Later On

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Archive for September 13th, 2022

Just 2 Minutes of Walking After a Meal Is Surprisingly Good for You

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The Younger Daughter sent me a link to this NY Times article (gift link, no paywall) by Rachael Fairbank that was news to me — and I definitely will apply this.

Walking after a meal, conventional wisdom says, helps clear your mind and aids in digestion. Scientists have also found that going for a 15-minute walk after a meal can reduce blood sugar levels, which can help ward off complications such as Type 2 diabetes. But, as it turns out, even just a few minutes of walking can activate these benefits.

In a meta-analysis, recently published in the journal Sports Medicine, researchers looked at the results of seven studies that compared the effects of sitting versus standing or walking on measures of heart health, including insulin and blood sugar levels. They found that light walking after a meal, in increments of as little as two to five minutes, had a significant impact in moderating blood sugar levels.

“Each small thing you do will have benefits, even if it is a small step,” said Dr. Kershaw Patel, a preventive cardiologist at Houston Methodist Hospital who was not involved in the study.

In five of the studies that the paper evaluated, none of the participants had pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. The remaining two studies looked at people with and without such illnesses. Participants were asked to either stand or walk for two to five minutes every 20 to 30 minutes over the course of a full day.

All seven studies showed that just a few minutes of light-intensity walking after a meal were enough to significantly improve blood sugar levels compared to, say, sitting at a desk or plopping down on the couch. When participants went for a short walk, their blood sugar levels rose and fell more gradually.

For people with diabetes, avoiding sharp fluctuations in blood sugar levels is a critical component in managing their illness. It’s also thought that sharp spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels can contribute to developing Type 2 diabetes.

Standing also helped lower blood sugar levels, although not to the degree that light walking did. “Standing did have a small benefit,” Aidan Buffey, a graduate student at the University of Limerick in Ireland and an author of the paper, said. Compared to sitting or standing, “light-intensity walking was a superior intervention,” he said.

That’s because light walking requires more active engagement of muscles than standing and uses the fuel from food at a time when there is a lot of it circulating in the bloodstream. “Your muscles will soak up some of that excess glucose,” said Jessie Inchauspé, author of the book Glucose Revolution: The Life-Changing Power of Balancing Your Blood Sugar.

“You still had the same meal, but the impact on your body will be lessened,” she added.

Although light walking at any time is good for your health, a short walk within 60 to 90 minutes of eating a meal can be especially useful in minimizing blood sugar spikes, as that is when blood sugar levels tend to peak.

Ms. Inchauspé also recommended   . . .

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2022 at 5:15 pm

Only Iran censored a Pultizer-prize-winning playwright — until Florida decided it agreed with Iran

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Fabiola Santiago reports in the Miami Herald (no paywall):

I told you, my fellow Cuban Americans, that the censors would get around to us, too.

And they have.

The same afternoon after the Miami-Dade School Board voted to suspend the district’s recognition of national LGBTQ History Month in October, school officials also quietly rejected — via email — the work of one of the most prominent Cuban Americans in U.S. cultural life.

Miami-Dade County Public School’s Division of Academics is refusing to allow high school students to attend — as they have in the past — Miami New Drama’s staging of Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work “Anna in the Tropics.” This year’s is the 20th-anniversary presentation of the play.

Why the rejection?

The school district’s not saying.

Is it because Cruz is gay? The district would never say that outright. But after the spectacle of last week’s School Board meeting, at which members were cowed into voting down recognizing LGBTQ History Month by hostile parents and un-Christian-like religious leaders — even the Proud Boys showed up — it’s not too far a leap in logic these days.

MDCPS students have been bused to see this stellar play before. The district should tell them — and the rest of us — what’s changed.

“My work has been staged around the world — and the only place where it has been censored is in Iran,” Cruz, 62, told me in an interview from his Miami home.

Until now — when the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize in drama, a distinction that, in 2003, also brought prestige to his hometown’s booming literary and theater scenes, appears to have become the latest victim of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ culture wars. . .

Continue reading. (no paywall)

Apparently the GOP now admires Iran in addition to Russia and Hungary and North Korea.

Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2022 at 11:51 am

Stock Trades Reported by Nearly a Fifth of Congress Show Possible Conflicts

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Given that corruption — using public office for private gain — seems to be opposed (at least in principle) by almost everyone, it would make sense to remove opportunity/temptation for corruption when possible. Barring members of Congress from trading individual stocks — and barring members of their immediate family from making such trades — is a sensible first step.

