Tag Archives: health

Stuff in the news 6/28/2013 – New Mexico

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM - Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM – Image by M. Reddy-Hjelmfelt http://theredelm.com/

  • You may not realize just how bad this drought is… Santa Fe now joins the list of towns in New Mexico that are running out of water. Local reservoirs are only at 33% capacity and after McNichols and McClure are tapped out, they’ll have to go to underground aquifers. Pray for rain, guys, and pray hard.
  • Extreme drought is also in its third year in Magdalena, where the water is trickling back but only trickling enough to re-open town for now.
  • In other liquid news, there’s a fight brewing over an arrest made in Tucumcari for an open container of near beer in a vehicle. 5-year legal fight over O’Doul’s beer
  • Have you noticed a lot of people here that have Michigan ties? I wonder if the load officers at CUANM do. The New Mexico Credit Union Assn. of New Mexico teamed up with a Troy, MI firm to release a mobile arcade game called Kirby’s Catch and Save, that features a kangaroo that catches coins in its pocket.
  • The Legal Tender in Lamy is re-opened this week. You can see a video from opening night here. To start out, they will only be open for dinner, Thursday through Saturday. Happy hour goes from 3-5pm and dinner goes from 6-9pm. Here’s the info:

    HOURS & RESERVATIONS

    Thursday, Friday, Saturday
    3:00 PM to 9:00 PM Happy Hour Served: 3:00 P – 5:00 P
    Dinner Served: 5:00 P to 8:00 P
    Reservations Requested Call: 505.466.1650
    email: info@TheLegalTender.com
  • According to the US Department of Energy, “Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) is at some risk of seismic events and susceptible to forest fires, including those started by lightning.  Since 2000, there have been two major forest fires that threatened Los Alamos.Although Los Alamos had made progress in upgrading existing nuclear facilities, concerns remained regarding the mitigation of risks related to natural disasters.  Specifically, we found seismic issues affecting the Plutonium Facility that remain to be addressed.  Additionally, we found that fire protection and prevention vulnerabilities in Area G Waste Storage and Disposal Facility (Area G) continue to exist.  Further, we found that several known risks exist with compensatory measures implemented in Area G that may lessen their efficacy in mitigating natural disasters.  Los Alamos’ processes and procedures have not always been fully effective in ensuring that hazards, including natural disasters, are fully analyzed and effectively mitigated. ”
    If it weren’t the Energy Department, one would find this piece of news to be alarmist, not just alarming. But it is from the government agency and more than a bit frightening.
  • The Hepatitis A outbreak, blamed on Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend, has now affected 122 people, including 5 here in New Mexico.
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Stuff in the news 6/19/2013 – Tech

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Helping out our friends at Village Memorial in Portland, OR. They’ve entered a contest on the NASA Tech Briefs website and we want you to know about it and vote for them, if you would, please. The concept behind their project is that pathogens stay resident on a human body after it is dead, even up to a couple of days. This, of course , can be a health hazard to survivors of a disaster or first responders. Village Memorial has developed an eco-friendly method of removing these pathogens through the use of “mycelium enzymatic digestion”, or to use layman terms, pathogen-eating fungi. Here’s their video from YouTube:
  • There will be a full blog post coming soon but I want to mention this because it’s such a great use of virtual tech. I am at my new favorite hangout, Hillside Market, this afternoon and had a very nice chat with  the owners, Trish and Pam, who was paying barista today. Also here was Fernando Aleo, owner of the now closed Epazote restaurant that used to be on Agua Fria in Santa Fe.  Turns out that one of Fernando’s projects has been to host virtual dinners between Santa Fe, NM and Chihuahua, MX. He creates the menus and has staff in both locations and they meet by Skype. Is that not cool? Definitely looking forward to his new ventures here in Santa Fe!
  • Haiku Deck is one of those apps that I’ve been meaning to try but I’m so averse to doing anything on an iPad that I have to see extremely well, like spreadsheets. Still, this article is making me reconsider, as the author is pretty honest about the shortcomings it has. May major worry is the notion that you have to upload the presentation to their server and it’s not reliable. I do have a pico projector, so I suppose I could present directly from the iPad but it’s not ideal, since I like to share my slide decks.
  • Good stuff in here: 50 Ways Your Business Can Get The Most Out of Gmail
  • ” In the future, a grandmother’s crowning achievement—the thing she never forgets to remind her grandchildren about—will be that Justin Bieber retweeted her once. The framed screenshot of the RT will become a family heirloom.” — Has The Internet Changed Our Definition Of Success?
  • Feedly rocks! The pending integration with Sprout Social will make it even better. Feedly Cloud Available to All Users Two Weeks Before Google Reader Shuts Down, Press Updates With Support
  • Four ways OS X Mavericks will save your MacBook’s battery.
    • Great. Now fix the battery life on the iPhone….

