From an article in last year's JAMA [Jl of the Amer Med Assoc]: (via Jack)
It's time to let consumers decide whether they want to try marijuana to treat some of the symptoms.
From an article in last year's JAMA [Jl of the Amer Med Assoc]: (via Jack)
It's time to let consumers decide whether they want to try marijuana to treat some of the symptoms.
Yet another study finds that eating chocolate is good for you!
"We found that people who eat chocolate at least once a week tend to perform better cognitively," said Elias. "It's significant—it touches a number of cognitive domains."...
They found "significant positive associations" between chocolate intake and cognitive performance, associations which held even after adjusting for various variables that might have skewed the results, including age, education, cardiovascular risk factors, and dietary habits.
In scientific terms, eating chocolate was significantly associated with superior "visual-spatial memory and [organization], working memory, scanning and tracking, abstract reasoning, and the mini-mental state examination." ...
Experts have known about the wonders of eating chocolate for some time. A lot of previous research has shown that there are, or at least could be, immediate cognitive benefits from eating chocolate. But rarely, if ever, have researchers been able to observe the impact of habitual chocolate eating on the brain.
The takeaway isn't that everyone should rush to stuff their faces with the magical sweet. "I think what we can say for now is that you can eat small amounts of chocolate without guilt if you don't substitute chocolate for a normal balanced healthy diet," Elias said.
Please sign me up for being in the future studies (but not if you're going to put me in the control group).
Meanwhile, I think I'll have some chocolate.
It feels good to be motivated to smile by happy, joyful events. But this article suggests there are benefits from smiling even if you don't feel like it. Actually, I suspect the article and the research it reports may have the causation backwards. Here are the salient points from the article:
Here are four science-backed reasons why smiling is good for you.
I wonder, though, if maybe the causation is different. Perhaps it is just that happier people smile more, are less stressed, live longer, etc. I'm not convinced that forcing oneself to smile more will make one happier, less stressed, live longer, etc.. If it works, though, great!
The trouble is, it's hard to force oneself to smile when one doesn't feel like smiling. It feels fake and hypocritical.
Bryan Caplan has a very interesting and very provocative post at Econlog challenging the standard, typical medical classifications relating to mental illnesses in general and to ADHD in particular. I have come to respect Caplan's work, and so I never dismiss anything he writes without giving it careful consideration. His material in this post seems generally right to me. Two telling paragraphs about ADHD:
Overall, the most natural way to formalize ADHD in economic terms is as a high disutility of work combined with a strong taste for variety. Undoubtedly, a person who dislikes working will be more likely to fail to 'finish school work, chores or duties in the workplace' and be 'reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort'. [see chart below] Similarly, a person with a strong taste for variety will be 'easily distracted by extraneous stimuli' and fail to 'listen when spoken to directly', especially since the ignored voices demand attention out of proportion to their entertainment value. ...
As the DSM uses the term, a person who 'has difficulty' 'sustaining attention in tasks or play activities' could just as easily be described as 'disliking' sustaining attention. Similarly, while 'is often forgetful in daily activities' could be interpreted literally as impaired memory, in context it refers primarily to conveniently forgetting to do things you would rather avoid. No one accuses a boy diagnosed with ADHD of forgetting to play videogames.
Caplan re-presents a checklist to help professionals diagnose someone with ADHD. Here it is:
If this stuff had been around when I was young, I'd have been a drugged-out zombie. All nine of these applied to me.
When I was in Grade 2, the teacher wrote that I did good work when I did it, but that I rarely finished it. Also on behavioural items, I think I was given 13 minuses and only 3 pluses over one report-card period.
Also about that time, a woman who was visiting our home for dinner told my parents I should be put on drugs because I jiggled my legs so much.
So much of what is termed ADHD behaviour is better dealt with via behaviour training. Thank goodness my parents didn't put me on drugs. Instead, I had to learn to cope and adjust in some settings.
As one of my FB friends posted yesterday on a completely different (yet identical?) topic,
"You think too much because there's work that you don't want to do." - Andy Warhol's advice to Lou Reed.
According to this post at the Washington Post, people who smoked pot regularly for at least five years had some (slight?) short-term memory problems in middle age, compared with those who didn't. But the posting also notes some caveats concerning the study:
One important caveat is that a study like this can't determine causality. It could be the case that heavy pot use makes your short-term memory bad, or it could be that people who operate at a lower level of cognitive function are more inclined to use marijuana heavily.
