It is the Sunday before the Christian Christmas Holiday and a good portion of America just experienced a snowfall. Actually, they are calling it the Blizzard of 2009. The Country's capital had a record or near record accumulation and I cannot help but think of my Dad, or his spirit anyways, at Arlington Cemetery amongst all the snow. Here in Florida, we had the rain that moved up the east coast to become that blizzard. It is certainly cooler than usual here, but I risk a backlash if I complain!
I did gather quite a page of odds and ends for this week, so without further ado:
Tobacco and Furniture Factories: I heard a story on NPR this week regarding a town in NC that had its furniture factory close. Many skilled workers were out of a job and out of an industry. They were attending a local community college to learn new skills. The town, Lenoir, was home to a new Google enterprise and the furniture workers were learning about computer programming with the hope of being hired by Google. Google had actually purchased the furniture factory building. I was excited about this because I have long said how smart it would be if tobacco farmers switched crops, if the field workers learned to care for and harvest them and tobacco factories were modified to process the new crop. I still feel this is a possibility and have hope yet that the fields will grow a crop that can be used for alternative fuels. (NC happens to have tobacco fields and factories too)
Cell Phones: This week CNN ran a story about the possible risks from using cell phones. This is not knew news and hearing about it again startled me. Why were they bringing it back up? I wrote about this in a blog in 2008 http://yourhealtheducator.blogspot.com/#uds-search-results. Surely Dr. Gupta didn't just now find out about it. Seriously, the issue of SAR is the same as before and some devices emit more of this non ionizing radiation than others ( a heat that the scientists are not in consensus about with regard to harm, but it is not the same radiation we get from XRAYS), and the concern is life time use of these devices, esp. because some people allow very young children to have cell phones. I know that when I heard about this over a year ago, I changed my cell phone for one that had a lower SAR (specific absorption rate) and then forgot all about it. Unfortunately, a few weeks before Sanjay announced on CNN that the worst emitter of SAR was a black berry curve, I bought one. So anyways, this to me is just more support for texting.
Looking Young is MORE than It's Cracked Up to Be: I saw this article last week, but didn't have a chance to read it. The headline teaser was that people who look younger than their chronological age actually have increased longevity and better health than those who do not. WELL now - I am consistently thought to be younger than I am - which can be embarrassing, but ... living longer, yes sir, that is my goal! So I made time to read further. The actual research comes out of Denmark and involved twins that were over age 70. There were 1800 pairs of them and volunteers judged the ages. The twins were tracked over the next seven years. The twin that was guessed at a younger than actual age did live longer. Now the scientists hypothesize that people who look young may have longer telomeres which are biomarkers of aging. They tend to get shorter over our lifespan - long story - not for an O&E post.
Health is Wealth: Indeed I would agree with that short sentence. What I didn't like was that I saw this sentiment on a car. Yes, one of those screen advertisements. It actually said Health AND Wealth "in a bottle." No No NO, health comes from what you consume and what you do and there is no shortcut from a concoction in a bottle or pill.
That's 8 Pills! There is a commercial comparing two OTC pain medications. One is a lower dose and the label says something like 2 pills every for to six hours for x days. The other pill has a higher dose of medicine and THUS less pills are needed. The actors in the ad are aghast, that is 8 pills. Well, really - you should take the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time and if you don't have the option of taking a smaller dose and forgoing the second pill, then you just might be taking more medicine than you need - not less!
Cancer Tests: Also on CNN this week - a possible new test to see who is at risk for skin and lung cancers. It sounds awesome because we really don't have a good screen for either of those. However, it will not be ready for some time. So as the doctor, probably Sanjay again, was reporting this, the news anchor asked, "So if melanoma runs in your family or if you are a smoker, what can you do in the meantime?" ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That is what I said to the TV. Did he REALLY just ask that question? Okay, I'll TELL YOU. Don't Smoke and Use Sunscreen....
Oh, my gosh, there was more - but I am beat. Take Good Care Now...