Category: Health

Anorexia to Obesity – We’re Still Focused on the Wrong Thing

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 by No Comments

Twenty-five years ago or so people began to really focus on the whole thin is beautiful thing. I was a teenager in the 1970′s and I don’t remember that much pressure to have a perfect body — certainly not many people obsessed over it. There were a few overweight teenagers but nothing like today.

Girls wanted to look good in jeans and muscles didn’t matter. Anyway, so sometime in the 1980′s we all stopped eating real food and began eating low-fat. We began obsessing about going to the gym and developing long, lean muscles and rippling abs. There was media pressure to be thin and beautiful.

Fine.

Fast forward twenty-five years. Now there is an increasing amount of pressure to accept any size as beautiful. I saw an image of a 400 pound woman in a bikini with the argument that she was beautiful and it was perfectly acceptable for her to wear what she liked. My first though was, how in the hell did they find a bikini in that size?

Obesity is not healthy. A medical issue may add 20 or 30 pounds but it’s an eating issue that put you 100 or 200 pounds over your healthy weight. Anorexia is an eating issue, too. Both issues seem to say, I am OK with myself at this size and you have to be, too.

Either way, the focus is still off the person and on the person’s body. We are not going to have a mentally healthy view of our bodies until everyone stops pushing an agenda whether it’s a skinny agenda or a fat one.

Do what you want with your weight — you don’t need anyone else’s approval. If you do need their approval it’s a sign that you aren’t OK with it yourself.

photo credit: Cleavers

Robotic Sperm May Be in Your Future

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 by No Comments

Crazy science fascinates me. I hope it fascinates you too because this was too weird not to share.

You know that researchers have been working on tiny robots, right? I mean they’ve invented a flying robot the size of a fly that they eventually hope will help in search and rescue missions.

Well, there’s a new robot on the block and it may turn medical science and biology upside down. Tiny bots, that researchers have lovingly named “MagnetoSperm” may soon be fertilizing human eggs.

No, we’re not talking about some kind of mating that creates a Sci-Fi Cyborg but I am guessing that the robots would have the DNA on board. They were inspired by sperm cells and have tails that flap and allow the little Spermbot to swim anywhere with “incredible accuracy”.

They are controlled by some combination of metal paint and a magnetic field — that’s about all I can tell you about the technical side of it. The robots could be used for more than just their sex appeal — at some point they may be helpful to the medical community for other things like unclogging arteries, administering drugs, etc.

So, I get the cool possibilities involved here but I have to wonder if we have become a civilization that does things just because we can. There’s just something creepy about metal sperm that are magnetically controlled. I keep picturing that game where you gave the guy a beard and hair by moving a magnet across the top of the plastic box.

What do you think? Does science just need to chill or should they keep creating everything they thing of?

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Would You Get Surgery to Fit in Your Heels Better?

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 by No Comments

I am relatively short. Actually, that isn’t entirely true — I am probably average at 5’4″ but my kids are all rather tall. In any case I am not a stranger to high heels. I get teased a lot because I wear heels almost all the time unless I am home and barefoot.

Because I wear heels so much, I know how feet feel after about four hours on six inch heels. You know what I am talking about. The smile is pasted on the face but the feet are are screaming for relief.

There are few things that feel as good at getting in the car and pulling off your shoes. What if you could wear your heels and be comfortable and all it would take is a little surgery?

Apparently there are a few Los Angeles and New York City based podiatrists who perform surgeries specifically designed to help women to be more comfortable when they are skipping around in their Pradas.

Toe shortening, adding fat to the pads of your feet for more comfort, and even toe lengthening procedures are all designed to make your feet fit your shoes more comfortably. One of the doctors calls it Cinderella surgery.

I am not sure that, as much as I love shoes, I would consider a foot surgery in order to wear a pair of cute ones.  It seems like we are a society that increasingly looks to science and medicine to recreate ourselves into our idea of perfection.

What do you think? Would you have surgery so you could wear heels more easily?

Source: New York Times

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Do You Know What Your Mate Finds Attractive?

Posted on Oct 13, 2014 by No Comments

Body image is the curse, the bane of modern women. We are inundated with images of skinny models. Lingerie and bikini models have impossibly big boobs for the rest of their body while clothing models are most often sporting boyish figures with very little bust.

The average American woman is a size 14, as a matter of fact — a sumo wrestler in the world of fashion where anything over a size two is pudgy.

