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Extra cinnamon may be the secret to weight loss this holiday season

If you're looking to shed a few pounds, you may want to go heavier on the cinnamon this holiday season.

>> Read more trending news

New research from scientists at the University of Michigan (or U of M) revealed that cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil that gives the spice its flavor, appears to have an anti-obesity effect, Newsweek reported.

The study follows previous research, which showed that cinnamaldehyde protects mice from obesity and hypoglycemia. Scientists at U of M wanted to better understand why this is, so they tested the cinnamon extract on human and mice fat cells.

>> Related: 10 ways to avoid overeating during the holidays

"Scientists were finding that this compound affected metabolism," Jun Wu, an assistant U of M professor of molecular and integrative physiology who oversaw the study, told Medical Xpress.

"So we wanted to figure out how—what pathway might be involved, what it looked like in mice and what it looked like in human cells.”

>> Related: Weight Watchers debuts diet wine to toast the holidays

Published in the December issue of of the journal "Metabolism", the findings show that cinnamaldehyde acts directly on fat cells, or adipocytes, causing them to burn energy through a process known as thermogenesis. Overall metabolic health is improved as a result, and fat is burned.

For the study, Wu and her team tested the cinnamon oil on a range of subjects, with different ages, body types and ethnicities. They noted that fat cells treated with cinnamaldehyde resulted in the expression of several genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism.

>> Related: Want to lose more weight? Ditch your diet for a couple of weeks, study suggests

Normally, adipocytes store energy as lipids, which is beneficial when you go without meals for an extended period of time. Essentially, this fat can be used by the body for energy, instead of food. In cold temperatures, adipocytes are also induced to transform stored energy into heat.

"It's only been relatively recently that energy surplus has become a problem," Wu explained. "Throughout evolution, the opposite—energy deficiency—has been the problem. So any energy-consuming process usually turns off the moment the body doesn't need it."

>> Related: 6 of the best apps to track your eating

In modern society, where food is generally abundant and a sedentary lifestyle is normal for many, our bodies instinctively store fat even though it's not necessary. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, especially when a person is inactive and consumes fatty foods.

However, the results of this new study suggest that cinnamaldehyde may be one way of making this excess fats burn quicker.

Read more here.

Reporter finds black widow spider nestled in Christmas tree at grocery store

A news reporter in San Antonio made a potentially dangerous discovery in a Christmas tree at a local grocery store: a black widow spider.

>> Read more trending news

San Antonio-Express reporter Paul Stephen was shopping at an HEB grocery store Tuesday when he picked up a small Christmas tree and noticed the venomous arachnid, according to the newspaper.

"I saw the spider, snapped the requisite Instagram pic, put it down and moved on to the next tree," Stephen told mysa.com.

"Black widows aren't that uncommon, so it didn't occur to me to freak out," he said.

A HEB official told the newspaper finding a black widow in store merchandise “was a first” for the grocery chain.

>> Related: Watch: The biggest spider you’ve ever seen and it’s in your car 

Black widows are considered the most venomous spiders in North America, according to National Geographic. While they rarely kill people, they can cause extreme illness, but they only bite when they’re disturbed.

Young woman vanishes after online date, family fears the worst

A 24-year-old Lincoln, Nebraska, woman has been missing for several days following a date with someone she met online, and now police are calling the circumstance surrounding her disappearance “concerning.”

>> Read more trending news

>> Related: Police make gruesome discovery after teacher bails her boyfriend out of jail and disappears 

Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Jeff Bliemeister spoke to local media Tuesday and urged residents to continue looking for Sydney Loofe as the department conducts interviews and pieces together the events that led to her her disappearance, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Police confirmed that Loofe was last seen in Wilber, 40 miles southwest of Lincoln, on Wed. Nov. 15.. according to the Star.

Suspicion grew when she missed work the following day at a Lincoln grocery store where she is a cashier after apparently going out on a date the night before, her parents said. Loofe sent a Snapchat message saying she was “ready for my date” just hours before she disappeared.

