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HealthyChoices

Hindsight

It was Saturday night and I was in the hot seat. My wife, Sharlene, and I were one of several couples chosen to play a homemade version of “The Marriage Game.” The idea was to provide entertainment for our friends as we discovered how little we really knew about each other. All the wives left the room while the husbands were asked various questions about them. Then the game was reversed. During the men’s turn to answer questions, I was doing quite well until I was asked “What were the colors at your wedding?”

All of you ladies know there’s a huge difference between genders regarding color importance. But what you also need to know is that for some of us, that difference is profound! If I had been asked that question three weeks after our wedding it is doubtful I would have been able to get the correct answer. Fifty plus years later? Not a chance!

Intensive mobile phone use affects young people´s sleep

Young adults who make particularly heavy use of mobile phones and computers run a greater risk of sleep disturbances, stress, and mental health problems.

“Public health advice should therefore include information on the healthy use of this technology,” says researcher Sara Thomée, a doctoral student. Sara and her research colleagues at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy have conducted four different studies looking at how the use of computers and mobile phones affects the mental health of young adults.

A Quick Status Check

Tom and Alice had a backyard barbecue on the 4th of July. They invited their neighbors, Bob and Nadine and George and Beth to join them.

“Kids these days don’t know anything about what happens on the 4th of July,” Bob said around a mouthful of sandwich. “In my day, we decorated our bikes and rode in the parade down Main Street.”

“In your day, they closed Main Street on the 4th,” his wife Nadine retorted. “It’s not safe to ride your bike on the street these days. Besides, we stopped having parades about 25 years ago.”

“Yeah, they stopped the parades because the drinking got out of hand.” George sat in a lounge chair, holding up a cold beer.

“Didn’t stop the drinking though, did it?” Tom opined, as he turned the burgers on the grill. “Remember the two boys who died last month in that crash? Underage drinking.”

Staying Cool When It is Hot

As I write it is unusually hot and humid--and summer has only just begun! One week ago our area was surprised by a violent thunderstorm that downed many trees and cause well over 400,000 in our county to go without power for a few hours to almost one week. As temperatures remained very high, the county set up cooling centers for those who had lost power or had no air conditioning.

Would you be able to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses? Heat problems can strike anyone, but those most vulnerable are young children and the elderly.

Here are five things you can do to survive a summer heat wave if you do not have air conditioning--or if it is hot and the power goes off for an extended period:

Beware the Epidemiologic Dragon

A recent online health service noted that “40% of cancers are due to avoidable life choices....Tobacco causes 23% of [cancer] cases in men and 15.6% of cases in women. The next largest cause of cancer in men was lack of fruits and vegetables in their diets...”

Hold it right there! When someone says that a certain activity “causes” another event to occur, it should be backed up by some very good studies in one of two ways. One method is for a group of people to be given activity A and then monitored for specific result B, and then the same group of people not to be allowed activity A and again monitored for result B.

Can Nutritional Supplements Alter Student Behavior?

A group of researchers reported that children aged 6-12 years  given low dose vitamin-mineral supplements were involved in less violence and antisocial behavior than those who did not receive the supplements. [Ref: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. February 2000, 6(1): 7-17] The setting for this study was two "working class" schools in Arizona in which 468 students participated.  Half the students were given vitamin-mineral pills containing 50% of the U.S. RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for four months while the rest got a placebo.

If a Little Bit is Good . . .

“If I take two fish oil pills a day to increase my intake of omage-3 fatty acids, four pills a day would be better. If I drink 8 glasses of water a day to make sure my kidneys are functioning well, 12 glasses of water would be better. If I run 5 miles a day to improve my heart function, 10 miles a day would be better.”

According to Dr. James O’Keefe and his colleagues at St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO, this is not true. They have recently published data suggesting that extreme endurance exercising (20 to 50 miles or more of running a day) is not only not beneficial, but is probably detrimental to the health of your heart.

The Impact of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a serious and growing global problem. While age, gender, and genetics all influence risk, a healthy lifestyle can help prevent and control this disease. The following infographic illustrates the impact of Type 2 Diabetes.

diabetes infographic

Aspirin, the 100-year-old Medicine

Dr. Ron Atchison, internist, waited outside his patient’s room while the current group of medical students and residents filed out behind him. He motioned them to follow him down the hall to a small conference room. When they had all crowded in, he spoke.

“This is just for the medical students. The rest of you hold your peace,” he said. His chief resident and the first year resident smiled at each other and settled in the corner chairs. “Okay, any one, what did you see in there, just now?” Dr. Atchison leaned against the wall, eyeing the medical students.

Mary Hall, a fourth year student spoke up. “A 67-year-old female with episodes of non-cardiac chest pain, probably esophagitis based on her rapid response to antacids and repeat negative cardiac enzymes, hypertension, high cholesterol and triglycerides, border-line high blood sugar and mildly obese . . . and . . .” Mary paused, knowing there was something more she should say.

Infections Cause Cancer

Worldwide, there are nearly 13 million cases of cancer each year. A study published in Lancet Oncology estimates that 2 million (16%) of these cancers are caused by infectious agents. 

Viruses, bacteria, and parasites are known to cause human cancers. The most common organisms causing cancer are Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B and C viruses, and the human papillomaviruses. These infections are largely preventable or treatable.

Researchers looked at 27 cancer cases in 184 countries in eight geographical regions. The percentage of infection-related cancer was highest in developing countries, 23%, compared to 7.4% in developed nations. The cancers caused by these infectious agents include cancers of the stomach, liver, and cervix.