Kate Kelly, Adam Playford, and Alicia Parlapiano report (gift link, no paywall) in the NY Times:

Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama and a member of the agriculture committee, regularly reported buying and selling contracts tied to cattle prices starting last year, even as the panel, by Mr. Tuberville’s own account, had “been talking about the cattle markets.”

Representative Bob Gibbs, an Ohio Republican on the House Oversight Committee, reported buying shares of the pharmaceutical company AbbVie in 2020 and 2021, while the committee was investigating AbbVie and five rivals over high drug prices.

The timing of one trade by the wife of Representative Alan Lowenthal, Democrat of California, was especially striking: His disclosure statement said she had sold Boeing shares on March 5, 2020 — one day before a House committee on which he sits released damaging findings on the company’s handling of its 737 Max jet, which was involved in two fatal crashes.

These lawmakers — all of whom defended the transactions as proper — are among 97 current senators or representatives who reported trades by themselves or immediate family members in stocks or other financial assets that intersected with the work of committees on which they serve, according to an extensive analysis of trades from the years 2019 to 2021 by The New York Times.

The potential for conflicts in stock trading by members of Congress — and their choice so far not to impose stricter limits on themselves — has long drawn criticism, especially when particularly blatant cases emerge. But the Times analysis demonstrates the scale of the issue: Over the three-year period, more than 3,700 trades reported by lawmakers from both parties posed potential conflicts between their public responsibilities and private finances.  . .

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2022 at 11:28 am

Need a home hearing test? Check out these apps and online programs.

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I’ve blogged before about the importance and even urgency in correcting hearing loss (the urgency because how it can trigger cognitive decline, aka dementia). Now that over-the-counter hearing aids have (finally, at long last) been approved by the FDA, which delayed as long as they possibly could, and will be available next month, we are seeing a rash of articles on at-home hearing tests — example.

Catherine Roberts in the Washington Post has a useful article (gift link, no paywall) that lists a variety of resources. The article begins:

Consumer Reports [the source of this article – LG] has no financial relationship with any advertisers on this site.

Hearing health care isn’t always easy to access. For instance, Medicare pays for a hearing exam only if you have a referral from a doctor. But a growing number of tests — in apps and online — are meant to help you check your hearing on your own.

Some use testing methods backed by solid science, says Nicholas Reed, an audiologist and assistant professor in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, while others have little evidence to support them.

A key limitation of apps and online tests is that they can’t rule out potentially reversible causes of hearing loss, such as excess earwax, the way an audiologist would during an in-person test. “If you do a self-hearing screen, a person can’t look into their own ear,” says Yula Serpanos, a professor in communication sciences and disorders at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y.

That said, an online test could serve as a useful screening tool. If you want to try one, consider the following.

Americans can soon buy hearing aids over the counter

Two types of home tests

For most online and app-based tests, you’ll be advised to wear headphones and sit in a quiet spot.

The two main types both have advantages and drawbacks. In pure-tone audiometry, which involves some aspects of the testing that audiologists perform, tones are played in decreasing volumes to determine your specific level of hearing loss. But these hearing tests require the proper equipment to be used — a test given on an iPad, for example, may work with only AirPods headphones — which limits options.

In the second type, known as speech-in-noise or digits-in-noise (DIN), you’ll be asked to identify words, numbers or phrases amid background noise. DIN tests generally don’t ­require specific hardware. But they’re less precise, and they serve as a more general indicator of a problem.

How to find a good one

The experts we spoke with suggest looking for the following. . .

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2022 at 11:14 am

One of Long COVID’s Worst Symptoms Is Also Its Most Misunderstood

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Ed Yong in the Atlantic describes the brain fog that accompanies Long Covid. This is just one of many ways that Covid is much worse than seasonal flu, despite what the Right has maintained. The article begins (archived version, no paywall):

On March 25, 2020, Hannah Davis was texting with two friends when she realized that she couldn’t understand one of their messages. In hindsight, that was the first sign that she had COVID-19. It was also her first experience with the phenomenon known as “brain fog,” and the moment when her old life contracted into her current one. She once worked in artificial intelligence and analyzed complex systems without hesitation, but now “runs into a mental wall” when faced with tasks as simple as filling out forms. Her memory, once vivid, feels frayed and fleeting. Former mundanities—buying food, making meals, cleaning up—can be agonizingly difficult. Her inner world—what she calls “the extras of thinking, like daydreaming, making plans, imagining”—is gone. The fog “is so encompassing,” she told me, “it affects every area of my life.” For more than 900 days, while other long-COVID symptoms have waxed and waned, her brain fog has never really lifted.

