Addiction Sameness

Alcohol, Opiates, Fat and Sugar are all Addictive Substances: this blog is about that "addiction sameness".

Monday, October 31, 2011


A Nation of Vidiots | NationofChange:

by Jeffrey Sachs

Published: Sunday 30 October 20

“Many neuroscientists believe that the mental-health effects of TV viewing might run even deeper than addiction, consumerism, loss of social trust, and political propaganda.”

The past half-century has been the age of electronic mass media. Television has reshaped society in every corner of the world. Now an explosion of new media devices is joining the TV set: DVDs, computers, game boxes, smart phones, and more. A growing body of evidence suggests that this media proliferation has countless ill effects.

The United States led the world into the television age, and the implications can be seen most directly in America’s long love affair with what Harlan Ellison memorably called “the glass teat.” In 1950, fewer than 8% of American households owned a TV; by 1960, 90% had one. That level of penetration took decades longer to achieve elsewhere, and the poorest countries are still not there.

True to form, Americans became the greatest TV watchers, which is probably still true today, even though the data are somewhat sketchy and incomplete. The best evidence suggests that Americans watch more than five hours per day of television on average – a staggering amount, given that several hours more are spent in front of other video-streaming devices. Other countries log far fewer viewing hours. In Scandinavia, for example, time spent watching TV is roughly half the US average.

The consequences for American society are profound, troubling, and a warning to the world – though it probably comes far too late to be heeded. First, heavy TV viewing brings little pleasure. Many surveys show that it is almost like an addiction, with a short-term benefit leading to long-term unhappiness and remorse. Such viewers say that they would prefer to watch less than they do.

Moreover, heavy TV viewing has contributed to social fragmentation. Time that used to be spent together in the community is now spent alone in front of the screen. Robert Putnam, the leading scholar of America’s declining sense of community, has found that TV viewing is the central explanation of the decline of “social capital,” the trust that binds communities together. Americans simply trust each other less than they did a generation ago. Of course, many other factors are at work, but television-driven social atomization should not be understated.

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Certainly, heavy TV viewing is bad for one’s physical and mental health. Americans lead the world in obesity, with roughly two-thirds of the US population now overweight. Again, many factors underlie this, including a diet of cheap, unhealthy fried foods, but the sedentary time spent in front of the TV is an important influence as well.

At the same time, what happens mentally is as important as what happens physically. Television and related media have been the greatest purveyors and conveyors of corporate and political propaganda in society.

America’s TV ownership is almost entirely in private hands, and owners make much of their money through relentless advertising. Effective advertising campaigns, appealing to unconscious urges – typically related to food, sex, and status – create cravings for products and purchases that have little real value for consumers or society.

The same, of course, has happened to politics. American politicians are now brand names, packaged like breakfast cereal. Anybody – and any idea – can be sold with a bright ribbon and a catchy jingle.

All roads to power in America lead through TV, and all access to TV depends on big money. This simple logic has put American politics in the hands of the rich as never before.

Even war can be rolled out as a new product. The Bush administration promoted the premises of the Iraq war – Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction –in the familiar colorful, fast-paced, and graphics-heavy style of television advertising. Then the war itself began with the so-called “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad – a made-for-TV live spectacle aimed at ensuring high ratings for the US-led invasion.

Many neuroscientists believe that the mental-health effects of TV viewing might run even deeper than addiction, consumerism, loss of social trust, and political propaganda. Perhaps TV is rewiring heavy viewers’ brains and impairing their cognitive capacities. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently warned that TV viewing by young children is dangerous for their brain development, and called on parents to keep children under two away from the TV and similar media.

A recent survey in the US by the organization Common Sense Media reveals a paradox, but one that is perfectly understandable. Children in poor American households today not only watch more TV than children in wealthy households, but are also more likely to have a television in their room. When a commodity’s consumption falls as income rises, economists call it an “inferior” good.

To be sure, the mass media can be useful as a provider of information, education, entertainment, and even political awareness. But too much of it is confronting us with dangers that we need to avoid.

At the very least, we can minimize those dangers. Successful approaches around the world include limits on TV advertising, especially to young children; non-commercial, publicly-owned TV networks like the BBC; and free (but limited) TV time for political campaigns.

Of course, the best defense is our own self-control. We can all leave the TV off more hours per day and spend that time reading, talking with each other, and rebuilding the bases of personal health and social trust.

“Follow Project Syndicate on Facebook or Twitter. For more from Jeffrey D. Sachs, click here.”

