Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
My experiences with LCHF… sorry for this long long email…
I was overweight my whole life. At 12 years my weight was 92 kg (200 lbs) at 175 cm (5′ 8″). My life – full of useless diets – started back then. In August 2009 I was 18 and finally reached the top… I weighed 125.8 kg (277 lbs) at 187 cm (6′ 1″). My mom – she was a nurse at a hospital – was so worried about my weight because she had to deal with strokes and heart attacks every day at work. She had a small weight problem too, so we decided to change the situation together.
We started doing Weight Watchers. It was okay for me to eat all that whole-grains-stuff but I really felt hungry all the time. After 6 months I managed to lose 20 kg (44 lbs) and felt great but then it stopped. When I suddenly regained 2 kg (4.4 lbs) in one week I still remember the promise I gave my mom: “Don’t worry! I will get my dream-body!”
I still remember the evening when my brother came and told me: “… mama has died…”
One year passed. I wasn’t able to do any sports but tried to keep up with a “healthy” lifestyle. I ate lots of whole grains and almost no fats but I finally regained 15 kg (33 lbs). I was desperate… but in March 2011 I decided to give it another try. Again I started doing Weight Watchers and again weighed 102 kg (124.8 lbs) some months later. Then this strange plateau happened again. I didn’t lose any weight for months, on the contrary, I started regaining some weight again. At that time I rode my bicycle for about 16 hours a week (!!!) and ate around 1500 calories a day… I’m not lying! I swear it…
Finally, in January 2013 – my weight loss still didn’t continue – I made a radical decision and started eating every 2 days. I ate around 2000 calories on one day and nothing (only water and tea) on the second. Finally I could drop my weight down to 90 kg (198 lbs). When my weight loss again got stuck I decided to do exactly what the medical guidelines tell me to do. So at least 60% of my calories came from carbs (especially whole grains) and less than 30% from fats. My weight didn’t change and I started feeling horrible. I had those extreme cravings for chocolate and stuff like that. When I couldn’t resist it anymore I ate lots of donuts and pieces of cake… and I regained 3 kg (6.6 lbs) in one week…
That evening I decided to try the very opposite – even if it kills me – and googled the words “low carb”.
After a while I found this wonderful page called DietDoctor.com and it lead me to names like “Gary Taubes”, “Stephen Phinney”, “Robert Lustig” and yeah, of course, “Andreas Eenfeldt” etc….
I started doing Freeletics (it’s like Crossfit) but still was eating lots of carbs. I gained muscle – Weight Watchers lead to an enormous muscle loss – but I also gained fat… then I started LCHF. After 10 days of feeling horrible – I had quit smoking and this felt exactly the same way – I suddenly felt that energy inside of me. I ate 3000 calories a day and my weight dropped. I couldn’t believe it. I was eating 80 % of my calories from fat and almost no carbs (30 g a day)… so I stopped counting my calories and ate what I wanted to…
Now in October 2014 my weight is 79 kg (174 lbs) and my body-fat percentage dropped to 9 %. I’ve got a six pack! . . .
Politicians who cannot comment on climate change because they are “not a scientist” speak out about Ebola
Inconsistency, thy name is Politician. Emily Atkin reports at ThinkProgress:
On Saturday, political blogger Lee Papa made an interesting observation about Republicans who widely recommend panicking about Ebola. “Does any Republican talking about Ebola say, “I’m not a scientist” like they do with climate change?” he tweeted, referencing the long list of political figures who claim to not know the science behind climate change, even though they actively oppose any policy to fight it.
On Monday, Papa answered the question for us with a resounding “no.” As might be expected, most prominent Republican politicians who are not willing to talk about climate change because they lack qualifications are willing to talk about Ebola, despite the fact that they lack qualifications. As might also be expected, all those politiciansfavor strict policy measures to deal with the disease, even though most scientists say Ebola is not easily transmittable and does not pose a widespread threat to Americans.
“Republicans are glad to tell you that either the evidence is inconclusive or that they are too dumb to understand the science when it comes to climate change, so they think it’s wrong to act like it’s a crisis and refuse to do anything to slow or halt it,” Papa writes at his blog Rude Pundit. “However, they will go bugnuts crazy and try to cause panic when it comes to the science around the spread of Ebola, even when they have it wrong.”
The list of perpetrators is long. . .
I still like cats, but I do keep them indoors at all times
Very interesting article—and I was intrigued to read that there is a genetic connection. Daphne Chen reports at Pacific Standard:
In 1977, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started receiving reports that otherwise healthy Southeast Asian men were dying mysteriously in their sleep, some with terrified expressions on their faces. Researchers, at a loss, called it SUNDS—Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome. In particular, SUNDS disproportionately affected Hmong refugees from Laos. At the peak of the “epidemic” in 1981, Hmong men were dying from SUNDS at the same rate as American men in the same age group were dying from the five leading causes of natural death—combined.
