Tuesday, July 31, 2007

People, pets, fine line


…Anita Manning, writing in USA TODAY, says medical doctors and vets are joining forces to treat people and pets together.

…One Health is a program launched in July by the American Veterinary Medical Assn, to integrate human and animal health, public health, education, research, and clinical practices to help two-legged and four-legged at the same time.

…Some universities will work on joint research projects.

…Part of this is to attract more young people to vet school—a shortage of vets is looming.

…With fewer vets, more diseases could go undiagnosed.

…Remember, 75% of new infectious diseases start in animals. People eat animals and snuggle up with them—they need to be kept healthy.

…But unhealthy people can also hurt animals—take smoking, for instance, a major focus of One Health.

…Dogs whose owners smoke are more likely to get lung cancer, and nasal sinus cancer. Catsof smokers are more like to get feline lymphoma.

…They did a study at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and of 3,378 pet owners, 21% of dog owners and 24% of cat owners smoked.

…If they knew second-hand smoke would hurt their pets, almost a quarter said they would think about quitting and almost another third said they would try to quit.

…Kinda makes sense. It’s not like our pets, who are living in our homes, can go get a different atmosphere.

…Work has also been done that shows a hefty pet probably means an overweight owner. Get out that leash!

...P.S. HA notices that vets call after a procedure to see how the patient is. People docs could try this! It's called caring.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tumor "paint" could be a boon


…Do you ever get sick of the “Greatest Generation” being called the greatest?

…HA does.

…She interviews so many dedicated scientists and physicians working seven days a week on the most arcane experiments, all to better our welfare. She thinks the three generations since World War II are pretty darn great, too.

…Case in point, you know when someone has cancer surgery, the doctor tries to take the tumor out and as much of the surrounding area as is vulnerable—but not overdo it and cut away too much?

…At Seattle Hospital Research Institute and the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, docs have discovered that a fluid made from a protein derived from scorpions, called chlorotoxin, helps docs tell bad cells from normal brain tissue (July, Cancer Research).

…MRIs can only pinpoint an unhealthy area if it contains a million cancer cells or more. This “paint” can highlight cancer lesions with as few as 200 cells.

…So far, this has been tested only in mice, but FDA clinical trials lie ahead.

…When you drive by a university late at night, this kind of thinking and research might be why you see a few windows lighted.

…And we are talking Gen Z, Y, Z, Millenials or however they are labeling people these days.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dietitian secrets


…HA once interviewed a dietitian who was scheming as to how many Hershey Kisses you could eat in a day and still be considered prudent.

…Dietitians can be a blast!

…Marjorie Fitch-Hilgenberg, assoc professor of dietetics at the Univ of Arkansas, has to talk about food all day and then go home and cook some.

…To do this, she keeps her pantry flush with useful staples. How many do you have on hand?

…Fruits and veggies. She loads up on canned and frozen. How about a couple of kinds of canned beans to make a quick salad—toss in some vinaigrette and you’re eating. Frozen fruit over ice cream or yogurt? Not bad.

…Rice and pasta. She keeps plenty around. Plus cornbread mix (since she’s southern).

…Bread freezes. Also have tortillas on hand for a change of pace.

…For protein, open tuna or salmon. Add herbs from the garden. Or even try canned chicken…it’s fast and always there.

…For calcium, she keeps cheese around. It freezes. You can throw almost any cheese into pasta. Powdered milk can thicken sauces or be used in a pinch if you forget to pick up moo juice at the store.

…The seasonings she keeps can make chicken or other leftovers a new meal from might to night…curry one night, taco filling the next. Don’t forget garlic powder. It transforms everything.

…HA also has those little noodle side dishes that come in envelopes. Everyone is always up for those.

…She also has frozen spinach for an extra pizza topping on storebought. Yummo!

...What things would always be in YOUR fridge or in your pantry?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ah, those thick lashes


…In tribute to Tammy Faye, who HA always considered a unique and heartfelt woman, today is about mascara.

