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Diet And Depression: What You Eat Can Help Improve Mood, New Study Finds : The Salt : NPR
There's fresh evidence that eating a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits highly processed foods, can help reduce symptoms of depression.

A randomized controlled trial published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that symptoms of depression dropped significantly among a group of young adults after they followed a Mediterranean-style pattern of eating for three weeks. Participants saw their depression "score" fall from the "moderate" range down to the "normal" range, and they reported lower levels of anxiety and stress too.

Alternatively, the depression scores among the control group of participants — who didn't change their diets — didn't budge. These participants continued to eat a diet higher in refined carbohydrates, processed foods and sugary foods and beverages. Their depression scores remained in the "moderate severity" range.

"We were quite surprised by the findings,"
depression  diet  health  psychology  Mediterranean 
4 days ago by Quercki
The big fat truth : Nature News & Comment
The big fat truth

More and more studies show that being overweight does not always shorten life — but some public-health researchers would rather not talk about them.
fat  health  obesity  mortality  data 
16 days ago by Quercki
The obesity paradox: Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health — Quartz
Flegal found the lowest mortality rates among people in the overweight to mildly obese categories. It’s true that these groups are slightly more likely to suffer from heart disease and some other life-threatening conditions in the first place. But many factors influence the likelihood of a person getting heart disease. And a strong link between weight and disease only emerges among people with severe obesity. So taken at face value, the results seemed to be showing that a little extra weight is genuinely beneficial.

Flegal is a meticulous researcher: her most recent analysis incorporated data from almost 100 studies and close to three million people. It was published by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. Yet Flegal’s work has made her a target for those who scoff at the paradox. Walter Willett, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health who has taken a high-profile stance against obesity, told NPR that one recent Flegal study was “really a pile of rubbish” and that “no one should waste their time reading it.” (He was later admonished by the editors at Nature. In recent comments to Quartz, he reiterated his view that the study was “rubbish.”)
Being overweight is now believed to help protect patients with an increasingly long list of medical problems.

Willett’s complaints are starting to look less credible, however, because no one has been able to make the paradox go away.
fat  health  obesity  mortality  data 
16 days ago by Quercki
Review: 'Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland'
More broadly, Metzl explains, his research reveals “a reality that liberal Americans were often slow to realize: Trump supporters were willing to put their own lives on the line in support of their political beliefs … make tradeoffs that negatively affect their lives and livelihoods in support of larger prejudices or ideals.” The author “track[s] the full extent to which these political acts of self-sabotage came at mortal cost to the health and longevity of lower- and, in many instances, middle-income white GOP supporters—and, ultimately, to the well-being of everyone else.”

Metzl digs deep into the material effects of various Republican policies in three GOP-run states: Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. These policies “gave certain white populations the sensation of winning, particularly by upending the gains of minorities and liberals.” It was about “owning” those groups, apparently. The author adds that “the victories came at a steep cost.”
White  racism  sabotage  health  education 
5 weeks ago by Quercki
Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms
Abstract

Microbes in the gastrointestinal tract are under selective pressure to manipulate host eating behavior to increase their fitness, sometimes at the expense of host fitness. Microbes may do this through two potential strategies: (i) generating cravings for foods that they specialize on or foods that suppress their competitors, or (ii) inducing dysphoria until we eat foods that enhance their fitness. We review several potential mechanisms for microbial control over eating behavior including microbial influence on reward and satiety pathways, production of toxins that alter mood, changes to receptors including taste receptors, and hijacking of the vagus nerve, the neural axis between the gut and the brain. We also review the evidence for alternative explanations for cravings and unhealthy eating behavior. Because microbiota are easily manipulatable by prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplants, and dietary changes, altering our microbiota offers a tractable approach to otherwise intractable problems of obesity and unhealthy eating.
Keywords: cravings, evolutionary conflict, host manipulation, microbiome, microbiota, obesity
diet  health  mood  obesity  microbes  gut  brain 
7 weeks ago by Quercki
New York City's Health Department Calls Criminal Justice System A Health Risk
“What New York is doing is smart — people don’t often see how the health care system and criminal justice are interlinked,” University of Georgia sociologist Sarah Shannon, who studies the health effects of incarceration on prisoners and families, said. “But especially in our era of mass incarceration, there has been a lot of evidence they have to affect each other.”

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates around 577,000 people, 9% of New Yorkers, have been physically threatened or abused by the police. Overall, 29%, roughly 1.9 million people, report even being stopped, frisked, or questioned by the police.

Those people have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, drug abuse, and mental illness, warns the department, which is starting a new public health campaign focused on educating health care workers about chronic health conditions linked to these patients. Around 27% of those formerly incarcerated, for example, reported poor mental health, compared with 13% among the never incarcerated (the national rate for mental illness is 19%). And 29% of those reporting threats or abuse by the police had poor physical health, compared with 12% of those who hadn’t.
NY  police  contacts  public  health  risk  study 
9 weeks ago by Quercki
a collection of gleanings » Things food snobs are wrong about
here are sources on all of these, most of them fairly recent academic studies or otherwise the most up-to-date I could find:

Organic food isn’t better for you: [1] [2] [3]
Tracing food industry slave labor: [1]
Healthier food is more expensive: [1] [2]
Saturated fats (i.e. “junk food”) still provide needed energy, aren’t as bad as people thought: [1] [2]
“Processed” isn’t synonymous with less healthy, because it means a lot of different things: [1]
“Chemicals” also means a lot of things and many food components are misunderstood by the general public: [1]
MSG is not harmful: [1] [2] [3]
GMO’s are not dangerous to eat: [400 sources collected here]
food  myths  health 
june 2019 by Quercki
10,000 steps? Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women | Geriatrics | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
Question Are increased numbers of steps per day associated with lower mortality rates among older women?

Findings In this cohort study of 16 741 women with a mean age of 72 years, steps per day were measured over 7 days. Women who averaged approximately 4400 steps/d had significantly lower mortality rates during a follow-up of 4.3 years compared with the least active women who took approximately 2700 steps/d; as more steps per day were accrued, mortality rates progressively decreased before leveling at approximately 7500 steps/d.

Meaning More steps taken per day are associated with lower mortality rates until approximately 7500 steps/d.
walking  health  women  longevity 
may 2019 by Quercki
10,000 Steps Per Day? Fitness Trackers Push It, But How Many Do You Really Need? : Shots - Health News : NPR
In fact, women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were about 40 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period of about four years compared with women who took 2,700 steps. The findings were published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Another surprise: The benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps. In other words, women who walked more than 7,500 steps per day saw no additional boost in longevity.

"I love this study. I think it's really good news for women who may not be particularly active," says Kathleen Janz, who studies how physical activity influences health at the University of Iowa. She was not involved in this study.
health  fitness  walking  longevity 
may 2019 by Quercki
Transform Your Boundaries: Is your hand up?
How do you get from here to there?
This is what growing your boundaries is all about. When you do the work, it shows.
I get emails all the time from people who see a big difference in how they are treating themselves. Here are some of their self-care breakthroughs:

Do what is needed to live well with a health issue.
Taking time for beach walks.
Saying No to working extra hours.
Speaking their truth to a family member.
Declining events that interfere with their precious family time.
Sticking to their budget.
Taking time to think before making a big decision.
Pursuing a dream and making their dreams real.
Trying new things that help them with self-care.
Making time with friends.
Not getting snagged by someone's anger.
Not obsessing about what other people think or feel.
Going to counseling when they are hurting and worried and scared.
Asking for help, letting others in.
Taking time to be alone.
Listening to their soul.
The pay off is big for those of you on this journey with me.

