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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Papa Pizappas tipped me off to this NY Times post reviewing the health benefits of our stinky friend Garlic.

Besides helping to keep away vampires, it also helps your body make more hydrogen sulfide. Too much can kill you, but a smaller amount in your body acts as an antioxidant and increases blood flow.

When something has antioxidant properties it means that it helps get rid of these things called “free radicals” that float around inside you. No, not those guys! Free radicals are molecules with leftover bits – unpaired electrons and stuff like that – that make them more reactive and unpredictable than other molecules. Like crazy Uncle Viktor a few moscow mules to the wind. Antioxidants act like soothing Aunt Hazel, diverting Uncle Viktor with shiny toys, mini gherkins, and the chance to practice his harmonica in front of the grand-babies. (high school science teachers among you, feel free to steal this analogy to help your classes understand this important concept) Free radicals are strongly linked to many kinds of cancer, and might also contribute to Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and other things that we don’t want to get. Antioxidants stop free radicals dead in their tracks and sort of neutralizes them. Make them unthreatening.

Right, so now that we know what antioxidant properties are good for, turns out we get them in garlic!

And the take away message that I got from the Times that I wanted to share with you all is that the healthy stuff that garlic does is greatly enhanced if, after you cut or mash it, you let it sit for 15 minutes before cooking. Give it a shot. If you still don’t have a serious illness in 50 years, you’ll have me to thank. Hover-dollars will be fine, thanks.

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In a surprising twist on common sense, the NY Times reports that the British Food Standards Agency just released a study finding that children with diets rich in food additives such as artificial colors and sodium benzoate are more likely to be diagnosed with ADD than other children.

 Is this seriously a surprise? And is this seriously a study where it’s even possible to iscolate a cause like that? What about exposure to commercials? Or time spent not exercising? Or whatever one of a million things that make kids today less able to pay attention, less able to stay healthy, and less able to retain information than they used to be, back in the day.

But apparently not everyone agrees that this is common sense.  Though the research stated…

“A mix of additives commonly found in children’s foods increases the mean level of hyperactivity… The finding lends strong support for the case that food additives exacerbate hyperactive behaviors (inattention, impulsivity and overactivity) at least into middle childhood.”

Some pediatricians (that’s right, doctors!) are arguing with the significance of the study.

“Even if it shows some increase in hyperactivity, is it clinically significant and does it impact the child’s life?” said Dr. Thomas Spencer, a specialist in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

How does having attention defecit disorder NOT impact a child’s life? Has this guy met a child, ever? Who was the kid in your elementary school whose underwear SOMEHOW ended up in the middle of the room after recess, who SOMEHOW couldn’t keep his mouth shut and didn’t have any friends because he was such a freak, who SOMEHOW couldn’t stop cutting tiny holes into his ill-fitting sweatpants. Because in my school, it was the kid with severe ADD.

AND, don’t encourage the kids to avoid these processed and packaged foods (which obviously, besides their ADD-causing additives, are usually the healthiest food available, much better than fresh fruits and vegetables or whole grains) because it might make them freaks! And better to follow the crowd to disorders than to buck the trend and preserve your ability to sit in a seat for more than 10 minutes!

… some pediatricians cautioned that a diet without artificial colors and preservatives might cause other problems for children. Dr. Spencer [this guy is clearly a winner] asks, “Is it powerful enough that you want to ostracize your kid? It is very socially impacting if children can’t eat the things that their friends do.”

As Dr. Spencer was giving this interview, he was actually getting massaged by a big-boobed lady wearing nothing but 2 frito-lay bags and a coke bottle covering her privates. Who the shit is this guy working for? The next paragraph notes that he conceded that some children may be “super sensitive” to additives.

A few hundred 3 year olds and 8-9 year olds were given drinks with additives mimicking what’s in commercial drinks, equalling about the equivalent of 1 or 2 servings of candy a day. Another group was given placebos. Over a 6 week period all the kids were evaluated by teachers, parents, and a computer, and (duh!!!)…

…The researchers discovered that children in both age groups were significantly more hyperactive and that they had shorter attention spans if they had consumed the drink containing the additives. The study’s authors noted that other research suggested that the hyperactivity could increase in as little as an hour after artificial additives were consumed.

Fucking DUH! How is this even real??? The follow-up study to this will be, “children denied processed foods for 6 weeks perform better in school, wet the bed less, don’t develop childhood obesity or diabetes.”