Her family said she sent the Snapchat message about going on a date with a woman she met online, and that she was definitely “planning on coming home that night.”

She also left her cat and car at her home in Lincoln, her family said.

>> Related: Killer details brutal murder, final minutes of NY jogger in police video

Loffe’s family is circulating a flyer that suggest they fear she was abducted. The flyer indicated that her phone pinged off a cellphone tower in the Wilber area, but that it has since been turned off.

Her parents, Susie and George Loofe, find it suspicious that her phone is off, and that her cat and car were left at home.

Lincoln police have declined to say if they have spoken to the person Loofe was going out with that night or where in Wilber she might have been.

“Really what our focus is on at this point is trying to find Sydney,” the police chief Bliemeister said. “And to go out and to detail every investigative aspect really, I think, is going to detract from the overall message of, ‘We’re trying to find her as quickly as possible.'”

Police are asking anyone with information on Loofe’s whereabouts to call 402-441-6000.

>> Related: Teen who disappeared with her teacher says it was wrong, but she doesn’t regret it

Loofe is 5-foot-7 and weighs 135 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white Columbia jacket and a cream-colored shirt. She has a yin-yang tattoo on one of her forearms, the word “Believe” with a cross on the inside of her left wrist, and the phrase “Everything will be wonderful someday” on her right bicep.

Black Friday 2017: Your guide to Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon deals, store hours, ads and more

 

It’s almost go time.

Sure, you have a turkey and all the fixins’ to fix, family to visit with and football to watch, but you also have sales to attend, deals to get and shopping to get over with.

With holiday shopping barking at the door like a pack of wolves, here's a quick guide to the best deals, store hours, ads and shopping apps. 

Good luck!

Below is a list of store opening times for Thanksgiving:

  • Bass Pro Shops – 8 a.m.
  • Bealls Florida – 6 p.m.
  • Belk – 4 p.m.
  • Bergner’s – 11 a.m.
  • Best Buy – 5 p.m.
  • Big Lots - 7 a.m.
  • Bon-Ton – 11 a.m.
  • Boston Store – 11 a.m.
  • Cabela’s – 8 a.m. 
  • Carson’s – 11 a.m.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods – 6 p.m. 
  • Dollar General – 7 a.m.
  • Elder-Beerman – 11 a.m. 
  • Five Below – 6 p.m. 
  • Fred’s Pharmacy – 9 a.m.
  • GameStop – 4 p.m.
  • Herberger’s – 11 a.m.
  • JCPenney – 2 p.m.
  • Kohl’s – 5 p.m. 
  • Kmart – 6 a.m.
  • Macy’s – 5 p.m. 
  • Meijer – 6 a.m.
  • Michaels – 6 p.m. (Opens at 5 p.m. for Rewards members)
  • Rite Aid – Hours Vary by Location (most stores open)
  • Sears – 6 p.m. 
  • Shopko – 4 p.m. 
  • Stage Stores – 2 p.m.
  • Target – 6 p.m. 
  • Toys R Us – 5 p.m.
  • Walgreens – Varies by Location
  • Walmart – 6 p.m. (for Black Friday deals)
  • Younker’s – 11 a.m.

See the complete list of Thanksgiving openings/hours here.

Below is a list of the store opening times for Black Friday:

  • Babies R Us - 8 a.m.
  • Bass Pro Shops - 5 a.m.  
  • Belk - 6 a.m. 
  • Best Buy - 8 a.m.
  • Big Lots - 6 a.m.
  • BJ's Wholesale Club - 7 a.m.
  • Cabela's - 5 a.m.
  • Costco - 9 a.m.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods - 5 a.m.
  • Guitar Center - 6 a.m.
  • Hobby Lobby - 8 a.m.
  • Home Depot 6 a.m.
  • JCPenney - Thanksgiving 2 p.m. through Black Friday
  • Kmart - 6 a.m.
  • Kohl's - Thanksgiving 5 p.m. to Black Friday 1 p.m. 
  • Lowe's - 6 a.m.
  • Macy's - 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Meijer - 6 a.m.
  • Michaels - 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Office Depot & OfficeMax - 7:45 a.m.
  • PetSmart - 7 a.m.
  • Sam's Club - 7 a.m.
  • Sears - 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Staples - 7 a.m.
  • Target - 6 a.m.
  • Toys R Us - Thanksgiving 5 p.m. to Black Friday 11 p.m.
  • Walmart - Thanksgiving 6 p.m. overnight into Black Friday
  • See the complete list of Black Friday 2017 hours here.