It's also worth noting that the other cognitive abilities researchers tested -- focus and processing speed -- did not seem to be significantly impacted by heavy marijuana use.
The association between short-term memory declines -- potentially permanent ones -- and heavy pot use is very real, according to this study, and shouldn't be discounted. On the other hand, it's also quite surprising that you can smoke weed literally every single day for five years, and not have it impact your problem-solving abilities or your ability to focus at all. [emphasis added] These findings also need to be understood in relation to what we know about the severe cognitive effects of persistent, heavy alcohol use, which include irreversible brain damage.
I would add another caveat: The presumption in the article is that the heavy marijuana users smoked it. What if, instead, people ingested it? There would be less damage to the lungs and less direct effect from shortages of oxygen to the brain.
Now, if only recreational use of marijuana were completely legalized, ....
New evidence suggests that people who live above the third floor of high-rise buildings have a lower chance of surviving a heart attack. From Science Daily,
The further a patient with cardiac arrest is from the ground floor, the lower the survival rate. Of 8216 people who had cardiac arrests in private residences and were treated by 911-initiated first responders, 3.8% survived to be discharged from hospital. Of the 5998 (73%) people living below the 3rd floor who had cardiac arrests, 252 (4.2%) survived the arrest, but only 48 (2.6%) of the 1844 people living above the 3rd floor survived. When analysed floor by floor, the researchers found a survival rate of only 0.9% in those living above the 16th floor (2 of 216) and no survivors (0 of 30) in those living above the 25th floor.
..."The 911 response time, from emergency activation to arrival of first responders on scene, will remain relatively constant, so long as traffic patterns do not change; however, the time from arrival on scene to initial patient contact may increase as more of the population comes to live at or above the third floor," write the authors. [Emphasis added]
We live above the third floor in our building, but as Ms. Eclectic says, "We ain't movin'".
Jack sent me this link that tests reaction times. He says his results are that he has the reaction time of a 27-year-old.
I'd had some wine a couple of hours ago. My reaction times were those of someone 49-52 years old. :(
But then I realized the instructions said to push any key, and I had been tapping the touch pad. So I retried the test. When pushing a key, my reaction times are those of a 29-32 year-old. They're not quite as quick as Jack's but I'll take 'em.
If only everything else about me worked like a 29-32 year-old.
I recently saw the guidelines to physicians for prescribing medicinal THC for pain relief. This is what my friend Jack SAYS they are (I think he may have changed something):
The goal for the optimal prescribed dose should be
to improve pain relief and function but with minimal
cognitive impairment and maximum euphoria..
About a decade or so ago, I learned about gratitude. I had felt gratitude often in my life, but I had never felt almost bathed in it.
I think the transition came as I began to reflect on all the wonderful things that I had experienced in my life and as I began to stop dwelling on the things that had upset me.
Arthur Brooks has written about gratitude in a recent piece in the NYTimes (ht King): Choose to be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier.
For many people, gratitude is difficult, because life is difficult. Even beyond deprivation and depression, there are many ordinary circumstances in which gratitude doesn’t come easily. This point will elicit a knowing, mirthless chuckle from readers whose Thanksgiving dinners are usually ruined by a drunk uncle who always needs to share his political views. Thanks for nothing. ....If grinning for an uncomfortably long time like a scary lunatic isn’t your cup of tea, try expressing gratitude instead. According to research published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, gratitude stimulates the hypothalamus (a key part of the brain that regulates stress) and the ventral tegmental area (part of our “reward circuitry” that produces the sensation of pleasure).
It’s science, but also common sense: Choosing to focus on good things makes you feel better than focusing on bad things.....
There are concrete strategies that each of us can adopt.
First, start with “interior gratitude,” the practice of giving thanks privately. Having a job that involves giving frequent speeches — not always to friendly audiences — I have tried to adopt the mantra in my own work of being grateful to the people who come to see me.
Next, move to “exterior gratitude,” which focuses on public expression. The psychologist Martin Seligman, father of the field known as “positive psychology,” gives some practical suggestions on how to do this. In his best seller “Authentic Happiness,” he recommends that readers systematically express gratitude in letters to loved ones and colleagues. A disciplined way to put this into practice is to make it as routine as morning coffee. Write two short emails each morning to friends, family or colleagues, thanking them for what they do.