…Many women will not leave home without it. Now, HA cannot wear eye makeup. It’s not a world-class tragedy, but it is a little teeny sad.

…In the August 2007 issue of Consumer Reports on Health, the makeup stand-by is explored in all its glory.

…First, apply mascara only to the tips of your lashes or you may block production of tears. You want tears! Take it from HA whose life revolves around being juicier eyewise.

…Don’t share mascara—you could get cooties that will give you pinkeye.

…Don’t add water to thin mascara—this introduces bacteria. HA was surprised when her eye doctor almost keeled at the mention of shower water getting in her crummy bad eye. Tap water in your eye? Apparently a no-no.

…Avoid lash-extending mascara if you wear contacts. These contains hairy little fibers that can get under your lenses.

…Never apply mascara in a moving vehicle. Heck, HA has stuck herself with a wand standing still! Scratched cornea--not good.

…Don’t leave it in a hot car or any place over 85 degrees. Think way happy bacteria colonies oozing and multiplying.

…Throw out mascara every three months. It’s bound to be harboring something by then.

…Oh, and relax. Life is not the same without mascara, but it can be OK nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Atrial fib--yick


…Atrial fibrillation, a chronic condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat wackily or jiggle, used to be considered harmless.

…Now, docs have fluffed it up into a life-threatening ailment with chancy and not too effective “treatments.” Supposedly afib is a major cause of strokes from blood clots churned up by the weird rhythm.

…HA knows. She has symptomless afib and is “in it” almost all the time.

…Most people with atrial fib (it is genetic to some extent) feel horrible, light-headed, and like “a three-pound bass is struggling in their chest,” according to some sufferers.

…The rhythm adjusting medicine they gave HA almost killed her. Then, when they saw that was not the greatest, they gave her a blood thinner. If clots formed, the theory goes, they will dissolve before they can cause trouble.

…HA been hit with two major bleeds, including her right eye.

…So now, she walks around in afib with no medication except a rate slower and isn’t that worried.

…Of course, there are other treatments, zaps to the nerve bundles misfiring and a new technique of cutting little holes in the heart, which alleviates the arrhythmia,
sometimes permanently, sometimes not. These procedures are dubbed Maze orocedures.

…HA’s aunt and brother also have afib and their doctors say take an extra beta blocker pill when it happens. Always follow your own doc’s advice, of course, but this shows
how widely treatments vary.

…Another afibber, Mellanie True Hills, author of A Woman’s Guide to Saving Her Heart: The HEART Program for Health and Longevity, has created a website to address these issues.

…Check out http://www.stopafib.org/.

…Supposedly, a third of people with afib will have a stroke. Well, a lot of people who get these surgeries have to have it done more than once.

..Another crappy disease you don’t want. But 5 million people already have it.

…Pooey.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hugo or Huge-0?


…Andrew Martin, writing in the NYT on July 22, tells us that McDonalds is sick of being nice and all calorie-conscious and now has…er…rolled out the Hugo, a 42-ounce drink with 410 cals!

…What happened to the salads, the yogurt, the apples with dipping sauce?

…Does Hugo look bigger to you? Did anyone leave him alone with the health food?

…A McDonalds spokesperson was quoted as saying, in all innocence, that people drink more in summer.

…Aw, well, Burger King has a four-pattie sandwich, after all.

…When the Arches first went up, in 1955, a soda was 7 ounces. Hugo is 6 times that!

…Double cheeseburgers outsell salads 10 to 1.

…Sigh.

…What is in some of that stuff anyhow? HA used to live in the same block with a McDonalds—actually in two different apts. That white, ice-cream-like product would lie on the sidewalk for hours in the beating sun and never melt.

...Stephen King, call your service.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Is generic just as good?


…Most health plans only want to pay for generic drugs—those made by smaller companies (often) after the drugs go off patent.

…Generics are supposed to be bioequivalent to the higher priced version, meaning they are absorbed by the body at the same rate and extent.

…HA once thought she saw a difference between her generic and name-brand BP med. She started thinking morbid thoughts, felt life wasn’t worth living, etc., on the generic. Her pharmacist said he had heard of this from certain fillers in some generics.