“People didn’t know at all what was going on,” says University of California-San Francisco professor Shelley Adler, who was a graduate student studying medical anthropology at the time. But afterinterviewing 118 Hmong men and women about their experiences, her suspicions were confirmed. Many attributed the deaths to fatal attacks from dab tsog, an evil nighttime spirit in the traditional Hmong religion that crushes men at night. Their descriptions of dab tsog were similar to sleep paralysis, a disorder in which a person’s mind awakens while their body is still asleep or paralyzed; they often feel like they are being crushed and experience hallucinations.
But there were still unanswered questions. “Sleep paralysis alone is not fatal,” Adler says. “Sleep paralysis alone does not kill anyone. Why was it fatal for the Hmong?”
SCIENTISTS ARE JUST BEGINNING to understand how cultural beliefs can lead to psychological stress, illness, and even death. American physiologist Walter Cannon was one of the first people to write about the potentially fatal consequences of these intense beliefs. In 1942, reports were streaming in from around the world about “voodoo” death: South American Tupinamba men, condemned by medicine men, died of fright. Hausa people in Niger withered away after being told they were bewitched. Aboriginal tribesmen in Australia, upon seeing an enemy pointing a hexed bone at them, went into convulsions and passed away. “Voodoo” death, according to Cannon, was real: “It is a fatal power of the imagination working through unmitigated terror.”
Researchers today continue to find evidence of it. “I’d been thinking for a long, long time, how I would test this idea that fear makes a difference,” says David Phillips, a sociology professor at the University of California-San Diego. He learned from a student that many Chinese and Japanese people are superstitious about numbers, particularly the number four, which is considered unlucky because it sounds like the word for “death.” Phillips decided to crunch cardiac mortality figures for all Chinese and Japanese Americans who died from 1973 to 1998 on the fourth of each month. He found that cardiac deaths were seven percent higher than expected for Chinese and Japanese Americans on the fourth day of each month when compared to white Americans. That number rose to 13 percent for chronic heart disease deaths and was at its strongest, at 27 percent, in California, which accounts for almost half of the Chinese and Japanese deaths in the U.S.
After examining other plausible reasons for this phenomenon, Phillips’ paper concludes that . . .
A “breaking news” email from the LA Times:
Frontier jet reportedly made 5 flights before being taken out of service in Ebola incident
Los Angeles Times | October 15, 2014 | 12:41 PM
The Frontier Airlines jet that carried a Dallas healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola made five additional flights after her trip before it was taken out of service, a flight-monitoring website reported today.
Denver-based Frontier said in a statement that it grounded the plane Tuesday immediately after the carrier was notified by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the Ebola patient.
The Airbus A320 was put away for the night Monday after it carried the woman and 132 other passengers from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Flight 1143. But Tuesday morning the plane was flown back to Cleveland and then to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., back to Cleveland and then to Atlanta and finally back again to Cleveland, according to Daniel Baker, the chief executive of the flight monitoring site Flightaware.com.
This is more or less the beginning of any number of movies. 12 Monkeys, anyone?
BTW, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Dallas hospital was incompetent—this emergency was way over its head, and it’s interesting to read of how much was not done properly in order to save money. The manager of that hospital sees it as a business with his job to maximize profit. That it involves healthcare is secondary. And note the degree to which the problems stem from management and administration, and not from the healthcare workers, who were doing the best they can with the shoddy equipment, inadequate supplies, and inadequate staffing—and, as we see, inadequate training. Training is always a big, fat target for cost-cutters because it cuts a real cost and the damage resulting is usually unobserved. In the case of the Dallas hospital, all those dollars saved by inadequate training and staffing and the incompetent management of the crisis suddenly look penny-wise, pound-foolish.
For more info:
In the meantime, of course, we continue to use enormous quantities of antibiotics fed to livestock in a determined effort to breed microbes and infectious diseases that are resistant to all the antibiotics at our disposal. Because we roll that way. The third article includes this:
Medically unsound practices may be part of the superbug problem. In India, antibiotics have been available over the counter for decades. This practice has led to the development and spread of ESBL-producing organisms and, more recently, the NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1) gene, which confers resistance to the strongest antibiotics available. The NDM-1 strain was first reported in 2010 among patients in India and Pakistan and those in theU.S. and Britain who had received medical care in those countries. Since that time, the NDM-1 gene has spread around the globe. Responding to concerns of Indian physicians and the international community, this year the Indian government mandated that a prescription would be required for all antibiotics, but this rule is not strictly enforced.
While India may indeed be at fault for overuse of antibiotics, the US is certainly in no position to point fingers. I would be the antibiotic usage in the US agricultural industry far exceeds that used for medical purposes in India. And note that in the US all the animals get the antibiotic, whether sick or not: we’re in a hurry to make sure our animals harbor only those microbes most strongly resistant to antibiotics. Why? To make a little bit more money: faster meat production, for example.