Mapping the health effects of climate change

GENEVA — Two U.N. agencies have mapped the intersection of health and climate in an age of global warming, showing that there are spikes in meningitis when dust storms hit and outbreaks of dengue fever when hard rains come.

Officials said Monday that their “Atlas of Health and Climate” is meant to be a tool for leaders to use to get early warning of disease outbreaks.

Though the data or conclusions aren’t necessarily new, the way in which they are presented may sharpen governments’ ability to respond to the threats posed by rising temperatures and changing climate.

Read more here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49602198/ns/world_news-world_environment/#.UJBFHWl27ES

Mobile Apps for Caregivers

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 29% of the US population is classified as a caregiver to an incapacitated person. That is more than 65 million persons! About half of these unpaid caregivers also work full-time jobs and the majority of all caregivers report needing help with navigating medical care options and other logistic needs.

Fortunately, there are some mobile applications available to assist with some of these tasks. Aging in Place Technology Watch lists five such apps. Most of them are available for the iPhone, less for Android. Some of the prices are a bit absurd, in my opinion, so you may want to look them up in your app store and see what related items are available to you.

Understanding dyslexia

Clean Hands, Clean Minds: The Psychological Impact of Physical Cleanliness

Handwashing

This past Saturday, October 15th, marked a momentous occasion in the history of cleanliness: the fourth annual Global Handwashing Day. Yes, it exists. Established by the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap in 2008, it has since been celebrated by schools, families, and villages across the world, from China, to Peru, to Burkina Faso. And it’s not just a gimmick: proper handwashing has the potential to save more lives than any vaccine or medical intervention and is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of preventing disease. But what’s more, it’s also an incredibly powerful psychological tool.

We tend to consider moral transgressions in terms of physical cleanliness

Consider this recent review from Current Directions in Psychological Science, which explores the consequences that hand washing has on the mind. The series of studies that the authors explore take as their starting point the historically close association between physical disgust and moral disgust: when we perceive a moral transgression, we tend to react in a similar way as we would to something that is physically off-putting, such as spoiled food or physical contaminants in the environment. We recoil in the same fashion; our face scrunches up in the same repulsed expression; even our brain lights up in overlapping neural networks, evoking similar subjective feelings in both instances.

And when we think about morality, we tend to think about it in terms of physical cleanliness. In one demonstration of this effect, researchers asked people to think abut a past behavior that was either moral or immoral. Those who thought about immoral acts were later far more likely to fill in word fragments such as W _ _ H and S _ _ P with words related to cleanliness, such as wash and soap, whereas no such effect was observed in any other group. On the flip side, people who were exposed to either a messy room, a stinky smell (including a “fart spray” in one study), or a video that showed a dirty toilet were more likely to judge others’ moral transgressions as more severe and more deserving of punishment than people who made the same judgments while sitting in a clean room.

This article continues here: bigthink.com

Addiction Is Not A Disease Of The Brain

circa 1870:  Anatomical drawing of a man's brain and cerebral nerves.

Enlarge Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Addiction has been moralized, medicalized, politicized, and criminalized. And, of course, many of us are addicts, have been addicts or have been close to addicts. Addiction runs very hot as a theme.

Part of what makes addiction so compelling is that it forms a kind of conceptual/political crossroads for thinking about human nature. After all, to make sense of addiction we need to make sense of what it is to be an agent who acts, with values, in the face of consequences, under pressure, with compulsion, out of need and desire. One needs a whole philosophy to understand addiction.

Today I want to respond to readers who were outraged by my willingness even to question whether addiction is a disease of the brain.

Let us first ask: what makes something — a substance or an activity — addictive? Is there a property shared by all the things to which we can get addicted?

Continue reading at npr.org

Even If Chocolate Doesn’t Ward Off Heart Disease, It’s Still Yummy : Shots – Health Blog : NPR

Paul Bratcher Photography/Flickr

Lots of M&Ms were sacrificed in the writing of this post.

Lots of M&Ms were sacrificed in the writing of this post.
Paul Bratcher Photography/Flickr

Lots of M&Ms were sacrificed in the writing of this post.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, but the tools to fend it off — low-fat diets, exercise, statin drugs — leave a little bit to be desired in the charm department.

