Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Forget those wearable baby monitors

Save your money and peace of mind.
A review of monitors that track your baby's vital signs has concluded there is no evidence these will help kids--and some evidence of potential harm.

Conclusion: These may cause undue stress for parents, leading to unnecessary tests and even hospital visits.

Examples of these are Mimo and Owlet's smart socks.  These use pulse oximetry and a heart rate monitor to track the baby's breathing and identify any interruptions.

Many of these, the reveiwers pointed out, are not FDA approved, either.

Even Owlet admitted that the JAMA comments about the lack of evidence behind these had "merit," but said they were trying to address these concerns.

The best they could say was that the technology was also used in Fitbit and the Apple Watch.

Well, what about them, too? Too much info?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Old people, fall like a paratrooper

Kathy Osborn, New York Times, did a story on how older people should quickly fall like a paratrooper or stunt professional to minimize damage.

Falls, of course, are the most common reason for someone to appear in the ER.

Physical therapists want to help people fall better.

--Protect your head. If you find yourself falling, pivot and land on your side, head tucked in.

--Don't fall flat on your back. (My other did this once in the driveway. Not good.)

--Don't "froosh"--meaning fall on outstretched hands. Falling on knees is also bad.

--Take the hit on the fleshiest parts--side of your thigh, buttocks, or shoulder.

--Try to roll like paratroopers do. Don't fight it.

OK, OK--they also suggest snappy somersaults like in martial arts.

Fortunately, and I am probably jinxing myself saying this, I have only fallen once as an old person--I was leaning forward to sweep, and just kept going forward. There was no tuck and roll option.

And no, I could not get up. Luckily my kid was home. She is no martial arts instructor, but she got me up.

Anyhow, I heard that drunks are less likely to get hurt. Too bad most people drink after the fall.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Seniors with arthritis benefit from chair yoga

Florida Atlantic University did a randomized controlled study to see if  "chair yoga" affected pain or physical function in older people with osteoarthritis.

They used the "Sit "N" Fit Chair Yoga (tm) program developed by Kristine Lee (there are many on YouTube) compared with a health education program.

Chair yoga uses a chair for participants to sit in or hold onto for support.

The participants attended 45-min sessions twice a week for 8 weeks.

Researchers then measured pain, how pain interfered with life, balance, gait, speed, fatigue, and functional ability.

The chair yoga group showed greater reduction in pain and less interference of pain in their lives. The reduction in pain interference lasted for 3 months after the sessions ended.

Fatigue was also reduced, gait and speed improved, but this did not persist post-sessions.

I may try this--my life is certainly interfered with by pain. How about you?

I did non-chair yoga (Sivananda) daily when younger. I could not stand on my head anymore...wah.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Are you guys still drinking those sugary sodas?

Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, January 26, 2017, says Americans are drifting back to slurping down sugary sodas.

For the last 10 years, consumption fell, but is now stalled above the recommended limit (CDC).

Children, in particular, should consume one soda or less a week to prevent harmful effects (obesity, diabetes, non-milk drinking), but two-thirds of kids drink it every day.

Every day!

But why is this happening? Could be that soda consumption is down, but the variety of teas, flavored water and so on substitutes to keep sugar slurping high?

Carbonated soda sales are down a little over half a percent, but sports drinks and bottled coffees are up 5% to 13%.

Men generally drink more soda than women do. Blacks, whites and Hispanics, drink more than twice the soda that Asians do.

Consumption increases through adolescence, then falls off later. Today's seniors are not soda fans, but they didn't drink much growing up. Will future seniors be different?

Another statistic: Ten percent of kids drink three or more sodas a day. That sure lets out juice, milk and water.

Would less marketing to kids and less availability in schools help? Probably somewhat. But we really need a culture change.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Health eating--the baby steps way

I don't know about you, but I am a huge believer in one step at a time. I believe in chunking huge projects into, pardon the expression, bite-sized pieces. Since Thanksgiving, I have purged my garage, one junkroom bedroom, three bookcases and a huge bureau, donating or tossing hundreds of pounds of stuff.

And I did it 15 mins at a time. I would not do more than 15 minutes, even if I was feeling momentum. I stopped at 15.

The "Put Your Best Fork Forward" movement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is based on starting small--one forkful at a time.

The Academy, for one thing, is focusing on balancing food and beverage consumption. (Of course, bevs do not do well on forks.)