That tells you pretty much all you need to know about America’s current system of values.
The conclusion of an excellent article at Pacific Standard by Zen Liu:
. . . With cosmeceutical prices quickly skyrocketing—department store brands easily run between $450 to $700 for a few ounces—the FDA and FTC finally have taken notice of the potential for manufacturers to defraud the public. Since 2010, the FDA and FTC have issued 10 warning letters to cosmetics companies for making drug-like statements in their anti-aging creams’ marketing materials, including L’Oreal, Avon, Nivea, and L’Occitane.
L’Oreal is the world’s largest cosmetics group, amassing nearly $30 billion annually in sales. In a half-year financial report filed with the SEC in June 2014, L’Oreal reported spending around $450 million on research and development, but over $4 billion on advertising and promotions. Apparently, spending nearly $1 billion annually on research can generate enough evidence to assure consumers their cosmeceuticals work, but not quite enough to meet the FDA’s standards of proof.
The advertisements in question described their products as having the ability to, for example, change gene expression in the skin to induce collagen production and block the process of aging, or even promote weight loss. Under threat of legal action, manufacturers were ordered to produce scientific evidence to substantiate their claims and have products evaluated through the FDA’s New Drug Approval process, or cease making such statements altogether.
All of the firms chose the latter.
I bet any money I know why. Because revealing those secrets would have endangered national security. (It’s as valid here as when the DoJ and Obama Administration and CIA and NSA use it.)
I am pleased to see a Federal regulatory agency actually regulating the industry instead of rolling over for it in return for a plush sinecure upon retirement from the government.
For an adult, almost none. See this Washington Post article by Christopher Ingraham:
You may have read this week that a new “20-year research study” on marijuana use “finally demolishes claims that smoking marijuana is harmless,” and has found that it “makes you stupid,” that “smoking marijuana over the long-term can develop cancer” [SIC], and that marijuana is “as addictive as heroin.” At least, that’s what you’d conclude if you’d read most media coverage of the study. But if you’d actually read the study yourself (which I highly recommend!), you’d likely walk away with very different conclusions.
The paper in question is a review of 20 years of existing research into the health effects of marijuana use. By design, it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know. The focus is almost exclusively on the effects of long-term heavy (daily or near-daily) marijuana use: “this paper deals with the adverse effects of cannabis smoking, especially the adverse health effects of regular, typically daily, cannabis smoking,” the author, Wayne Hall, a drug adviser to the World Health Organization, writes.
Setting aside the alarmist accounts of the study in many media outlets, here’s what Hall actually found:
You can’t OD from marijuana
“The estimated fatal dose [of THC, the primary active compound in marijuana] in humans derived from animal studies is between 15 and 70 grams. This is a far greater amount of cannabis that even a very heavy cannabis user could use in a day,” Hall writes. The average joint contains about a half a gram of marijuana, and the average potency of seized marijuana in 2013 was 12.58 percent, which means there are about 0.06 grams of THC in the average joint, which means that somebody would need to smoke somewhere between 238 and 1,113 joints in a day – or at least 10 joints an hour, for 24 hours straight – before overdose could become a realistic concern.
Don’t drive stoned
Stoned driving is considerably safer than drunk driving, but it’s still a dumb thing to do, Hall writes. “Cannabis users who drive while intoxicated increase their risk of motor vehicle crashes 2–3 times as against 6–15 times for comparable intoxicating doses of alcohol.”
Don’t smoke weed while you’re pregnant
Studies have demonstrated a link between marijuana use during pregnancy and low birth weight, “although the effect was smaller than that for tobacco smoking,” Hill notes. There is some evidence of a link between prenatal cannabis exposure and a variety of problems later in life, like lower IQ and behavioral problems. But, “uncertainty remains because of the small number of studies, the small samples of women in each and the researchers’ limited ability to control for the confounding effects of other drug use during pregnancy, maternal drug use post-birth and poor parenting.”
In short, “it is prudent to counsel women against using cannabis during pregnancy,” Hall concludes.
You can get addicted to marijuana, but it’s highly unlikely
People who try marijuana are significantly less likely to become dependent on it than users of just about any other drug, including tobacco, heroin, cocaine, alcohol or stimulants: “The life-time risk of developing dependence among those who have ever used cannabis was estimated at 9% in the United States in the early 1990s as against 32% for nicotine, 23% for heroin, 17% for cocaine, 15% for alcohol and 11% for stimulants.” More than nine-in-ten people who try marijuana don’t get addicted to it.
The risk of addiction is higher (one-in-six) if you start using in your teens. Dependent users can experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit, including “anxiety, insomnia, appetite disturbance and depression.” That said, “The adverse health and social consequences of cannabis use reported by cannabis users who seek treatment for dependence appear to be less severe than those reported by alcohol and opioid-dependent people,” Hall writes. . .