MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Americans think eating healthy means giving up their favorite foods, but any kind of food can fit somewhere in a nutritious diet.
Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said the body needs more than 40 different nutrients from a variety of sources, and no foods are totally off limits in an overall nutritious diet.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bunnies and chicks with pastel fur have become one of the most recognizable symbols of Easter, but don't give in to the temptations of buying a pet impulsively.
"Young bunnies and chicks are heavily marketed during the Easter season, but too many people buy these animals on the spur of the moment without being prepared," said Dr. Richard Hopper, extension leader of veterinary medicine at Mississippi State University.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A record-breaking number of people were trained around the state Feb. 18 as private pesticide applicators of restricted use pesticides.
Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Lester Spell suspended certification of private applicators Dec. 4, following criminal abuses of methyl parathion. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Bureau of Plant Industries resumed training and certification in February. After Extension's training, the BPI tested applicants and certified those who passed as private pesticide applicators.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many pet owners and veterinarians depend on trained veterinary technicians to identify animals needing pain relief.
Dr. Stephen Jaffee, a veterinary consultant with Fort Dodge Laboratories, said technicians are the "front line of pain management" for animals.
Jaffee recently addressed members of the Mississippi Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians. The association held its winter conference in conjunction with the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association meeting in Starkville.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Turkey hunting can be exciting because of the skills required, but it shouldn't be exciting because of the risks involved.
Turkey hunting is one of the most dangerous sports because hunters are heavily camouflaged, make turkey calls and sit very still. From March 22 to May 1, hunters will take advantage of the gobblers-only season as they try for the one gobbler per day, three per season bag limit.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Springtime means flowers will bloom, butterflies will appear and, of course, new clothes will be worn.
During this time of the year, everyone wants a fresh start, and an easy way to do this is with new spring clothing. Stephanie Wayne, extension textile and apparel clothing assistant at Mississippi State University, said this season's styles will reflect nature's own bright spring colors.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most Americans have heard the staggering statistics about heart disease, but when it comes to changing unhealthy habits, many people have trouble.
In 1995, about 45 percent of the deaths in Mississippi were due to cardiovascular diseases, which include heart attacks and strokes, said Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University.
But Mississippians are not doomed to heart disease. Risks can be significantly decreased by leading heart healthy lifestyles.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While some scientific breakthroughs never seem to touch everyday lives, genetic engineering affects many Mississippians on a daily basis.
Two Mississippi State University extension agronomists said bioengineered crops are riding a wave of popularity. In five years, nearly all the corn planted in Mississippi will have bioengineered traits. Because of limited seed supplies, about 5 to 10 percent of the state's soybeans are genetically modified now, but that number is growing quickly.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi poultry producers in the past two decades have transformed an industry into the state's top agricultural enterprise, with annual poultry and egg sales in excess of $1 billion.
Researchers at Mississippi State University support the growth of the industry and continue to aid producers in finding new ways to manage the health and productivity of their flocks.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Parents often find battles over bedtimes as difficult as those at the dinner table. But those fights are worth the effort as the health benefits of "beauty" sleep may be as beneficial as that proverbial apple a day.
Parents with school age children may find it hard to get the kids to bed at a decent hour without hearing cries of protest or rebellious fits of rage. Linda Patterson, extension health education specialist at Mississippi State University, said a period of transition is one key to forming good sleeping habits.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean growers with Internet access have a valuable resource to help them as they choose what varieties to plant in their fields.
Dr. Alan Blaine, Mississippi State University extension agronomist, said 1997 soybean variety trial information is now posted on the Internet. Information is available on yield, maturity dates, disease reactions, lodging scores and long-term yield averages.
Results of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station soybean variety trials for 1994-1996 are available at http://www.ext.msstate.edu/soyvar.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The fight against a costly virus affecting the state's billion dollar poultry industry recently got a boost when researchers improved the testing procedure.
Dr. Chinling Wang, a researcher with Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, has found a way to shorten the time needed to run the RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) test. This test accurately and now quickly detects and identifies infectious bronchitis virus in poultry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Get-rich-quick fantasies can be appealing, but use common sense when an opportunity comes along that sounds too good to be true.
Becoming a distributer for a multilevel marketing company may appear to be a good way to make extra income. But before investing, make sure you know the difference between a legitimate opportunity and a pyramid scheme.
CLEVELAND -- What is scientifically true about pesticide health risks and what is commonly believed are often at odds, a national expert on toxin exposure said recently.
Dr. Ronald E. Gots, managing principal of the International Center of Toxicology and Medicine in Rockville, Md., has been involved in toxic exposure cases since 1975. He spoke on this topic at the 1997 Delta Production Conference and Ag Expo.
"Pesticides stir passions, and often passion and reality differ," Gots said. "Pesticides can be dangerous, but they also can be used safely."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many newlyweds find themselves gaining weight after the wedding when efforts to please their new spouse overrule their better judgment at the table.
"Trying to please each other, either by cooking a lot or by eating all that is set before them, often results in weight gain," said Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University. "It is important that couples be aware that can happen."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sweaty palms and cold feet sometimes indicate a reassuring hug is needed, but for other couples, it means it's time to kiss the fiance' goodbye.
Dr. Louise Davis, Mississippi State University extension child and family development specialist, said few couples survive the entire wedding process without at least one member getting a case of the nerves. While not unusual, couples must determine if this is simply jitters or a hint that something is wrong.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Prospective grooms no longer have to climb ladders to their sweethearts' windows late at night and race with them across state lines to elope.
Instead, these nontraditional weddings often are announced and held with the full blessing of everyone involved. Many times they are planned far in advance with arrangements made as carefully as in a typical wedding.
Eloping has gained popularity in American culture as a hassle- free, less-expensive way to tie the knot. Many couples --and their families -- are seeing elopement as an attractive alternative.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Marrying "back home" is not possible for many engaged couples, while others look at their options and leave town for the wedding.
In 1996, 65,000 couples married away from home, according to Modern Bride magazine findings. Some chose to marry in exotic locations, while others married in the town they were currently living, but not their hometown.