Finally, be grateful for useless things. It is relatively easy to be thankful for the most important and obvious parts of life — a happy marriage, healthy kids or living in America. But truly happy people find ways to give thanks for the little, insignificant trifles. Ponder the impractical joy in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “Pied Beauty”...
I expect two other things may have helped me.
Getting the flu shot every year reduces the marginal or incremental effectiveness of getting one this year.
Probablistically getting the vaccine still reduces the likelihood of contracting the flu; it just isn't as effective as it would be if you hadn't had it for several years prior to getting it. See this. [via Jack]
Dr. Edward Belongia is among the scientists who have seen the picture coming into focus. He and some colleagues at Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation reported recently that children who had been vaccinated annually over a number of years were more likely to contract the flu than kids who were only vaccinated in the season in which they were studied.
The article goes on to emphasize that getting the shot is still effective (versus not getting it), but just not as effective.
The health-care biz is definitely competitive.... for political favours. JR, my favourite drug dealer, sent me this chart from the WSJ recently:
The article was trying to make a point about all the lobbying being done about higher education, but the whopping number that stands out is that there were 3885 lobbyists in the health biz.
And when you realize that firms tend not to spend money unless they expect payoffs, imagine the payoffs they must be expecting from lobbying!
Bryan Caplan rightly takes Canada to task here.
The health exclusion clearly isn't about contagion; it's about socialized medicine. Canadians don't want to pay for foreigners' health care. Why not admit the sick, subject to the proviso that their health care is their own problem? Unthinkable! By the twisted logic of the welfare state, Canadians have to pay for the health care ofanyone within their borders. Thanks to these odd qualms, foreigners endure sickness and poverty at home instead of sickness and prosperity in Canada. And who knows, maybe a First World job would let foreigners pay for the health care they or their loved ones need, allowing them to enjoy health and prosperity without burdening Canadian taxpayers?
Canadians are hardly alone, so why single them out? Because their blatant exclusion of sick foreigners directly contradicts their stellar international reputation for compassion and common sense. As usual, the welfare state isn't about helping the poor and desperate. It's about helping relatively poor and desperate members of your tribe while keeping absolutely poor and desperate human beings comfortably out of sight. Sick.
But follow the link and read some of the comments there --- some nice additions, both supporting and qualifying Caplan's condemnation.
According to the calendar that pops up on my computer, today is World Ostomy Day. My best friend, Ms Eclectic, is a cancer survivor and has had an ostomy for over 25 years. I gather Marvin Bush (brother of Jeb and George W) has an ostomy, as does former San Diego Charger place kicker, Rolf Benirschke. For lists of other famous ostomates, see the lists in this forum.
There is scarcity, and it is inescapable. Furthermore, scarcity necessitates choices from among the various feasible options available to us. This is a basic lesson hammered home (we hope) during the first two weeks of an introductory economics course.
It applies to nearly every aspect of our lives.
Consider, for example, blood pressure [link via Ms Eclectic].
The new research advises people with high blood pressure to keep their “systolic” pressure — the top number in the reading that health-care providers routinely tell patients — at 120 or below. Clinical guidelines have commonly called for systolic blood pressure of 140 for healthy adults and 130 for adults with kidney disease or diabetes.
It is both interesting and disappointing that the referenced article does not mention what I heard in interviews on a radio report: namely, that medications to reduce blood pressure (like nearly all medications) have various risks of potential side effects.
For someone like me whose blood pressure ranges between 120 and 135, and given my reaction to Crestor, I will probably prefer to take the risk whatever might result from having only very slightly elevated blood pressure rather than take the risks of side effects from medication to lower my blood pressure. I cannot take medication to reduce my blood pressure and avoid the risks of side effects. I must make trade-offs and choose.
And, no, I don't wish to make lifestyle changes by reducing my alcohol and salt intakes. No point in not enjoying what life is left. And that decision also means making choices between different probable or possible outcomes.
Four months ago I had reached my goal weight of 160lbs [see this] and promptly began celebrating. I continued to celebrate for four months, making great use of the hashtag #carbsbedamned on Facebook.
By this past weekend, after our fun anniversary celebration watching the Jays at Rogers Centre and "lunching" up the CN Tower, I had gained over ten pounds in four months. I had begun eating more desserts, more popcorn, more potatoes, more restaurant nachos, more pizza, and more bread --- tonnes more carbs overall.