Boundary work is not one size fits all. If you are willing to do your inside work, you will hear your own truth showing you the way to what you really need for your self-care.

The hardest part is to trust yourself and listen to your truth.
self-care  boundaries  health 
may 2019 by Quercki
How Organizing for Justice Helps Your Mental Health
this triangle. And we would put the problem they were presenting with, let’s say depression or anxiety, in the middle of the triangle, whatever they said, whatever words they used to describe their problem. And then, we would talk about the personal, the cultural, and the institutional factors that were influencing their problem.

Personal are the things that you traditionally think about, like development or any kind of illness, or abuse, or loss, trauma, things like that. But then the more complex part of it is the second two parts of the triangle.

What were the messages people received that would be influencing their problem? What kind of messages do we get about aggression? What kind of messages do we get about how boys are supposed to behave? What kind of messages do we get about if you have problems, do you seek out other people? Do you try to find and fix it yourself? Individualism, racism, classism, consumerism, professionalism, what we call dominant worldview messages, how do they influence the problem?

And finally, we talk about the institutional factors that influence their problem. All of these different toxic ideas influence the kind of institutions we have right in this country … the housing system or the court system, or the healthcare system. And we explain to people that the factors are not mutually exclusive, that they drive each other.
mental  health  institutional  societal  oppression 
february 2019 by Quercki
L.A. County Supervisors vote to replace Men's Central Jail with mental health hospital - Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County supervisors narrowly approved a plan Tuesday to tear down the dungeon-like Men’s Central Jail downtown and build at least one mental health treatment facility in its place.

The new plan modifies an existing $2.2-billion proposal that would have created the Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility, which was slated to house 3,885 “inmate patients” in a rehabilitation-focused center in the footprint of the Central Jail.
jail  mental  health  L.A. 
february 2019 by Quercki
Proposed ‘public charge’ rule change stirs confusion over green card eligibility | Public Radio International
Hundreds of thousands of immigrant parents in California may disenroll their children from health insurance, food stamps and other federally subsidized programs because they fear that receiving these benefits will make it impossible for them to become permanent residents in the United States.

Their fears have been triggered by new regulations proposed by the Trump administration that expand the number of benefits that immigration officers can take into account in deciding whether to deny an immigrant permanent residence in the United States. Federal law allows immigration officials to deny green cards to immigrants if authorities decide they are likely to become a “public charge” — someone who relies excessively on government benefits to survive.

The draft regulations are currently open for public comments until Dec. 10th.
immigration  WIC  food_stamps  health  insurance  Trump 
november 2018 by Quercki
Laziness Does Not Exist – Devon Price – Medium
or decades, psychological research has been able to explain procrastination as a functioning problem, not a consequence of laziness. When a person fails to begin a project that they care about, it’s typically due to either a) anxiety about their attempts not being “good enough” or b) confusion about what the first steps of the task are. Not laziness. In fact, procrastination is more likely when the task is meaningful and the individual cares about doing it well.

When you’re paralyzed with fear of failure, or you don’t even know how to begin a massive, complicated undertaking, it’s damn hard to get shit done. It has nothing to do with desire, motivation, or moral upstandingness. Procastinators can will themselves to work for hours; they can sit in front of a blank word document, doing nothing else, and torture themselves; they can pile on the guilt again and again — none of it makes initiating the task any easier. In fact, their desire to get the damn thing done may worsen their stress and make starting the task harder.
procrastination  psychology  mental  health 
november 2018 by Quercki
SoundPrint - Find your quiet place
KE YELP, BUT FOR NOISE

Tired of trying to have a connected conversation over the thick layers of noise, background music, and dense variety of groups in conversation?

SoundPrint allows you to rate and review places based on their sound levels. This way you can plan your next meeting, date, or family outing around a great place to eat to hear and connect with each other.

Connecting never felt so easy!
quiet  noise  sound  health  restaurants 
november 2018 by Quercki
Transforming Health Care Through Radical Transparency
It’s not every day that you hear a CEO of a major company complimenting Obamacare—even grudgingly. But this morning Jonathan Bush, Chairman and CEO of Athena Health [ATHN] was on CNBC’s Squawkbox singing the praises of the radical transparency being generated by Obamacare and the savings it will generate.

Bush co-founded Athena Health in 1997 as a women's health and birthing practice in San Diego, California. He was unprepared for how difficult it would be to get reimbursed by insurance companies.
....
Medicare is now required to make available the data on their paid claims. As a result of the law, firms like Athena Health can see for the first time how much money patients actually cost.

“Suddenly,” says Bush, “you see this incredible variation in cost and utilization that's driving a lot of the absurdity of what health care costs us. It's both exciting and depressing but at least you can see it. Once you open the wound, you can scrub it down.”
health  insurance  transparency  colonoscopy 
october 2018 by Quercki
Why The World Is Getting Better And Why Hardly Anyone Knows It
In a powerful study entitled “The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it” by Max Roser, an economist at the University of Oxford and the founder of Our World in Data, we learn that on virtually all of the key dimensions of human material well-being—poverty, literacy, health, freedom, and education—the world is an extraordinarily better place than it was just a couple of centuries ago.
data  poverty  poor  literacy  education  health  freedom  statistics 
october 2018 by Quercki
Climate Change: Clear Link to Poor Mental Health in Massive New Study | Inverse
Between 2002 and 2012, approximately 2 million individuals reported the state of their mental health through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Each respondent was asked to report how stress, depression, and “problems with emotions” affected their mental health over a period of 30 days. When Obradovich and his colleagues evaluated those responses alongside data concerning multi-year warming, they discovered that, on average, monthly temperatures hotter than 30 degrees Celsius — or 86 degrees Fahrenheit — were associated with more reports of mental health difficulties, as compared to temperatures closer to 10 to 15 degrees Celsius — or 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

They also found that months with more precipitation days amplified the probability of experiencing mental health issues. Overall, months with more than 25 days of precipitation increased the probability of mental health issues by 2 percentage points, compared to zero monthly precipitation.
climatechange  mental  health 
october 2018 by Quercki
Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong - The Huffington Post
For 60 years, doctors and researchers have known two things that could have improved, or even saved, millions of lives. The first is that diets do not work. Not just paleo or Atkins or Weight Watchers or Goop, but all diets. Since 1959, research has shown that 95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail and that two-thirds of dieters gain back more than they lost. The reasons are biological and irreversible. As early as 1969, research showed that losing just 3 percent of your body weight resulted in a 17 percent slowdown in your metabolism—a body-wide starvation response that blasts you with hunger hormones and drops your internal temperature until you rise back to your highest weight. Keeping weight off means fighting your body’s energy-regulation system and battling hunger all day, every day, for the rest of your life.

The second big lesson the medical establishment has learned and rejected over and over again is that weight and health are not perfect synonyms.
fat  science  health  stories  pictures 
september 2018 by Quercki
Coconut oil is 'pure poison', says Harvard professor | Food | The Guardian
Karin Michels, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan school of public health, poured scorn on the superfood movement and singled out the fad for coconut oil in particular, calling the substance “one of the worst things you can eat” that was as good for wellbeing as “pure poison”.

