s release and to allow the deportation of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric residing in the United States who Erdogan accuses of engineering Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup.

Zarrab, taken into U.S. custody in March 2016, has hired former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to negotiate with U.S. authorities to try to obtain his release through political and diplomatic channels.

A spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan confirmed on November 14 that Zarrab remained in federal custody in the United States.

“The information that Zarrab was released is not factual,” Zarrab’s lawyer Seyda Yildirim told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper on November 15.

“He might have been moved to a different section. We haven’t been informed in five days,” Yildirim said.

Hurriyet quoted a diplomatic source as saying that Turkey, in its formal diplomatic note, had asked U.S. authorities to make clear where Zarrab was being held and to give assurances about his health and security.

Zarrab has pleaded not guilty to the Iran sanctions evasion charges against him and a co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at the Turkish lender Halkbank. Their trial is due start in New York on November 27.

Erdogan has accused U.S. prosecutors of having “ulterior motives” in the case by including references to him and his wife in court papers.

Zarrab, a wealthy businessman who is married to a well-known Turkish pop singer, was linked to a corruption scandal that swirled around Erdogan and his deputies when Erdogan was Turkish prime minister in 2013.

Zarrab spent 70 days in custody in Turkey at the time, but all suspects arrested in the judicial probe were subsequently released. Erdogan at the time denounced the allegations as a plot by Gulen to bring down his government.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
healthtipsarticles cat photo

International Cat Day 2016: 4 Health Benefits And Risks Of Having A Feline Friend

On International Cat Day, we take time to appreciate our favorite furry friends. But while we known that cats are guaranteed to warm our heart and soul with their antics, there are actually several health benefits (and a few health risks) to having a feline pet.

Heart Health. Hands holding red heart

Heart Health

Petting your cat isn’t just relaxing for the pet, it can also be beneficial to the owner. Petting a cat can cause a drop in blood pressure due to release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to emotional bonding. This is the same hormone that gets released when we hug another person or when a mother breastfeeds her baby. This reduction in blood pressure and stress may have long-term benefits. One study from the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Research Center found that, over a 10 year follow-up period, cat owners showed a 30 per cent lower risk of death from heart attack compared to non-cat owners.

Companionship. A lovely woman holds an awesome man


Having a cat could help alleviate your mood.  A 1980 study on one-year survival of patients after discharge from a coronary care unit found that patients who were discharged and who had pets at home had a better survival rate for the next year compared to those who didn’t. In addition, according to a survey of Elderly Pet Owners Regarding the Benefits of their Pets, 82 percent of respondents said owning a pet made them feel better when they were sad, 65 percent said simply petting their pet made them feel better, and 57 percent said they told their fears and worries to their pets. Cats especially can provide emotional support and companionship to their owners, and Health Fitness Revolution reported the companionship of felines is often preferred due to their sensitivity and intelligence.

Therapy Pets

Autistic children may especially benefit from having a pet cat. A 2012 study found that children with autism who had a pet after the age of 5 were more likely to be better at offering to share and offering comfort to others when compared to similarly impaired children. Cats specifically are becoming a more popular therapy-pet for ASD children because many children feel they can relate more to the feline’s reserved and pensive characteristics.


Allergy Reduction

What’s more, having a cat in the household may also help to reduce children’s risk of  serious health problems later on. A 2012 Finnish study which followed 397 kids from childbirth to age one found that animal contact at an early age leads to a stronger immune system that combats infectious respiratory illness and lowers the risk for allergies later on in life.

Still, Be Careful

Of course, there are a few health risks to owning a cat, as with any pet. For example, the parasite Toxoplasma gondii is found in abundance in cat feces and when accidentally ingested by humans can cause toxoplasmosis, a serious medical condition. Severe toxoplasmosis may cause damage to the brain, eyes, or other organs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. However, severe cases are more likely in individuals who have weak immune systems, though occasionally, even persons with healthy immune systems may experience eye damage from toxoplasmosis. In addition, a cat’s mouth is also filled with dangerous bacteria and can cause serious infections in humans if they accidentally lick an open wound.

This International Cat Day, take time appreciate just how much of a positive affect your furry friend may have had on your health, and make sure to steer clear of their litter box and sand-paper tongue.