Monday, April 30, 2012

No crying in baseball

Victor Khabie, MD, Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine group, is concerned with childhood injuries from supposedly fun sports.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that as many as 6 million kids under 18 are in baseball leagues and another 13 million play on their own.

Between 1994-2006, more than 1.5 million kids were hurt seriously enough on the field to go to the ER.

Most injuries were minor—muscle pulls, sprains, cuts and bruises. But more than 24,000 landed in the hospital.

One big injury area is from repeatedly pitching. Many leagues, schools and doctor groups have instituted “pitch counts,” how many times a kid of a certain age can throw.

Recommendations: Before the season, get a checkup of overall health and injury history.

Condition. Many injuries come at the beginning of the season, before kids are into the groove. Catchers need to condition to squat, too.

Before a game. Muscles should be warm, especially during growth spurts. Five to 10 mins of jogging is good, too.

The equipment is better these days—softer balls, breakaway bases, helmets with faceguards. All equipment should be properly fitted.

Don’t let your kid play for more than one team in a season and not year-round. Pitch and innings limits are crucial—down blow them off.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fifty shades of no way

Have you heard about this so-called “dirty” book called Fifty Shades of Grey? It’s about some dude named Grey who apparently gets uneven tans…scratch that…is moody and bossy.

Nevertheless, he sets off this gal’s chimes by sitting there breathing and looking at her with his grey eyes.

Seriously, I haven’t read it. But my sister did and she tells it funnier than the author meant it—although I assume a third-grade reading level book about some college girl who signs a contract agreeing to be abused by some steel-eyed know-it-all is a joke. It is, right? RIGHT?

I guess sadomasochism means you can have sex and say you had no choice—hey, handcuffs, check it out.

My sister says she has perfected the One-Week Orgasm—settle down, it doesn’t last a week, it just takes a week of this and that to set it off.

I remember when The Story of O came out—I saw the movie with a friend. O is blindfolded, whisked to a mysterious destination, plopped over an ottoman (the footstool, pottymind) and my friend said, “I am too young for this.” About 10 minutes later, she leaned over again. “I am now too old for this.”

Surprise—this is suddenly a trilogy. Hey, get the bucks, lady. You can get some studmuffin to come over and spank you.

I don’t even like someone telling me to empty the dishwasher—imagine my unerotic reaction when ordered to do it naked.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two kinda neat products

Jerry the Bear is a soft Teddy with blinking eyes, insulin injection sites, and a glucose level display.

Jerry is for kids with Type 1 diabetes.

He was conceived by two Northwestern students in a design contest—patterned along the lines of Rufus the Bear With Diabetes.

Jerry, unlike Rufus, has a meter on and his eyelids droop when his sugar is low. He also comes with pretend foods to help him manage his condition.

Check out… I don't think Jer is for sale yet--they may be looking for investors.

The second product is a Salinity Monitor Spoon. You dip it in a heated food and it kicks back the sodium content.

Yes, you already have the food in front of you and have to pay for it—but it it’s “salty,” you can eat less. That’s the theory anyway.

This baby is $57.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Resetting expectations" about medicine

The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, said doctor visits were down 4.7% in in 2011—and prescriptions declined by 1.1%.

I was just TODAY wondering whether I could go to the eye doctor—copay $35—this month.

At first, when this mess hit, people went to the doc—use it or lose it. Then, they reset their expectations as the mess persisted…and persisted…and may now be the norm.

Older Americans, in particular, are taking fewer meds. And when Medicare Advantage is gutted, will take fewer more still.

May experts say this has reached the tipping point. The cutbacks for older Americans are in BP and anti-cholesterol drugs—where you don’t get a bad reaction from quitting—just a bad outlook.
A number of new drugs came on the market last year—notably for Hep C, MS, and some cancers. Will people be able to afford them?

Guess we will see.

Before I keep an appointment, I ask myself what purpose it serves, whether I would do anything they said, whether I could AFFORD anything they said, then I decide.

Out here, it also means brushing up on your Spanish, Farsi, and Hindi.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Before you venture abroad

Winging off to Europe or perhaps some more exotic locale, such as South America or Africa?

Do a ton of research first! Go to the Centers for Disease Control— Then go to Traveler’s Health. Or check out the CIA World Fact Book. Or the US Department of State website.

These will keep you out of a shooting war and tell you what precautions to take, such as immunizations.

Take your meds—do not try to buy them overseas. (Never use Entero-Vioform for the trots—it has bad side efx.)

Going to a mountainous place—you could get altitude sickness. I had it once as a kid—you don’t want it. When you get there rest for 12 to 24 hours to try to avoid the horrible headache.

In developing countries, watch the water. Drink nothing with ice. Boil water for one minute.