We look at these women in Elle, Vogue, and on the cursed cover of Sports Illustrated and then we look at our own seemingly bulging bodies with loathing and disgust.

The problem is much deeper than that. We assume that our mates secretly wish that we looked like one of those models and therefore look at our lumps with the same loathing and disgust that we do.

It’s a silly thing, really. I don’t compare myself to other women of my age. I don’t look at myself and think, whoa, I look pretty dang good for a 54 year old mom of eight. I compare myself to the 20 year olds in the media, those 20 year olds that have been photo-shopped and perfected, and I get it in my head that my husband does, too.

The truth is that men like women’s bodies and, if given the choice between reasonable curves and a boyish figure most will go for the soft curves. And yet, we skip meals, drink low-calorie meal replacement shakes and spend hours in the gym trying to become more attractive and feeling disgruntled with our bodies.

It’s sad, really. Have you learned to accept your figure?

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Would You Have a C-Section for Convenience?

Posted on Oct 10, 2014 by No Comments

I guess most of us heard about the huge controversy surrounding Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy and his decision to take paternity leave, OMG, in the middle of baseball season.

Boomer Esiason, who is a New York sportscaster, gave his very professional opinion that Murphy and his wife should have scheduled a c-section prior to baseball season getting started. After all, this is only his first child. Hopefully he and his Missus can plan the next one for better timing and there won’t be a problem at all.

It’s not like he was going to miss months of the sport, either. According to his contract he can miss only three games due to paternity leave.

If this was the only Class A idiot to have suggested this type of thing, and if it was the only example of the word c-section being brought up because the baby’s timing might be inconvenient I probably would have shaken my head and gone on without adding my opinion to the growing melee.

Sadly, it isn’t the first time I’ve heard this nonsense and it certainly won’t be the last. What is it about society that has devalued babies to the point that they are less important than a baseball game?

I will keep my opinion to myself on the answer to that. You come to your own conclusions.

The American College of Obstetricians a Gynecologistss (ACOG) has pretty much always discouraged doctors from performing c-sections on demand. There are medical risks involved which include infection, excessive bleeding, and even reaction to anesthesia.

Last year the ACOG waffled a little and determined that there is no correct opinion when it comes to elective c-sections.

Various celebrities have scheduled their births as c-sections for a variety of reasons. Some prefer not to have the very rapid abdominal stretching that can happen that last couple of week of pregnancy. Some have projects coming up and need to be back in shape for their newest role. Others are afraid of the pain of vaginal birth (Hello? Have you ever had abdominal surgery? It is not painless!).

Other women cite reasons such as impending vacations, husband’s business trips, and various other events as reasons they plan on controlling the birth date of their babies.

I have no issues with c-sections that are necessary. They are a wonderful way of protecting a woman’s health and the health of her baby in some circumstances. A healthy baby and a healthy mom should be the main concerns.

When someone decides that having major abdominal surgery for convenience, with all of the risks and possibilities, is a good idea — well it makes me wonder about their mental health. It’s crazy.

And it’s risky.

When sportscasters feel free to be critical of a couple for choosing to not have an unnecessary, medically invasive procedure, then life is kind of turning upside down.

I am pretty sure that there are few, if any, sportscasters who used to be OB-GYNs and understand the complexities of labor and delivery. You know that those same men would scoff at a doctor who made comments about how a sport’s team should be handled, right?

So what are your thoughts on this?

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Caveat to High-Fiber’s Protection Against Colon Cancer

Posted on Oct 9, 2014 by No Comments

For decades we’ve been hearing about the benefits of high fiber in our diet. Fiber protects against colon cancer, right? Well, would you believe, it depends. According to a new study, to really reap the benefits of fiber we must also have the right gut bacteria.

This study was conducted using mice, so further research is needed, however the results certainly hold merit. The mice were either fed a low- or high-fiber diet. Some had a type of bacteria in their gut that ferments fiber into a chemical called butyrate and the other mice didn’t have this bacteria.

All the mice were introduced to a cancer-causing chemical to encourage the development of colon tumors. The results found that the mice who were fed the high-fiber diet AND had the right bacteria had 75 percent less tumors. However, the high-fiber alone and the low fiber diets did not afford the same beneficial results.

The findings of this study were presented by Scott Bultman, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. He said,

“Our study shows that it’s not the high fiber in and of itself that has a protective effect against cancer, but it’s a combination of the fiber plus having the right types of bacteria.”

I thought the benefit of fiber and colon health was a given, but upon closer look, the findings of various studies disagree on this.