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If you are like me and still have a latent attachment to Yahoo! Mail for Facebook notifications or the occasional email from your mother, you may come across the prominently featured dating advice articles that inhabit the front page. In Yahoo’s lifestyle section one finds articles extolling the virtues of letting your partner flirt with other men and women, advice on how to make long distance relationships work, and never ending updates on how members of the opposite sex (sorry LBGTQ folk!) can communicate with and understand each other. Today’s Yahoo! feature focuses on the “11 Things Women Don’t Know About Men.” Written by Evan Marc Katz, the article embarks on a thorough and deep analysis of the fragile male psyche that has yet to be apprehended by women everywhere. Since Evan realizes the truth is likely to be either too enraging or complicated for women to handle, he thankfully includes this headshot of himself at the beginning of his piece to engender empathy among his readers.

Typically it is acceptable to judge a book by it’s cover, but we should be charitable with Evan’s plunging neckline as it indicates his willingness to get to the heart of the very matters that have divided men from women for so long. Here are a few excerpts from his 1.5 page manifesto:

1. Getting angry at us for not reading your mind is like getting angry at yourself for not being able to fly. It’s not just futile, it’s physically impossible.

Mel Gibson aside, I think Evan is spot on here. Women are entirely too upset about their inability to fly commercial aircraft. At least be content that you have a disproportionate amount of flight attendant jobs.

8. There should a statute of limitations on stupid things that we said that can come back to haunt us. I propose 24 hours.

Although one might think this is a pathetic cry for a woman’s charity, the Bible advises that adopting Evan’s proposal is an endeavor in self preservation:

“Mat 6:14-15 (NIV) “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”*

12. Your nice guy friends are the most reliable source for telling you if your new boyfriend’s a jerk. And he probably is. (By the way, you might want to consider marrying that nice guy who’s giving you advice about the jerk.)

I thought there were only 11 of these, but this one is arguably the most insightful. As 90% of sexual assault is perpetrated by persons known to the victim, it is more than likely that a woman’s “nice guy friends” will know how to identify their partners in crime…

*Note that the gendered language of this passage does not require reciprocity. Tough luck, broads.

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It has been a fun month for health and the current administration. Let’s just go over some of the more recent news! stem cell alternatives

A couple weeks ago, Bush rose to the defense of embryos everywhere and vetoed the second stem cell research bill from congress. But just to prove that he still likes everyone with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Lupus, he issued an executive order to “encourage” non-mini-baby stem cell research. He proudly gave his support for these alternative methods with a big thumbs up (while neither offering funding nor new avenues of research).

Then early last week the surgeon general also claimed that the Bush’s administration sought to “weaken or suppress important public health reports,” so research and general information on topics including secondhand smoke, global warming, AIDS, contraception, and stem cells were all altered to fall better in line with the current opinion of the Bush administration. Traditionally, positions such as the surgeon general (and attorney generals) have sought to be beyond the political fray, to better serve the public. Luckily these topics affect very few people. It’s not like public needs more scientific information on global warming, std prevention, or smoking. Who would that help? My personal favorite part of this story is the White House’s spokesman’s response: “It’s disappointing to us, if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.” So the White House’s response to the surgeon general’s accusations of them bullying him: “Grow a pair”

Hearing from the surgeon general that the administration officials wanted to water down more negative information on secondhand smoke, comforted me with the idea that the tobacco lobby is still doing well. Before this I thought TheTruth.com won. Speaking of which, I’m sure the tobacco lobby has no influence on the White House’s disapproval the proposed $1 tax hike on cigarettes. This bill is set to support The Children’s Health Insurance Fund by adding $50 billion to the fund over 5 years, as opposed to Bush’s proposed $5 billion. In fact Bush “denounced the Democratic proposals as a step toward ‘government-run health care’ for all”. Truthfully, I’m just amazed that someone can have gumption to spend an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars on a war, while “denouncing” a $50 billion effort for children’s insurance and the idea of universal health care…while offering little alternative. Kudos to you sir!

*A fun and interesting thing to note from the second nytimes article, was that the surgeon general was discouraged from going to the Special Olympics because of politics (the Kennedy family’s involvement). I didn’t really think this was news because Bush has always had a rocky relationship with the mentally disabled.

 

 

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