We count on firefighters to protect us in life-threatening situations. So it's in everyone's best interest for them to be healthy and fit. Salk Institute and University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers have been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Department of Homeland Security for a three-year study to see whether restricting food intake to a 10-hour window can improve firefighters' well-being.
"Firefighters seem invincible to us, but they are actually at high risk for many chronic diseases because of how shift work disrupts the body's natural rhythms," says Satchidananda Panda, a professor in Salk's Regulatory Biology Laboratory and co-principal investigator of the new study. "We want to understand if we can counter some of the disruptions with simple changes not only to what firefighters eat but also when they eat."
For most of human evolutionary history, daylight and access to food were limited. So almost every cell in our body has a biological clock that tells it when to be active—using the nutrients from food to grow and conduct normal business—and when to rest. These 24-hour clocks produce circadian (daily) rhythms in almost every aspect of physiology and behavior. Increasing evidence is showing that disruptions to this natural cycle caused by the modern lifestyle, with its artificial light and round-the-clock access to food, can impact our health, resulting in everything from poor-quality sleep to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Panda, whose laboratory studies the molecular bases of circadian timekeeping in mammals, previously found that restricting the access of lab mice to food for 8–10 hours a day resulted in slimmer, healthier animals compared to mice that ate the same number of calories around the clock. Preliminary studies in humans suggest similar health benefits of such "time-restricted eating," which does not change the quality or quantity of food, just the time period in which it is consumed.
Because firefighters are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than the general public, Panda and collaborating co-principal investigator Pam Taub, MD, associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, plan to use the grant to test the effectiveness of a circadian-rhythm-based diet intervention compared to standard nutritional behavioral counseling on firefighters' cardiovascular health.
"Shift workers, like firefighters, are a critical part of our community’s well-being and we need to identify strategies to improve their overall cardiovascular health. We believe that a simple lifestyle intervention, such as time-restricted eating, can prevent or help reverse cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease,” says Taub, cardiologist, and director of the Step Family Cardiovascular and Rehabilitation Center at UC San Diego Health. “The goal of our study is to better understand how giving the body a 'metabolic rest' by limiting the amount of time food is consumed can improve important parameters for health such as weight, blood glucose levels, and cholesterol.”
The circadian intervention will incorporate an app developed by the Panda lab and already tested by thousands of people to conveniently track food intake, sleep and exercise habits. The study will enroll 150 firefighters who will be randomly assigned to either the circadian group, whose food intake will be limited to a 10-hour period or the behavioral counseling group, which will serve as the control. In addition to regular clinic visits to measure blood glucose and lipid levels, all subjects will undergo continuous health monitoring via wearable sensors.
The study will be a close collaboration between Salk, UC San Diego and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, which has a robust wellness program.
“The wellness of our employees is our top priority,” says San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy. “We are hopeful this study will give our members information they can apply to their lives, which will reduce the incidence of chronic disease that firefighters are prone to.”
The study will be closely watched by the National Fire Protection Association, which is interested in extending any beneficial results to other fire departments. And because nearly 20 percent of Americans are shift workers with nonstandard hours of activity and rest, the study results may also prove applicable to these individuals and their family members, who can likewise be substantially impacted by a shift worker's schedule.
"We are very excited about this study, which embodies a collaborative model for biomedical research in which landmark discoveries from a premier basic science institute are tested in a real-world situation through a world-class medical research entity,” says Panda. “It's a win-win-win."
‘Kosher gospel’ act The Klezmatics in La Jolla
Klezmer and gospel collide with brilliant and euphoric results as the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture, housed at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, hosts The Klezmatics with Special Guest Joshua Nelson: Brother Moses Smote the Water. The event, perfectly timed for both Passover and Easter, will be held on Wednesday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla.
At this exclusive concert, the gutsy, award-winning band that defines klezmer’s edge, teams up with special guest artist Joshua Nelson, who sings Black-Jewish soul that recalls Mahalia Jackson. Experience a cross-cultural celebration of freedom songs from the Jewish and African-American traditions, illustrating their spiritual common ground while weaving a musical story of inspiration and social action. Oprah Winfrey describes Joshua Nelson as “the next big thing in music.”
The Klezmatics are the only klezmer band to win a Grammy award. They emerged out of the vibrant cultural scene of New York City’s East Village in 1986 with klezmer steeped in Eastern European Jewish tradition and spirituality and incorporated contemporary themes such as human rights and anti-fundamentalism and eclectic musical influences including Arab, African, Latin and Balkan rhythms, jazz and punk. In the course of over 20 years and nine albums, they have stubbornly continued making music that is wild, mystical, provocative, reflective and ecstatically danceable.
