Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 17th, 2022

How Being Bullied Affects Your Adulthood

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Kate Bageley writes in Slate:

In American schools, bullying is like the dark cousin to prom, student elections, or football practice: Maybe you weren’t involved, but you knew that someone, somewhere was. Five years ago, President Obama spoke against this inevitability at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. “With big ears and the name that I have, I wasn’t immune. I didn’t emerge unscathed,” he said. “But because it’s something that happens a lot, and it’s something that’s always been around, sometimes we’ve turned a blind eye to the problem.”

We know that we shouldn’t turn a blind eye: Research shows that bullying is corrosive to children’s mental health and well-being, with consequences ranging from trouble sleeping and skipping school to psychiatric problems, such as depression or psychosis, self-harm, and suicide.

But the damage doesn’t stop there. You can’t just close the door on these experiences, says Ellen Walser deLara, a family therapist and professor of social work at Syracuse University, who has interviewed more than 800 people age 18 to 65 about the lasting effects of bullying. Over the years, deLara has seen a distinctive pattern emerge in adults who were intensely bullied. In her new book, Bullying Scars, she introduces a name for the set of symptoms she often encounters: adult post-bullying syndrome, or APBS.

DeLara estimates that more than a third of the adults she’s spoken to who were bullied have this syndrome. She stresses that APBS is a description, not a diagnosis—she isn’t seeking to have APBS classified as a psychiatric disorder. “It needs considerably more research and other researchers to look at it to make sure that this is what we’re seeing,” deLara says.

Roughly 1 in 3 students in the United States are bullied at school (figures on cyberbullying are less certain, because it is newer than other forms of bullying and the technology kids use to carry it out is constantly in flux). This abuse can span exclusion, rumors, name-calling, or physical harm. Some victims are isolated loners while others are bedeviled by their own friends or social rivals.

Years after being mistreated, people with adult post-bullying syndrome commonly struggle with trust and self-esteem, and develop psychiatric problems, deLara’s research found. Some become people-pleasers, or rely on food, alcohol, or drugs to cope.

In some respects, APBS is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in which people who have had terrifying experiences develop an impaired fight-or-flight response. Both APBS and PTSD can lead to lasting anger or anxiety, substance abuse, battered self-esteem, and relationship problems. One difference, though, is that . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

17 December 2022 at 7:30 pm

Sleep and heart health

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Marilynn Lakin reports in Medscape on the health effects of too little sleep and comments that physicians, while quick to ask about diet, exercise, smoking, and so on, seldom ask about whether the patient is getting enough good sleep. I speculate that this may in part come from the medical education practice of the hospital on-call rotation, during which would-be doctors are routinely denied sleep in what seems like an exercise of macho stupidity or a hazing ritual to initiate them into a cult. Surely these doctors must know that good sleep is required for adequate performance.

The report includes:

“Clinicians should ask patients about their sleep health and emphasize the importance of prioritizing sleep for heart disease prevention,” Makarem said.

Sleep ‘Devalued’

“The sleep field has been fighting to get more sleep education into medical education for decades,” AHA volunteer expert Michael A. Grandner, PhD, Director of the Sleep & Health Research Program and of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, told | Medscape Cardiology.

“To my knowledge, there still is not a lot of attention given to it, partly because the culture in medical school and among residents is one of not sleeping,” said Grandner, who was not involved in the study. “The culture among physicians is ‘Who needs sleep? I function fine without it.'”

“Sleep made it to the checklist because it is a biological requirement for human life,” he noted. “We sleep for the same reason we breathe and drink. It’s an imperative. Yet we live in a society that devalues sleep.”

It’s “extremely unusual” for a doctor to ask a patient how they’re sleeping, he said. “It’s also pretty unusual to have sleep-related conversations between doctors and patients, especially in the context of health, not just, ‘Hey, doc, I can’t sleep, throw me a pill.'”

Clinicians should be asking every patient about how they’re sleeping at every visit, Grandner said. “It’s now part of the official definition of heart health. Just like you would be remiss if you didn’t ask about smoking or test blood pressure, you’d be missing something important by not asking about sleep — something that has similar billing to diet, exercise, blood pressure, and all the other ‘essentials.'”

Here’s the original study.

Written by Leisureguy

17 December 2022 at 4:50 pm

Systemic barriers to getting vaccinated

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A group of five researchers in health and nursing have an interesting article in The Conversation:

The term “vaccine hesitancy” was in wide use years before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The term focuses on individual-level attitudes toward vaccines. Throughout the pandemic, much popular and scholarly discussion about COVID-19 transmission focused on individual-level decisions, making it easy to blame the unvaccinated.

By focusing on individual decisions, it is easy to overlook other reasons for suboptimal vaccine uptake. These include politicizationdistrust of the health system due to systemic racismsocial inequities, and barriers to access and acceptance.

The perspective that health is the result of only individual behaviours falsely disconnects well-being from important factors like systemic social inequities, community well-being and environmental health (such as One Health). The focus on individual decisions also reinforces widespread social norms and sanctions (such as the stigmatization of the unvaccinated), which make individuals personally responsible for keeping themselves healthy, including getting vaccinated to protect others.

Although there have been efforts across Canada to improve COVID-19 vaccine accessibility and acceptability among underserved populations, the success of these efforts is isolated to specific communities and ongoing efforts are needed to reduce inequities. As a result, many individuals who are blamed for being unvaccinated are often also denied equal access to health care and vaccination services, and credible information about vaccines from trusted sources.

We are a group of researchers whose work explores inequities in vaccination intentionsaccess and uptake among underserved populations, as well as public health communications and inequities resulting from pandemic responses. We also research vaccine hesitancypublic health communications and the use of vaccine information and misinformation to show how social inequities shape vaccine uptake.