Michels made her comments in a recent lecture entitled “Coconut oil and other nutritional errors” at the University of Freiburg, where she holds a second academic position as director of the Institute for Prevention and Tumour Epidemiology. The speech, delivered in German, has now been watched nearly a million times on YouTube.
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Michels based her warning on the high proportion of saturated fat in coconut oil, which is known to raise levels of so-called LDL cholesterol, and so the risk of cardiovascular disease. Coconut oil contains more than 80% saturated fat, more than twice the amount found in lard, and 60% more than is found in beef dripping.
coconut  oil  fat  health  cholesterol 
september 2018 by Quercki
Authoritarianism Thrives on Demoralization: How to Fight Trump and Stay Psychologically Healthy
Authoritarian regimes thrive on a demoralized populace. They survive by slowly wearing us down. By convincing us there’s nothing we can do. And now so many of my friends are doing that work on their behalf. It’s time to stop. I don’t know what the future holds or if the doomsday scenarios will come to fruition. I do know that spending our time paralyzed in panic only emboldens Trump and his ilk. Feeling depressed feels awful. It’s also what the Trump regime wants because it reduces a person’s effectiveness.

So here is my modest recipe for fighting back against the Trump regime, protecting yourself from panic and depression, and maintaining a little perspective.

Don’t Waste Your Energy on Tactics That Feel Bad or Don’t Work
Listen to and Learn From the People Whom Trump Endangers Most
No More Tone-Policing, Nancy
Do What You Can; Rely on Others to Do What You Can’t
Use Your Money Wisely
Stop Wasting Time Talking About How Bad Things Are or Will Be
Stop Blaming Your Allies—Especially Marginalized Groups—for Trump
Pick an Issue to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed
Practice Self-Care
Integrate Activism Into Your Day
Stop Trying to ‘Save’ Racist, Nazis, and Other Defenders of Trump
For the Love of God, Show Up and Vote. Please.
Fight Back in Every Way You Can
resist  health  Fascism  **** 
august 2018 by Quercki
Botanical Sexism Cultivates Home-Grown Allergies - Scientific American Blog Network
It’s the time year for watery eyes and itchy noses, and if you’re among the afflicted, you may be surprised to learn that decades of botanical sexism in urban landscapes have contributed to your woes.
Arborists often claim that all-male plants are “litter-free” because they shed no messy seeds, fruits or pods.
sexism  allergies  city  health 
may 2018 by Quercki
The Last Conversation You’ll Need to Have About Eating Right
Mark Bittman and doctor David L. Katz patiently answer pretty much every question we could think of about healthy food.
...
Ask us anything at all about diet and nutrition and we will give you an answer that is grounded in real scientific consensus, with no “healthy-ish” chit-chat, nary a mention of “wellness,” and no goal other than to cut through all the noise and help everyone see how simple it is to eat well.

Here, then, are the exhaustively assembled, thoroughly researched, meticulously detailed answers to any and all of your dietary questions.
nutrition  diet  health  food 
march 2018 by Quercki
Occult Safety and Health Administration
Welcome to the home of the Occult Safety and Health Administration! This is a personal project of Hannah Storyteller and should not be construed as endorsed by any governing pagan body, especially as there is no such thing. The Occult Safety and Health Administration currently functions as a collection of resources on ritual and magical safety. You do not need permission to distribute these resources. They are intended to be used and distributed by anyone who needs them. Want to put up the self-care flowchart at your event? Please do! No need to ask permission.

The Occult Safety and Health Administration takes a distinctly polytheist approach to theology. The gods are real, independent beings who can have effects on the world, magic is real, energy is real and can be helpful or harmful, malevolent supernatural beings are real, and real harm can come to people as a result of unsafe rituals. If these are not your beliefs, the material at Magical OSHA may not be right for you.

Resources currently available at Magical OSHA

The Magical Safety 101: Grounding and Cleansing class notes.
The "Feeling Unwell?" flowchart (aka the self-care flowchart) seen around PantheaCon and also handed out at the Magical Safety 101 class.
A printable copy of the instructions that accompany the Newbie Survival Kits
pagan  safety  health  first_aid  grounding  centering  shielding  self-care 
february 2018 by Quercki
Neuroscientists Discover People Who Like To 'Sing' Maybe Smarter and More Creative
inging (even in the shower and badly) activates our right temporal lobe and releases endorphins that help make us smarter, healthier, creative and overall much happier. And good news for all you choir and glee club members out there, singing in a group is even better for your brain and body!

MOOD ENHANCER
Studies show happier moods among choir singers. They report feeling less anxious, depressed and overall a better satisfaction with life.  The research suggests that being creative together is actually a product of evolution. Singing together was and still is a social tool that brings us closer together as humans.

For years, science has been trying to explain why singing has such an incredible impact on people.
singing  science  health 
november 2017 by Quercki
New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage | Harvard Gazette
Uninsured, working-age Americans have 40 percent higher death risk than privately insured counterparts

September 17, 2009
By David Cecere, Cambridge Health Alliance
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Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online today by the American Journal of Public Health. That figure is about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002.

The study, conducted at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993.

“The uninsured have a higher risk of death when compared to the privately insured, even after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors, and baseline health,” said lead author Andrew Wilper, M.D., who currently teaches at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “We doctors have many new ways to prevent deaths from hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease — but only if patients can get into our offices and afford their medications.”
death  healthcare  health  insurance 
september 2017 by Quercki
Fruit, vegetable, and legume intake, and cardiovascular disease and deaths in 18 countries (PURE): a prospective cohort study - The Lancet
Interpretation
Higher fruit, vegetable, and legume consumption was associated with a lower risk of non-cardiovascular, and total mortality. Benefits appear to be maximum for both non-cardiovascular mortality and total mortality at three to four servings per day (equivalent to 375–500 g/day).
food  diet  health  eating  guidelines  research 
september 2017 by Quercki
Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study - The Lancet
Findings
During follow-up, we documented 5796 deaths and 4784 major cardiovascular disease events. Higher carbohydrate intake was associated with an increased risk of total mortality (highest [quintile 5] vs lowest quintile [quintile 1] category, HR 1·28 [95% CI 1·12–1·46], ptrend=0·0001) but not with the risk of cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular disease mortality. Intake of total fat and each type of fat was associated with lower risk of total mortality (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, total fat: HR 0·77 [95% CI 0·67–0·87], ptrend<0·0001; saturated fat, HR 0·86 [0·76–0·99], ptrend=0·0088; monounsaturated fat: HR 0·81 [0·71–0·92], ptrend<0·0001; and polyunsaturated fat: HR 0·80 [0·71–0·89], ptrend<0·0001). Higher saturated fat intake was associated with lower risk of stroke (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, HR 0·79 [95% CI 0·64–0·98], ptrend=0·0498). Total fat and saturated and unsaturated fats were not significantly associated with risk of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular disease mortality.
food  health  eating  diet  guidelines 
september 2017 by Quercki
PURE – Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological Study
PURE (Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological Study)

Study Overview

To examine the impact of urbanization on the development of primordial risk factors (for example: physical activity and nutrition changes), primary risk factors (for example: obesity, hypertension, dysglycemia and dyslipidemia, smoking), and CVD.

Study Design: Observational Study

Intervention: N/A

Length of Study: 12 years

# of Participants: 225,000

# of Countries: 25
food  health  eating  diet  guidelines 
september 2017 by Quercki
PURE, a New Global Nutrition Study, Changes Nothing - The Atlantic
eating vegetables in any state was associated with good health, but as compared to cooked vegetables, eating raw vegetables was more strongly linked to a lower risk of death (during the study) compared to cooked vegetable intake.