Advance tickets for The Klezmatics with Special Guest Joshua Nelson: Brother Moses Smote the Water are $35-$75. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door for $40-$80.
The event will be assigned seating. For more information contact the JCC Box Office at 858-362-1348 or sdcjc.org/boxoffice.
Fortune Magazine names Scripps to ‘National Best Companies’ list for 11th year
For the 11th consecutive year, Scripps Health has been named among the top employers in the nation by Fortune magazine. Fortune’s 21st annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For ranked Scripps at No. 41. For the third consecutive year, Scripps is the only San Diego-based company to make the list.
Scripps is recognized for creating a high-performing, diverse workforce by accommodating the needs of its employees at the beginning, middle and later stages of their careers.
“Once again, we are honored to be on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, and to be recognized as an inclusive, career-destination organization that works to create an environment where employees feel appreciated and empowered to deliver the best patient care in San Diego,” said Scripps President and CEO Chris Van Gorder.
Fortune recognized Scripps for developing its workforce through programs that engage and encourage contributions from all employees. Scripps employees in response say they are grateful for the many opportunities available to them to grow in their jobs and advance their careers.
More than 93 percent of Scripps employees feel the organization offers great workplace rewards and challenges, according to a survey by Great Place to Work, Fortune’s partner.
As part of its career-destination philosophy, Scripps has developed several innovative practices for employees at different stages of their careers. Scripps offers career coaching; employee care clinics; as well as family-friendly programs, including child care, flexible work arrangements and paid parental leave.
“Despite the many changes in healthcare, our primary goal remains to provide the best patient care, and we believe that is best delivered by a motivated, educated and supported workforce,” said Richard Sheridan, corporate senior vice president for human resources at Scripps Health.
Scripps supports the academic development of its employees by administering scholarships, tuition reimbursement and discounts for courses offered by universities that have partnerships with Scripps. In the most recent year, Scripps invested more than $35 million in training for employees. Additionally, Scripps provided $1.33 million in tuition reimbursement and scholarships.
Scripps also encourages movement across the organization through various programs, which is something that mid-career employees appreciate since it allows them to chart their career paths with organizational support.
Scripps offers staged retirement to eligible, experienced employees who want to retire gradually, allowing them to reduce their current work schedule while maintaining their health benefits.
Scripps encourages experienced employees to continue working in other ways. While traditional retirement packages at many other organizations max out at age 60, encouraging employees to leave at that point, Scripps lets retirement plans continue to grow past age 65. Older employees enjoy this benefit because it allows them to continue working without feeling financial pressure to retire.
In addition to making Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, Scripps was recognized with other national workforce awards during the past year.
For the fifth consecutive year, Scripps was named one of the Top 10 Nonprofit Companies for Executive Women for 2017 by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE); for the 13th consecutive year Working Mother Magazine named Scripps one of the 100 Best Companies in 2017; and Becker’s Healthcare named Scripps to its list of 150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare.
Annual used book sale takes over Lawrence Family JCC
Put down your Nook and pick up a real book. From March 14 to 18, one of the largest used book sales in the county, this is a not-to-be-missed event for book lovers of all ages. Give yourself plenty of time to browse our huge selection featuring Everyone is bound to find something in our sale including books for children and young adults, cookbooks, fiction and non-fiction, Judaic topics, gifts, art and more with prices starting at just 50 cents.
History buffs and antiquarian book collectors are sure to find some treasures among the collection of books on the Civil War, British history magazines on WWII, antiquarian books from 1820 to 1910, classic writings from Bret Harte, Abraham Lincoln, an Honore de Balzac set in the 1890s, poems of Joaquin Miller from 1909 and more.
Travelers will want to peruse their selections on Hawaii, New York City, Israel and exotic destinations. Culture lovers will delight in the variety of art books, artwork, and an original of Theadius McCall’s Jewish People series, Jewish music CDs, and movies.
Gift givers can pick up something special for a loved one or add something to a holiday table with decorative Judaica items such as seder plates, menorahs (hanukiot), and items made of pewter, glass, and silver.
Pre-sale shopping will be held on Wednesday, March 14, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Cost is $20.
The clearance sale will be held on Sunday, March 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $10 for “all the books you can fit into one grocery bag (some exceptions apply).
For more information, visit sdcjc.org/ajl/used_books.aspx. To volunteer or make donations, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 858-362-1141. Book donations accepted through Feb. 28.