Friday, September 28, 2012

Mirror, mirror--oh, shut up

DaisukeWakabayashi, WSJ, Sept 25, 2012, says new mirrors are coming that act as health monitoring devices.

Apparently people looking in a mirror pay more attention than looking at a sign (Big Book of Duh). But another aspect is that people don’t buy mirrors all the time and upgrade.

But—we are going to be seeing the medical mirror.

So far, these are pretty spendy and are in rehab centers and big companies, and the like.

The technology is also being used to fit clothes.

But—wait for it—some models have a scale under the sink of say, the company bathroom…

Count me so out!

I just met a mirror I didn’t love.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weird world of food cravings

Melinda Beck, WSJ, Sept 18, 2012, explores cravings.

Cravings activate the pleasure centers of the brain—like drugs. Women have them more than men, but men get them.

Eight-five percent of men like giving in, 57% of women are satisfied.

Scientists used to say your body was calling out for a certain nutrient—now this is not popular.

Few people, for example, crave leafy greens—and they contain some of the same nutrients as chocolate.

Also cravings are cultural…Japanese women crave sushi, few Egyptians want chocolate, that sort of thing.

In one study, dieters had more cravings—which is understandable if they did not allow any chocolate, at all, for instance.

Yes,you can crave a food you do not like—how weird is that?

Chocolate is craved by 40% of women, 15% of men.

Salty snacks by 100% of women, 75% of men.

Meat, bread, and ice-cream are in the single digits.

If you keep tossing in the cupcakes, your brain may slow on the serotonin and you may want more and more of the little brats.

What to do to control a craving…Mixed advice. Maybe give in in a controlled way, maybe in the middle of a meal. Also exercise a lot – it cuts cravings.

Or take a whiff of jasmine or peppermint.

If you can get a day past the craving, it will slack off.

Oh-and pregnancy cravings have not really been confirmed. I craved stuffed grape leaves like mad! Confirm that!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tea is terrific

Second to water, people around the world drink tea.

Apparently, researchers think tea enhances health. They are pounding in the stuff and doing studies right and left.

Conclusion: Bioactive compounds in tea impact every cell in the body positively.

Public health people recommend a cup of green, black, white or oolong a day.

An Italian study showed positive effects on high blood pressure.

Losing or maintaining weight—tea.

Green tea flavanols helped post-menopausal women with muscle strength and crumbly bones. Drink tea, do tai chi, you may even grow more bone.

Tea makes you more mentally sharp.

So—coffee—speak up, what do you have to say for yourself?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Watching reruns can restore you

I think Roseanne Barr has gotten pretty wacky, but when you are fat and sarcastic, I cut some slack.

So I watched a rerun of ROSEANNE over the weekend—and that is a very well-written show. All my gnawing fears sort of fell away and I even laughed out loud.

So is numbing in front of the tube good for you? I think a lot of Americans do that—including me. A prof at the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions found that a rerun of a favorite show can restore drive to people who have used up their reserves of willpower and self-control.

With a rerun, you know the “people,” what they will do or say next. You don’t use the same mental reserves.

Of course, the docs did experiments—asking people to write about their favorite show or to list items in their room. Most picked the show. Writing about the show also restored energy levels.

Rereading favorite books also seemed to work.

Soooo..being lulled and entertained can be good for us. Good to know.

It was funny when Roseanne and Jackie’s mother said to a pregnant Jackie—“In your condition you shouldn’t walk,” and Jackie snapped: “Yeah, Mom, I should have driven the car into the restaurant.”

Maybe you hadda be there.

Friday, September 21, 2012

For that peaches and cream skin

No one has perfect skin—well, maybe English women…That is why PhotoShop was invented.

But—says Amanda Friedrichs, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Sycamore, Ill, too many people with acne or uneven skin scrub and use harsh products.

Wash twice a day and after sweating.

Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser applied with fingers, not sponges or cloths.