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Mindful Cafe: Learning to think outside box about teen drug use - The Naperville Sun

Mindful Cafe: Learning to think outside box about teen drug use - The Naperville Sun:

Some people are hard to help. There are particular problems laden with complications making the most experienced therapist fret and deliberate.

Imagine the father of a 15-year-old daughter who is constantly frustrated when she isolates herself in her room and stays on the phone too late. He complains that she rolls her eyes when he tries to ask, “How was your day at school” or “Why don’t you ever want to talk to me anymore?”

When you tell him to leave her a Post-it note message on her bathroom mirror, try texting her to say he misses her, or suggest that he take dinner into her room to join her while she listens to music, he ponders those suggestions and shrugs them all off as pointless.

“That won’t make any difference,” he says.

Or the 16-year-old son who screams about how his guardian grandparents don’t understand him, that they don’t trust him, and are constantly accusing him of lying or talking to his old drug-using friends. You encourage him to invite friends over to the house for a change, suggest to him to take his grandparents to an open support group for family members, to which he adamantly responds, “Why would I do that? They’re the ones who need to change.”

We have a term for this struggle in therapy: the “help-rejecting complainer.” In its most mild form, it is observed in a person venting their stress in one form or another, and when offered guidance or pointers, they find a subtle or at times overt way to reject the help. At that point, we have to recognize this as a sign to shift from advice giving to understanding what their resistance is really about.

Sometimes it is simple denial, other times it can be fear based, a lack of resources, or even lack of confidence to take the help because of the perceived risks involved. Many times the help-rejecting complainer has so many self-imposed barriers that they don’t even give themselves permission to solicit remedy for their stressor.

With all the heat on families to protect their homes from every kind of drug monster, people seem struck by the blitz. Parents are overwhelmed. I’m hearing more and more from parents their lack of comfort in even talking to their kids about drugs. They want to help their teens avoid drugs but don’t have a good idea where to start.

Some fear their child doesn’t have safe adults to talk to. Others are worried about how to reconcile their personal experiences with substances and the advice they got from their parents. Many parents have said things like: “Maybe the line between parent and friend is getting too gray,” and “Tell us what to do to make sure my kid doesn’t use heroin.”

I was impressed to meet a group of about 28 parents who showed up at an open drug education night at one of Naperville’s largest high schools. Though the small turnout could have been disheartening, those parents were energized and ready to take action.

As one father said about passing the knowledge forward, “If we each just tell five parents we know, those five can tell five others, and we can make a difference.”

Maybe the help needs to be packaged in a different way.

Several of those energized parents said their friends and neighbors didn’t want to attend the open forum because they didn’t want others to assume their teens were using. Others agreed saying they too feel pressured that people will judge their kids differently just because they as parents went to a drug education night.

Ask yourself: are you one of those parents who says they are frustrated by all the media buzz about drug problems to the point that you feel helpless? Do you feel the suggestions offered are too lofty to execute at home? Or is your family member one of those that you advise and support but never do anything with the help offered? Of course, the increased awareness is beneficial, but the true benefit occurs when we take action.

When we brainstorm and strategize together in the community, we can take action outside of the box and implement change. But contemplating really great ideas isn’t going to be enough. We must move forward and organize ourselves in this movement to halt the growth in drug use.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, Naperville Police Chief David Dial, his detectives and the Naperville Fire Department will join with addiction treatment experts of Linden Oaks at Edward to host a community forum called “Right in Your Own Backyard: What Every Parent Needs to Know.” It will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Edward Education Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. It’s an opportunity to hear from a panel of experts and from community members about how to be “help-accepting changers.”

Stephanie Willis is a mental health and addictions therapist with Linden Oaks at Edward and Willis Counseling & Consulting. She can be reached at and 630-481-6463.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Meat eating may shorten your life: Would you give up eating meat if it meant you would live longer?

Would you give up eating meat if it meant you would live longer? Candy Sagon/THE WASHINGTON POST
Sun Oct 30 2011 10:29:37 GMT+0400 (Arabian Standard Time) Oman Time

A more realistic strategy would be to take baby steps in that direction. Recent research shows that even one small daily change can make a difference

How about if you didn’t have to give it up entirely, maybe just once a week to start, or even once a day?

These are the choices facing many of us as a growing number of studies show that eating red meat daily can raise our risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

For president Bill Clinton, who recently talked publicly about his decision to give up eating meat, eggs and dairy, the choice was clear: If he didn’t do something drastic, his steadily worsening heart disease was going to kill him.