…Now, don’t freak out! This does not mean you have to shell $100+ for every prescription! Most generics are fine. HA is even back on the generic BP med and very much alive.

…But Patricia Farrell, PhD, author of How to be Your Own Therapist amd a licensed therapist, says some practitioners in the mental health field, especially, say some patients can get worse or go backwards on generics.

…Could it be the fillers?

…Farrell says patients are often blamed for this—of not taking the pills or not at the proper time and doses. It might not be them, but the PILLS.

…Farrell says she is diabetic and had sugar increases when she switched to a generic.

…HA warns again, this is not all people, not all generics, and not all situations. But if you do feel crappy or that something is wrong, bring this up with your doctor or pharmacist!

…Maybe you are so special, generic is not for you!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cool kids


…Have you heard? It’s hot in Arizona.

…HA remembers before Wal-Mart got automatic doors, they had a sign up saying, “Don’t touch door handle.” That was pretty existential.

…Some people keep pot holders in their purses to open car doors.

…It can get a wee bit warm.

…This occasionally has tragic consequences—people pop the tots into their car seats in back and somehow forget the little ones are there drowsing away and leave the car in the sun outside the house and go inside. Not good.

…Writing in the Arizona Republic (July 16, 20070, Lisa Nicita concentrates on keeping toddlers comfy (not necessarily saving their lives). One approach is a cold seat. This uses ice packs to cool off the carseat and buckles before putting in the tot. When you get out, put the ice blanket over the seat again. http://www.coldseat.com/.

…You can also buy sun shades for car windows at Wal-Mart and Amazon. You can even get them for the rear window while your baby is facing backwards (Eddie Bauer, Target).

…The Pacifeeder (http://www.pacifeeder.com/) is a bottle with a straw that is lashed to the carseat so even a non-cup drinking baby can get some fluids. Does this remind you of a hamster bottle at all? It is different, though—water can’t go back down the straw and it doesn’t hang overhead. Good for 3 mos and up.

…Evian Mineral Water Spray is also a nice treat for sweaty young-ins. You can cool the buckles, too.

…Insulated Sippy Cups are waiting for you at Babies R Us.

…Don’t forget the ice chest in the front, parents, with cold apple slices and grapes frozen at home.

…Aw, heck, are we there yet?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wait! That isn't salad


…Jane E Brody, writing in the NYT on July 17, warns of the weirdness one can find in the backyard or woods.

…Poison ivy, of course, still reigns, but it isn’t the only bad actor in the wild.

…Many people, unknowingly, she says, bring poison into the house in plant form. Last year, poison control centers got 57,000 calls about kids munching on house plants.

…Checkout The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants by Lewis S Nelson, MD, Richard D Shih, MD, and Michael J. Balick. That last guy is director for the Institute of Economic Botany and the New York Botanical Garden.

…Look around—you may be harboring some poisonous types. Aloe is one, elephant’s ear, jade, peace lily, philodendron, and Dieffenbachia (dumbcane) are others.

…Oh, there are more on that house plant table of yours: foxglove, hellebore, vinca, rhododenron, and mums.

…Vinca is the basis of the anticancer drug vincristine. Foxglove is the basis of digitalis (think stopping your heart).

…It’s not just children who get caught up in this. Dr Nelson, Brody says, said some people thought they were eating the strong, onion-like ramp plant and were really chowing down on a cardiac toxin in hellebore.

…Mangos have a poison-ivy like oil in the skins. Don’t hold them like an apple and much.

…The oil in these is called urushiol. You may touch it many times with no problem, then zap! Problem! Eight-five percent of people eventually become allergic.

…Other plants like Queen Anne’s lace and yarrow can make you more sensitive to the sun.

…Hey, plants, you always seemed so nice and pretty. Liars.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dry out your ears


…Laura Johannes, writing in the WSJ on July 17, 2007), talks about swimmers ear. Flash from the past! Yet, kids still swim and people still get it.