Do not use astringents, toners, and exfoliants.

Rinse with lukewarm water.

Shampoo regularly—daily if your hair is oily.

Don’t pop things.

Keep your hands away from your face.

Stay out of the sun and tanning beds.

You can see if video on this at

Remember that scrub made of apricot pits—they use those in driveways. Maybe avoid?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Running while traveling

No, I do not mean LOCKED UP ABROAD type stuff—I mean keeping up with your jogging. Jason Karp, 2011 Personal Trainer of the Year, has a couple of ideas for how to unwind and stay healthy by exercising on the road. If you are a runner, you probably do not want to miss many days.

First, bring your running shoes and clothes in your carry-on.

Check the weather in your destination so you can pack properly.

Don’t confine yourself to a hotel fitness center on a treadmill after dark—run while exploring a new place.

Ask the concierge if there are safe running routes. Many hotels can direct you to a park or suitable area.

Run immediately after a long trip to relive jetlag.

This is making me tired, but it’s probably good advice. For more ideas, go to

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ta-da! Superfoods!

I have been ailing and lost my appetite. That is horrible!! I would rather be fat and like food than puny and not want even a bite.

Yes, we are all fat fat, fat…we get it, nannies and doctors. But maybe we need a change in emphasis—try to eat more superfoods.

This idea comes from Dr Kristen Bobik of Chicago Healers (

What’s a superfood? Well, not necessarily some pond sc…algae. Common things like, say, eggs. Eggs used to be a food rascal, but now are considered a super protein source. Even the yolks contain choline—which can protect heart and brain function.

Kale and spinach are mighty. The darker green the better. These are packed with vitamin K—so watch it if you are on a blood thinner.

Avocados. They are fatty, but the “good” fat linked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Salmon is a yummy great protein source. It prevents almost everything and will even load the dishwasher!

Apples—twice the fiber of other fruits. They contain all kinds of natural substances to aid digestion and prevent premature cell aging.

Blueberries…Good for your eyes, vision (my interest), and brain function (also an interest, I guess). Blueberries also reduce random inflammation in your body.

Want more? OK—olive oil (see below, scroll down). Garlic—lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides (fat in blood). Especially good if you’ve had a heart attack—eat a few cloves a day!

Almond are another powerhouse. Maybe a dozen at a time—they are caloric, but can help with weight loss.

This is not making be nauseated, so I may be almost better. Hoping.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

OTC and other drugs may make you worse

A doc once told me all drugs have side effects, and when you take something, you are hoping you get the good ones, not the bad.

I seem to get the bad pretty often.

Michael T Murray, ND, is a naturopathic physician and coauthor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.He says 5 things in your medicine cabinet may be making you worse.

Sleeping pills may actually deprive you of sleep. They disrupt healthy sleep cycles we need to repair our bodies. They can also be addictive, or else you are afraid if you don’t take one, you won’t sleep. They can also cause depression and there is some evidence they affect early mortality and cancer.

Headache drugs can CAUSE headaches. Chronic tension headaches can become worse. This includes aspirin and acetaminophen. Instead massage neck, face and scalp. Some forms of chiropractic care can also ease symptoms.

Osteoarthritis drugs can lead to joint destruction. This include NSAIDS and Cox-2s. These interfere with cartilage repair.

Antacids, especially proton pump inhibitors, such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid, can increase risk of certain gastrointestinal cancers. See what makes you feel bad or gives you heartburn and don’t eat those things.

Antidepressants can make you fat. Prozac, Zoloft—they induce weight gain by altering how the brain processes glucose.

Please check side effects of stuff you gobble down! I need all the readers I can get.

Oh--and if you go to and sign up for his weekly fast facts, you get a free copy of his book book Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Even older people can donate organs

Darla Carter wrote about this in the Louisville Courier Journal.

Allowing your organs to be used makes something sad or terrible into something at least a little positive.

You can sign up at the donor registry, without making your family think about this and make the decision in a time of stress.