Check out the ads

Here is a list of some "leaked" Black Friday ads from national retailers.

(Click on the store name to see the Black Friday ad)

Black Friday best bets on TVs, laptops and tablets, electronics, smartphones and gaming

Black Friday television deals

Black Friday laptop deals

Black Friday tablet deals

Black Friday electronics deals

Black Friday smartphone deals

Black Friday gaming deals

Apps for shopping

Finding the best deals can be exhausting, but, as for most things in life nowadays, there’s an app for that. Actually a few of them. Here are a few suggestions that may help you with gift buying throughout the holiday season.

Christmas Gift Planner in iTunes (called Christmas List in Android Market)

You can see what you are spending in real time. It allows you to keeps lists of gifts purchased, the ones you are still looking for and whether the gift is wrapped.

Gifts HD2 for iTunes and Android You can create lists, set budgets mark things off as you buy them, and add ideas as you go. It also allows you to comparison shop, which is great for Black Friday.

No More Socks

As with the other apps, No More Socks is a list-making and shopping app. In addition to searching retail sites, the app can also do a general Google search for products.

Chameleon

Chameleon will find the best price for an item and coupons if they are available. Chameleon works at more than 3,000 locations across the country.

RedLaser

RedLaser allows you to scan barcodes to find the best price, online or locally. PriceBlink

A browser add-on, PriceBlink lets you know when there's a better price for a product you are shopping for online.

Camel Camel Camel

CamelCamelCamel is a site that tracks Amazon prices. It notifies you when the price drops on an item you've added to your Amazon shopping list.

How much will you have to exercise to burn off that turkey dinner?

How many burpees does it take to burn off a dollop of gravy? How far must you run to negate a slice of holiday pie?

>> Read more trending news

The Daily Burn tallied the caloric cost of a Thanksgiving feast, and the results might make you second-guess that decision not to sign up for the local turkey trot.

>> Related: One ‘hot’ Thanksgiving: Turkeys get Flaming Hot Cheetos makeover

According to the Daily Burn’s helpful infographic, the turkey trot will take care of one slice of pie. That’s it. You’ll have to walk for 35 minutes to equalize a single 6-ounce glass of red wine, dance for 14 minutes to negate a half-cup of green bean casserole or play flag football for 20 minutes for that hot buttered roll. And you’ll have to run the stairs for 10 minutes to make up for that half-cup of stuffing.

>> Related: Thanksgiving 2017: How to fry a turkey without burning down the house

Most Americans gobble up between 2,400 and 4,500 calories in a single sitting on Thanksgiving Day, according to this article in The New York Times. That includes turkey, stuffing, a buttered roll, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, some green bean casserole, and slices of pecan and pumpkin pie. That’s more than an entire day’s calories, especially if you add a glass or two of wine to the mix.

We’re all for overindulgent feasting on such a special occasion, but it does help to balance out all the calories with some exercise.

Woman pulled over by man impersonating law enforcement officer

A man impersonating a law enforcement officer pulled over a woman in Arkansas, according to the St. Francis County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident happened Saturday on Highway 38 near Hughes.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators said a man impersonating a game and fish officer stopped a woman and asked to check her vehicle for guns. He had a blue light on his dash and was in a dark-colored pickup truck.

The man did not show the woman a badge or a weapon. The incident happened during the daytime hours and appears to have been an isolated occurrence.

Investigators said they believe they know who the man is, but no arrests were immediately made.

Officials said the impersonator is not the same one who stopped people earlier this year.

