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Parenthood appears to protect against cold, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Parents are 52% less likely to develop a cold when exposed to a common cold virus than nonparents, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found.

Working with researchers at the University of Virginia Health Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Carnegie Mellon’s Sheldon Cohen and Rodlescia Sneed exposed 795 healthy adults between 18 and 55 to a common cold virus. Study participants reported their parenthood status, and the researchers controlled analyses for immunity to the experimental virus, viral strain, season, age, sex, race, ethnicity, body mass and other factors.

According to results of the study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, parents with one or two children were 48% less likely to get sick, while those with three or more children were 61% less likely. The study also found that parents older than 24 were more protected, while parenthood did not appear to influence whether or not those ages 18 to 24 years became ill.

"Although parenthood was clearly protective, we were unable to identify an explanation for this association," Cohen said. "Because we controlled for immunity to the virus, we know that these differences did not occur just because the parents were more likely to have been exposed to the virus through their children. Moreover, parents and nonparents showed few psychological or biological differences, and those that did exist could not explain the benefit of parenthood. We expect that a psychological benefit of parenthood that we did not measure may have been responsible."


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‘Best of Wubbzy: Fans’ Choice’ hits stores this fall

BY Allison Cerra

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Anchor Bay Entertainment has introduced its first-ever collection of fan favorite "Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!" episodes on DVD.

The "Best of Wubbzy: Fans’ Choice" features seven of the most popular episodes as chosen by Facebook fans. Such episodes as "Follow The Leader," "The Wubbzy Shuffle," "Wubbzy The Star," "Tooth Or Dare," "Wubbzy’s Makeover" and "Wubbzy Bounces Back" and "Wubbzy The Hero," are showcased in the collection. "Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!" debuted on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. network in 2006.

The "Best of Wubbzy: Fans’ Choice" DVD will makes its retail debut on Sept. 18.

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June sales softer than expected at Target

BY Mike Troy

MINNEAPOLIS — Target reported a 2.1% same-store sales increase for the month of June that was toward the low end of the company’s expectations.

Despite June sales that were softer than expected, Target left its second-quarter profit forecast intact as the weaker-than-expected result offset a better-than-expected performance the previous month.

“Following better-than-expected performance in May, our June comparable-store sales were near the low end of our expected range,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO. “We believe these results, combined with our outlook for July, keep us on-track to deliver second quarter sales and adjusted EPS in line with the guidance we provided at the time of our first quarter earnings release.”

The company expects second quarter earnings adjusted to exclude expenses related to its entry in Canada to range from $1.04 to $1.14 and earning that include the Canadian costs to range from 94 centers to $1.04.

With a May comps increase of 4.4% and a June increase of 2.1% in the books, Target is calling for a July increase in the low to mid single digit range and expects to product a total second quarter same store sale increase of 3%.

The growth in July will likely come from some familiar sources, as was the case in June when the company said food grew at a low double digit pace and health and beauty increased in the mid single digits. Sales in the apparel and home categories increased in the low single-digit range while hardline categories advanced in the mid single-digits.

Customer traffic was flat during the month with all of the growth coming from increased transaction size.

While June results were less than planned and well below the June 2011 comp increase of 4.5%, the end point of the reporting period and the timing of the July 4 holiday likely had somewhat of an impact on sales. This year’s reporting period fell on Saturday, June 30 with July 4 falling on the following Wednesday, allowing shoppers more time to purchase Fourth of July related merchandise during the July reporting period. Conversely, the June reporting period the prior year ended on Saturday, July 2 and July 4 fell on the following Monday ensuring a larger percentage of Fourth of July sales likely fell in the June period.

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