…We are, we are …retro.

…By now, of course, science has attacked our old friend. Johannes talks about several advances.

…First, swimmers ear is a painful, itchy bacteria or fungus infection in the nice, warm, gooey ear canal. It can get going especially well if you have little scratches in there—say from swabbing too vigorously.

…You can get prescription drops for it—or mix equal parts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol and drip it in there with an eyedropper.

…But if this thing really revs up, it’s out of the pool for you! And this is hard on antsy kids, especially.

…A California ear doc invented a little handheld dryer that blows warm air into the ear. Instead of dunking your head over, you dry the inside. It costs almost a hundred buckos, though. Look for Sahara DryEar or Mack’s EarDryer. (That weird orange wad in the pix is the inside of your ear.)

…Or how about ear plugs? They come in a soft silicone material treated with a microbe killer. BioEars cost under five bucks for 3 sets. They are reusable.

…Studies on these gizmos are lacking. One doctor used to tell people to use a hair dryer—but the air didn’t get far enough in.

…Another doctor said the antimicrobial plugs might kill good microbes in the ear.

…Remember how the cool lifeguards used to have cotton in their ears? Was that keeping stuff in—or out?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scratch the sniff


…In the LA Times (July 16th), Christ Woolston writes about the aphrodisiacs of the animal kingdom…pheromones.

…Funny story. Pigs light up when they smell androsteone, a byproduct of sex-crazed boars, and other animals are slaves to the smells, but humans…not so much.

…Yet, you see products everywhere with the sexy pig stuff in them.

…Men are the main customers for these supposedly alluring and irresistable goos. (HA got a spam an hour ago headlined something like: Make Women Sleep With You Immediately.…Preferably before she starts wrinkling her nose and saying, “What’s that smell?”)

…The pitch is that this stuff awakens the vomeronasal organ in the nose—the so-called sixth sense. (“I see dead, smelly people”?)

…The author wrote Realm cologne and Got2B Magnetik (got2b a bad product name) and barristas and others were able to resist him like nobody’s business.

…Problem is, the jury is sort of out on whether humans even have pheromones. Yes, women get in a better mood sniffing clean, fresh male sweat off t-shirts.

…Top scientists think that sixth sense thing in our noses has no function.

…Back to Barry White, HA guesses. With some tollhouse baking smells, maybe?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Acupuncture--not fringe anymore


…It may be 2,500 years old, but acupuncture has just recently received the approval of the National Institutes of Health and World Health Organization.

…Can umpty billion Chinese be wrong? Took a long time to decide.

…A million people in the US submit to the artfully placed needles each year. And did you know that half of all adults in the US use some alternative or complementary therapy?

…Pain…allergies…nausea…migraines…even as anesthesia…acupuncture is mainstream now. It can even ease erectile dysfunction (if not those weird ads—what is WITH the bath tubs outside anyhow?).

…Even children take to acupuncture and report that it helps them.

…It is hard to do doubleblind studies. Think about it—how would you make it look like you were putting in a needle if you weren’t?

…But, in 1997, the National Institutes of Health brought in a 12-member panel to look at acupuncture and it concluded that results are promising for post-op and chemo nausea and vomiting and post-op dental pain.

…The FDA does not even consider the needles to be “experimental” anymore.

…Usually the technique is used along with other therapies—complementarily.

…To find a qualified practitioner, go to http://www.medicalacupuncture.org/. Ask questions. Has the practitioner treated your condition before? What were the outcomes? How long will it take to see if it’s helping? What are the side efx, if any? What does it cost?

…Acupuncture can boost other therapies and make them more effective. Even skeptics sometimes notice a difference.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Behind doctor doors


…Writing in the Arizona Republic (July 11, 2007), Michael Clancy and Jennifer Price outline the (alleged) blatant idiocies of a local internist-turned self-styled plastic surgeon, who was doing everything but letting the receptionist suck fat out of patients.

…This was no back alley—it was in a nice, new, shiny, planned community in Arizona called Anthem.

