Category Archives: Health

California Raising Smoking Age to 21 – The New York Times

I open up the paper this morning and I see this:

LOS ANGELES — California will become the second state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21 and will begin regulating electronic cigarettes like other tobacco products under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.

Source: California Raising Smoking Age to 21 – The New York Times

I guess California can’t trust its eighteen year olds to decide for themselves whether or not to smoke just like they can’t trust them to drink alcohol. They need another three years of maturing before they can make those types of decisions for themselves.

Which has me wondering why eighteen year olds can be trusted to vote, or join the military. How can we trust them with their own credit accounts? We allow them to put cars and houses in their names and accept the liability that ownership of those entails but we won’t allow them to drink or smoke.

Why is that?

A bit on health care in Georgia

I pointed out yesterday how Bernie Sanders’ single payer health care system would probably save most of us money, even with a tax increase. The more I think about it the more I’m convinced his plan would actually bring the cost of health care down over time due to people having access to health care at the onset of disease when it is cheaper to treat.

I’m convinced of the same thing here in Georgia with the expansion of Medicaid. However, Gov. Deal is hesitant to sign on due to the cost.

Deal, a Republican, said expansion would have cost Georgia more than $200 million in the fiscal 2017 budget (which will begin July 1). “That number would only continue to grow exponentially,” he told a joint session of lawmakers Wednesday.

Source: Ga. health care costs need limits, Deal says | The Augusta Chronicle

It might grow exponentially for the first few years but I think that would level off and we would eventually see a decline in cost due to a healthier population. Regardless of that, though, the $200 million might be well worth the money if it means making health care available to more Georgians.


BernieCare has been estimated to cost us $15 trillion over ten years. That’s $1.5 trillion a year to cover about 319,000,000 people which is $4,702.19 each for the year or about $90.43 per week per person. That covers everyone. With BernieCare everyone goes to the doctor when they are sick and the government picks up the bill and pays for it by taxing us $90.43 a week per person. That’s $361.71 for a family of four. Does your employer pay for your insurance? I just checked my check stub and I see that $346.02 per week is going to pay for three people’s coverage in my family. That’s my share and my employer’s share. This almost looks like a wash to me.

Who are you?

I really feel for this woman. I do. She has some issues with her identity, that’s for sure, but she actually seemed to be dealing with them in some positive fashion. She certainly didn’t need to be confronted with her issues in front of the whole country, being put on the spot as she was, to confront who she really is in contrast to who she has been presenting herself as being.

Dolezal did not directly challenge any accusation made regarding her race in the post but mentioned in passing that the national “dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity.”

Source: Embattled NAACP Chapter President Rachel Dolezal Steps Down – ABC News

Honestly, I don’t see where the problem is. She seems genuinely concerned with race relations and in equality. She has worked hard to educate herself to where she appears to be a competent lecturer on African studies. And no one has made any allegations about her abilities in administering her chapter of the NAACP as its president. If we really are looking for equal opportunities across the board then how does race constitute a requirement to be a chapter president of the NAACP. The NAACP doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

Actually race and ethnicity have such fluid boundaries I really can’t see why we use them any more. At some point in the near future I predict that race and ethnicity will be irrelevent taxonomies. We will all be mutts, as if we weren’t already.

Creating New Dependencies

The World Health Organization is suggesting tripling global tobacco taxes in order to avoid 200 million tobacco deaths over the next ten years. The revenue would be used to fund health care around the globe.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is a cause of death for more than 5.4 million people worldwide every year. But a new review published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that by tripling the taxes on tobacco globally, 200 million tobacco deaths could be avoided by 2025.

via Tripling tobacco taxes ‘would avoid 200 million deaths by 2025’ – Medical News Today.

I’m all for discouraging cigarette smoking but you are going to run into a problem if this program is successful. Governments will become dependant on this tax revenue windfall on the front end of the program and people will become dependant upon the health care programs this new tax revenue will provide. However the increased cost of cigarettes will encourage hundreds of millions of smokers to give up their dependency on tobacco and the new tax revenues will begin to drop.