As researcher Victoria Miller of McMaster University put it, “Our results indicate that recommendations should emphasize raw vegetable intake over cooked.”
food  health  eating  diet  guidelines 
september 2017 by Quercki
Sweet Science: High Sugar Diet Could Actually 'Program' You to Die Younger
Eating a high sugar diet shortens your life, even long after you improve what you eat, because during the time you spent eating badly your genes have been reprogrammed for the long-term, according to scientists, and there's no cheating – low calorie sweeteners aren't any better for you!

A team of researchers from University College London (UCL) and Monash University (Australia), in an experiment on Drosophila flies, discovered that flies fed a high sugar diet in early life died sooner even if their diet was improved later on. The reason is that the unhealthy diet inhibits the action of a gene called FOXO which causes long-term effects, according to a study published on Wednesday in Cell Reports on January 10.

“Dietary history has a long lasting effect on health, and now we know a mechanism behind this. We think the reprogramming of the flies' genes caused by the high sugar diet might occur in other animals. We don't know that it happens in humans, but the signs suggest that it could,” said the report’s first author, Dr. Adam Dobson from UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing.
sugar  diet  health  death 
may 2017 by Quercki
The Casualties of Women's War on Body Hair - The Atlantic
In the 1920s and ’30s, women used pumice stones or sandpaper to depilate, which caused irritation and scabbing. Some tried modified shoemaker’s waxes. Thousands were killed or permanently disabled by Koremlu, a cream made from the rat poison thallium acetate. It was successful in eliminating hair, and also in causing muscular atrophy, blindness, limb damage, and death. Around the same time, X-ray hair removal emerged as another treatment option. Women would sit for three or four minutes in front of the invisible rays of a boxed X-ray machine, and the radiation would do its work. So great was the appeal of each hair withering away in its sheath that for nearly two decades, women underwent dangerous radiation that led to scarring, ulceration, and cancer.
women  shaving  politics  gender  health 
april 2017 by Quercki
Preventing over-diagnosis: how to stop harming the healthy
OVER-DIAGNOSIS EPIDEMIC – In the first instalment of a nine-part series Ray Moynihan outlines the growing problem of over-diagnosis.

If you haven’t heard much yet about the problem of over-diagnosis, rest assured you soon will. In recent weeks, an editorial in a leading medical journal in the United States has dubbed over-diagnosis a “modern epidemic”; in Britain the BBC has just broadcast a two-part investigative series on it; and today this website kicks off a two-week long exploration of the problem.

To put it simply, over-diagnosis happens when people are diagnosed with diseases or conditions that won’t actually harm them. It happens because some screening programs can detect “cancers” that will never kill, because sophisticated diagnostic technologies pick up “abnormalities” that will remain benign, and because we are routinely widening the definitions of disease to include people with milder symptoms, and those at very low risk.

A growing problem

There’s a small but growing scientific literature on the problem of over-diagnosis across many different conditions, from ADHD to malaria. Some of the strongest evidence comes from the world of breast cancer, with suggestions from a recent systematic review that up to one in three women diagnosed through mammography screening may, in fact, be “over-diagnosed”. In other words, their cancer may not kill them.
health  healthcare  medical  cholesterol  mammogram 
november 2016 by Quercki
Learning the Hard Way: My Journey from #AntiVaxx to Science | The Scientific Parent
I jumped on Google to type in “child cough.” My kids had all but one symptom of pertussis, none of them had the characteristic “whoop.” But they had everything else.
We had vaccinated our first three children on an alternative schedule and our youngest four weren’t vaccinated at all.  We stopped because we were scared and didn’t know who to trust.  Was the medical community just paid off puppets of a Big Pharma-Government-Media conspiracy?  Were these vaccines even necessary in this day and age? Were we unwittingly doing greater harm than help to our beloved children? So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the ‘do nothing and hope nothing bad happens’ position.

Learn the signs of pertussis (whooping cough). Click to enlarge.
For years relatives tried to persuade us to reconsider through emails and links, but this only irritated us and made us defensive.  Secretly, I hoped I would find the proof I needed to hold the course, but deep down I was resigned to only find endless conflicting arguments that never resolved anything.  No matter if we vaccinated or not, I thought, it would be nothing more than a coin toss with horrible risks either way.
When the Disneyland measles outbreak happened my husband and I agreed to take a new look and weigh the evidence on both sides. A friend suggested I write out my questions so we could tackle them one by one.  Just getting it out on paper helped so much. I only ended up with a handful of questions. But more potent than my questions were my biases.
vaccination  science  health 
august 2016 by Quercki
Dewhurst tweet brags about closing abortion clinics - Texas Politics
During the lengthy late-night abortion debate in the Texas Senate Tuesday, advocates of a  bill requiring abortions to be performed in hospital-like settings claimed they were motivated by elevating the quality of health care for women. Opponents on the other hand, warned that requiring abortion clinics to upgrade their facilities was unnecessary and so costly it would force many clinics to close. But lawmakers promoting the bill repeatedly denied that was their goal.

This morning, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst tipped his hand in a tweet when he crowed about passage of the abortion bill and linked to a map showing how many facilities would be forced to close.

The bill will now be debated in the Texas House. Dewhurst’s tweet will likely become part of  the debate.
abortion  women  health  pro-life  lies 
july 2016 by Quercki
How To Help Someone Heal From A Rape or Sexual Asault - Band Back Together
Things To Say To Someone Who Has Been Raped:

"I believe you."

"I'm so sorry this happened to you."

"This is not your fault."

"How can I help?"

"Would you like me to find a support group for you?"

"I'm here if you want to talk."

"I'm here if you don't want to talk."

"You are not alone."
rape  allies  howto  health 
march 2016 by Quercki
Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities | Articles | Pediatrics
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Transgender children who have socially transitioned, that is, who identify as the gender “opposite” their natal sex and are supported to live openly as that gender, are increasingly visible in society, yet we know nothing about their mental health. Previous work with children with gender identity disorder (GID; now termed gender dysphoria) has found remarkably high rates of anxiety and depression in these children. Here we examine, for the first time, mental health in a sample of socially transitioned transgender children.

METHODS: A community-based national sample of transgender, prepubescent children (n = 73, aged 3–12 years), along with control groups of nontransgender children in the same age range (n = 73 age- and gender-matched community controls; n = 49 sibling of transgender participants), were recruited as part of the TransYouth Project. Parents completed anxiety and depression measures.

