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Showing posts from February, 2013

Wow! Smartphone app can check your urine

Men, just how healthy are you?  If you're like my husband, you have no idea because he hasn't seen a doctor in years.  But a new test may soon allow you to analyze your urine just by taking a photo of a test stick on your smartphone, after you've done your thing, then sending it off for examination.

No more doctor visits, or being handed a cup when you go.  You do it all at home.

The test works, according to David Worthington, "by matching saturated chemical strips to a color-coded reference for test results."  He adds that the phone’s camera "deciphers the correct color for accuracy instead of specialized medical equipment that does only that and can cost a lot more."

Developed by an Indian company, uCheck is currently being tested in Mumbai. Worthington notes that these kinds of tests can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, so in addition to the convenience, it may also save a lot of money.

It's not available yet, but if the test…

Guess what? Violent video games will never be banned

Interesting article in The Advocate (Stamford, CT) yesterday.  Apparently, although the use of violent video games has exploded, crime itself has decreased, according to several sources.

But they will most likely never be banned because they are protected under their makers' rights to free speech.

Sadly, no link has yet been found between violence and viewing video games, The Advocate reported, quoting David J. McGuire, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, who told the Connecticut legislature's Children's Committee, that the Supreme Court has "concluded there is little evidence of a link between violent video games and violent behavior in children, and ruled that such a tenuous correlation was not sufficient to impose a restriction on this protected medium."

Seems kind of strange to me.  What a wild, wild west this country has become.  The Constitution guarantees the right to own guns . . .and the right for video games to pro…

Aw, pooch! Still want to keep your gun?

Couldn't believe it when I saw it at yahoo.com.  But a dog has shot his owner.  Serves him right.  Apparently, the loaded gun was sitting on the seat between the owner and his mutt, as they careened around town and the dog kicked the weapon, discharging it, according to Mike Krumboltz.

The bullet entered the owner's leg.  Strangely, this wasn't the first time something like this happened. Krumboltz reports that last year, a hunter in France was shot when his dog leaped up to give him a hug.  The bullet ripped through his hand, which had to be amputated.

So either lock up your gun, or yourdog.  I prefer the former.

Headache? No doctor, hit the Net!

Imagine this.  Instead of visiting your doctor when your headache just doesn't go away, go online and talk to others who have experienced similar symptoms for relief and suggested treatments.

No, it's not like asking your Aunt Millie for her recipe for ingrown toenails. According to a story at wired.com, PatientsLikeMe, a new social network for those suffering from chronic diseases, "says it will use a new $1.9 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to build an open science platform to help patients measure the progression of their own diseases and to make that data available to medical researchers."

And you won't be alone. Ryan Tate writes that almost 200,000 people have already taken advantage of the network to spread medical data. Privacy freaks, no worries. The network is secure.  The app developed when its owners realized there are no standardized "measurement systems developed for patient use."  So, very often, patients are left in …

"Crunch" time: Disaster for kids?

It used to be the hour between feeding and bed was the "witching" hour for babies. But a new study has found that it can be just as harmful for kids and teens, only, with them, it starts earlier in the day.

According to a story by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public School, which ran the study, 60% of parents said their kids ate or drank something unhealthy that could lead to weight gain in the period between getting home from school and sleep. Another trend that could result in weight gain? Only one-half of the families surveyed said they ate dinner together six or seven nights out of the week.

And it's not just eating that gets out of hand, but the lack of exercise most kids are getting these days after school and on weekends, Richard Knox and Patti Neighmond write.  Added together, they add up to a mountain of calories each year that may lead to heart disease, stroke, even cancer in your children's later years. Overall, it'…

Finally, a happy, sort of, story about Newtown

If you were in Times Square yesterday, about 1 p.m., you would have seen about 200 people fling themselves on the ground, then watch others draw chalk outlines of their bodies, then add names and ages, all to honor the victims of Newtown.

It's not much, and it won't bring back those 20 innocent souls, but at least, for a moment, we were remembering, and memorializing, those beautiful children.  We weren't forgetting.