…For one, the Board of Medical Examiners charges this guy was letting a bookkeeper and a former restaurant owner perform cosmetic surgery.

…Three people are dead.

…This doctor wrote that he was being assisted by “medical assistants.” Not. They had no formal training.

…He did not monitor patients under sedation. The anesthesiologist was not trained to deal with those having lipo, which can be a shock to the system.

..He is licensed only to prescribe medication, not give it to people. But he did the latter.

…He even promised once to stop doing lipo. Ha ha, still doing it.

…No, wait, he hired a homeopathic doctor to do it. This guy had surrendered his medical license in California, so could not be licensed in AZ .

…A licensed massage therapist was also operating, according to the Medical Board.

…His website says he is a cosmetic surgeon. He’s an internist with a specialty in emergency medicine. Great for when it’s time to call the paramedics.

…His website also says he went to Brown. He really graduated from St George’s on the island of Grenada.

…The medical societies he lists say he is not a member.

…Gosh, people, let’s take those websites with a grain of salt, shall we?

…In AZ, we can check docs online—does your state have this?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Good old iceberg


…HA has a confession to make. She likes iceberg lettuce. Maybe it goes back to the days when her mother used to cleave a head into quarters and hand each kid one to tide them over until dinner.

….Munch!

…Now, the old fave has fallen into disfavor…bland, declasse and worst of all, not enough vitamins.

…Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Renee Enna says the crunchy standby was developed in 1894 by Burpee. It was shipped in crushed ice, making the round heads look like icebergs peeking up.

…Foodies disdain the pale-ish green beauties. One-ninth as much Vitamin A as romaine, sniffs one. One-third as much Vitamin A as romaine. On-fourth as much iron as butterhead.

…Butterhead?

…Who eats lettuce for the iron? Have a steak or a spinach salad!

…But our old bud has hung in there—in fact, it’s 70% of the Calif lettuce crop.

…The other kinds pricker the roof of your mouth, or taste metallic or bitter (the chemicals they contain to discourage bugs—those also discourage HAs).

…Choose iceberg heads that give a little. HA weighs two in her hands and buys the heaviest. Keep it unwashed in a plastic bag in the fridge.

..Wash thoroughly but don’t soak those leaves—they are already watery.

…Dry the leaves and wrap them around sauteed meats and spices or grilled veggies. Or top with bleu cheese and bacon.

…Hamburgers with romaine, with those woody stemmy centers? Tacos with flabbery, weak-sister Boston lettuce? That’s just wrong!

…Sometimes the oldies are just plain goldies.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

One, two...quit


…Any movement helps, says Gregory Florenz, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise .

…You don’t need to set aside half an hour a day or equip a home gym, according to Kathleen Doheny, writing for Health Day.

…Even short bursts of 10 mins a day several times a day is good.

..Even older people, 70 to 82, lived longer with short exercise bursts.

…This can be vacuuming, washing dishes, running around town in and out of the car.

…In one study, working out only 72 minutes a week resulted in older women’s improving their fitness by 4%.

…In an article HA wrote for WebMD, according to Joan Price, MA, a fitness motivator, public speaker, and author of The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book (Adams Spring, 2003), the number one most common excuse not to exercise is, “I don’t have time.”

….“Exercise gives you energy. It doesn’t take it away,” she says. "You gain time—you can do everything else you need to do more quickly and with a clearer head.”

…If you are waiting at the copy machine, on hold, or at the car wash, you can do calf raises, desk pushups, or thigh presses. If you don’t have to sit in your job, stand. If you don’t have to stand still, pace back and forth.

…Of course, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk up moving escalators, and in the store, take two hand-baskets instead of a cart.

..Why, just typing this, HA burned 100 cals.

…Not.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Is your doc's office computerized?


…Jan Greene, writing in the LA Times (July 9, 2007), says a good way to find an competent doc is to see how his or her office is run.

…A major clue is do they fiddle with paper charts or are they computerized?

…So much of medical care, said one expert, is not even 20th century, much less 21st century.

…Only about 20% of physicans’s offices are computerized.