I have no problem with increasing the cost of cigarettes. My problem is in creating new health care programs that can only be assured of short term funding.

It’s not only apples, a drink a day could keep the doctor away.

Having a drink (and only a drink) when I get home after an especially stressful day has always been helpful in enabling me to stop worrying about the day and relax. Having a drink (and only a drink) just before bedtime has been helpful in relieving bouts with insomnia. So discovering that moderate drinking gives a boost to the immune system is of no surprise to me.

Scientists playing around with rhesus macaques discovered that if a monkey drinks a lot it’s immune system suffers but if a monkey drinks just a little it’s immune system thrives even more so than the monkeys abstaining from alcohol.

The immune systems of the bad monkeys that drank too much failed to produce the antibodies the body usually makes in response to a vaccine. The moderate drinkers, on the other hand, demonstrated an enhanced immune response—better even than the teetotaling control group.

via Science Says: Cocktails Could Protect You From Getting Sick | Mother Jones.

This fits right in and explains that article that Dan pointed to on Flutterby the other day.

Cannabis Relieves Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Dan pointed out this small, placebo controlled trial gives hope for sufferers of Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory disease of the intestines. From what I understand this disease is a real cramp on one’s lifestyle.

….. a short course 8 week of THC-rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 11 patients with active CD, compared to placebo, without side effects.

via Cannabis Induces a Clinical Respo… [Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013] – PubMed – NCBI.

If for no other reasons being able to conduct clinical trials like this without fear of arrest warrants delisting cannabis from the controlled substances list.

Parkinson’s and Nicotine

Once again Dan has found an article that made me go, “hmmmm!” It seems that eating certain types of peppers can reduce one’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Why? Because those peppers are a member of the same plant family as tobacco and they are a dietary source of nicotine. It seems that tobacco users, and even people spending time around tobacco users have shown a decreased incidence of Parkinson’s disease.

The investigation of dietary sources of nicotine stems from the puzzling epidemiologic findings that repeatedly show that people who have regularly used tobacco have about half the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, explained Searles Nielsen. In 2012, she published a study that suggested that second-hand smoke also might reduce risk of the disease.

via Do peppers reduce risk of Parkinson’s? | UW Today.

Why does this pique my interest? A few weeks ago I wanted to compare the health effects of cigars vs. cigarettes. I know, both are deadly. There is no safe use of tobacco. Cigars are not a healthy alternative to cigarettes. Yada, yada, yada. But it goes beyond that, not one health expert will even bother to compare the health risks between the two. The line every source I found was essentially that tobacco has absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever.

Okay, it appears that tobacco does have at least one redeeming value. If you smoke you probably won’t be suffering from Parkinson’s disease as you suffer and die from cancer.


Obesity, Corn, GMOs

Still think GMO corn and soy isn’t a health hazard? New studies show that GMO foods may be making you fat. A study out of Norway is giving us indication that these foods meant to feed the hungry masses may be creating hungry masses.

The study fed one group of cattle, pigs, salmon and rats GMO corn and soy while another group was fed non-GMO corn and soy. They also ran the test feeding two groups of rats GMO fed salmon and non-GMO fed salmon. The results?

Krogdahl notes: ” The ones who had fed on GM corn were slightly larger, they ate slightly more, their intestines had a different micro-structure, they were less able to digest proteins, and there were some changes to their immune system.” This fact that ‘they were less able to digest proteins’ has huge implications in the biochemistry of amino acids necessary for all life processes. This not only may relate to a rise in obesity, but to increases in many modern diseases. These diseases include diabetes, digestive disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, autism spectrum disorders ASD ADD, autoimmune diseases, sexual dysfunction, sterility, asthma, COPD and many more.

via Obesity, Corn, GMOs | Cornucopia Institute.

GMO foods are changing us. The problem is that it doesn’t seem it changes us for the better. Personally I would advise people to avoid GMO foods except for the fact that it is impossible to do so in the US because of food suppliers aren’t allowed to tell us what is GMO and what isn’t.