The former president, who has a family history of heart disease, got his first wake-up call in 2004 when he needed quadruple bypass surgery for blocked arteries. Afterward, he cut back on calories and tried to eat less fat to reduce his cholesterol. But six years later he needed stent surgery.

“I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette,” Clinton told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta. Even though he had made moderate changes to his diet, plaque had built up again in Clinton’s artery, and that signalled more serious changes were needed.

The answer, for Clinton, was to go vegan, which means giving up all animal-based foods in favour of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, soy and beans.

His goal now is to avoid any food that could damage his blood vessels, he says. He follows a low-fat, plant-based diet recommended by several doctors, including California physician Dean Ornish, 58, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, who also worked with Clinton during his presidency to include more low-fat food on White House menus. The change in Clinton was particularly dramatic, given his past battles with his weight and his legendary love for fatty junk food.

At 65 he’s now 24 pounds lighter, energetic, happy, travelling around the world and apparently much healthier. With Clinton’s family history and years of unhealthy eating, a vegan diet is probably good for him, but many people can find it hard to stick to. A more realistic strategy would be to take baby steps in that direction. Recent research shows that even one small daily change can make a difference.

Consider the latest findings:

A Harvard study found that eating red meat every other day, instead of daily, can substantially cut your risk for heart disease. Women who ate two servings of red meat a day had a 30 per cent higher risk of heart disease compared with women who ate it just three or four times a week.

A study of 200,000 men and women ages 25 to 75 found that replacing just one serving of red meat a day with either nuts, grains or low-fat dairy lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 20 per cent. Conversely, eating just one hot dog or sausage or two strips of meat daily increased the risk for diabetes by 51 per cent.

Harvard researchers who followed 84,136 women ages 30 to 55 found that eating one serving per day of nuts instead of red meat was linked to a 30 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular heart disease; subbing one serving of fish for red meat meant a 24 per cent lower risk, poultry a 19 per cent lower risk; and low-fat dairy a 13 per cent lower risk.

There are other important reasons to cut back on meat consumption: from saving global resources like fresh water and fuel, to reducing the amount of antibiotics and hormones in your diet from factory-farmed meat.

On the other hand, you want to make sure your diet isn’t too low in protein, iron and zinc. When you cut out meat protein, you need to swap in plant proteins like beans, lentils and chickpeas, which provide essential nutrients and also keep you from feeling hungry. And anytime you make a change in your diet, be sure sure to consult your doctor.

So what’s the best way to slowly but steadily cut back on eating red meat and processed meat? Here are some practical suggestions:

Meatless Monday. Sid Lerner, 80, gets the credit for reviving a successful campaign used during both world wars to get people to reduce their consumption of meat to aid the war effort. In 2003, Lerner started pushing the concept to get Americans to take one day off from eating meat; not because of a war, but for their own health. The goal is to help people reduce their meat consumption by 15 per cent. Vegan before dinnertime. Avoid meat at breakfast and lunch, but anything goes at dinner.

Try the four R’s: re-portion, reinvent, refresh and redirect. Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, who blogs about nutrition for USA Today and is the author of The Flexitarian Diet, is a big believer in slowly increasing the amount of vegetables and beans in your diet, while still including some meat, poultry and fish.

Here’s her four R’s:

Re-portion your plate by making it 50 per cent veggies, 25 percent meat, poultry or fish and 25 per cent whole grains.

Reinvent old favourites by taking your current favourite recipes and swapping out all or part of the meat with fibre-rich beans. (For each ounce of meat, substitute 1/4 cup beans instead.)

Refresh your recipe repertoire by trying one new vegetarian recipe a week. Check out magazines, cookbooks and websites for ideas.

Redirect meaty cravings. To get that meaty sensation in your mouth, but without the meat, look for dishes that include ingredients like soy sauce, mushrooms, potatoes and tomato sauce.


Heart disease gene altered by eating raw fruits and veggies.

Raw fruits and veggies can alter heart disease gene:
 by Kathleen Blanchard RN on 2011-10-12

Dr. Dean Ornish, a pioneer in heart disease treatment, said “Your genes are not your fate”. Now researchers, supporting what Dr. Ornish has been teaching for years, say one of the strongest genes for heart disease can be altered by eating a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables.