So many calories get consumed in sodas or even fruit juices.

The idea is to figure out your favorite foods and include some of each of them, while doing a reasonable amount of exercising or moving in a day.

From me--some possible "Best Forks":

--No more seconds, ever. Eat a plateful and quit. Caterers figure 12 bites per person for a party. Think about that.

--Don't add sugar to things (yes, I put it in my coffee and probably will continue to).

--Don't salt food without trying it first.

--If eating sweets makes you hungrier, crabbier, sluggish or guilty, take a look at what you could have eaten instead--maybe nuts.

---Eat a carb if you want--it's a food group.

But remember--do just one...not all...not crazy things like saying I must lose 50 pounds.

Just that one forkful.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New treatment for sweaty armpits

About three percent of the world's population suffers from hyperhidrosis--doctorspeak for medically excessive sweating. (The term means excessive water, go know.)

When the sweat collects under the arms, odor-causing bacteria can breed--and ewwww.

Now the FDA has approved a device from Miramar Labs called miraDry (get it--miracle and Miramar).

It's a device that applies microwave heat to your underarms, destroying the eccrine and apocrine glands that produce the excessive sweat.

It would hurt but you get some numbing first.

The treatment takes about an hour and lasts up to two years, according to Joshua Fox, MD, of Advanced Dermatology PC in New York state.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Laura Johannes says 22,000 to 30,000 sweat glands are destroyed in the process. She says the 2-3 sessions are needed and it lasts a year. Fox says the glands do not come back.

But a Miramar exec quoted by Johannes says only 82% of the sweat is stopped.

Another of her sources says miraDry is less effective than botox for this.

It is not known, apparently, if the remaining glands will start producing more sweat to compensate.

I checked--for Phoenix, the treatment can be in the area of $2500.

About 89% in one study were thrilled.

Fox recommends quizzing any doctor offering this:

--How often have you used the miraDry system? Were you specially trained?

--What other options might I have?

--What if I get soreness and bruising? (Suction brings the glands to the surface)

---What downtime is involved?

.So...it's up to you. I would say wait--they are tinkering with higher heat and other changes.

Or--just don't sweat it.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Arthritis HURTS and you don't want to walk

I have arthritis in both knees, Everything hurts--going in the kitchen, sitting down in a chair, venturing out to a doctor even. Pain, pain. You don't want to take too much Tylenol because it's not a benign drug and can hurt your liver. I don't think oxycontin is a great idea (though some of my older friends take it).  I won't get knee surgery because I know people who had a bad result--and I had a terrible experience with surgery on my detached retina. So I gimp around, yowing and ouching all day.

Every piece of advice is that older people need to move, walk, in order to stay independent.

Federal guidelines say 150 minutes a week of moderate activity (brisk walking as an example) to prevent premature death and serious illness. That's what--20 mins a day?

Only one in 10 older people with knee arthritis meets this goal.

But now researchers at Northwestern says 45 minutes a week might be enough.

In one test, a third of the participants improved or had high function after two years.

Even a little activity is better than none, the researchers say.

The key seems to be do a little at a time. Federal guidelines (150 mins) says do it 10 minutes at a time.

Still they say the activity has to be moderate. Pushing a grocery cart (which I call the cheap person's walker) is apparently too low key.

I walk around the house...I can no longer get to the mailbox at the end of the driveway because there is nothing to hold onto (besides pain, I have bad balance from my failed eye surgeries).

I probably walk 7 mins a day--but briskly? Probably not...hanging on the walls for balance seems to preclude speed.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Chain restaurants broke pledge to improve kids' menus

In 2011, national restaurant chains, under the aegis of the National Restaurant Assn's Kids LiveWell program, promised to cut calories, saturated fat, and sodium in so-called kids' meals.

By 2015, the restaurants numbered 150 chains in 42,000 locations.

Some major chains did take soda off as the beverage and add yogurt or fruit as side, but according to a study done at Harvard, more changes are needed (Am J of Preventive Medicine).

The researchers said they saw very little meaningful progress in the nutritional quality.

For one thing, the soda has often been replaced by other sugar-sweetened bevs. Sugar-sweetened drinks are still 80% of the options.

Those apple slices? That yogurt? Apparently not the whole answer. The kids will still be offered fried nuggets and cheese, burgers, and other "kid" tasty items.

But what is the answer? Not all kids will chow down on a salad.