Mother accused of using kids to steal from Macy’s, police say

Police in Austin, Texas, are looking for a woman who they say stole merchandise from a Macy’s department store with the help of another woman and four children no older than 10 years old.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators are looking for 27-year-old Martha Monique Lopez, who is charged with robbery by assault, according to an arrest affidavit filed this week.

On Nov. 12, police received a call around 2 p.m. from a store employee who watches for shoplifters at the Macy’s in the Domain shopping center. She told police she was watching the children, who were between 7 and 10 years old, through a security camera. According to the affidavit, they re-entered the store and met two women near the hotel bedding and pillow area.

The store worker told police that she saw the women point to some pillows, which the children then picked up before they “exited the store past the last point of purchase without attempting to pay for the items,” the affidavit said. The worker said in the affidavit that she confronted the children and identified herself as a Macy’s employee, after which point she said the children complied and started to come back with her to a store office.

The employee told police that as they were going back to the office, the two women approached her and one of them told her to let the children go and then pushed her, according to the affidavit. The other woman and the children began running away, the employee told police. She tried to grab the children, but the “female who told her to let her children go began to punch (her) on the left side of her face, chest and left arm with a closed fist causing (her) pain and redness,” the affidavit said.

The employee told police that she “tried to grab the female to detain her but the female took off running and (she) ripped (the woman’s) shirt off of her and the female ran out of the store wearing just a black bra,” the affidavit said.

A customer saw the woman running from the store and saw her and the children get into a white 2009 Chevy Malibu with a Texas license plate that matched a car registered to Lopez, according to the affidavit. Lopez was also identified by the store worker from a photo taken during a previous arrest, police said.

Could medical marijuana help fight the opioid epidemic?

New research suggests medical cannabis may play a key role in ending the opioid epidemic plaguing the nation.

>> Read more trending news

The findings from Aclara Research, a cannabis patient and consumer insights group, come soon after President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in the U.S. as an estimated 175 Americans die from opioids each day.

The study, which will be released in full in early 2018, was conducted in partnership with pharmacists active in the cannabis industry and included online surveys of more than 400 patients using prescription opioids nationwide.

» RELATED: Trump declares US opioid emergency but pledges no new money

Researchers also examined 500 pharmacists’ perceptions of medical cannabis and its role in the industry.

According to the Aclara study, the preliminary findings showed that 67 percent of the patients stopped using opioid medications after using medical cannabis.

» RELATED: Walgreens to begin selling OTC Narcan to combat opioid epidemic

And another 29 percent reported a decrease in the number of opioid medications used after starting medical cannabis.

Thirty percent of the patients said they stopped using any and all prescription drugs after using medical marijuana.

» RELATED: US gun death rate up for second straight year, drug deaths rising faster than ever

Of the 500 pharmacists surveyed, 87 percent said medical cannabis should be legalized, and 69 percent said pharmacists should dispense medical cannabis and counsel patients on medical cannabis use.

Another recent study, published in the Public Library of Science last week, found opioid users were more likely to stop usage if they had access to medical marijuana.

» RELATED: What is fentanyl? 10 things to know about the potentially deadly drug

That study involved 66 patients using opioids to treat chronic pain. Over a 21-month period, patients who used medical cannabis were 17 times more likely to stop using opioids, and patients who didn’t use cannabis on average increased their opioid use by 10 percent over that time period, according to the research. 

Research from 2014, published in the Journal of the American Medical Associationalso found states that had legalized medical marijuana saw lower rates of fatal opioid overdoses.

Aclara researchers said they will continue to collect data and examine the results in conjunction with additional pharmacy partners. The study’s final results will be released in January 2018.

Read more about the study at aclararesearch.com.

Spit test could diagnose concussion in kids, study says

It can be difficult to tell how a long a concussion will last. However, a spit test may soon be able to diagnose and determine the duration, according to a new a report. 

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from Penn State University recently conducted a small experiment, published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, to explore whether saliva can be used to identify prolonged concussion symptoms, which can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, balance problems, double or blurry vision. 

First, they examined saliva, discovering that it contains five small molecules called microRNAs, which influence protein levels. 