Because we could be losing “our moment in time to get this thing done," as Governor Malloy was quoted in The New York Times, as states -- even Connecticut -- drag ther feet on gun control.



http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/25/nyregion/flash-mob-in-times-square-performs-dance-in-honor-of-newtown-victims.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/25/opinion/common-sense-in-connecticut.html?_r=0

After Newtown: hope for plugs in mental health gaps

I guess we should be grateful.  The Washington Post reports that, after Newton, support for spending on mental health has soared.

Brady Dennis and Lena H. Sun write that mental health professionals are jumping up and down and clicking their heels in delight that finally, finally, the spotlight is shining on the need to end budgeting slashes and plug the gaps in the mental care network.

"A year that could have brought another round of thinning resources and a spot far down the priority list of policymakers is shaping up quite differently in some statehouses," they note. 

Some states, like Minnesota -- long a free-thinking place with a conscience (I lived there briefly) -- is hoping to institute mental programs and resources in schools. 

"Wisconsin’s famously budget-conscious governor, Republican Scott Walker, this month proposed a nearly $30 million boost to mental-health spending in his budget, including funding for a program that allows counties to provide mental-hea…

The left behinds: Witnesses to tragedy

We've talked so much about the shooting victims in Newtown, those beautiful children shot dead in their classrooms, and the teachers, too. But not a lot is written about the witnesses to these tragedies, and how they, too, are changed for life.

An article in  Sunday Review in The New York Times yesterday talked about how we ignore those who have been wounded, or have been there at the scene of carnage.

At little-noticed report, the story said, "suggested that children exposed to community violence might turn to violence themselves as 'a source of power, prestige, security, or even belongingness.'"

It said these children -- who had seen friends gunned down on porches, or in parking lots, or were the victims of a random bullet like the 15-year-old, who only days before had sung at President Obama's inauguration, struck down by a stranger's anger at another -- needed help and professional counseling.

Op-ed writer Alex Kotlowitz noted "a remarkable, albe…

Fatigued? Try Some Dark Chocolate

There's been a lot of talk lately about foods that fight fatigue.  One web site lists whole grain crackers, walnuts, dark chocolate, and watermelon. Also, pumpkin seeds.  Yogurt.  Wheat bran cereal.  Tea.  Red bell pepper (which a friend, whose toddler fought leukemia, was told is the perfect food).

“We find that fatigue generally is coupled to foods that are nutrient-poor,”nutritionist Nicolette Pace told CBS TV New York.

Speaking last night on CBS, Pace reported that "Our bodies need essential nutrients, like protein, fats and complex carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals, to function properly. "

She suggested quinoa (I can't even pronounce it) and buckwheat products.  Another big one?  Foods containing zinc.  And eating one cup of sweet potatoes a day "helps 78 percent of women shake off fatigue in as little as three days.," she told CBS.

Without nutrition-rich foods, you feel tired — even irritable — and that can lead to even more poor food choice…

Why Can't We Love Everyone?

Wouldn't it be nice if we all could not only "just get along," but love everyone?

Stephen Asma, professor of philosophy at Columbia College, says universal love is a myth, according to a story by Christie Nicholson at smartplanet.com.

She notes that he affirmed this in arecent New York Times article, “All people are not equally entitled to my time, affection, resources or moral duties," he said in the article.

Ansa told Nicholson tha the idea of universal love has been used for ill, not good, using as examples the Soviet Union and Mao's China, where "even family bias was bad and should be broken and subjugated to this universal love."

Nicholson reported on Ansa's belief that love and expressions of it are finite. In fact, Ansa postulates that care is more a biological affect than an emotional one, according to Nicholson. All mammals experience it.

Thinking of banning video games in your home? Think again

Thinking of banning video games in your home?  Hide your pesticides.  A 14-year-old boy in China allegedly poisoned his parents when his mother forbid him to play video games.

As a result, "China has announced plans to define Internet addiction in young people and to devise methods for preventing it, China Daily is reporting," according to a story by Mark Harper.

“The unhealthy content online, such as violence and obscenity, has damaged young people physically and mentally,” Harper quoted Wang Ping, managing director of the Chinese Society for Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Research, a non-governmental organization. “But what symptoms define Internet addiction? How to diagnose young addicts, and at what level of addiction, is still vague.”