Of long COVID’s many possible symptoms, brain fog “is by far one of the most disabling and destructive,” Emma Ladds, a primary-care specialist from the University of Oxford, told me. It’s also among the most misunderstood. It wasn’t even included in the list of possible COVID symptoms when the coronavirus pandemic first began. But 20 to 30 percent of patients report brain fog three months after their initial infection, as do 65 to 85 percent of the long-haulers who stay sick for much longer. It can afflict people who were never ill enough to need a ventilator—or any hospital care. And it can affect young people in the prime of their mental lives.

Long-haulers with brain fog say that it’s like none of the things that people—including many medical professionals—jeeringly compare it to. It is more profound than the clouded thinking that accompanies hangovers, stress, or fatigue. For Davis, it has been distinct from and worse than her experience with ADHD. It is not psychosomatic, and involves real changes to the structure and chemistry of the brain. It is not a mood disorder: “If anyone is saying that this is due to depression and anxiety, they have no basis for that, and data suggest it might be the other direction,” Joanna Hellmuth, a neurologist at UC San Francisco, told me.

And despite its nebulous name, brain fog is not an umbrella term for every possible mental problem. At its core, Hellmuth said, it is almost always a disorder of “executive function”—the set of mental abilities that includes focusing attention, holding information in mind, and blocking out distractions. These skills are so foundational that when they crumble, much of a person’s cognitive edifice collapses. Anything involving concentration, multitasking, and planning—that is, almost everything important—becomes absurdly arduous. “It raises what are unconscious processes for healthy people to the level of conscious decision making,” Fiona Robertson, a writer based in Aberdeen, Scotland, told me.

For example, Robertson’s brain often loses focus mid-sentence, leading to what she jokingly calls “so-yeah syndrome”: “I forget what I’m saying, tail off, and go, ‘So, yeah …’” she said. Brain fog stopped Kristen Tjaden from driving, because she’d forget her destination en route. For more than a year, she couldn’t read, either, because making sense of a series of words had become too difficult. Angela Meriquez Vázquez told me it once took her two hours to schedule a meeting over email: She’d check her calendar, but the information would slip in the second it took to bring up her inbox. At her worst, she couldn’t unload a dishwasher, because identifying an object, remembering where it should go, and putting it there was too complicated.

Memory suffers, too, but in a different way from degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s. The memories are there, but with executive function malfunctioning, the brain neither chooses the important things to store nor retrieves that information efficiently. Davis, who is part of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative, can remember facts from scientific papers, but not events. When she thinks of her loved ones, or her old life, they feel distant. “Moments that affected me don’t feel like they’re part of me anymore,” she said. “It feels like I am a void and I’m living in a void.”

Most people with brain fog are  . . .

Continue reading. (no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2022 at 10:29 am

La Toja’s magic endures — plus a great razor bargain

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La Toja makes exceptionally good shaving products (soap and aftershave). It’s the water, you know. With my Simpson Chubby 1 Best I had no trouble at all getting a good lather, and again that is with Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave (the best pre-shave I’ve found — and note that I am just a customer: no affiliation, no affiliate link, no remuneration; I just like the stuff — a lot). 

Well lathered, I set to work with a surprisingly good TTO adjustable, the Baili DB197, sold by Italian Barber as the RazoRock Adjust. The $15 price is a bargain just given the comfort and efficiency and feel in the hand of this razor, not even considering that it is a TTO adjustable to boot. Three very easy passes left my face perfectly smooth.

La Toja Hombre aftershave is quite good — soothing and fragrant — but still I added a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel because I think that does make a difference with splashes.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Anniversary Blend: “The combination of Assam, Keemun, Ceylon, Yunnan and Gunpowder single origin teas produces an expansive cup with light briskness, full mouth feel and a rich amber hue.”

Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2022 at 9:42 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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