MicroRNAs also exhibit some predictive functions, because they include genetic fragments that reveal specific information about an individual’s health.

“Because of their abundance, stability in fluctuating pH levels, resistance to enzymatic degradation, and essential role in transcriptional regulation, miRNAs make ideal biomarkers,” the study read.

>> Related: Which high school sports have the most concussions? 

They then tested their theory by observing 52 children, teens and young adults. They measured the patients’ microRNAs by asking them to spit in cups. 

After analyzing the results, they found the microRNAs in saliva correctly identified children and adolescents with concussions 85 percent of the time. It also identified  those who had symptoms for at least a month. Standard surveys commonly used by doctors are only about 65 percent accurate.

Researchers said a concussion spit test could offer several benefits, including management of the condition and symptom testing.

“The miRNAs associated with prolonged concussion symptoms have potential utility as a toolset for facilitating concussion management. This tool could ease parental anxiety about expected symptom duration. An objective prolonged concussion symptoms tool could also inform clinical recommendations about return-to-play and school-based accommodations,” the authors wrote

Researchers did note that some patients used anti-inflammatory medicine, which could have altered their findings. They also acknowledged the size of the of study, explaining that a larger cohort would be needed to verify conclusions. 

>> Related: Football players under 12 at high risk of brain injury, study finds

In the future, they hope to study other biomarkers, such as blood, that could also yield the same results. 

New York AG investigating fraudulent net neutrality comments to FCC

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that his office is investigating tens of thousands of comments posted to a notice of the FCC’s proposed change to net neutrality rules after learning that they were made by impersonators.

>> Read more trending news

The investigation was launched six months ago, after researchers and reporters learned that the comment process, which is integral to the agency’s procedure for determining such rule changes, was being usurped by fraudsters who submitted an enormous number of fake comments, Schneiderman said Tuesday in an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“While some of these fake comments used made up names and addresses, many misused the real names and addresses of actual people as part of the effort to undermine the integrity of the comment process,” Schneiderman wrote. “That’s akin to identity theft, and it happened on a massive scale.”

He said that the identities of tens of thousands of New Yorkers were fraudulently used.

“Analysis showed that, in all, hundreds of thousands of Americans likely were victimized in the same way, including tens of thousands per state in California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and possibly others,” Schneiderman wrote.

He said his office tried nine times over the course of five months to get records from the FCC necessary to investigate the apparent identity theft. He said his office and the FCC have shared information with one another before, but that despite offers to keep the records confidential, as done in the past, New York officials have “received no substantive response to our investigative requests.” 

“We all have a powerful reason to hold accountable those who would steal Americans’ identities and assault the public’s right to be heard in government rule making,” Schneiderman wrote. “If law enforcement can’t investigate and (where appropriate) prosecute when it happens on this scale, the door is open for it to happen again and again.”

He urged Pai and the FCC to “reconsider its refusal to assist in my office’s law enforcement investigation.”

“In an era where foreign governments have indisputably tried to use the internet and social media to influence our elections, federal and state governments should be working together to ensure that malevolent actors cannot subvert our administrative agencies’ decision-making processes,” he wrote.

Pai previously pledged to try to repeal the net neutrality regulations enacted under the Obama administration, which treat internet service providers as if they were utility companies that provide essential services, like electricity. The rules mandate that they give equal access to all online content and apps.

Pai distributed his alternative net neutrality rule plan to other FCC commissioners Tuesday in preparation for a Dec. 14 vote. Although the FCC’s two Democrats said they will oppose the proposal, the repeal is likely to prevail as Republicans dominate 3-2. The vote for net neutrality in 2015 was also along party lines, but Democrats dominated then.

Schneiderman said that his office’s investigation is not about net neutrality, but is instead about “the right to control one’s own identity and prevent the corruption of a process designed to solicit the opinion of real people and institutions.”

“Misuse of identity online by the hundreds of thousands should concern everyone – for and against net neutrality, New Yorker or Texan, Democrat or Republican,” Schneiderman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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