Well, it's time to face reality and cut down on the carbs again. More cheese and pepperettes as snacks, and less popcorn. More veggies and fewer potatoes. Fewer nachos 8-(. More pasta specials, "without the pasta." Less ice cream. More burgers without the bun.
No more pizza for awhile (well.... not very often anyway), and again no Dairy Queen Blizzards until I get back down to my goal.
With renewed determination, I need to resist the bread basket in restaurants. And for awhile at least, no more Tim Hortons Nutella donuts 8-( .
And, of course, definitely more scotch, less wine, and less cider. [scotch has zero carbs!]
A Facebook friend recently posted a link to an article touting turmeric as a miracle drug. Fortunately my friend Jack is a scholar as well as a retired physician, and he sent me this link, which addresses the claims:
Conclusion... As with so many supplements, the hype has gone way beyond the actual evidence. There are some promising hints that it may be useful, but there are plenty of promising hints that lots of other things “may” be useful too. Since I have no rational basis for choosing one over another, I see no reason to jump on the turmeric bandwagon. On the other hand, I see no compelling reason to advise people not to use it, as long as they understand the state of the evidence well enough to provide informed consent and know that they are essentially guinea pigs in an uncontrolled experiment that makes no attempt to collect data. I will keep an open mind and stay tuned for further evidence in the form of well-designed clinical studies in humans.
My take: very little downside risk (if you like the flavour, or at least don't mind it) and some possible upside benefits.
Also see this from Wikipaedia:
Curcumin ... is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family.
A survey of the literature shows a number of potential effects under study and that daily consumption over a 3-month period of up to 12 grams were safe. However, several studies of curcumin [EE: the active ingredient in turmeric] efficacy and safety revealed poor absorption and low bioavailability.
As of June 2015, there were 116 clinical trials evaluating the possible anti-disease effect of curcumin in humans, as registered with the US National Institutes of Health, including studies on cancer, gastrointestinal diseases and cognitive disorders.
Preliminary research has found that curcuminoid binds to amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease. Because curcumin increases fluorescent activity after it binds to amyloid protein, curcumin is being studied as a possible identifier. Tests have detected amyloid proteins in human eyes, offering the possibility that simple eye exams could provide early detection of the disease.
Also, it is likely that if there are health benefits from consuming turmeric, they are more likely present in pure turmeric, not curry powders. See this. Excerpts from the abstract:
Curcumin, derived from the rhizome curcuma longa, is one of the primary ingredients in turmeric and curry powders that are used as spices in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, especially on the Indian subcontinent. More recently, laboratory studies have demonstrated that dietary curcumin exhibits various biological activities and significantly inhibits colon tumorigenesis and tumor size in animals. Curcumin displays both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, giving it the potential to be considered in the development of cancer preventive strategies and applications in clinical research. Experimental studies have shown the biological activities of the compound, but much more information on pharmacokinetics, bioavailability, and food content are needed. ... Pure turmeric powder had the highest curcumin concentration, averaging 3.14% by weight. The curry powder samples, with one exception, had relatively small amounts of curcumin present, and the variability in content was great. ... [emphasis added]
And, finally, Andrew Weil's advice concerning Turmeric and curcumin, posted four years ago.
Other studies of turmeric and curcumin have shown the following benefits:
- Turmeric extract worked as well as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee in a study published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
- Laboratory studies suggest that curcumin acts as a weak phytoestrogen and seems to have cancer protective effects.
- Lab studies have also shown that curcumin induces programmed death of colon cancer cells, and clinical trials are investigating the use of curcumin in treatment of colon cancer.
- Curcumin suppresses microinflammation in the GI tract associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
I frequently recommend turmeric supplements, and I believe whole turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for inflammatory disorders, including arthritis, tendonitis, and autoimmune conditions. Take 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric extracts (available in tablets or capsules) three times per day or as directed on the product label. Look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids. Neither curcumin nor turmeric taken orally is well absorbed unless taken with black pepper or piperine, a constituent of black pepper responsible for its pungency. When shopping for supplements, make sure that the one you choose contains black pepper extract or piperine. (If you're cooking with turmeric, be sure to add some black pepper to the food.). Be patient when taking turmeric supplements: the full benefits may not be apparent for eight weeks.