RESULTS: Transgender children showed no elevations in depression and slightly elevated anxiety relative to population averages. They did not differ from the control groups on depression symptoms and had only marginally higher anxiety symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Socially transitioned transgender children who are supported in their gender identity have developmentally normative levels of depression and only minimal elevations in anxiety, suggesting that psychopathology is not inevitable within this group. Especially striking is the comparison with reports of children with GID; socially transitioned transgender children have notably lower rates of internalizing psychopathology than previously reported among children with GID living as their natal sex.
transgender  children  mental  health  pediatrics  science  research 
february 2016 by Quercki
Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health - Quartz
Since then, dozens of studies have confirmed the existence of the paradox. Being overweight is now believed to help protect patients with an increasingly long list of medical problems, including pneumonia, burns, stroke, cancer, hypertension, and heart disease. Researchers who have tried to show that the paradox is based on faulty data or reasoning have largely come up short. And while scientists do not yet agree on what the paradox means for health, most accept the evidence behind it. “It’s been shown consistently enough in different disease states,” says Gregg Fonarow, a cardiology researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The researcher who did most to kick off the debate, and in the process became the object of much of the pushback it generated, is an epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named Katherine Flegal. Together with colleagues, she looked at hundreds of mortality studies that included data on body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. People with BMIs of more than 25 are classed as overweight, and those with a BMI over 30 as obese.
fat  health  disease  culture  good  news 
november 2015 by Quercki
Mental health first aid
Mental Health First Aid — a public education campaign that teaches community members how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders before problems become crises. Since then, as a volunteer with CPSA, he has taught the 12-hour course more than a dozen times, sharing the program's message with members of his church, high school students, Indian Health Service staff and others.
The goal isn't to train people to be mental health experts or encourage them to make diagnoses, Lange emphasizes. Instead, he says, the program teaches them to be alert to "little red flags going up" and then offer help.
"We're more of a bridge, just like CPR or first aid," says Lange. "If someone has a cut, you give them immediate attention, then make sure they get professional help."
Originally developed in Australia, Mental Health First Aid is now being adopted in some parts of the United States and other countries around the world. President Barack Obama's plan to reduce gun violence calls for providing Mental Health First Aid training to teachers and other adults who interact with young people. Legislation introduced in Congress earlier this year would also support Mental Health First Aid implementation. And while some psychologists have questioned whether the training's evidence base is as robust as it should be, initial evaluations have shown that the program effectively reduces stigma, increases knowledge of mental illness and boosts confidence about responding appropriately to an emerging problem or a crisis. More wide-scale evaluations are underway.
mental  health  first_aid  emergency  emergencypreparedness  police  violence 
september 2015 by Quercki
Emily McDowell Studio - Empathy cards for serious illness
"get well" cards for people who might not get well. Cancer, etc.
"Please let me be the first to PUNCH the next person who tells you everything happens for a reason."
"When life give you lemons, won't tell you a story about my cousin's friend who died of lemons."
"I know #fuckCancer doesn't help you get through it. I'm here any time you need me."
empathy  health  sick 
may 2015 by Quercki
Fat Friendly Health Professionals
Fat Friendly Health Professionals List


About this list
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Entries added April 2015 in these areas:

Australia (Mandurah)
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California (Chico, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Cruz)
Colorado (Conifer, Fort Collins, Paonia)
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Oregon (Portland)
Pennsylvania (East Petersburg, Lancaster, Pittsburgh)
Virginia (Richmond)
Washington (Everett, Longview, Marysville, Seattle)
Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
fat  doctor  health  healthcare 
april 2015 by Quercki
Tell these games what's wrong - Boing Boing
Caelyn Sandel's BECCAA 0.8 project is there -- you seek BECCAA out if you're having feelings about something someone made or did online, and it asks you questions and gives you responses that help you process your mood. In between, it offers provocative quotes on feminism, which in itself offers interesting context to consider the structures in which we need support.

Lydia Neon's Player 2 is a forgiveness engine -- you tell it about a specific person and your interpersonal conflict with them, and, among other things, Player 2 helps you decide how you feel about the situation and what, if anything, you want to do about it.
online  counseling  forgiveness  trolls  mental  health 
march 2015 by Quercki
Masters of Love — The Atlantic
Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife—a sign of interest or support—hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.

People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t—those who turned away—would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”

These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital well-being. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had “turn-toward bids” 33 percent of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.
research  marriage  health  relationships  success 
march 2015 by Quercki
Another one bites the dust - The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.
The US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture 2005 nutritional guidelines (click here to read in full in a large pdf download) recommend that Americans consume less than 2300 mg of sodium per day (which is less than the 2400 mg recommended in the 2000 guidelines) in order to “prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure..” and “to lower elevated blood pressure” Seems rationale enough until one considers that there is really no good evidence that sodium intake causes blood pressure to increase other than that shown in short-term clinical trials, a number of which are inconclusive or contradictory. It’s just like with the idea of low-fat: somewhere, sometime, someone got it into his or her head that dietary sodium is bad, the word spread, and researchers start doing studies to prove it. As long as a study here or there confirms this bias, then the idea is held in the minds of many people not simply as an hypothesis, but as a truth. In the case of the nutritional guidelines, the scientific committee making recommendations did so

largely based on the blood pressure reduction associated with lower sodium in short-term clinical trials. However, these trials could not assess the long-term cardiovascular morbidity and mortality consequences of lower sodium. Of concern is that lower sodium intake can generate increased activity of the renin-angiotensin and sympathetic nervous systems, and possibly increased insulin resistance, and each of these could have adverse cardiovascular effects. Morbidity and mortality outcomes will be influenced by unfavorable and favorable effects, as well as the unknown consequences of a diet altered to achieve lower sodium intake. In the absence of clinical trial data, several observational studies, with contradictory results, are available.

So, it’s not even really a case of unintended consequences. The scientific committee chose to overlook evidence clearly showing that there could easily be a downside to sodium restriction in favor of their built-in bias against salt. In fact, based on no good evidence they lowered the recommendation from that of the time before. Gives one a lot of faith in the nutritional guidelines, doesn’t it?
sodium  health  salt  hypertension  heart 
march 2015 by Quercki
Overweight Americans Have the Lowest Risk of Premature Death » Sociological Images
So, do we even have an obesity epidemic? Perhaps not if we use health as a marker instead of some arbitrary decision to hate fat.  Paul Campos, covering this story for the New York Times, points out:

If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that does not increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.

That’s 79%.

It’s worth saying again: if we are measuring by the risk of premature death, then 79% of the people we currently shame for being overweight or obese would be recategorized as perfectly fine. Ideal, even. Pleased to be plump, let’s say, knowing that a body that is a happy balance of soft and strong is the kind of body that will carry them through a lifetime.
fat  health  science  statistics  BMI  death 
july 2014 by Quercki
The perfect guy, the supreme gentleman » Pharyngula
Okay. Alea jacta est, I suppose I am going to have to do this:

1) The folk psychologies being expressed here about people with mental illnesses and the relationship between mental illness and violence are typically wrong, heavily influenced by extant cultural prejudice and harmful.

2) If “mental illness” made people violent, then mentally ill people would kill at higher rates than people without mentally illness. And they don’t. They are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims of violence.

See, for example, here or here, or here, or the entire book here. Most of those are behind pay walls. Clever googling can (possibly) find you free sources.

I’ll expand on this with reference to Screechmonkey’s #111,

I’m all for not promoting the idea that mentally ill=dangerous, but do you object to the points that:
1) Some mentally ill people are dangerous;
2) some mentally ill people are dangerous because of their mental illnesses;
3) the dangers posed by such people might be prevented or mitigated by better attention to and treatment of mental illness

And if you agree with that, then how can we talk about these issues without saying that so-and-so was mentally ill? Without people bursting through the wall to declare “Not All Mentally Ill People”?

I’m glad you think you aren’t for promoting the idea that mentally ill = dangerous. Why then do you do it? Allow me to explain:
mental  health  violence  statistics  crazy 
may 2014 by Quercki
“Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 × 8”? | Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
ABSTRACT

Despite the seemingly ubiquitous admonition to “drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day” (with an accompanying reminder that beverages containing caffeine and alcohol do not count), rigorous proof for this counsel appears to be lacking. This review sought to find the origin of this advice (called “8 × 8” for short) and to examine the scientific evidence, if any, that might support it. The search included not only electronic modes but also a cursory examination of the older literature that is not covered in electronic databases and, most importantly and fruitfully, extensive consultation with several nutritionists who specialize in the field of thirst and drinking fluids. No scientific studies were found in support of 8 × 8. Rather, surveys of food and fluid intake on thousands of adults of both genders, analyses of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed because the surveyed persons were presumably healthy and certainly not overtly ill. This conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks (and, to a lesser extent, mild alcoholic beverages like beer in moderation) may indeed be counted toward the daily total, as well as by the large body of published experiments that attest to the precision and effectiveness of the osmoregulatory system for maintaining water balance. It is to be emphasized that the conclusion is limited to healthy adults in atemperate climate leading a largely sedentaryexistence, precisely the population and conditions that the “at least” in 8 × 8 refers to. Equally to be emphasized, lest the message of this review be misconstrued, is the fact (based on published evidence) that large intakes of fluid, equal to and greater than 8 × 8, are advisable for the treatment or prevention of some diseases and certainly are called for under special circumstances, such as vigorous work and exercise, especially in hot climates. Since it is difficult or impossible to prove a negative—in this instance, the absence of scientific literature supporting the 8 × 8 recommendation—the author invites communications from readers who are aware of pertinent publications.
water  health  research  science 
may 2014 by Quercki
Home - ClinicalTrials.gov
A service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health
ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. Learn more about clinical studies and about this site, including relevant history, policies, and laws.
health  medical  research 
december 2013 by Quercki
Bibliography - Publications and Paper Proposals (Excel)
WHI ​Publications and Paper Proposals (Excel)

This page provides an Excel-based view of all publications and approved paper proposals, updated 7/15/13, which should be compatible with most browser and operating system platforms.  This view allows you to perform basic sorting and filtering by column.  You can subsequently download the results to your desktop version of Excel (by clicking "Save a Snapshot," under "File") for subsequent manipulation and usage.

SharePoint sign-in is not required to access WHI Publications and Paper Proposals (Excel). However, SharePoint sign-in with manuscript-viewing privileges is required to view full-text papers and proposals.
women  health  research  *** 
december 2013 by Quercki
WHI - Home
An editorial, written by Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Former Director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, accompanied the WHI report.  Entitled “The Women’s Health Initiative—A victory for women and their health”, Dr. Nabel briefly recounted the history of the program and the many lessons learned.  “The history of medicine abounds with dogmas assumed and later overcome.  Nowhere is that dynamic more evident than in women’s health,  ”  she states.  In fact, “Twenty-two years following its inception, the WHI is a model for publicly funded rigorous, thorough, and objective clinical trials that have broadly affected human health. “

On October 29, WHI will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first woman to be enrolled in WHI.  This compendium of data, one of the largest papers every published by JAMA, is a wonderful tribute to our participants and provides an opportunity to acknowledge again the 160 000 women of WHI who gave so much to help data triumph overcome dogma.  

More information is available by viewing the Executive Summary and Questions and Answers. 
women  health  research  menopause  older 
december 2013 by Quercki
NHLBI Women's Health Initiative, Observational Study Fact Sheet
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE OBSERVATIONAL STUDY?

The WHI observational study (OS) had several goals. These goals included:

To give reliable estimates of the extent to which known risk factors to predict heart disease, cancers and fractures;
To identify "new" risk factors for these and other diseases in women;
To compare risk factors, presence of disease at the start of the study, and new occurrences of disease during the WHI across all study components; and
To create a future resource to identify biological indicators of disease, especially substances and factors found in blood.
HOW WAS THE OBSERVATIONAL STUDY CONDUCTED?

The observational study enlisted 93,676 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79. The health of OS participants was tracked over an average of eight years.

Women who joined this study filled out periodic health forms and also visited the clinic three years after enrollment. OS participants were not required to take any medication or change their health habits. It did, however, follow a woman's health over a long period of time.

The OS provided information that complemented that obtained in the CT.
women  research  health  menopause  older 
december 2013 by Quercki
Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality — NEJM
RESULTS
During 3,038,853 person-years of follow-up, 16,200 women and 11,229 men died. Nut consumption was inversely associated with total mortality among both women and men, after adjustment for other known or suspected risk factors. The pooled multivariate hazard ratios for death among participants who ate nuts, as compared with those who did not, were 0.93 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90 to 0.96) for the consumption of nuts less than once per week, 0.89 (95% CI, 0.86 to 0.93) for once per week, 0.87 (95% CI, 0.83 to 0.90) for two to four times per week, 0.85 (95% CI, 0.79 to 0.91) for five or six times per week, and 0.80 (95% CI, 0.73 to 0.86) for seven or more times per week (P<0.001 for trend). Significant inverse associations were also observed between nut consumption and deaths due to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease.
Full Text of Results...
CONCLUSIONS
In two large, independent cohorts of nurses and other health professionals, the frequency of nut consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality, independently of other predictors of death. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation.)
research  nuts  heart  death  cancer  respiratory  lung  health  cholesterol 
december 2013 by Quercki
Nuts: A healthy treat - Harvard Health Publications
nuts seem to have some protective effects against heart disease. Numerous studies have shown that if you put people on nut-filled diets, favorable effects on cholesterol levels, blood pressure readings, and inflammatory factors follow. And in large epidemiologic studies, high nut consumption has been associated with lower rates of heart disease. An analysis of data from the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study showed that having one serving of nuts a day is associated with a 30% lower risk of heart disease compared with having one serving of red meat a day.

A plate full of walnuts for dinner tonight?

Nuts as a meal may not sound very appealing. But cookbooks are full of recipes that incorporate nuts into pasta dishes and the like. And it would be easy for most of us to add almonds or walnuts to a bowl of cereal or low-fat yogurt at breakfast and occasionally eat a meatless lunch or dinner.

Nuts may help with diabetes, too. The lack of carbohydrate content means nuts don’t add appreciably to the surges in blood sugar we experience after many meals. In fact, they can blunt the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Those “postprandial” spikes in blood sugar contribute to the development of diabetes in people vulnerable to getting the disease and must be controlled in those who have already have it. Yet the evidence for nut consumption reducing the risk for developing diabetes is mixed, as are results of studies of the effect it has on blood sugar levels.
nuts  health  cholesterol  heart  diabetes 
december 2013 by Quercki
Nut consumption reduces risk of death | Harvard Gazette
“The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America,” said Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, who is the senior author of the report and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“But we also saw a significant reduction — 11 percent — in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs, who is also affiliated with the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s.

Whether any specific type or types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect could not be determined. However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts (a legume, or ground nut) and for tree nuts — walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, and pine nuts.

Several previous studies had found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis. Higher nut consumption also has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Some small studies have linked an increase of nuts in the diet to lower total mortality in specific populations. But no previous research studies had looked in such detail at various levels of nut consumption and their effects on overall mortality in a large population that was followed for more than 30 years.
heart  cancer  cholesterol  nut  almond  health  medicine  research 
december 2013 by Quercki
The U.S. ranks 26th for life expectancy, right behind Slovenia
This isn't to say our life expectancy has gone down: Quite the opposite: you can actually expect to live about eight years longer in the United States right now than you would have in 1970. But our life expectancy is growing a lot more slowly than other countries.
This 213-page, graph-laden OECD report tells the story of why. It shows the United States as a country that is spending tons and tons on health care--but getting way less than other countries out of that investment. It exposes a country that's really great at buying fancy medical technologies, but not so fantastic at using those medical technologies to extend life. It is, in short, the story of why our health care system is so screwed up.
There are some things that the American health care system is great at and, at the top of the list, it has to be the ability to spend money. We spend more than any other country.
facts  health  report  death 
november 2013 by Quercki
Singing Changes Your Brain | TIME.com
The benefits of singing regularly seem to be cumulative. In one study, singers were found to have lower levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress.  A very preliminary investigation suggesting that our heart rates may sync up during group singing could also explain why singing together sometimes feels like a guided group meditation.  Study after study has found that singing relieves anxiety and contributes to quality of life. Dr. Julene K. Johnson, a researcher who has focused on older singers, recently began a five year study to examine group singing as an affordable method to improve the health and well-being of older adults.

It turns out you don’t even have to be a good singer to reap the rewards.  According to one 2005 study, group singing “can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”  Singing groups vary from casual affairs where no audition is necessary to serious, committed professional or avocational choirs like the Los Angeles Master Chorale or my chorus in New York City, which I joined when I was 26 and depressed, all based on a single memory of singing in a choir at Christmas, an experience so euphoric I never forgot it.
singing  health  benefits  solution  depression 
august 2013 by Quercki
Junkfood Science: “Obesity Paradox” #1
Dr. Paul Ernsberger, of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, led a review of nearly 400 studies that was published in the Journal of Obesity and Weight Regulation in 1987 which corroborated these results. “The idea that fat strains the heart has no scientific basis,” he said. “As far as I can tell, the idea comes from diet books, not scientific books. Unfortunately, some doctors read diet books.”

This April, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles reported their clinical study of 14,739 patients with coronary artery disease, that had been confirmed on tomography, who were followed for over three years. They found that “obese” and “overweight” patients were at significantly lower risks for cardiac death than “normal” weight patients.
fat  research  science  health  heart 
march 2013 by Quercki
A melody a day keeps the doctor away? The proposed health benefits of singing
As some of us may be aware of the positive health effects of listening to music through musical therapy, I wanted to examine whether any health benefits result from swapping roles from the number-one-groupie to the super-star vocalist. In other words, how does our health benefit from singing in our every day lives?
singing  health  solutions 
february 2013 by Quercki
JAMA Network | JAMA | Association of All-Cause Mortality With Overweight and Obesity Using Standard Body Mass Index CategoriesA Systematic Review and Meta-analysisAll-Cause Mortality Using BMI Categories
Results  Random-effects summary all-cause mortality HRs for overweight (BMI of 25-<30), obesity (BMI of ≥30), grade 1 obesity (BMI of 30-<35), and grades 2 and 3 obesity (BMI of ≥35) were calculated relative to normal weight (BMI of 18.5-<25). The summary HRs were 0.94 (95% CI, 0.91-0.96) for overweight, 1.18 (95% CI, 1.12-1.25) for obesity (all grades combined), 0.95 (95% CI, 0.88-1.01) for grade 1 obesity, and 1.29 (95% CI, 1.18-1.41) for grades 2 and 3 obesity. These findings persisted when limited to studies with measured weight and height that were considered to be adequately adjusted. The HRs tended to be higher when weight and height were self-reported rather than measured.

Conclusions and Relevance  Relative to normal weight, both obesity (all grades) and grades 2 and 3 obesity were associated with significantly higher all-cause mortality. Grade 1 obesity overall was not associated with higher mortality, and overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.
weigth  obesity  death  mortality  health  diet 
january 2013 by Quercki
Are you drinking too much water?
Myth 1. Thirst is a sign you’re already dehydrated.

It is often stated that by the time people are thirsty, they are too late. But according to Valtin, thirst begins when the concentration of blood (an accurate indicator of our state of hydration) has risen by less than two percent, whereas most experts would define dehydration as beginning when that concentration has risen by at least five percent. In other words: Thirst is a good sign to start drinking water. No need to guzzle before you feel the need.

Myth 2. Dark urine means you’re dehydrated.

Lately I’ve seen a “pee guide” going around the social media outlets. Seems most people are aiming for clear pee. But at normal urinary volume and color (meaning, there IS color), the concentration of the blood is within the normal range and nowhere near the values that are seen in meaningful dehydration. As Valtin explains, “the warning that dark urine reflects dehydration is alarmist and false in most instances.”
...
Listen to your body. This is my “go to” advice for most health practices because our body is packed full of useful signals to help us keep it happy… with one little snag: The problem with over-hydration is that a symptom of drinking too much is dry mouth and excessive thirst. So there may be a period of “challenging your body’s signals” while it gets back to a more balanced state.

I like Matt Stone’s advice for this one:

If you have very clear urine and some health problems like anxiety, chronic fatigue, migraines, yada yada, you should work hard to get some color back into your urine – in effect increasing the glucose and electrolyte concentration of your cells.  I’m not talking about dehydration,  just ideal hydration.
water  health 
december 2012 by Quercki
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF): Introduction
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
 

Created in 1984, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF or Task Force) is an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, or preventive medications. The USPSTF is made up of 16 volunteer members who come from the fields of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, obstetrics/gynecology, and nursing. All members volunteer their time to serve on the USPSTF, and most are practicing clinicians.

When Congress authorized the USPSTF, it required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the Task Force's work. The 1998 Public Health Service Act and the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act instruct AHRQ to provide administrative, research, technical, and communication support to the Task Force. As part of this support, AHRQ helps with day-to-day operations, coordinates the production of evidence reports, ensures consistent use of Task Force methods, and helps disseminate Task Force materials and recommendations. The Director of AHRQ also appoints new USPSTF members, with guidance from the Chair of the Task Force. While AHRQ staff supports the Task Force, it is important to note that the Task Force is an independent body, and its work does not require AHRQ or HHS approval.

For more information about the USPSTF and its recommendations, go to http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/.
prevention  health  medicine  hypertension  cholesterol 
november 2012 by Quercki
Evidence-Based Guidelines for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Women
Included articles were abstracted for more detailed information on a standardized form that included study type, number of participants (% female) at baseline, population characteristics (primary prevention, secondary prevention, or mixed), mean age (age range), percentage diabetic, percentage white, intervention(s) (for drug trials, information was listed about dose, schedule, and duration), primary outcomes including numbers of events, subgroup analysis of clinical end points in women (if analysis available), and comments about important methodological or quality issues.

Lifestyle interventions received Class I recommendations from the panel not only because of their potential to reduce clinical CVD, but also because heart-healthy lifestyles may prevent the development of major risk factors for CVD.13 Prevention of the development of risk factors through a positive lifestyle approach may minimize the need for more intensive intervention in the future.
heart  cholesterol  hypertension  health  prevention  research  data  **** 
november 2012 by Quercki
PLoS ONE: Effect of Different Doses of Aerobic Exercise on Total White Blood Cell (WBC) and WBC Subfraction Number in Postmenopausal Women: Results from DREW
Conclusion
Aerobic exercise training reduces total WBC and neutrophil counts, in a dose-dependent manner, in overweight/obese postmenopausal women and is especially beneficial for those with systemic low grade inflammation.
exercise  health  heart 
august 2012 by Quercki
The rules of nutrition. | The Fat Nutritionist
First rule of nutrition: eat or die.

Second rule of nutrition: there are no other rules.

This is not something you are likely ever to hear from someone in my field, since we make our living by thinking up rules and then pretending they have been whispered in our ears by God himself, but nevertheless — it’s the truth, and I’m saying it.