Heart Attack Grill’s Unofficial Spokesman Died of a Heart Attack

I’m not really sure that this is news. I mean I would love to have one meal in this restaurant and I see no real problem with people choosing a place like this to eat once a month. It sounds like this guy ate there every day.


Redefining normal weight.

This news article is great news for us carrying around a few (or a lot of) extra pounds but I think the author is missing the point.

But the scientists also found that people classified as overweight, with a BMI of 25 to 29.9, died at slightly lower rates — not higher — than those of so-called normal weight. And they found that those who were mildly obese, with a BMI of 30 to 34.9, died in no greater numbers than did their normal-weight peers.

via Being moderately overweight might not pose health risk –

From what I’m reading those people classified as overweight might ought to be reclassified as normal while those currently classified as normal weight should probably be classified as underweight and those with a BMI of between 30 to 34.9 or just obese should be reclassified as overweight. I say this because the overweight group is actually living longer lives.

More than 1 in 10 take antidepressants

Just another data point that proves nothing by itself but with 11% of the population 12 and up on drugs that have stated side effects of violent behavior I think we really need to look to reasons people are so violent as much as what they use to commit violence.


Where the National Discussion Really Needs to Happen

It happens every time. Someone’s rage takes over them, the take one or more firearms and go on a killing spree. When it’s over, usually with the assailant dead, there is a cry for a national dialog on gun control. Talking of gun control is fine but that won’t get to the underlying problem.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

via ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’: A Mom’s Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America.

We can talk about gun control and banish guns from honest citizen and criminal alike but unless we have this talk about mental health we will next be talking about machete control or baseball bat control or some other instrument that can be used to take a life. The problem isn’t the tool. The problem is the rage. See, rage is the problem, not guns.

‘Burden of Disease’ study shows a world living longer and with more disability – The Washington Post

A new study is showing that worldwide we are living longer but not living longer well. Advances in medicine and a reduction in world poverty is allowing people to live longer. This change is leading to us finding ourselves unequipped to deal with the health challenges a longer life gives us.

People are living longer lives, but the time they are gaining isn’t entirely time with good health. For every year of life expectancy added since 1990, about 9 ½ months is time in good health. The rest is time in a diminished state — in pain, immobility, mental incapacity or medical support such as dialysis. For people who survive to age 50, the added time is “discounted” even further. For every added year they get, only seven months are healthy.

via ‘Burden of Disease’ study shows a world living longer and with more disability – The Washington Post.

As I enter into the “older” phase of my life I’m becoming more aware of how my aches and pains are increasing and how I need to address health concerns that weren’t there just five years ago.

More Surgery

This past spring I had an acute attack of pancreatitis. To diagnose this I had to undergo a CT scan. Pancreatitis can often cause problems for months resulting in hospitalization and stays in ICU. I was lucky, my doctor sent me to the ER. I received treatment and was back to normal two days later.

However, the CAT scan found something else. I had a very large and unusual shaped bladder. My doctor was very insistent that I see a urologist and have this looked into. After she called me up a month after the pancreatitis attack to again insist that I see a urologist she made me understand that this was something I needed to see a specialist about so I made an appointment with Dr. Mukeesh Patel and let him have a look.

Dr. Patel found that I had an enlarged bladder. Not only was my bladder enlarged but the muscle wall of the bladder had herniated and allowed the inner lining of the bladder to escape forming two diverticulum. This isn’t a problem unless the diverticulum are retaining urine. Mine were. The cause stemmed from an enlarged prostate restricting flow and not allowing my bladder to empty. So I had a procedure called transurethral ablation to open up the urethra.

This worked but after six months my bladder is still retaining urine. The diverticulum are filling up now and not emptying. Yesterday the decision was made to operate again to remove the diverticulum. I suggested December 6 and he is suppose to get back with me by tomorrow to confirm that date or give me an alternate.

This will cause me to lose at least a week of work but it should give me time to heal over winter and get back to riding my bicycle by mid January. I will need to start back then because I have plans for April. I’ll tell you more about those as I fill in the details myself. Hopefully this will bring an end, at least for now, to my health issues that have plagued me this year.

UPDATE: Surgery has been scheduled for December 7th.