After Colorado legalized possession, sale, etc. of marijuana, it was clear that both the supply curve and the demand curve would shift to the right.
But which would shift farther? Would the influx of visitors, coupled with increased purchases by domestic buyers lead to such a massive increase in demand that prices would rise? Or would the relatively easy production lead to a large increase in supply, causing the price to drop?
It turns out supply increased more than demand, despite "marijuana tourism" (see this).
[P]rices are declining faster than some had expected, while the number of people visiting the stores has increased. ...
Since last June, the average price of an 1/8th ounce of recreational cannabis has dropped from $50-$70 to $30-$45 currently; an ounce now sells for between $250 and $300 on average compared to $300-$400 last year. [emphasis in the original] More competition and expansion of grow facilities contributed to this price decline ...
According to the note, sales increased by 98 percent year-over-year in April....
Meanwhile, the popularity of legal weed has sparked a fast-growing industry that ... compares to Silicon Valley.
Yes, I am scheduled to have another colonoscopy. Here's the help I need:
What should I write on my butt cheeks as a message for the physician?
One grand has suggested "Kiss this". Another possibility might be "Will you respect me in the morning?" But likely neither of these will do. Both are too long.
Please keep in mind that I will probably have to write this myself (Ms Eclectic has made it very clear that she will not help), so it will have to be short, and it will have to be easy to write sideways using a mirror.
Maybe I'll put a message on a post-it and tape it on my butt cheek. How about "Open Here"? or "Lift Tab to Open"?
And, no, I will not be posting photos.
Maybe I'll take a voice recorder with me to protect myself from this.
I gladly admit to experiencing geriatric alcophilia*.
Until the past ten years or so, I drank very little alcohol. Over the past decade, though, I have become increasingly enamoured of my tipples. What is more, I have actually become something of a snob about scotch whiskies to the extent that I know a bit about some and a lot about the few I like.
It seems that "geriatric alcohol abuse" has become a noted and studied problem, (see this, but I cannot find an ungated version). Here is the abstract:
Alcohol use disorder in the geriatric population is a growing public health problem that is likely to continueto increase as the baby boomer generation ages. Primary care providers play a critical role in the recognitionand management of these disorders. This concise review will focus on the prevalence, risk factors, screening, and clinical management of geriatric alcohol use disorder from a primary care perspective.
Once old people retire, they have less to do and less to worry about. It is very easy to sit around and have a few drinks. There was a famous person in a town where I once lived who was past retirement age, and the prevalent story there was that the couple got drunk every night and then had shouting matches. I have no idea if it's true, but I understand the drinking part.
I don't think I abuse alcohol. I talk about scotch a lot, but I average only about 3 fl oz per day. Of course, that's 3 fl oz more than I used to drink.
The thing is, I like it and I look forward to it. Also, it's a part of the togetherness that Ms Eclectic and I share. And I expect that happens with many members of the <90 demographic cohort.
*Note: alcophilia denotes a fondness for alcohol. I am indebted to my older friend, Jack, for this term.
Two and a half years ago, Ms Eclectic was put on Crestor. After only a month or two, she went off it because she felt as if she was suffering from drug-induced fibromyalgia. Shortly after that, our family physician put me on Crestor. I acquiesced, but with some concerns (see this). After experiencing horrendous side effects (see this) I stopped.
A few months ago, Ms Eclectic was put back on a statin, this time Lipitor. Increasingly she experienced painful and other side effects.
I gather these side effects are common, especially in our demographic cohort. For example see this [via Jack]. The money quote from the piece is,
...on the one hand, the results showed "tremendous" potential health benefits to be gained including far fewer heart attacks. On the other hand, potential side effects that may have particular consequences in the elderly - including muscle pain and weakness or mild declines in cognitive function - could offset those gains.
In our case, we are both convinced that the known, experienced side effects do more-than-offset the probabilistic gains.
After experiencing what I went through and after seeing what Ms Eclectic is going through, I'd rather risk heart disease, thank you very much.We simply cannot imagine going through the rest of our lives with these side effects. We are both somewhat risk averse, but not so much that we are willing to put up with known painful side-effects to reduce the chances that we might soon have some sort of heart problems.
Meanwhile, here's hoping there are other medications that are on the way to help others (indeed, our family physician has put Ms Eclectic on a non-statin prescription [Ezetimibe]; here's hoping it works and has at most few and minor side effects).