It guess it's back to the parents. How about splitting an adult fish meal between two kids. Or choosing the roasted chicken sandwich instead of the fried? Insist on milk or water? Veggies with a dip?

Got any other suggestions?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Third of asthma patients may not have it

According to a study of 613 randomly selected Canadian asthma patients (JAMA), 33% of them were being treated but did not have asthma. This meant they were needlessly taking strong medications.

Half had not been properly tested. In other words, the doctor listened to a report of trouble breathing and handed over an inhaler--without doing a spirometry test, which tells how well the lungs are working.

In some cases, the patients might have had asthma but it had become inactive--although they kept taking the meds.

Both Canadian and American guideliness recommend doctors reassess asthma patients every so often. If the symptoms are under control, treatment could be tapered down.

But most doctors, the researchers said, do not do this.

Taking the steroids in the medicines can have bad effects over time.

In this study, a third of patients had nothing wrong at all. Two had heart disease, and 65% had minor conditions like allergies.

I was told once I had late-onset asthma--but it was a medication reaction. I kept saying I don't have asthma--and 9 months after stopping the med, I was back to normal...not a wheeze since.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Berating your child's doctor can be very bad

Does he look like he's getting
over it?
I know this sounds like a given, but remember, when someone is sick, emotions run high.

Parents, especially, can get desperate, feel out of  the loop, outmatched by the knowledge of those around their child, and can get upset.

A University of Florida management professor and a doctoral student have found that "rudeness" can have a "devastating effect on medical performance."

Lack of sleep on the part of doctors, they found, can account for 10%-20% of medical errors--but rudeness and (I guess) hurt feelings on the part of the doctor account for 40%.

Rudeness from the patient or loved ones changes the doctor's cognition--doctors don't "understand" or "just get over" certain behavior.

The studies--done in Israel--involved neonatal teams challenged by parents played by actors. The teams that had been berated performed badly in all 11 measures of performance.

The negative effects lasted all day--meaning they could have affected other patients, too.

The researchers also tested pre-test "interventions," such as a computer game to raise the threshold of sensitivity to anger. There was also a post-test intervention--writing about the experience from the mother's perspective.

These worked! The teams were "immunized" from the effects of rudeness.

OK...but what about the doctor's rudeness toward the family and even the patient. I had one of my mother's doctors say old people smelled bad...referring to my mother. I answered back. Did she get worse treatment for that? Who knows. Maybe.

I guess this "fraught" stuff goes both ways.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hot to live longer?

Researchers at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont found that eating hot red chili peppers is associated with a 13% reduction in mortality.

You have to be careful of the word "associated" and this means untimely mortality (obviously, all of life is 100% terminal).

The study, published in PLoS ONE, used our favorite dataset--the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES). This involves 16,000 Americans followed for up to 23 years.

In the study, the baseline of chili pepper eaters were younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, smokers, drinkers, and big veggie and meat eaters. They also had lower HDL (good) cholesterol, income, and education.

With these variables, eating chili peppers seemed to help stave of death by 13%.

Why? Well, the capsaicin, the hot stuff, is believed to play a role in cellular mechanisms preventing obesity and modulating blood flow and also to possess antimicrobial properties which alter the biology of the gut.

The researchers say recommending eating hot peppers or hot food in general might become a recommendation.

In the meantime, no one is stopping you from eating some hot sauce or peppers whenever you want.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Interesting book on the pharmaceutical industry

First, a disclaimer. I have not read the whole book--and am excerpting from a story on it.

Second, I am using this because the new president is already lining the industry up in his Twitter crosshairs. So this industry will come up again, I bet. Maybe a little background will provide context.

The book is Prescription for Change by Michael Kinch, director of the Center for Research Innovation in Biotechnology at Washington University in St Louis.

The book starts with early research--primitive then--just to determine that a drug was not a poison. One early antibiotic was mixed with antifreeze--106 children died.

Then began the struggle between innovation and regulation--and the world of patent extensions, me-too drugs, generics, pay-for-delay, orphan drugs, and compendum expansion.

For example, companies gamed the system by gaining FDA approval for an orphan drug (to treat a rare condition) and then did a small clinical trial, leading to its being approved for a larger population (market)--this is call compendium expansion.

Still, Kinch contends this is not dark--that the high cost of bringing a new drug to maker--$2.6 billion--is to make sure the drug is safe.