Apparently the boy used farm chemicals on food his mother and father, brother and sister-in-law were eating. All were treated and released from an area hospital. 







http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/china-tackling-internet-addiction-…

Echocardiograms for healthy people? Fuhgaddeboutit

Thinking of having an echocardiogram to ferret out those chest pains?  Or an annual pap smear, if you're a 30-to-65-year-old woman?  Or a CT scan of your son's head after he falls off his bike?

Fuhgaddeaboutit.  A new study has found that doctors are saying that everything from using feeding tubes in people with advanced dementia to CT scans for minor head injuries is not necessary and should not be done, according to a story by Bruce Japsen at forbes.com.

He writes that doctors themselves recognize the lack of necessity for many tests that have been routinely done for decades.  In fact, Japsen writes, they've come up with 90 tests that we're all better off not having.

On the same topic, flu shots arenot working in patients over 65, the most vulnerable age group.  Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press reports that, "the vaccine is proving only 9 percent effective in those 65 and older against the harsh strain of the flu that is predominant this season, the Centers f…

Bullied as a child? Or a bully? It can last forever

What seems to me an odd twist in the sad story of children bullying other children is that it lasts well into their lifetimes.  Bullies, too.

According to an article in The New York Times, those who are bullied, and the ones who do the bullying, have psychiatric problems in childhood, which has been known for some time. But chilling new research shows that they also have an "elevated risk of psychiatric trouble extends into adulthood, sometimes even a decade after the intimidation has ended."

Catherine Saint Louis writes that the new study is the most comprehensive ever done on this subject.  "“The experience of bullying in childhood can have profound effects on mental health in adulthood, particularly among youths involved in bullying as both a perpetuator and a victim," Catherine Bradshaw, an expert on bullying and a deputy director of the Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence at Johns Hopkins University, which was not involved in the study, told Saint Loui…

In the mind of a killer

At first I was furious.  PBS opens its special on rampage killers with a source placing possible blame on distant mothers.  Then the series broadened its investigation into mass murderers who were bullied as kids, didn't fit in, yet who, poignantly, longed to be accepted. And to be known.

What I found truly disturbing were the mug shots of young killers.  Their eyes were all like Adam Lanza's, bizarrely wide-open and staring.

According to the show, the majority of young rampage killers kill themselves. But not before, as in some cases, like Columbine, recording their profound depression and wish to die. 

Are these kids we can save?  No one knows.  But the brains of people who are depressed do show physical differences, Miles O'Brien reported in the PBS special.  Researchers use a test that asks participants to identify colors on the screen when they don't match the words.  For example, the word "red" may appear in blue.  It's harder than you think.

Peopl…

Tweets from the grave?

Now I've heard everything. Want to hear from your spouse after he's buried?  Tuck an iPod logged onto twitter into his casket and you'll keep hearing from him.

Though the new app, LivesOn, places users have tweeted before will keep updating the information so you'll feel like you still have a link to your loved one. Using artificial intelligence, this app -- developed by a London advertising group, of all things -- analyzes likes, Web sites visited in the past, even scours the Web for news related to these subjects, according to Damien Gayle of The Daily Mail in the UK.

Not everyone agrees this is a good idea.   “I think memorializing is a good thing…but I can't see why/how this sort of service would be remotely beneficial. Coming to terms with loss is to accept that once a person has gone, they have gone for good. Who would benefit from this?” Naomi Laver, a psycho-therapeutic counselor, told the Wall Street Journal, as Michael Allen reported.

And what about stalk…

So, it was a contest, Adam? Killer Profile Tonight

Just read the latest disturbing news about Adam Lanza, the Newtown mass murderer.  It was a game to him.             He had hoped to beat Anders Breivik, the crazed Norwegian who killed 77 people in 2011, according to news sources.

As Karen Morrison of The Sun (UK) adds, "According to two officials briefed on the Newtown investigation, CBS said Lanza targeted the elementary school because he saw it as the 'easiest target' with the 'largest cluster of people."

Connecticut law enforcement denies that this information is true, but as it's also been reported, officials have been able to reassemble one of Lanza's hard drives.