What is vaccine hesitancy?

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization at the WHO defines vaccine hesitancy as a “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite availability of vaccine services” for various reasons, including convenience. Convenience refers to the absence of barriers to accessing and accepting vaccines. This includes availability, location accessibility, affordability of vaccination, understandability of vaccine information and appeal of vaccine services.

Systemic social issues affect vaccine access and acceptability. Yet, the term vaccine hesitancy often overlooks these, and reduces the multiple factors that affect vaccine uptake to individual-level decisions. Researchers have also critiqued the focus on vaccine hesitancy because it distracts from the responsibility of government institutions to ensure vaccines are accessible and acceptable to the population.

Social inequities create barriers to vaccination

Pre-pandemic research shows substantial barriers to getting vaccinated exist, especially for certain populations. These include . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

17 December 2022 at 4:05 pm

Less lead in my chocolate, please, and hold the cadmium

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Update 11 Jan 2023: has published a rebuttal to the Consumer Reports article.

A disturbing report on the levels of lead and cadmium in chocolate and cocoa powder has made me change my recipe for my chia pudding. It had included 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, but in light of the article below, eating that amount day after day is clearly unwise and risky — especially since chocolate makers are currently not required by law to put on the label (in black letters of 8 points or larger, on white background) the amount of lead and of cadmium in a serving. Such a labeling requirement is something the FDA would do at once if it were truly responsive to its responsibilities. (Notice that I am breathing regularly.)

Kevin Loria has an informative article in Consumer Reports that has greatly curtailed my consumption of chocolate. He writes:

For many of us, chocolate is more than just a tasty treat. It’s a mood lifter, an energy booster, a reward after a tough day, a favorite holiday gift.

People also choose dark chocolate in particular for its potential health benefits, thanks to studies that suggest its rich supply of antioxidants may improve heart health and other conditions, and for its relatively low levels of sugar. In fact, more than half of people in a recent survey from the National Confectioners Association described dark chocolate as a “better for you” candy.

But there’s a dark side to this “healthier” chocolate. Research has found that some dark chocolate bars contain cadmium and lead—two heavy metals linked to a host of health problems in children and adults.

The chocolate industry has been grappling with ways to lower those levels. To see how much of a risk these favorite treats pose, Consumer Reports scientists recently measured the amount of heavy metals in 28 dark chocolate bars. They detected cadmium and lead in all of them.

Heavy Metals in Dark Chocolate

CR tested a mix of brands, including smaller ones, such as Alter Eco and Mast, and more familiar ones, like Dove and Ghirardelli.

For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities and CR’s experts say may be harmful for at least one of those heavy metals. Five of the bars were above those levels for both cadmium and lead.

That’s risky stuff: Consistent, long-term exposure to even small amounts of heavy metals can lead to a variety of health problems. The danger is greatest for pregnant people and young children because the metals can cause developmental problems, affect brain development, and lead to lower IQ, says Tunde Akinleye, the CR food safety researcher who led this testing project.

“But there are risks for people of any age,” he says. Frequent exposure to lead in adults, for example, can lead to nervous system problems, hypertension, immune system suppression, kidney damage, and reproductive issues. While most people don’t eat chocolate every day, 15 percent do, according to the market research firm Mintel. Even if you aren’t a frequent consumer of chocolate, lead and cadmium can still be a concern. It can be found in many other foods—such as sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots—and small amounts from multiple sources can add up to dangerous levels. That’s why it’s important to limit exposure when you can.

Still, you don’t need to swear off chocolate entirely, Akinleye says. He adds that while most of the chocolate bars in CR’s tests had concerning levels of lead, cadmium, or both, five of them were relatively low in both. “That shows it’s possible for companies to make products with lower amounts of heavy metals—and for consumers to find safer products that they enjoy,” he says.

And in addition to choosing your dark chocolates wisely, there are a number of other steps you can take to continue enjoying chocolate safely. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 December 2022 at 1:37 pm

Black Shroud and the Fine Marvel

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Shaving set up: silvertip badger shaving brush whose ivory-colored handle has lettered on the side 'Emperor' next to a tub of shaving soap whose label shows a monster holding up a black cloth to a theater crowd wearing 3D glasses and the title "Black Shroud" with subtitle "in 3D." On the right is a rectangular bottle of aftershave with the same label design. In front is a double-edge razor lying on its side. It has a chrome head and a bronze handle engraved with a spiral pattern.

I was pondering what shaving soap to use when I received an email linking to a review in Sharpologist of Phoenix Artisan’s Black Shroud shaving soap in the CK-6 formula. I’m as quick as anyone to appreciate a sign from the gods, so of course that is the soap I chose — and I’m glad I did.

As the review points out, the soap has a nostalgic fragrance, and I like to have a daily small dose of nostalgia. We better appreciate the present as we compare and contrast it with the past, and a quick dip in nostalgia freshens our gaze on today. 

My Simpson Emperor 3 Super made a great lather — CK-6, baby — and the large knot brushing warm, fragrant lather on my face this morning felt comforting given the dark grayness of the day. Snow is coming. 

Fine Accoutrements has produced some interesting razors, and the Marvel is quite a nice little guy. Here it rides on a bronze handle by UFO in Spain. Three passes did the job.

Once again I included Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum in my aftershave routine. This time I applied aftershave first, serum second. That doesn’t work so well as serum first, aftershave second. Good to know.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s No. 22 Blend: “a superb blend of green Gunpowder and Jasmine, as well as Keemun and Ceylon black teas … with a touch of bergamot.”

Written by Leisureguy

17 December 2022 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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