But these high costs led to companies buying each other and dismantling their own research, Instead they get new drugs from the biotech sector--where 2/3 of the drugs have originated in the last decade.

Now, those biotech companies are failing.,

At the same time, three crises are looming:

--Antibiotic resistance. If one drug stops "working," and there is no other, then what.

--Resistance to AIDS drugs. One in five patients on the drug cocktail keeping them alive has a virus resistant to one of the five drugs in the cocktail. Even of the 10 drug companies doing this research have stopped.

--Alzheimer's. Fully 99.6% of drugs to treat this failed clinical trials. Many companies have pulled back on this research.

So now what? We need to look at all aspects of how drugs are created. One idea is to eliminate costly Phase III clinical trials. Bad idea? Worth the risk? What IS the risk? And toxicity is only one aspect--what about effectiveness?

I would add--would the new president's vow to negotiate lower prices with these companies under some new health scheme he has play into this mix--which many in the industry call "The Valley of Death"?

Still, I see more research into individualized treatment keyed to genetics, new methods of  pain control. We cannot give up, that's for sure.

Friday, January 13, 2017

More guns in PG-13s than in Rs

The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania did a study--They looked at movies from 1985-2015 and found more gun violence in the PG-13 rated films, open to children, than in The R-ated movies.

During that period, also, gun violence in movies doubled.

Is this trend continuing? Yes. Hollywood continues to rely on gun violence as a prominent element of  "drama."

This study appears in Pediatric Perspectives, Jan 11, 2017.

Not only is it continuing, but the violence in PG-13s:

--Tthe consequences of it in these films--blood and suffering--seems to be erased more often.

--The violence may be largely bloodless, but still involve closeup executions, large-scale battles, and the death of innocent bystanders.

--And it is often perpetrated by comic book heroes and anti-heroes, making it a less realistic form of violence (like Wile E Coyote blowing himself up, for example).

Bottom line: Movie-going families are participating in an experiment in which the lead characters gain power, settle conflicts and are killed or kill with lethal weapons.

Studies show that repeated exposure to violence can make some young people more aggressive. The effect of GUN violence is less well known at this point.

PG-13 movies now lead the box office.

The PG stands for parental guidance...Think about it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pasta--building block of a healthy diet

I think Sophia Loren once pointed to her famous curves and remarked, "All that you see I owe to spaghetti."

Yeah, baby!

Some research on pasta presented at the Obesity Society's annual meeting in November said pasta consumption in adults is associated with better overall diet quality.

Pasta eaters have better adherence to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines.

Contained in pasta are nutrients most people lack--folate, iron, magnesium, and fiber.

The study--it should be noted--was done on behalf of the National Pasta Association.

But the data came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) using 2001-2012 data on US adults over age 19.

Pasta consumption was also associated with lower intake of saturated fat and added sugar.

Despite the latest trend to denounce wheat, pasta can be a building block for good nutrition--acting as a delivery system (we call it a host at our house) for fruits, veggies, lean meats, fish and legumes.

Pasta is also low-glycemic, low-sodium, and cholesterol-free.

Wow--is it lunchies yet? Mangia!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When was your last glaucoma test?

The glaucoma exam is when the tech dilates your pupil with drops. Then the eye doctor uses a special lens to look at the back of your eye for signs of problems.

Eye pressure is also measured with a meter touched to the eye or a burst of air.  High eye pressure is a major risk for glaucoma, but not every person with high eye pressure develops a damaged optic nerve and glaucoma can develop without increased eye pressure.

In this country, 2.7 million people over 40 have glaucoma. It's the second leading cause of blindness in developed countries.

Anyone can get it--you don't have to be "older." Even babies and children can get a rare form.

Most at risk are:

--African-Americans over 40

--People over 60, especially Mexican-Americans

--People with a family history

Early detection can result in treatment that can slow or stop the progression of this disorder and thus preserve vision. This treatment does lower eye pressure. by making the eye less fluid or helping fluid drain away from the eye.

A new way of delivering drugs to the eye is being developed--it's a drug-dispensing contact lens.

Some other avenues being pursued:

--Protecting retinal ganglion cells, making up the optic nerve.

--Using the patient's own stem cells to create retinal ganglion cells

--Identifying the genes that contribute to eye pressure

--New ways of testing treatments

Get an exam every 1-2 years. Remember me--one workable eye (not from glaucoma)? Vision is a terrible thing to lose.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cost of high deductibles

I try to stay away from politics on this site--I find the incoming president utterly distasteful and undeserving of respect, but I express this elsewhere.