Tonight PBS, which has been running a series on Newtown all week, will explore the factors that may have led to the carnage in "Mind of a Rampage Killer," at 9 pm EST.

The show leads in with a discussion about whether killers have the urge to kill, or "the desire to die."









http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/…

Who lies? Doctors tell

A fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal today reported that a survey taken in 2009 found that 28% of patients admitted to lying to their doctors about how many drinks a week they had, cigarettes they smoked in a day and how often they exercised.

But the medical profession puts it at more than almost triple that -- at 77%.

Writer Sumathi Reddy said that it's often because people don't want to disappoint their doctors.  So doctors often add on to what we tell them.  Four drinks a week?  Make that eight, docs say, and base their treatment on that number.

What if you're like me, and don't lie (at least, about this stuff)?  Are we then being under- or overtreated?  Reddy didn't say.  But "doctors say omitting important information or lying can lead to the wrong treatment, medicine or even diagnosis," according to the article.

Parents, on the other hand, sometimes lie when they don't want to be judged.  Reddy gives the example of a mother telling t…

Turning aggressors back into innocents

Switch from "Diehard 1" or 2 or 3 or 4 to "Rugrats."  It's as easy as one-two-three.  At least that's what a recent report has found, according to The New York Times.

The study published Monday has found that changing a young TV watcher's viewing habits can possibly change the child's behavior from violent to benign, the story said. Not sure this would have helped Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook mass murderer, but apparently the analysis found that "the experiment reduced the children’s aggression toward others, compared with a group of children who were allowed to watch whatever they wanted," as reported by Catherine Saint Louis.

Low-income boys showed the most improvement, according to the story, though it wasn't clear why.





http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/certain-television-fare-can-help-ease-aggression-in-young-children-study-finds/

Trying to Get Pregnant? Watch Your Diet (And Your Husband's)

A recent study confirmed that what a man eats can definitely affect the quality -- and quantity -- of his sperm when a couple is trying to get pregnant.

An article in The Toronto Sun reported last year that "those with the highest fat intake had a 43% lower total sperm count and 38% lower sperm concentration than men with the lowest fat intake."

 Exactly what men ate mattered, according to the study.  Those who ate the most saturated fat had the lowest sperm counts.

But a segment on "The Doctors" today noted that all is not lost.  Men with lower sperm counts can try taking Vitamin D, put lemon in their water (no joke), drink pomegranate juice, and yes, even eat oysters.











http://www.torontosun.com/2012/03/14/diet-affects-sperm-count-study



http://www.recapo.com/the-doctors/the-doctors-advice/the-drs-what-foods-help-increase-sperm-count-properly-cleaning-teeth/

Still Sick From Last Night's Drunk? Hear This

There's now a new pill that can beat your hangover.  According to smartplanet.com, a team of UCLA researchers has found a way to detoxify the alcohol in your system.

No mystery here. The team found the enzymes that make your liver metabolize alcohol and were able to reproduce them.






http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/drink-with-impunity-take-the-hangover-pill/12997?tag=nl.e660&s_cid=e660&ttag=e660

Don't Brush Your Teeth? Men, Watch Out

Toothbrushes have been around since the Middle Ages, according to Pagan Kennedy, but we might not have recognized them back then.  Pre-plastic, those who wanted to save their teeth had to go out and find a boar or some other animal to get the bristles off their backs to "groom their teeth," as Kennedy put it.

Ironically, "the toothbrush is one of the most reinvented of human objects, with thousands of patents on file," Kennedy writes.

She notes that William Addis is generally thought to be the first to patent the toothbrush, where he whittled down a bone and stuck it full of bristles while serving time in prison.

Aren't you glad we don't have to worry about that anymore?  But a lot of people don't brush their teeth, and if you're a man, you have a lot more to worry about than just bad breath.  Try, raising your risk of a stroke or heart attack, and oh yeah, what's been so politely called "erectile dysfunction," according to the…

Pee-Powered Technology? It's Here

OK. You've got to admit it sounds pretty gross.  Pee-powered warfare?  But according to David Worthington at smartplanet.com, it's coming.  He writes that sources say, "The military could shave 25 pounds off of a soldier’s gear by adopting the technology."