A number of years ago I had some kidney stones. (photo on the right). The urologist said it was because I hadn't stayed properly hydrated when I was hiking, especially, but also in general. So I drink a lot nowadays. I have had no problems and no indications of any problems since then.
Here's the current FB meme about drinking water:
Some days when I know I'll be staying up later, I add another Coke Zero or Diet Dr. Pepper during the afternoon. And some days I have a second cup of coffee in the morning.
This is just a rough sketch. When we eat in restaurants, I drink a lot of water with my meals. And sometimes I drink wine. Mostly white wine for me (Note how Ian Klymchuk often makes fun of this preference).
My announcement of my decision to go alcohol free for 60+ hours led to considerable comment in email and on Facebook. It seems very likely I'll have made it for more than 70 hours before I finally can settle down with a wee dram of scotch this evening.
Meanwhile, here is another article that Jack sent. It seems very sensible.
Four warning signs that you may be dependent on alcohol
- Worrying about where your next drink is coming from and planning social, family and work events around alcohol.
- Finding you have a compulsive need to drink and finding it hard to stop once you start.
- Waking up and drinking – or feeling the need to have a drink in the morning.
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, which stop once you drink alcohol.
I have had none of the above. My going alcohol-free was more to check to make sure I don't have those signs.
The article continues,
Staying in control
Drinking within the lower risk guidelines will help you keep your drinking under control. Here are three ways you can cut back:
- Try alternative ways to deal with stress. Instead of reaching for a beer or glass of wine after a hard day, go for a run, swim or to a yoga class, or a talk to a friend about what’s worrying you.
- Keep track of what you’re drinking. Your liver can't tell you if you're drinking too much, but MyDrinkaware can. It can even help you cut down.
- Give alcohol-free days a go. If you drink regularly, your body starts to build up a tolerance to alcohol. This is one of the main reasons why many medical experts recommend taking regular days off from drinking to ensure you don't become addicted to alcohol. Test out having a break for yourself and see what positive results you notice.
It is interesting and purely coincidental that I decided to take a short break from alcohol. Even more interesting and coincidental is that Jack decided to do so, too, at about the same time even when we had not communicated about our decisions until yesterday.
I have had several friends extol the marvels of meditation, urging me to try it. I tried it a week or so ago, but I find it really difficult not to think about whatever it is I might be considering for the day or week or month, etc.
This article in WaPo suggests it may be worthwhile giving it a better, more thorough try.
We found differences in brain volume after eight weeks in five different regions in the brains of the two groups. In the group that learned meditation, we found thickening in four regions:
1. The primary difference, we found in the posterior cingulate, which is involved in mind wandering, and self relevance.
2. The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.
3. The temporo parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion.
4. An area of the brain stem called the Pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.
The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program.
The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels.
The doctor interviewed for this article recommends getting a teacher for meditation. The problem I have with this is that I doubt if I will like or get along with any teachers. I wonder if there are any people in my area who tend toward being libertarians and who teach meditation. Failing that, I'll have to search for a good instruction set online. Any suggestions?
Update: at the same time, consider this.
[T]he treatment can itself trigger mania, depression, hallucinations and psychosis, psychological studies in the UK and US have found.
The practice is part of a growing movement based on ancient Eastern traditions of meditation.
However, 60 per cent of people who had been on a meditation retreat had suffered at least one negative side effect, including panic, depression and confusion, a study in the US found.
Once I reached my goal weight last month, of course I splurged and binged.
I knew I would.
I had DQ Blizzard, burger, and fries. Then we went to Houston to visit my son and his family, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the carbs we ate while we were there.
By the time we returned, I had gained 7 lbs. No problem, though. I've gone back on a very low-carb diet, dropped three of those 7 lbs already, and will be back at my goal again soon enough.
I gather yo-yo weight losses are generally not likely to be very healthy, but these variations are small. And I don't think I'd bother going on the low-carb diet if I couldn't enjoy these binges now and then.
My friend, Jack, is older than I am. He recently wrote
Old age survival is all about adaptation. Some start at a very high level of
function, and can ride for a while. But eventually the genetically programmed collapse of the critter cannot be denied.
I keep fighting this collapse, but every setback takes a tad longer to recover from, dammit.