But I cannot completely stay away from Obamacare  If people have no insurance (my daughter has fit this from time to time), it means many times they seek no care or live with dangerous ailments way too long.

With the high deductibles insurance companies (supposedly) had to impose in many Obamacare plans to offset the required coverage, insurance holders in those plans have insurance, yes, but now in January are starting the clock over--paying out of pocket for the first $1300 or $5000 worth of expenses. If they need an operation, some surgeons will ask for this amount in advance.

Some researchers at the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System, University of Michigan Medical School, and Penn State (JAMA Internal Medicine), found that high-deductible plans now cover 40% of those who buy their own plan or get it through their employer.

For Americans under 65, this means that health related costs take up more than 10% of the income of the chronically ill. Even low-deductible plans, in some cases, involved a lot of out of pocket for chronic conditions.

Still, these patients said the high deductibles had not interfered with getting their prescriptions.

The findings were based on 2011-13, when the high-deductible plans started being offered by employers and before Obamacare.

In 2013, high-deductible meant patients paid $1,250 in are costs for a person and $2,500 for a family. Only people with deductibles above this can open Health Savings Accounts, tax-advantaged accounts allowing them to use their own money for expenses.

(These have been touted as a big solution to the cost of care--in the Republican replacement scenarios--but I have my doubts.)

One justification for high deductible plans is to make consumers more involved in their care and more aware of cost. The researcher said, though, that they were sure how often people used the so-called cost transparency tools showing which doctors and hospitals offered the most value. (What are these tools? I don't know.)

In my opinion, this would be because patients have to pick doctor' in a designated network, whether or not they are the best value.

The researchers also noted that doctors and their offices are disconnected from the patient's financial concerns. Patients could get help navigating whether they can afford or should get a certain test or operation if doctors operated this way.

An important step would be to help patients avoid care they don't need--how about it, doctors?

Monday, January 09, 2017

Random musings about scents

April Long has an interesting story in ELLE on how synthetic scents are taking over the perfume industry.

This is not new, despite what you read about how many pounds of roses it takes to make how much attar of rose.

In 1889, Guerlain brought out "Jicky," combining synthetic and natural notes.

Jicky contained two synthetics--coumarin, found in tonka beans, and smelling of new-mown hay, and vanillin, derived from pine bark and smelling of vanilla.

Actually, synthetics made today's perfume industry possible. People tend to think, Long writes, that perfumes are made of 3-4 things such as rose, patchouli, and sandalwood, but today's scents contain 40-60 ingredients.

They are on average 70% synthetics and 30% natural.

Why the big secret? Are these synthetics safe? Are they necessary?

The majority of perfumes are made by a handful of companies, each with hordes of scientists disassembling and rebuilding chemical bonds, and breaking apart molecules, trying to get lucky results.

Synthetics can be (1) nature-identical, (2) one raw material manipulated into something else, (3) or man-made completely. The latter would be a new molecule--each company comes up with three or four a year.

One scientist said it was his job to give the feeling of nature without the presence of nature.

But people tend to suspect man-made--are they safe to inhale or put on the skin? Also--they have long chemical names---scary.

New molecules are rigorously tested. Synthetics are actually simplified...People can be allergic to natural ingredients, too.  Many synthetics are more eco-friendly. Musk is no longer extracted from a dead deer--easier on deer.

Still, it's the natural ingredients--those rose fields of the mind--that sell perfume. Nothing is as it seems, is it?

Friday, January 06, 2017

Worker-owned cooperatives--solution to elder care shortage?

A little-used business model called a worker-owned cooperative could ease the growing problem of elder care, according to University of Georgia researchers.

Rebecca Matthew, an assistant prof at UGA, and Vanessa Bransburg, a staffer at Democracy at Work Institute in San Diego, were looking for ways to care for seniors that benefited both the seniors and the caregivers.

They turned to childcare cooperatives for an example.

Cooperatives, they found, give employees more say over their working conditions and share in the profits.

They looked at the Beyond Childcare Cooperative in Brooklyn. The home-based workers who joined this cooperative as worker-owners got a 58% raise in wages. And as wages grew, they could work fewer hours and spend more time with their own kids.

This could work for eldercare, too--half of those workers rely on public benefits such as Medicaid to care for their own families.