Then there’s chocolate. It’s hard to resist the notion that eating lots of one of the world’s most delicious foods could be the key to cardiovascular health.

But is chocolate “good for the heart”? That’s just one of the pro-chocolate news headlines sparked by a rather wonky review just published in the British Medical Journal.

To find out, Shots called up Oscar Franco, a clinical lecturer in public health from the University of Cambridge, who was in Paris delivering his chocolate-and-healthy-hearts paper at a conference.

He confirmed that based on his analysis, and the seven studies it reviewed, there’s no proof that chocolate prevents cardiovascular disease. What he did find is that people who told researchers they ate lots of chocolate were about one-third less likely to have heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

“These are promising results,” Franco told Shots, but we need to do more research to confirm these findings.” That would require scientists to feed people chocolate in a randomized controlled trial, and then monitor their health.

 

Franco and his co-authors were candid about the shortcomings in their study. For one thing, it didn’t measure how much chocolate the healthier people ate. And since the people had reported their chocolate intake themselves, it’s impossible to know if they told the truth. Obese people tend to underreport their eating in surveys, and they are also more likely to have cardiovascular disease. So it could be that fat chocolate-eaters are much worse off than we think.

Unfortunately, Franco doesn’t advise eating scads of Scharffenberger or Valrhona while we wait for science to do its job. “The advice is not to start eating chocolate,” Franco says. “But for people who are already eating chocolate, to eat it in a moderate manner, on a regular basis, and not in a single gulp.”

Why the moderation? Because chocolate is almost always mated with sugar and fat in candy, ice cream, and desserts. Those treats are hardly a heart-healthy delivery system. Tasty chocolate products that are less dependent on sugar and fat “would be a great benefit for the prevention of cardiovascular disease,” Franco says. So get on it, food scientists.

Given the hype surrounding Franco’s study, it’s not surprising that more than a few readers, and journalists, thought that chocolate has been given science’s seal of approval as the perfect health food. A headline on a press release from BMJ touting the study said as much.

“The headline for that release said ‘It’s official!’,” says Kevin Lomangino, editor of Clinical Nutrition Insight, a newsletter for physicians and nutritionists. “The problem with that of course is it’s not official. It didn’t come from the Institute of Medicine, or the World Health Organization. It’s one group of researchers with one study. “

Lomangino was so steamed over the BMJ release that he wrote a blistering blog post for the health journalism watchdog site Health News Review. His screed may have had some effect; news headlines posted later in the day have been more likely to tone down chocolate’s potential benefits.

So, chocolate still isn’t health food. But the bag of M&Ms consumed in the writing of this blog post was motivating, and delicious.

New Treatment Potential Found in Popular TB Drug (VOA)

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The Language of Dementia | Real World Research

New research from Penn State and the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging finds that caregivers of people with dementia are not listening to what the people they care for want.

The researchers interviewed 256 pairs of people. In each pair, one person had  mild to moderate dementia, the other was the caregiver.

From a press release from Penn State:

The researchers interviewed members of the pairs separately, asking questions related to how much value they place on five core values: autonomy, burden, control, family and safety. For example, one question focused on the level of importance a dementia patient gave to the ability to spend his or her own money in the way he or she wants.

“Our results demonstrate that adult children underestimate the importance that their relatives with dementia placed on all five core values,” said [lead researcher Steven] Zarit. “For example, the person with dementia might think it is very important to continue to be part of family celebrations, but his or her caregiver might not.”

So the caregivers/decision makers aren’t taking into account what the person with dementia values.  That’s really sad.

A few years ago I helped write a book titled I Can Still Laugh: Stories of Inspiration and Hope from Individuals Living with Alzheimer’s. My expert co-author was Audette Rackley at the Center for BrainHealth, part of the University of Texas at Dallas (my alma mater, and a current writing client).

The book is based on an intervention called cognitive stimulation, a dry academic name for something rich and human. The intervention supports things the person with dementia can do at any time, rather than trying prop up declining abilities. Helping people with dementia remain productive and connected helps mitigate the disease’s damaging byproduct: depression.

I Can Still Laugh focuses on a group of people with early-onset Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. The group—mostly men, all professionally successful, all diagnosed in their 50s and 60s–called themselves the Stark Club, for their most dynamic member, whose donation also supported the research. Temple Stark was a loving guy with a big laugh and a sunny attitude who was diagnosed when he was 54 years old, a father of two teenage daughters at the peak of his career as an insurance underwriter. The book’s title is a quote from Temple.

Continue reading here: blogs.psychcentral.com