That's because the addition of water (or pee) to fuel cells "initiates a chemical reaction that generates power instantly."

The technology has actually been available in Asia since last year. Just, don't know if you have to wash your hands after using.







http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/coming-soon-pee-powered-warfare/12777?tag=search-river

Can Billboards Make You Fat?

According to a new study, outdoor fast food ads make us want to eat, and eat, and eat.  A story at news.health.com reports that a recent analysis of people living near outdoor fast food ads were much more likely to be obese than those who lived in neighborhoods without any.

“For instance, in a typical census tract with about 5,000 people, if 30 percent of the outdoor ads were devoted to food, we would expect to find an additional 100 to 150 people who are obese, compared with a census tract without any food ads,” explained one of the researchers in the story.

Boy, now I have to count my Weight Watcher points, stay away from M&Ms AND not drive anywhere near McDonald's billboards. 



http://news.health.com/2013/02/13/outdoor-fast-food-ads-linked-to-obesity-study-suggests/

Think Being Hard-of-Hearing is Bad? There's Something Worse

As we baby boomers continuue to age, hearing loss is often a part of it.  I know I have to strain sometimes to hear when I'm in a nosy room.  Both my mother and grandmother went deaf at early ages so it's possible it's in my destiny, too.  (It irritates me no end when my husband can hear the song playing on the restaurant's sound system, and I can't!)

But even more upsetting than hearing loss is what it could lead to.  Big-time memory loss.

According to a story at The New York Times, people who have to struggle to hear spend so much brain power just trying to make out the words that the other parts of their brains wear out,and shut down. 







http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/11/straining-to-hear-and-fend-off-dementia/

eHarmony or eHoax?

A recent story in The New York Times noted that eHarmony's much-vaunted algorithms for matching people may just not be doing the job, after all.

According to the story, eHarmony’s senior research scientist, Dr. Gian C. Gonzaga, was criticized by Dr. Harry T. Reis of of the University of Rochester, one of the authors of last year’s critique of the company's matching formula, saying eHarmony's results could simply "merely reflect the well-known 'person effect;' an agreeable, non-neurotic, optimistic person will tend to fare better in any relationship."

But the research, reporter John Tierney writes, "also showed that it’s hard to make predictions based on what’s called a dyadic effect — how similar the partners are to each other," one of the main ways eHarmony matches people with their "soul mate."

On the other side, I recently read that one out of six marriages now come from online matches.  So, who's to say?  I met my husband the o…

Do Video Games REALLY Lead to Violence?

A new study as reported by The New York Times today has found that, though "playing the games can and does stir hostile urges and mildly aggressive behaviors" the good news -- I think -- is that it's not totally clear if that is the case.  It's quite possible that those who like to play violent video games self-select themselves.

In other words, as The Times noted, young people who tend towards violent tendencies just might be the ones most likely to play the bloodiest games.  A psychologist quoted in the story, however, said that the violent behavior of people like Adam Lanza, the Newtown murderer, could only partly be attributed to video games.

“None of these extreme acts, like a school shooting, occurs because of only one risk factor; there are many factors, including feeling socially isolated, being bullied, and so on,” Craig A. Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University, told The Times.

A statistic I found very revealing was that "the proliferation o…

Bra Beats Cancer

Seems almost too good to be true. What if you didn't have to go through a painful exam to find cancerous spots in your breast?  Now a Reno, Nevada company is developing "a new screening tool that's non- invasive, non-compression, and extremely accurate," according to a Tampa Bay TV station.

It's a bra you wear for 12 hours, starting from the age of 18 up, that has 16 sensors that can detect temperature changes, which can signal breast cancer, the station reported.  When the bra hits the market by midyear next year, it could become part of regular health screening instead of, or complementing, mammograms.

What's that sound?  One million women applauding.












http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=296989


http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AigrO3OE_KHlWqDaxble_ECbvZx4?p=cancer+detecting+bra&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-701

Memory Loss? Beware Smokers

No, you're not imagining it.  And it's not just age. If you're around smokers, that memory loss that's been terrifying you may very well be attributable to being around smokers, according to Fox News, while the Mail Online in the UK notes that the same study found that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke forgot 20% more than non-smokers who were not exposed.