Either peel fruit yourself or boil veggies yourself. Eat meat well-done.

If you get diarrhea, drink plenty of water.

Does this sound like fun yet? Well, it will be fun—but you have to be a little careful.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Minty water--very tasty

I tried the Metromint water from the Soma Beverage Company over the weekend. Yum! I love the taste of “fresh” mint.

In this case, it’s designer water—tasty but zero cals—mixed with other natural flavors. It comes in Peppermint, Spearmint, Cherrymint, Lemonmint, Orangemint, Chocolatemint, and Goodberrymint.

The bottles are tall, slim, attractive, if you care about bottle appearance.

Mint soothes the tummy, relieves bad breath, and eases irritable bowel (I listened up, although this is not proved).

Especially in the desert, we are all about the water.

Where can you get it? Well, you have to go to

It’s probably spendy—darn it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Link between flossing and heart disease--iffy

Gotta love this business—surfing crazily over tidbits of “suggestions of” and flimsy health BS.

Now, according to Sharon Begley, a writer I respect, that long-held dear connection between not flossing and brushing and an increased chance of heart attack or stroke may be wrong.

The American Heart Assn issued a rare “scientific statement,” basically saying that hum disease has not been shown to raise the risk of, much less cause, cardiovascular disease.

This came after a three-year analysis of 600 studies. Maybe people with heart disease may also have gum disease—but this does not mean the gum disease caused the heart disease. Just because it makes sense, one doc said, doesn’t mean it’s true. This sort of came into vogue because gum problems are inflammation and so are heart problems.

What about people who take an antibiotic before dental work—because of heart valve problems. Ask your dentist if you are in this category.

 Some researchers cling to the idea that oral bacteria can affect the heart.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Prizes from health plans

I have had health plans offer me $15 to get a mammo—and also to let some doctor come to my house and assess my health.

According to the WSJ, April 8, 2012, in a story by Anna Wilde Mathews, plans are setting up team competitions and raffle-style prizes for health behavior changes.

You want people “engaged and excited,” one exec said.

Humana’s Humana Vitality plan asks people to do a questionnaire and then suggests approaches, such as exercise or a health coach Participants get points exchangeable for electronics or sports equipment.

Cigna has one that offers Starbucks gift certificates—isn’t that sort of self-defeating.

Still other plans are aimed at getting kids to exercise.

I guess all this is inventive…maybe even good…but for me, it’s nosy. But you know how I am.

See that dog in the pix? He gets dog biscuits when he can make that woman walk him.

Kidding, kidding.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wellness smellness

I admit it—I cannot stand the word “wellness.” And I like to make up words and savor madeup words.

It’s so forced, so vague.

I guess it means “well being,” sort of. The absence of sickness or vague symptoms of discomfort.

Does it mean full-on, beaming, run around the block “healthiness”?

And it’s often combined with “health.” Health and wellness. Is there a difference? Maybe you can be “healthy,” but not FEEL healthy, so you lack wellness. I don’t even know.

Insurance companies want to guarantee our wellness, somehow—and violate our free will and privacy doing it.

Constant checkups and testing to find and followup every little thing can lead to anxiety—ooo, that isn’t wellness. But if something is wrong and it’s "fixed,” does wellness ensue?

I am babbling now. This is just an annoying word.

Did your doctor ever use it to you? Mine, either.

I propose a new one--unsickness.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dumb, horrible, did I say dumb?

Is there no end to this stupid weight and dieting thing?

According to Time magazine, the latest is brides-to-be and even bridesmaids-to-be getting tubes inserted in their noses for controlled feedings—in order to lose weight before The Big Day.

Good grief—do you want to be lightheaded and nauseated on your wedding day? Do you want to be almost drowned trying to swallow an NG tube (matching colors for your bridesmaids).

I once had to have an NG tube inserted—the doctor apologized beforehand saying how terrible it would be! It was!

People actually pay some quack $1500 for this. Here and in the UK.

All this is is a really disgusting 800-calorie a day diet. Just eat 800 calories a day if you want. You can gain it back on the first piece of wedding cake.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Summer meetups time to do a health tree

As you travel around seeing relatives, it’s a good time to ask about health traits within the family.

Sort of a health family tree—to put a positive spin on it.

This was the subject of a piece in USA Today Weekend, April 14-15, 2012.

Family members, this piece said, not only share genes, but may also share food preferences and lifestyle.

Some say the family history is a better indicator than genetic testing.

The problem is that family members may not report their health problems accurately.

But you can try. First, make a list of your relatives—three generations, if you can. Start with parents, sibs and kids. Then grandparents, aunts and uncles. And finally, nieces, nephews and grandchildren…after that, first cousins.