Go to for more info.

Now they are pushing for people 50 and up to donate. No—your organs are not worn out.

At any one time, 115,000 or more people are waiting for organs.

In 2011, a third of donors were over 50.

One myth is that if you are a donor, doctors won’t work as hard to save you. This is completely unfounded. There are strict rules about brain death.

One doctor said he used the livers of 90-year-olds sometimes. “I’ll take anything I can get if the person has 24 hours to live,” he remarked.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yuh-oh--makeup not a drug

Jennifer Corbett Dooren and Emily Glazer, WSJ. Sept 12, 2012, says Lancome (L’Oreal) overstepped when it said several anti-aging creams boost the activity of genes and stimulate the production of youth proteins.

If they affect how the body works, not how it looks—that would make them drugs, subject to much testing, the FDA grumped.

Better than botox, cell regenerating—watch out.

I am sticking with Fountain of Youth Cola.

Kidding, kidding.

But this stuff costs a ton and is probably basically cold cream.

What is a youth protein anyhow?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Young dancers can get injured

As young kids grow, their bones, ligaments and tendons developing, dance class can be dangerous if care is not taken.

“Dance is highly demanding,” says Scott Levin, MD, of Somers Orthpaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group in Carmel NY.

Most dance injuries are from overuse, not an acute event. Overuse can lead to small cracks in the bone, for instance. Or inflammation of the tendon. Ankle sprains can result from going en pointe.

The risk is greatest for girls between 8 and 12 and for boys between 10 and 14. These are the growth spurt years.

Parents should not encourage kids to go to a higher level until they are ready. Girls should probably not go en pointe until 12 or more.

Shoes should be properly fitted.

Kids also should get proper nutrition—especially fluids.

The classes should allow for a child to say they need a break.

Doctors should also talk to dancers—urge them never to dance through pain.

Excessive perfectionism can be the enemy.

That show DANCE MOMS? What not to do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kids often learn to smoke on the job

My daughter took up this lovely pastime in Catholic school—but the principle is the same.

When a youngster gets away from the home base, peers tend to take over the teaching. Rajeev Ramschand, Rand Corp, says 25% of HS kids have a part-time job. This puts them at an increased risk of smoking.

Research this guy did in Balto in 2009 showed a working kid had nine times the likelihood of starting smoking.

He suggests places where kids work—supermarkets, fast food places—emphasize nonsmoking more and become smoke-free if they are not already.

Parents also must emphasize how expensive cigs are—kids should save for a car or something more worthwhile.

Just droning on about future heart attacks probably won’t persuade a lot of youngsters.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Have kids? Great new website starting

Soon, a fun and informative new website will debut—and yours truly will be one of the writers.!

Lively, irreverent, funny, and smart— will examine the intersection of children (and rearing thereof) and technology.

Since kids today seem to be half “bot,” this is timely and crammed with possibilities.

One of the premier stories will be on the unique tech-sopping abilities of the teen brain. They are not like us! Bwahhh-ha-ha.

In the US, kids spend more than 8 hrs a day interacting with computers. This both takes advantage of the developing teen brain and develops it. Is this always a good thing?

To get details, you can sign up to get is an invitation at

Oh—and you will also find a story from your correspondent here when the site opens—on iDosing—getting “high” on weird noises.

Come and join us?

Monday, September 10, 2012


Since my mother died two weeks ago, I can’t sleep and am crabby as a rascal. Paperwork, financial woes, sadness, panic…ick.

I thought I was entitled to some time to grieve…but friends are making me think this is abnormal, that I need drugs.

I hate taking stupid drugs. I used some stuff on my sore knees that made me feel as if I were croaking—see below.

The signs of depression are loss of appetite, sleep problems (two nites recently where I never did get to sleep), poor concentration, feeling hopeless, memory probs, and lack of interest in activities you used to love.

I have some, if not most.