…HA’s mother’s doc finally hauled off the anteroom of metal bookcases full of files.

…Has your doctor?

…Some consider computerization a benchmark of quality.

..Some studies show there are fewer medical mistakes and more coordinated, safer care if an electronic record is used.

…Another way to choose a doc is how accessible the person is to email or emergency contact. One doc has a $30 online housecall—where he and the patient can talk back and forth on the computer in a secure environment.

…Studies also show that if the patient works with the doctor, outcomes are better. The patient has opted into the treatment. They call this finding a “medical home.” The service includes staff followup to get records from specialists and coaching for diabetes control and other lifestyle issues.

…Patients also don’t like to wait—they like to feel their time is worth something.

…HA and her family check the doctor’s online record and history (only goes back five years on lawsuits, though). She asks does the doctor have same-day appts for emergencies (or is it off to the ER or Urgent Care)? Do they always call with test results (one study showed almost half don’t always report positive results).

…Patients also reported wanting to know how often a physician had done a certain procedure.

…Is the doctor board-certified?

…HA recommends the movie “Sicko” as a debate starter. To her the most moving part was when the Cuban doctor told a woman with cancer, “Don’t cry, it will all be OK.”

…HA has never had a doctor tell her that. Think positively, yes. Try not to worry, yes. Etc. But not that.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Remember the Ssssh nurse?


…They must have sold TONS of those framed pictures of a nurse with her finger over her lips reminding people that noise is bad for sick people trying to rest.

…She’s baaaack.

…The the fifth floor of the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, according to Dalton Walker (NYT, July 6, 2007), is trying to quiet things down to a dull roar.

... Cart wheels have been oiled, dings silenced, the intercom stilled. Staff members almost whisper as they confer. They wear soft-soled shoes.

…Apparently, they checked with patients who had been sent home. Their major complaint? The place was noisy!

…Workers even wear buttons with the shushing nurse on them.

…They cruise through with an audiometer from time to time. It used to be 90 decibels in there (busy street). Now it’s 65 (library).

…Now if they just wouldn’t snap on the lights at 3 am to stab you for blood!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sunscreen revisited


...Every summer come the sunscreen finger-wagging stories. You must apply a shot glass worth, not a tiny schmear…etc.

…But what if a lot of what is written about sunscreen is marketing malarky?

…People stand and agonize over the SPF factors…15 or 45?

…Writing in the NYT (July 5, 2007), Natasha Singer tells of coating kids with 30 and 50 and two hours later, grabbing them off the grill, their backs “as pink as watermelon.”

…UVA, UVB, waterproof, muttered their mother, unimpressed.

…More and people use the stuff, 13% more than 2005.

…Along with the revenue-making possibilities of these creams, gels, pads, etc., has come the hype: Extra Protection! All Day! Sweatproof!

…What does the FDA say? Er, well, it has not looked at this in 30 years.

...It says duh.

…The Conn Atty General is outraged! He sent aletter to the FDA. New regs may be in the offing.

…Stats do show sunscreen does cut squamous cell cancers.

…Its effectiveness against the deadlier melanoma is not as clear.

…SPF 15 cuts 94% of UVB rays. SPF 30 cuts 97%. Not a huge diff.

…Also no one slathers it on the way they should—and the way it is used in the lab.

…Also some don’t filter out UVA rays—also a danger. For UVA agents go to www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/special/sunscreens/summary.php.

…Even if the FDA ges new rules, they won’t be in effect for 2 yrs or so. “All Day protection” will probably not be allowed. It doesn’t last all day!

…Use a teaspoon on your face and a shot glass on your body.

…Make sure it has something for UVA—zinc oxide, titanium oxide, or Mexoryl SX.

…And reapply after swimming.

…Hint: A bottle should not last all summer.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Skeeters are out to get ya


…Eeeeeee….that high-itched tiny scream…You are not alone. A mosquito has joined you.

…Besides being an ear-twitching annoyance, mosquitoes carry West Nile and St Louis Encephalitis in the US—not to mention malaria and Dengue Fever almost everywhere else warm and humid.