Last Saturday night, during a scene in "Neville's Island", I twisted my ankle and sprained my knee as I took this pose atop some rocks (yes, those are my bare legs and knees... you'll have to come see the play to see the rest!):
I somehow made it through the rest of that performance and took a megadose Vitamin I (aka Ibuprofen) before leaving the theatre for the drive home.
For the Sunday matinee, I loaded up on Tylenol 3s and Diclofenac, wrapped my knee, and altered my blocking/movements during the play somewhat. Somehow I made it through the show, thanks to the help from Ms Eclectic along with everyone in the cast and crew.
Fortunately we have had Monday - Wednesday off. I have rested a lot, worn a knee brace much of the time, and continued my healthy eating and lifestyle (including lots of protein, fat, and vegetables, and, of course, scotch therapy).
I don't know what has happened, but by now (Wednesday), my knee and ankle seem to be almost completely back to normal. Yea! "It all comes from a clean, healthy lifestyle."
Neville's Island, Princess Avenue Theatre, Elgin Theatre Guild, St. Thomas, Ontario:
You can get tickets for Neville's Island via Bellsbookbin 519 878 4452 or by Paypal on Elgin Theatre Guild's website.
This is NOT from The Onion:
A [police] spokesman confirmed that officers had searched Banda’s home, though he denied it was a raid. He also said the initial anti-drug program was put on entirely by the school — the police had no involvement. At that event Banda’s son apparently contradicted some of the claims made about marijuana. The school then contacted the child protection agency, which then contacted the police. Officers from the department showed up at Banda’s at home and asked her permission to conduct a search. She refused. They then obtained a warrant and searched her home. The spokesman wouldn’t comment on exactly what was found, except to say that there was “evidence” of drug activity. Banda was then arrested and her son was seized from the home. Currently, there are no criminal charges against her. The spokesman wouldn’t comment on whether charges may be forthcoming. He added that possession of marijuana is illegal in Kansas, without exception.
The absurdity here of course is that a woman could lose her custody of her child for therapeutically using a drug that’s legal for recreational use an hour to the west. It seems safe to say that the amount of the drug she had in her home was an amount consistent with personal use. (If she had been distributing, she’d almost certainly have been charged by now.)
This boy was defending his mother’s use of a drug that helps her deal with an awful condition. Because he stuck up for his mother, the state arrested her and ripped him away from her. Even if he is eventually returned to his mother (as he ought to be), the school, the town, and the state of Kansas have already done a lot more damage to this kid than Banda’s use of pot to treat her Crohn’s disease ever could.
"Who could imagine that they would Freak-Out in Kansas?" [Frank Zappa]
No, this post is not about the weather. It is to announce that finally, after many ups and downs, I have reached my goal weight. Over 5 years ago I weighed nearly 205 lbs. I knew I was overweight and out of shape. I set my goal at 160 (I had weighed only 155 just 8 years previously).
I told myself I would not eat a Dairy Queen Blizzard (one of my favourite treats!) until I reached the goal. Today I reached that goal. I won't be able to get to a Dairy Queen for several days, but believe me, I'm going for a Skor Blizzard sometime soon.
Here is a graph of my weight for the past 61 months.
You can see all the bouts of lack of will power in the graph. The big start came from using weight-watcher/point-counting/calorie-counting. But I was hungry all the time on that diet and kept cheating and regained lots of weight.
The second half of the graph shows what happened under our modified version of a low-carb diet. We went on this diet in July, 2012.
I have not been nearly so hungry on this diet, I eat lots of fat, protein, and vegetables. I don't count calories, and I certainly don't try to avoid fat anymore.
I generally eat cheese or pepperettes as snacks. In restaurants, I sometimes order a pasta dish - hold the pasta, or burgers - no bun. I really have enjoyed this diet much more than any other diet I have been on.
Yes, I go off this diet frequently (as my Facebook friends know, one of my favourite hashtags is #carbsbedamned), but the neat thing about the low-carb diet is that when I go back on it, my weight goes right back down fairly quickly.
Exercise? I try to walk some, and I do some exercises now and then for my back, but overall I know I exercise less now than I used to. The weight loss is due to the diet change, not exercise.
The weight chart is from a smartphone app called "Lose It!". It's a good app in that it is no-charge, and it stores your data in the cloud so you can continue it as you change phones and platforms. I started it using an iPhone3 and kept it through all my various phone changes, including an android for two years.
For my earlier postings about this diet, see: