Friday, November 09, 2007

Me: Spending Money on Health Books

I admit it, the other day, I cracked and watched Oprah when I heard that Dr. Oz, the author of You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty was going to be on talking about diet, exercise and other ways to stay young. I had told myself repeatedly to stay away from these silly daytime TV shows but I figured I might learn something more about how to stay in decent health. And I did. The show gave basic advice for people on how to eat right, exercise and take various vitamins such as fish oil. It did seem like a repeat of most of the stuff one should know, however, a refresher course every once in a while is good and I even went as far as to order the book from (but still chastising myself for letting it get that far). The book was kind of interesting although not what I thought it would be.

I was hoping the book would focus mainly on a concrete diet and exercise plan but alas, it did not. It was more of a guideline for staying young with tips scattered throughout the book on what to trash from your refrigerator such as saturated fat, (duh) trans fat, corn oil, soybean oil and simple sugars.

There are a set of tests in the book to see how fit you are. First, push-ups, here I flunked because with my ICD, if I even do one push-up (normal is 11-14 for a woman, 20-24 for a guy in his forties), I pull the wires in my chest and it hurts like hell; next came sit-ups where I barely did 27 (normal for a woman in her forties is 20-24, for a man 25-29); and finally, the balance test where you stand on one foot, close your eyes, put your hands out to your sides and time yourself. Amazingly, I made it over 30 seconds which is considered good. Try it and see where you stand or fall, depending on how good your balance is.

So, a bit disappointed with the absence of a detailed diet plan and recipes, I decided to go purchase You: On A Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management and was very pleased with the book. The book had easy breakfast, lunch and dinner plans along with snacks and included dinner recipes for gazpacho, various soups, salads, fish dishes and even whole wheat pizza. There was even a section on exactly what to purchase from the fast food places to meet the requirements of their diet. For example, at Wendy's, the authors recommend the Mandarin Chicken Salad, at McDonald's, the Fruit and walnut salad or Caesar salad with grilled chicken or at Taco Bell, the Spicy Chicken Soft Taco. Good to know if you travel a lot or are an over-the-road trucker.

The diet book is kind of uplifting and cheerful and does really get you thinking about a holistic way of approaching health. Again, I didn't see anything here that was groundbreaking but if one follows the advice in the You books, I imagine some degree of health improvements would occur.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Follow-up on MIT Stabbing

The Wellesley student who stabbed her boyfriend is being held without bail (Hat Tip/Instapundit):

A judge ordered a Wellesley College student to be held without bail during a dangerousness hearing after she was accused of stabbing her former boyfriend several times as he slept in his MIT dorm room.

Twenty-year-old Anna Tang pleaded not guilty to charges of armed assault with intent to murder and home invasion related to the October 23rd incident.

Prosecutors say Tang gained access to her former boyfriend's dorm room early that morning and plunged a knife into his back as he slept.

At least this judge is taking the case seriously.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

You're All Geniuses

Thanks to the Anchoress who sucked me into a couple of quizzes where I learned alot--okay mostly about how to waste time. First, I found out that the reading level of this blog is Genius! That makes all my readers geniuses--given the good taste you have in reading material, can't say that I'm surprised.

cash advance

You can go here to find out your blog's reading level.

Then, I found out that my inner European is Russian, just like the Anchoress. No wonder I like her blog, we must have a lot in common.

Your Inner European is Russian!

Mysterious and exotic.
You've got a great balance of danger and allure.

So, if you're bored or just curious, go take the quizzes and see where you or your blog stand.

New Study Finds Birth Control Pills May Cause Heart Problems

I was watching the news this morning and saw a report that said the birth control pill could be linked to increased heart problems. I googled the study and found the following:

In a disturbing new finding, European researchers say taking birth control pills for a year may lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium looked at 1,301 apparently healthy women between the ages of 25 and 55 who had previously used oral contraceptives, half of whom used them for 13 years or more.

The results found that women who had used the pills had an unexpected increase in the presence of artery-clogging plaque in key blood vessels in the heart and legs. This was especially true for the ones who had consumed high-estrogen ones sold decades ago.

The risk of blood clots was largest in women who smoked but it disappeared once they go off the pill. However, plaque deposits that raise the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral artery disease continue to build up for decades after a woman stops taking the pill, WebMD reports.

Having had a heart attack while on the pill, I believe it. Unfortunately, my doctors never put too much emphasis on the pill as a cause although they cautioned me to quit taking it and I did. Perhaps with this new research, more women will talk with their doctor about their personal risks such as high cholesterol or other factors before taking the pill so they can make an informed decision about their heart health.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Grand Rounds is up and take a look at the Carnival of Homeschooling as well.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Are Boys an Endangered Species?

Half as many boys as girls are being born in some places around the world—and pollution is the prime suspect.

Among the Chippewas of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community living on the shores of the St. Clair River outside Sarnia, Ontario, tribal leaders were puzzling over a variety of health problems—from asthma to cancer to miscarriages—plaguing their families. The Aamjiwnaang—the name means “at the spawning stream”—were shaken when they realized that there was a dramatic disproportion of girls to boys among them....

One of those worried is Devra Davis, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Center for Environmental Oncology and professor of epidemiology at the university’s Graduate School of Public Health. Davis is the lead author of a June 2007 article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that found statistically significant reductions in male births and increased fetal deaths in Japan and among Caucasians in the United States since 1970. She and her co-authors note that this decline represents 135,000 fewer white males in the U.S. and 127,000 fewer males in Japan stretching over the past three decades than the normative rate would expect.

Read the rest.

My Efforts at Educating Officialdom

So I received this card in the mail announcing the new domestic violence reporting requirements for the Tennessee Department of Health. I decided to check out their website and found it to be lacking in the recent research on the role women play in domestic violence. I also noticed that the reporting form had the word "female" listed first under "patient" and under perpetrator in the first column listed:

o Husband
o Ex-husband
o Boyfriend
o Ex-boyfriend

So I sent them this letter:

Division of Health Statistics/DV
4th Floor, Cordell Hull Building
425 5th Avernue North
Nashville, TN37243

Dear Domestic Violence Reporting Coordinator:

As a licensed psychologist, I recently received a card on the new domestic violence reporting requirements that states that licensed professionals are now required to report cases of suspected or confirmed domestic violence/abuse to the Tennessee Department of Health. I am writing out of concern after reading the information on your site and noticing that much of this information is not updated with the most recent research on domestic violence.

I am a psychologist who has worked with numerous patients who have been victims of domestic violence over the years. As you may well know, domestic violence is not just perpretrated by men against women, it is also perpretrated against men by women. Many professionals do not know this and it is not apparent in your literature. For example, your information to EMS workers states:

"Approximately 98% of documented domestic assaults are committed by men against women. As a result, throughout this text, we will refer to the perpetrator as “he” and the survivor or victim as “she” even though some domestic violence is initiated by women and some cases involve people of the same sex."

Recent studies are finding that both men and women act out physically in relationships and in one recent study, women initiated violence in over 70% of cases. Here is some information from the head of the American Psychological Association:

"Several studies of domestic violence have suggested that males and females in relationships have an equal likelihood of acting out physical aggression, although differing in tactics and potential for causing injury (e.g., women assailants will more likely throw something, slap, kick, bite, or punch their partner, or hit them with an object, while males will more likely beat up their partners, and choke or strangle them). In addition, data show that that intimate partner violence rates among heterosexual and gay and lesbian teens do not differ significantly."

The source is here.

Another recent study in the journal "Violence and Victims" found that nearly twice as many women as men perpetrated domestic violence:

"The study, published in the journal Violence and Victims, also found no independent link between an individual's use of alcohol or drugs and committing domestic violence. In addition it showed that nearly twice as many women as men said they perpetrated domestic violence in the past year, including kicking, biting or punching a partner, threatening to hit or throw something at a partner, and pushing, grabbing or shoving a partner, said Herrenkohl."

The source is here.

Psychiatric News also reports a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development that stated that men should not be overlooked as victims and that reciprocal violence leads to injury in men more often than women:

"Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women. This finding surprised Whitaker and his colleagues, they admitted in their study report.

As for physical injury due to intimate partner violence, it was more likely to occur when the violence was reciprocal than nonreciprocal. And while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships with reciprocal violence it was the men who were injured more often (25 percent of the time) than were women (20 percent of the time). "This is important as violence perpetrated by women is often seen as not serious," Whitaker and his group stressed."

The source is here.

In summary, I would just like to request that professionals receive information on female on male domestic violence and that your website be updated to reflect the findings of current research in the field of domestic violence. My fear is that professionals will only report male on female violence and the men and perhaps children that are victims of domestic violence will be left out of the equation to suffer on their own.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter.

Helen Smith, PhD, HSP
Licensed Psychologist

So what do you think the chances are that they will respond or make changes to update their website with current data on domestic violence?


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Help for Isolated Dads

Are stay-at-home dads so isolated that they need a convention to find other like minded souls? Apparently so, according to this recent column at Pajama's Media:

Fathers raising children full-time may seem like a rare breed, but there are enough of them to fill a convention hall. Brian Reid explains why an annual At-Home Dads Convention may sound absurd, but in fact, makes perfect sense.

You can read more here.