However, Bultman pointed out the fact that many of these studies don’t look at gut bacteria which seems to be the key in the fight against color cancer. Plus other studies that do look at gut bacteria show that healthy people have higher levels of butyrate-producing bacteria than people with colon cancer.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions with that.

It leads to the question…how do we get the butyrate-producing bacteria? For most of us, eating high-fiber diets naturally increases butyrate-producing bacteria, but some of us genetically produce less of this bacteria even with a high-fiber diet.

The next step in the minds of some is to fortify foods with butyrate or butyrate-producing bacteria. That’s a challenge though. It seems that it involves a compound that stinks…literally.

Photo credits: Frapestaartje

Married Couples Have Fewer Heart Problems

Posted on Oct 8, 2014 by No Comments

It’s been said before and it’s still true — married couples are healthier, as a general rule, than their single counterparts.

A study found that married people had a five percent lower risk of any cardiovascular disease when compared to single people. And, for those of you under the magical age of 50 have a 12 percent lower risk of heart issues than your single friends.

Researchers didn’t record how long the participants had been married or how recently they became single, whether through divorce or by the death of a spouse. They did say that widowed people had a higher risk than anyone else.

Obviously numerous factors figure in to your overall health. Relationship status, while being just one factor, seems to have a large part to play in your overall health, now and in the future.

It’s not just the cardiovascular system, either. Yahoo Health reports that singles were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with metastatic cancers while married folks were more likely to find it earlier, get better treatment, and live longer.

Researchers can’t explain it. It may have something to do with married people being pressured to get to their doctors earlier, to take their medicine, and even to feel a responsibility to their spouse to maintain their health through diet and exercise as well.

Maybe, despite the ups and downs of married life, couples have less stress and are happier, who knows?

Why do you think couples are healthier and tend to live longer than singles?

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Do Your Kids Get Enough DHA?

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 by No Comments

What is DHA, you ask, and why does my kid need it? Glad you asked! DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid (yep, that’s why they use DHA instead). It’s an omega-3 fatty acid that is a building block of the human brain, skin, retina and other pretty important body parts. And – you guessed it – your kiddos need it to support brain development.

Now it’s not that hard to get DHA into your diet – just eat lots of cold water fatty fish like mackerel, tuna, halibut or salmon. Doctors recommend kids eat fish at least twice a week to get the recommended amount of DHA into their diet. In fact, some studies have found that low DHA levels may impact reading, memory and behavior.

Your kid not a big mackerel fan? Then you could try DHA supplements like omega-3 fish oil pills. Scientists have found that DHA supplementation early in life increases intelligence as kids get older. If you have an infant you’ll find DHA is included in some baby formulas. And don’t forget DHA supplements when you are pregnant – many doctors think that the positive impact of DHA likely begins in utero.

However you work it into your children’s diet, DHA is just as important as the other vitamins and minerals your child is getting.

Joan Lunden Hopes to Empower Others with Cancer

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 by 1 Comment

At 64 years of age, former Good Morning America host, Joan Lunden, has undergone chemotherapy and a lumpectomy since her diagnosis with triple negative breast cancer three months ago.

The mother of seven went public about this aggressive form of cancer while speaking with cancer survivor Robin Roberts and told People magazine, “I was handed an opportunity to learn everything that I can about this and try to help others.”

Lunden received some valuable advice from Roberts who shared that waiting for your hair to fall out is excruciating. So Lunden decided not to wait.

Instead she owned it and took matters into her own hands one week after her first chemo treatment. She voluntarily shaved offer her beautiful blond hair and when she did she realized how much it affected her.

“I’m almost reluctant to say it because it sounds superficial. But when you lose your hair, it just affects the way that you look at yourself in the mirror. You feel less feminine, pretty or desirable, and it’s not an easy thing to go through.” – Joan Lunden

When she had the opportunity to make the cover of People, she had a decision to make. To wear her wig or pose without it. She decided going without the wig might be a way to help others and show women that losing your hair  ”isn’t the end of the world.” She found the experience empowering in a big way.

Joan Lunden Tweens
Lunden hopes to be a voice for the quarter of a million women diagnosed with breast cancer every year. She said, “I wanted to show that your health is more important than your hair.” She will continue her fight against cancer as a special correspondent for the Today show next week as they kick off their Breast Cancer Awareness month coverage.

Lunden believes many women don’t get breast exams because they are afraid of losing their hair. During her own experience, she says, “Your hair grows back after you stop chemo…and then you have your life.”

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