Make up your questions. Ask about everything from heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and Partkinson's to pregnancy complications. Get the cause and age of death of people who have died. Include lifestyle info if you can—diet, exercise, alcohol, smoking.

Keep your records up to date.

For more info—check out

Friday, April 13, 2012

Watch those hands this summer

A quarter of all fractures are in the hand or wrist. Our hands are full of ligaments, tendons, bones tissues and other things that break.

This according to Stewart Elkowitz, Sommers Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine group in Carmel, NY.

You can build up your hands by squeezing a rubber ball or by doing wrist curls holding a soup can.

First, there are overuse injuries and also traumatic injuries. The latter come from falls, awkward catches.

The overuse comes over time – baseball pitching, tennis, golf.

You can move a finger and it call still be broken…Only an x-ray will tell for sure.

Baseball finger means a ball has hit the tip of the finger and forced it downward. You can also jam your finger into a base sliding in.

Tennis elbow (had that one) is when the tendon in the forearm fails and begins to tear away from the bone. Yow! Be sure you have the right size grip on your racket.

Another tendon deal—extensor carpi ulnaris tendonitis—is when the tendon that runs along the back of the wrist on the pinkie side becomes inflamed. This usually is caused by basketball throws or racket sports.

If something keeps hurting, check it out.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring produce that fights cancer

It’s springy—tra la! At the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, they are all about the spring fruits and veggies that help prevent cancer.

Yes, we are poor now, this hospital acknowledges—but this stuff is not very expensive.

Strawberries. 89 cents a serving.
These are loaded with nutrients that protect against breast, skin, bladder, esophageal, and lung cancer. Eat a cup of them for 45 cals. Pretty decent in smoothies, too.

How about pineapple from a whole pineapple? 70 cents a whack. Low in sodium, high in Vit C. Eat a cup for 82 cals.

Spinach. I love this stuff! 52 cents a serving for raw. Spinach powers the body with fiber, folate, antioxys…and yuh-um! Eat it raw for 7 cals. With a pizza underneath, add more cals.

Mustard greens are 81 cents a serving. 21 cals a serving, peppery!

Broccoli—63 cents cooked. Eat a cup.

In fact, eat some now—lunchies!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Feeling sour--how about Pickleball?

Pickleball is a combo of tennis, table tennis, and badminton. The ball is a green Whiffleball like affair—but the sport is named after the dog of the family that invented it – Pickles.

The court is about the size of a badminton court, the net is two inches lower than a tennis net. The paddles are solid like a table tennis paddle.

A game is 11 points—two out of three games wins the match. Matches can last 1.5 hours and involve a lot of moving—more than tennis.

Yet, this has replaced shuffleboard for active older adults in many communities—there are leagues and organized play.

Check out for details.

Fore! Love!

Actually, I have no idea what they yell.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Traveling? Bring provisions

You may think going on vacay means eating out all the time, but it may not work out that way.

I am not an experienced traveler by any means, and when I went on a press trip to Majorca a friend told me to take some peanut butter crackers. They came in handy—in Spain, many places close during the day and reopen for a cocktail and then VERY late dinner hour. You can’t even get a sandwich at, say, 2 PM.

If you are traveling with kids, they get whiny for a snack quite often.

Keri Glassman, MS, RD, on eDiets, said to bring nonperishable snacks such as nuts, bran crackers, natural peanut butter, trailmix, and oatmeal packets.

Those 100-calorie packets are good, too, and fit in a pocket or purse.

At your stops, seek out a grocery store…get water, yogurt, lean deli meats.

Maybe even get a room with a kitchenette.

You may be surprised at how often this is helpful. I got sick in a hotel once and they did not have room service. When I began to feel better, I was hungry and had to beg the maid to get me some bread.

A cracker would have been welcome.

Monday, April 09, 2012

What if you can't see in 3D?

Up to 12% of the population can’t revel in the new trendy 3D deal. Either they can’t get the “effect” or they get it but it causes headaches and nausea.

The latter cuts into popcorn sales.

This is known as being stereo-blind. People with vision in only one eye, like your correspondent here, are affected. Other eye disorders can also cause it.

If you only have sight in one eye, don’t wear the glasses.

Can you learn to see in 3D? There is a book out called FIXING MY GAZE by Susan R. Barry that discusses this.

Pretty soon, though, 3D will be everyplace and glasses won’t even be needed. What then for the poor afflicted?

Friday, April 06, 2012

Vitamins for the over-70 crowd

I am becoming a little more nutrient-conscious. I am still a believer in the fact that the plate beats the pill--people eat FOOD, not nutrients.

But when my nails start flaking sideways or my hair losing its grip, I do pop some biotin, a B vitamin.