But before you panic, those studied "reported being exposed to second-hand smoke for an average of 25 hours a week for an average of four and a half years."  They included people who lived with smokers or spent a lot of time in designated smoking areas (euw).













http://radio.foxnews.com/2012/09/23/housecall-for-health-second-hand-smoke-memory-loss/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2202636/Non-smokers-regularly-exposed-second-hand-smoke-risk-damaging-memory.html#axzz2Kbc0SHYx

Got Stress? Maybe No Cancer

According to a new study -- and just about opposite every other study -- job stress has no longer been found to contribute to cancer.  As webmd.com reports, even though 90% of cancers have been linked to environment and lifestyle, a recent Finnish analysis found that, though "stress has been linked with a body response that causes extra stress hormones," these hormones don't trigger and maintain chronic inflammation, as originally thought. Inflammation has been shown to play a part in cancer.

Another study done in London over 20 years had the same results. Now, if you work the night shift, the situation might be a little different.  Studies done last year show that women who work overnight have a higher risk of breast cancer, and men, prostate cancer.

The Finnish study used people who felt they had high demands, and low control, placed on them. Couldn't we all relate? 






http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/news/20130208/job-stress-risk-cancer

http://radio.foxne…

Does It Get Any Sicker?

Just learned that some crazies believe Newtown was a "hoax."  Apparently some woman called the authorities and said, according to The Advocate, that there were no helicopters flying over the school on Dec. 14 and there is no such school as Sandy Hook, it's "not listed anywhere."

Allowing for the fact that this woman is mentally ill, she truly believes there was a conspiracy and that the catastrophe was "framed by the government." I usually laugh at people like this but this time I was terrified. Are there others out there like this nut case?  I guess there must be.

This woman, according to the story, seemed to genuinely believe that this was just something "the government" cooked up.  Why, she wasn't clear.  They call themselves "truthers," but I think it's closer to turds.



http://www.newstimes.com/newtownshooting/article/State-dismissive-of-truthers-Newtown-hoax-claims-4261852.php

Danger Ahead, Will Robinson! New Epidemic Reaching Epic Proportions

If you know where this comes from ("Lost in Space," remember?), this epidemic applies to you.

Listen all you Baby Boomers out there.  The next epidemic won't be measles or mumps.  Experts are predicting it will be Alzheimer's.

That's because the disease primarily hits people in their 70's and older, and we're getting there.  A story at USA Today notes that by 2050, the affliction rate will have tripled, striking 1 in 85 people by this date.  (Of course, how many of us will be alive then?!)

But it's something to think about, for our children.  Though doctors know how it develops, and now may be able to definitively diagnose it when we're still alive, no one knows why.   The symptoms are more than forgetting your keys, which I do all the time, or forgetting a word, like fork, which I also do.  Amnesia, the inability to communicate, difficulty with tasks, confusion about time or place, are all part of the disease.

It's important to remember that …

Coming Soon: Newtown, the Movie!

Guess we should have expected it. But a director has traveled to Connecticut to location-hunt for a movie soon to be started on the Newtown massacre, according to Fox News.  Supposedly it will be about a boy with mental illness who is frightened by the shootings and afraid of his parents. Can't wait.

But the director, Jonathan Bucari, is apparently showing some consideration.  He's chosen Ridgefield to shoot, out of compassion for Newtown. What a hero.

The good news is, the guy's only had one other directorial attempt, "The Sacrificial Lamb," a TV pilot.   Hmm.  Haven't seen it? Maybe we're in luck.



http://www.mediaite.com/online/newtown-the-movie-film-adaptation-in-the-works-based-on-sandy-hook-elementary-school-shooting/





http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/02/05/newtown-movie-director-plans-movie-related-to-newtown-shooting/

Lettuce Be Careful

Guess what causes the most food poisoning?  Not shellfish or egg salad left out all night.  It's what they tell us to eat to be healthy.  It's lettuce!  And its cousins, spinach and arugula and ...  You get the picture.