….Ooo, they are bad.

…You can try to kill as many as possible—but do those planes flying around at dawn spraying your yard, pool, and kids’ play areas make you uneasy?

…People also apply “poison” to their bodies to ward off the little brats. Check out

ww.cdc.gov.trave/bugs.htm. Spray permethrin on clothes not skin.

…The preferred killer, DEET, has been shown to make rats spastic. This stuff has even been mentioned as a possible partial cause of Gulf War Syndrome. In Canada, products must contain less than 30% DEET. Here, you can get it at 100% strength.

…Never use DEET in kids under 2 and look for concentrations around 20%. Apply it with your own hands (not spray) and then wash your hands.

…You can also put out zappers to lure bugs to their deaths. One doc jokes, though, that they should be located in the neighbor’s yard because they attract bugs before killing them.

….Repell Lemon Eucalyptus, a new product, is supposed to be as good as DEET without the menacing side efx.

…The best technique is to stay out of buggy places at dusk and dawn.

…Wear light-colored, loose clothing. No red.

…Tuck pants into boots.

…Check for ticks after rooting around the woods.

…Heck, the critters are winning…all we can mount is a holding action!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

How did your doc learn to do that?


…HA is in the throes of various eye ailments and recently asked two doctors how many of a certain procedure they had performed. The answer both times? "Tons."
...Is "tons" a term of ophthalmological art?

…What is tons in numbers exactly?

…It is OK to ask your doctor how often he or she has performed the operation you are about to have. Smart, even.

…Barry Meier, writing in the NYT (Aug 1, 2006), tells how various doctors learned to implant defibrillators (a matter of life and death) into patients. One doctor attended weekend sessions provided by a medical association and took a day-long test.

….A second group chose a program tailored by the manufacturer of the device—and most did not take the day-long test.

...In other words, no standard training period or approach.

…Devices like the defibrillator are growing in acceptance and there are not enough highly trained people to implant them.

…Most patients don’t know if they are the doctor’s third implant or their 300th, one doc said.

…Even the classes with the day-long test are voluntary.

…And the docs who take a manufacturer’s course seem to implant the manufacturer’s device.

…Isn’t that one for the Big Book of Duh?

…Bottom line: Don’t be shy—ask how many operations the doctor has done and where he had learned to do this procedure.

…Usually the good ones have done hundreds, even thousands. And learned in an operating room, not from doubling up watching someone else in a motel over the weekend.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer refreshments


…The National Nannies have not completely wiped out drinking. Whew. A nice
cocktail has its place and not everyone turns into a mess or a lush.

…Unless they are alcoholics, with the inconvenient and sometimes ruinous metabolism that cannot process alcohol properly, men can enjoy two drinks a day and women one, without tipping over the edge into some state of dishonor.

…A drink is…4-5 ounces of wine
10 ounces of wine cooler
12 ounces of beer
1.25 ounces of 80 proof distiller liquor

…Some alcohol, and especially wine, in these amounts has been shown to enhance health.

…Mixed drinks (soda, juices) were invented to keep British sailors from scarfing their whole rum ration at once. They are yummy.

…Summer drinks should be “long,” meaning tall. More liquid, diluting the alcohol, which can make one feel too warm.

…Alcohol is about 100 cals an ounce. A margarita is about 550. A pina colada, 293 cals.

…Some bartenders and food critics consider gin and tonic to be the perfect summer drink—refreshing and because of the quinine, you hardly ever get malaria.

…Spritzers are zippy—the carbonated part cuts the cals. Lob in cutup fruit.

…Some bad drinks? Yes, there is such a thing. Chartreuse tastes like gasoline. Jagermeister (does not contain animal blood, that is a myth, but just the fact that it came up…). Ever Clear is bad and even blots out even the taste of Kool-Aid. Long Island Iced Tea—800 cals! Absinthe, well, you know that is bad—look at Van Gogh’s ear problem.

…So skol, cheers, and to your health! Have fun. Remember fun?