But I am not wangling from ride to a doc, sitting around, blah blah…you’re depressed, take this, don't operate heavy thoughts or machinery.

I am going to wait it out.

I once went to a shrink in DC—after being the survivor of a crime. She said well, look what happened to you—no wonder you feel horrible. I think this may be similar.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Arthritis pain-saving tips

Arthritis Magazine, put out by Health Monitor, carried a piece by Diana Bierman on how to work around pain from arthritis.

A friend and I were just talking about that the other day—the constancy of the pain.

First tip was to plant a container garden—you can put it on a surface so no bending. Get a bucket with a handle.

If you entertain outdoors—use paper plates and disposable utensils.

Wrap rubber bands around the doorknobs to make them more grippable.

Put two cups of rice in a sock and microwave for 2 mins. Molds to the bad spots.

Use an electric razor. If you use a razor with a handle—go to to find a wrap for it.

If the fridge is too heavy to pull open, put a ribbon on the handle so you can loop your hand through and pull with your arm.

Use a grocery cart as your poor man’s walker—I invented that one. Do it in the store, though, or you might look a little homeless.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Losing (your life) in translation

A study in the Sept issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology said that older patients (60 and up) with limited English had poor self-management of their asthma.

Asthma is a condition you need to manage—and carefully. You need to take as-needed and everyday controller meds properly. You probably need both--and can't just grab the as-needed inhaler when you can't get a breath.

Hispanics with limited English tended to be the least likely to use corticosteroids as intended.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology ( recommends having a bilingual person at every doctor appointment.

Ask for literature in Spanish.

If you don’t have a bilingual family member or friend, ask if someone in the office can translate.

Attend a local patient support group to get up-to-date info.

Asthma patients need to see an allergist at very least.

Not being able to breathe is bad--and can be VERY bad. Don't fool around with this.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Reusable bags--think before filling

Alison Stanton, AZ Republic, Sept 5, 2012, says reusable bags are a good idea for the so-called environment, but maybe not for your health.

Sometimes you put in a juicy meat package and it may seep a tad. This can contaminate the foods nearby or the next batch of contents. Vom!

They did a study in 2010 at the University of AZ, collecting reusable bags at random from consumers as they entered the store in AZ and CA.

Large numbers of bacteria were found in all—including the kind from poop.

Put a bag with meat juice in a car trunk for 2 hrs—everything increased 10 times! In AZ, summer is so hot this does not happen, the bacteria even can’t take it—but in AZ winter, watch out. Of course in a normal place, summer will breed stuff.

Keep a dedicated bag for meat, they suggest.

Don’t use a food bag for laundry, say.

Only 3% of shoppers ever washed their bags. The cloth ones go in the machine and the ones with a plastic lining take handwashing.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Wise up--Don' take someone's prescription

How many times have I written this, said this, begged people not to do this—and then I did it!

In my mother’s final illness, I had to walk great distances in hospitals, parking lots, etc., with my arthritic legs. Someone said try this—a prescription NSAID cream. She said it was a low percentage—1%.

Well, surprise—it is supposed to soak in and cut inflammation—and I guess it soaks into your hands, too—and after a week or more, Sat nite, I woke up sweating, ran into a wall trying to get the bathroom, had intestinal problems, and was so shaky I had to get my kid up to help me walk.

I lay there thinking I was following my mother into the grave. I cried. Finally, my daughter said what did you do differently—I thought of that salve. She called the 800 number on it—disconnected. She went online—the side effects were all there.

Soooo….I was shaky all day Monday, too, but can walk without hugging the walls today. I drank a ton of water. I also called the Nurse Line on my health plan—the nurse Janet (thanks, SCAN) said it was probably OK not to go to the ER or Urgent care and just drink clear liquids.

What have we learned? DON’T TAKE ANYTHING NOT PRESCRIBED FOR YOU! I am dubious about half the stuff that IS prescribed.

No fool like an old fool, I guess.