Of course, all that needs to be done to make it safe is to wash it.  But if you're like my husband, who refuses to wash anything he eats -- and he consumes a mountain of fresh fruits and vegetables every day -- you'd better pray that no one with dirty hands has touched your greens.


http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/most-food-illnesses-come-from-greens/

Got Cramps? Grab Your Cellphone

Next time you have cramps, pull out your smartphone.  A new Web-based program is helping women to combat chronic pain.  It's not really done with smoke and mirrors, but sort of.  The program pairs therapists with women constantly in pain for one face-to-face session,  then having them document their pain, and their feelings about it, for personalized feedback from the therapist, according to a story at fiercemobilehealthcare.com.

Users rate their pain on a scale from 0 to 52, with 52, of course, being wrenching (I assume).

Not sure how much this really helps but since a mind-body connection has been proven, guess it couldn't hurt.

While only women were being studied, it could certainly be used by men, too. 



http://www.fiercemobilehealthcare.com/story/smartphone-interventions-can-help-manage-chronic-pain-study-says/2013-02-05

Tougher Background Checks: Is That All We're Getting?

A scary headline in my local newspaper last week read, "Blumenthal, NRA boss find common ground."  Scary because Democratic Sentator Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's former attorney general known for challenging illegal drug company marketing practices, cracking down on health insurance companies for fraudulent policies, and others, now can agree with Wayne LaPierre, whose response to Sandy Hook was arm the schools?

Phew!  That's a run-on sentence. But what is most frightening to me is that Blumenthal, who has campaigned so agressively for the common man, now believes we're probably not going any further than background checks -- important as they may be -- because the NRA will go along with that.  Forget banning assault weapons.  Registering buyers at gun shows, and everywhere.  Illegal gun prosecutions -- which LaPierre bet Blumenthal will not rise even after the Newtown massacre.

Is the best we can hope for, background checks?  I'm not denying their neces…

What Are We, As A Nation, Coming To?

That President Obama feels the need to have photos taken of him skeet shooting?  And that gun zealots have to smugly note that it's "only" skeet shooting, or that the photo was faked? 

Isn't what we're talking about here not sport guns vs. assault rifles, but lives?  That's what's getting lost in all this nonsense. 

And who cares if Obama shoots skeets (and what the hell are skeets, anyway?) once a week or once a lifetime? Does that make him less a man, or leader?  I guess to the NRA, it does, who, according to Darlene Superville, is "scoffing" at his claim.

And why is Obama going along with this?  Why does he feel the need to shoot, or defend his right not to shoot?  Is that really what we want this all to be about?




http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/white-house-releases-photo-obama-firing-gun-18385919


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/02/nra-obama-skeet-shooting_n_2608177.html

Are Locked Doors the Answer?

In a city in Connecticut, a board of education dismissed panic buttons for teachers in favor of doors that lock. Some classrooms in Stamford schools have them; others don't, according to a column by Angela Carella in The Advocate.  Some lock from the outside, so custodians can more easily unlock them to clean, while others can only be opened from the inside.

The superintendent wants to change all the doors to inside locks. And while that's certainly a laudable goal, is it really going to save anyone in the next school massacre?

Adam Lanza shot through the doors, though he missed, according to sources. But what's to prevent a biggger thug from breaking down the doors?

I admit, I don't know what's right anymore.  I never thought I would have to think about whether I'd ever see my son again when I sent him to school in the morning.  True, he's in middle school, but what about kids bringing guns to school, as happened in the Bronx last week, or fooling around…

Mental Health Rehab: Not the Answer to Gun Violence?

Now I've heard everything.  The New York Times today ran a story today about how some people think rethinking mental health isn't going to do anything to curb violence.

That's because, according to the article, some experts think it's unfair to single out mentally ill people as an answer to gun violence because "people with serious mental illness are involved in only about 4% of violent crime," and are far more likely to be victims of it -- 11 or more times the general population.

Of course, fixing mental health is the NRA's answer to violence committed by people with assault weapons with multiple clips.  (Remember: guns don't kill people.  People kill people. But as I saw on a sign in the NYT yesterday, "Guns just let it happen.")

Lest we forget, Adam Lanza was able to kill 20 first graders and six teachers in a matter of minutes with the availability of guns that sprayed 13 or more bullets at a time.  And had hundreds of clips left.

Some t…