As we age, we absorb vits less easily—those timed release ones may be a waste of money—too hard to break down.

Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, recommend older people eat a variety of foods high in nutritional value, including cereals fortified with such nutrients as folic acid, which can help prevent heart attacks.

Dark green, orange or yellow vegetables (frozen are fine) contribute Vitamin C, folic acid, Vitamin A, and fiber.

The “gassy” veggies, such as kale, cabbage, beets, and broccoli contain antioxidants, which may cut cancer risk.

Fish provides essential fatty acids such as Omega 3, which is much in the news these days. Beans provide protein. Lean cuts of meat chip in zinc and iron.

How about Vitamin D—all the rage these days? Vit D is needed for strong bones. Calcium also affects heart health and blood clotting. The minimums have been raised from 200 to 600 IU (International Units) for D and from 800 to 1200-1400 mg/d (milligrams per deciliter) for calcium.

You can get this much calcium from eating three portions of milk or hard cheese or yogurt a day, but this does not take care of the Vitamin D. You may not be out-of-doors enough to gen up Vitamin D within your body—which takes 20 minutes a day in the sun, no sunscreen. So your doctor may test your Vitamin D levels and recommend a daily dose of a form of calcium your body can use.

What about just taking a multivitamin?

Some researchers recently scoffed at the habit of taking a multivitamin every day, but for older people, who may wish to cut their total food intake or are frail or homebound, a multi can be good insurance—rather than producing the “expensive urine” some jokesters talk about.

This is making me hungry—don’t know about healthier.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Buy your own equipment

Gyms far? Getting there too easy to blow off? Maybe start small and get your own equipment and work out during the news.

Brian Sonoma wrote about this in the AZ Republic, April 4, 2012. He suggests starting small with dumbbells and an exercise ball. Machines, a chiro was quoted as saying, restrict range of motion—free weights don’t.

If you have a few thousand bucks, try a dual crossover system or for less cheddar, a doorway pulley system.

Do your homework. Ask your friends. Try out machines at the gym.

Then find a discount store—online or in your town. We have them here—all the machines that ended up as coat racks are on sale for way less.

See if there is a warranty, though.

Craigslist is another venue to check.

Craigs is my second stop for EVERYTHING! eBay is first.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Think for yourself at the doctor's office

Brian Vastag, Washington Post, April 4, 2012, says a passel of doctor’s groups have called for an end to a range of unnecessary tests.

A 2005 National Academy of Sciences study said 30% of spending was wasteful. Of course, as patients, we need to try to decide which 30%.

These doctors listed 45 tests you should question—you can find them at the Choosing Wisely website—

Briefly, they include antibiotics for sinus infections (and certainly for colds).

X-rays for low back pain unless there is some indication of another condition

Stress tests for healthy people.

CT or MRI for fainting when there is no sign of seizure (I have had this twice).

CT scans for appendicitis for kids—ask for ultrasound instead.

Repeat colonoscopies within 10 yrs.

Scans for spread of east prostate and breast cancers if the tumors are low grade.

Go look at the list. Ask the doctor. Think of the money, the copays, the waiting, the annoyance. Make a decision!

I should probably be going to the cardiologist—but everything they told me to do in the past made me worse or caused a worse problem. I am not compliant now.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Health apps--and so much more

OK—huge subject, short post. And I don’t have a cell phone and am pretty ignorant of apps.

But that never stops me.

I watched a show the other night called I Survived—ever watch it? Yeah—harrowing, I should not watch it either. But…I do…

A guy was in the Haiti earthquake basically buried under the floors of his hotel which pancaked into the lobby—but he was able to get in the elevator, which had a hard shell as things kept collapsing. He was bleeding and fired up his phone and found an app for his head injury.

In the elevator. In the mess.

So that impressed me.

There are gazillions of apps for all these devices. Calorie counters, COPD info, snacking advice, workouts for hotel rooms, the best nail polish, how to make yourself over, diets, baby names, symptom checker…

Many apps are free. How many do you have? What is really useful? I am curious…

Monday, April 02, 2012

Choose your breakfast carefully

“Glycemic index” used to be a buzzword you heard daily in this game. Low glycemic index foods don’t raise blood sugar too much.

While some of the buzz on how eating these foods controlled weight has been questioned, recently the Institute of Food Technologists said eating low index foods in the morning can control sugar all day.

Or help to.

Low glycemic index foods are digested slowly and produce slow changes in blood sugar instead of frantic needs for insulin.

Hunger is reduced.

A great low index food is almonds. Have some at breakfast.

Whole grain toast is good. Steel-cut oats.

Most people who eat breakfast have cereal, with eggs in second place. Stay with low sugar cereal and look for foods with lots of texture instead of being reduced to sweet slurry when chewed.