By 2030, jobs caring for the elderly could grow from 40 million to 73 million.

Let's get on it!

My mother was cared for by several elder care facilities--the best were home-based. In her last situation, she lived with two other seniors with memory issues in a family of four. The home was state-accredited and supervised, and the woman who ran it was a doll--cute as a movie star and doted on the three women, even visiting them if they were hospitalized.

Of course, this was costly--at that time, $3,000 a month, now probably more. Would this woman join such a cooperative--I don't know how that would work. But we need to think about all this.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Doctor almost dies, now champions patients

In a story in the New England Journal of Medicine, Rana Awish, MD, director of the Henry Ford Hospital's pulmonary hypertension unit, describes a near death experience she had in 2008--a a liver tumor that caused multi-organ failure and the death of a baby she was carrying.

She underwent five major surgeries and many hospitalizations in the ICU.

As deathly ill as she was, she was surprised to encounter "casual indifference" in the staff.

As a clinician, she said, she had overlooked lack of communication, discoordinated care, and sometimes complete apathy, but she sure noticed them as a patient.

"Everything matters, every person, every time" is now her message as she tries to revamp behavior at the hospital, an effort she began in 2013.

--She has created classes in CLEAR--Connect, Listen, Empathize, Align and Respect. Health care workers in these classes practice this with actors.

--Workers shadow providers to see how they do it.

--And she emphasizes to new hires that they have value and purpose--this is not just a job.

The goal: Reducing avoidable suffering. Some suffering in a medical setting is inevitable--but it can be reduced.

Good idea--more places need to do this.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Teaching your toddler how to fall asleep

Fifteen to 20% of 1-3 year-old continue to wake up at night and walk around.

The cause, says Stephanie Zandieh, MD, director of Pediatric Sleep Disorders and Apnea Center at Valley Hospital, is inappropriate sleep associations.

What is a sleep association? The conditions that are present each night sleep time and which the child associates with going to sleep.

Sleep associations can be appropriate (such as thumbsucking) or inappropriate (rocking, nursing, and the presence of a parent).

Some tips for creating appropriate associations:

--The more tired your child is, the more he or she will awake during the night. This sounds wrong, but it's not. Keep up with the usual naps and set an early bedtime.

--Give the child a love object, a stuffed toy or blanket. Keep it mostly for bedtime but also include it in positive times, like parental cuddling.

--Keep pre-bed activities simple, such as a warm bath and a story.

--Put the child in the crib awake. The idea is for the child to learn to put him or herself to sleep.

--If the child cries or yells when left in the crib, check on him or her...Either frequently or less frequently--but in very short visits. Just say it's time to sleep, don't get into a big deal about it.

--If the child awakes and yells or cries, check. Most children will sleep through the night if they fall sleep quickly and peacefully at bedtime.

--If you can't stand to leave the room, you can sit there until the child sleeps. Don't get in the bed. Put a chair neat the bed and sit there. After doing this for a while, gradually move the chair toward the door--and finally you're out.

What about "monster spray" (a spray bottle you fill with water for those closet pests) or leaving the door cracked, or a nightlight? Every family has its own variations on a theme.

In one apt we had, my daughter would not stay in her room. Later we learned the place had a ghost (long long story). To this day, she says, "MOM! You made me sleep with that ghost." She's still mad.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Healthy foods that will be popular this year

Yes--it's all for her.
I'm back! Holidays over. And ready to bring you more weirdness.

A survey of 1,700 American dietitians called "What's trending in Nutrition," asked these folks to predict the top "superfoods" for the coming year.

Avocados, fermented foods, veggie-driven diets, and diet apps topped the list--as they have for the past several years. (Food trends take their time manifesting.)

OK--here are the selections...for 2017:

--Seeds (chia, hemp)


--Nuts (almonds, walnuts)

--Ancient grains


--Green tea

--Coconut products

--Exotic fruits


Eh--kinda boring.

Now two things I have noticed. First, I see more TV coverage of eating contests...some of these people train to eat huge amounts in a short period of time...and have become rich and well-known (on YouTube) for this "talent."

Second, I recently learned about "mukbang," a trend in South Korea in which internet entrepreneurs acquire great riches and fame by preparing or ordering huge meals and eating them on camera. They have millions of followers, often just to watch them eat a whole huge box of carryout fried chicken.

Basically, this is gluttony--and it's hard on the liver, among other organs.