Except for those of us who observe religious and/or ethical restrictions on the foods we eat, there really are no rules about what to eat.
nutrition  law  health  fat  food  blog 
july 2012 by Quercki
Study Purporting to Show Link Between Abortion and Mental Health Outcomes Decisively Debunked
Journal’s Editor Agrees that Priscilla Coleman’s Conclusions
Are Not Supported By Her Analyses

A study purporting to show a causal link between abortion and subsequent mental health problems has fundamental analytical errors that render its conclusions invalid, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Guttmacher Institute. This conclusion has been confirmed by the editor of the journal in which the study appeared. Most egregiously, the study, by Priscilla Coleman and colleagues, did not distinguish between mental health outcomes that occurred before abortions and those that occurred afterward, but still claimed to show a causal link between abortion and mental disorders.
The study by Coleman and colleagues was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in 2009. A letter to the editor by UCSF’s Julia Steinberg and Guttmacher’s Lawrence Finer in the March 2012 issue of the same journal details the study’s serious methodological errors. Significantly, the journal’s editor and the director of the data set used in the study conclude in an accompanying commentary that “the Steinberg-Finer critique has considerable merit,” that the Coleman paper utilized a “flawed” methodology and that “the Coleman et al. (2009) analysis does not support [the authors’] assertions.”
Steinberg and Finer initially published an analysis in 2010 in the peer-reviewed journal Social Science and Medicine showing that the findings of the 2009 Coleman study were not replicable. The JPR editor’s commentary now supports that conclusion. (The full sequence of events is detailed below.)
abortion  mental  health  pro-life  lies 
march 2012 by Quercki
Cochrane Reviews | The Cochrane Collaboration
How do you know if one healthcare intervention works better than another, or if it will do more harm than good?"

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and are internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. They investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. They also assess the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a given condition in a specific patient group and setting. They are published online in The Cochrane Library.

Each systematic review addresses a clearly formulated question; for example: Can antibiotics help in alleviating the symptoms of a sore throat? All the existing primary research on a topic that meets certain criteria is searched for and collated, and then assessed using stringent guidelines, to establish whether or not there is conclusive evidence about a specific treatment. The reviews are updated regularly, ensuring that treatment decisions can be based on the most up-to-date and reliable evidence.
health  research  statistics 
january 2012 by Quercki
Trials and Errors: Why Science Is Failing Us | Magazine
Furthermore, torcetrapib had already undergone a small clinical trial, which showed that the drug could increase HDL and decrease LDL. Kindler told his investors that, by the second half of 2007, Pfizer would begin applying for approval from the FDA. The success of the drug seemed like a sure thing.

And then, just two days later, on December 2, 2006, Pfizer issued a stunning announcement: The torcetrapib Phase III clinical trial was being terminated. Although the compound was supposed to prevent heart disease, it was actually triggering higher rates of chest pain and heart failure and a 60 percent increase in overall mortality. The drug appeared to be killing people.

That week, Pfizer’s value plummeted by $21 billion.

The story of torcetrapib is a tale of mistaken causation. Pfizer was operating on the assumption that raising levels of HDL cholesterol and lowering LDL would lead to a predictable outcome: Improved cardiovascular health. Less arterial plaque. Cleaner pipes. But that didn’t happen.

Such failures occur all the time in the drug industry. (According to one recent analysis, more than 40 percent of drugs fail Phase III clinical trials.) And yet there is something particularly disturbing about the failure of torcetrapib. After all, a bet on this compound wasn’t supposed to be risky. For Pfizer, torcetrapib was the payoff for decades of research. Little wonder that the company was so confident about its clinical trials, which involved a total of 25,000 volunteers. Pfizer invested more than $1 billion in the development of the drug and $90 million to expand the factory that would manufacture the compound. Because scientists understood the individual steps of the cholesterol pathway at such a precise level, they assumed they also understood how it worked as a whole.

This assumption—that understanding a system’s constituent parts means we also understand the causes within the system—is not limited to the pharmaceutical industry or even to biology. It defines modern science. In general, we believe that the so-called problem of causation can be cured by more information, by our ceaseless accumulation of facts. Scientists refer to this process as reductionism. By breaking down a process, we can see how everything fits together; the complex mystery is distilled into a list of ingredients. And so the question of cholesterol—what is its relationship to heart disease?—becomes a predictable loop of proteins tweaking proteins, acronyms altering one another. Modern medicine is particularly reliant on this approach. Every year, nearly $100 billion is invested in biomedical research in the US, all of it aimed at teasing apart the invisible bits of the body. We assume that these new details will finally reveal the causes of illness, pinning our maladies on small molecules and errant snippets of DNA. Once we find the cause, of course, we can begin working on a cure.


Photo: Mauricio Alejo
cholesterol  health  medicine  science 
january 2012 by Quercki
Racial Disparities Highlighted in C.D.C. Report - NYTimes.com
White people in the United States die of drug overdoses more often than other ethnic groups. Black people are hit proportionately harder by AIDS, strokes and heart disease. And American Indians are more likely to die in car crashes.
race  health  CDC 
january 2011 by Quercki
Guest Blog: Can sitting too much kill you?
Epidemiological Evidence
In 2009 Dr Peter Katzmarzyk and colleagues at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center published an influential longitudinal paper examining the links between time spent sitting and mortality in a sample of more than 17,000 Canadians (available here). Not surprisingly, they report that time spent sitting was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality (there was no association between sitting and deaths due to cancer). But what is fascinating is that the relationship between sitting time and mortality was independent of physical activity levels. In fact, individuals who sat the most were roughly 50% more likely to die during the follow-up period than individuals who sat the least, even after controlling for age, smoking, and physical activity levels. Further analyses suggested that the relationship between sitting time and mortality was also independent of body weight. 
exercise  fitness  science  health  sitting  sedentary 
january 2011 by Quercki
“Weathering” and Age Patterns of Allostatic Load Scores Among Blacks and Whites in the United States
Conclusions. We found evidence that racial inequalities in health exist across a range of biological systems among adults and are not explained by racial differences in poverty. The weathering effects of living in a race-conscious society may be greatest among those Blacks most likely to engage in high-effort coping.
race  poverty  hypertension  health  stress 
november 2010 by Quercki
If There's No Benefit, Why Tolerate Any Risk? - ABC News
It works. It lowers the blood sugar. Furthermore, the earlier generations of drugs designed to do this also lower the blood sugar. They work too.

However, no one feels better for a lower blood sugar. Some feel worse or get fatter depending on the drug. And no one feels worse for a high blood sugar, except for the rare patient with adult onset type 2 diabetes who can mobilize an extremely high blood sugar.

It's like "high" blood pressure.

So Avandia does nothing for the quality of your life. Does it do something else -- save your life, or postpone the horrid complications some patients can get with adult onset type 2 diabetes and its fellow travelers?

...

There is no precedent for any of these drugs saving a life, a limb, an eye, kidney or anything else important. There is no demonstrable benefit except the lowering of blood sugar. Who cares?
health  risk  hypertension  diabetes  medicine 
august 2010 by Quercki
Shakesville: Proposed
I would like to put forth the radical notion that, if a fat person is fat by choice, it's okay.

I'll give you a moment to sit with that idea—that it's okay for someone to choose to be fat. Because it really is a radical notion, and, like other radical notions, it is both has the capacity and is likely to evoke visceral reactions of protest.
fat  feminism  health  politics  solutions 
april 2010 by Quercki
Refusing the default: Unable to escape their initial assumptions
I was directed to BMI and Mortality: Results From a National Longitudinal Study of Canadian Adults (full text, for once, public!), yet another study of the correlation between BMI and lifespan, similar to the US and German studies previously mentioned.

It largely repeats the results of the previous studies: a BMI below 18.5 or above 35 is associated with a statistically significant (though small, especially for "above 35") increase in risk of death compared with a BMI in the 18.5-25 range, and BMIs between 25 and 30 are associated with a statistically significant (though again small) decrease in risk of death.
....
The way the paper is written is quite interesting, and indicates that the authors have a deep belief that fat is bad that they're trying to preserve in the face of the evidence.
BMI  weight  health 
january 2010 by Quercki
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