Raw fruits and vegetables can weaken heart disease gene

Researchers at McMaster and McGill universities conducted one of the largest gene studies to date showing how eating your fruits and vegetables can weaken the 9p21 gene, which is linked to high risk for heart disease.

For this study, the researchers analyzed the effect of diet on heart disease in over 27,000 people that included European, South Asian, Chinese, and Latin American and Arab ethnicities.

The finding suggests a diet rich in green, yellow and orange vegetables and berries can lower heart disease risk for people with the 9p21 genotype to the same level as those without the high risk gene.

The gene is linked to double the risk of having an early heart attack and a 74 increase in the chances of abdominal aortic aneurysm, compared to people without the gene, Jamie Engert, joint principal investigator of the study and researcher in cardiovascular diseases at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and associate member in the Department of Human Genetics at McGill University said though researchers know the gene puts people at risk for cardiovascular disease, 
..."it was a surprise to find that a healthy diet could significantly weaken its effect."

More than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day could keep heart disease at bay Sonia Anand, joint principal investigator of the study, and a researcher at the Population Health Research Institute and a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University said, “Our results support the public health recommendation to consume more than five servings of fruits or vegetables as a way to promote good health.”

Anand says people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables remained at low risk for heart disease even though they had the high risk gene.

The study shows genes really are not our fate. Lifestyle changes can alter the way genes are expressed. Anand says the study means family history of disease can be modified.

“Despite not being able to change our genetics, if we are able to modify the effect or expression of our genes. That's exciting."

Dr. Ron Do, who conducted the research, said more studies are needed to understand how fruits and vegetables interact with the heart disease gene.

For people with a strong family history of heart disease, eating a prudent, versus a typical Western diet, can lower the chances of heart disease. For the study, a prudent diet consisted of raw fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, nuts and other heart healthy foods, which was shown to weaken the 9p21 gene that is a strong predictor of who will have an early heart attack.

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Medicare covers lifestyle approach to healthcare - Heber Springs, AR - The Sun-Times

Medicare covers lifestyle approach to healthcare - Heber Springs, AR - The Sun-Times:

"When we think of advances in medicine, we usually have in mind something high-tech; It may be a new drug, a new laser, or a surgical intervention. We have a hard time believing that what Dr. Dean Ornish advocates can have a powerful effect. Simple choices we make each day—what we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke, how much we exercise and the quality of our relationships can make a powerful difference in our health, our well-being, and our survival, according to Ornish."

It was in 1977, in his first year of medical school, when Ornish wanted to launch a study looking at the effects of yoga and a vegetarian diet on patients with heart disease. The supervising physician made fun of him. Sixteen years later, he met with a director of Medicare, a chain-smoking, 280-pound man to see whether his approach to treating heart disease could be covered under the program. He was told, “If we do this, anyone with a crystal and a pyramid will want us to pay for what they do.”

Finally, on January 1, 2011, Ornish’s Medical Research Institute in Sausalito, CA, along with the similar Pritikin program, are being covered by Medicare part B. It has taken 34 years for medicine to accept the simple fact that what we do, our diet, exercise, management of stress—how we live is the major factor affecting health; and that changing it is much less expensive than the high tech methods which have held their attention for so long.

Ornish, in conjunction with insurance companies, proved that by directing patients in lifestyle changes instead of heart surgery, they could save $30,000 per patient, not to mention the miseries associated with surgeries.

In a talk he gave at the Mayo Clinic, Center for Innovation entitled “Thinking Differently about Healthcare”, Ornish said by teaching and encouraging heart patients to eat a healthy diet, exercise, learn to manage stress, and have healthy relationships, patients would not have to take drugs for life—saving 20 billion dollars on Lipitor alone. He said heart disease is 90 percent preventable. He said our genes can predispose us to a disease but our genes are not our fate. You may listen to Dean Ornish’s entire message delivered at Mayo at I encourage you to do so.

Admittedly, Ornish’s vegetarian, high complex carbohydrate, very low fat diet is controversial. There are others who advocate lifestyle changes that include animal protein and healthy fats. A one-diet-fits-all may not be the best approach. What they all have in common is they eliminate the processed junk food that is what most Americans eat. You can do that yourself without the help of Medicare.

Included in the Ornish program, and sometimes neglected in others, is attention to meditation, relaxation, and developing close and satisfying relationships. Ornish has written several books, including Reversing Heart Disease and Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy. They are all available at discounts on

One of the many websites about Preventive Medicine Research Institute, discusses what motivates people to change their lifestyle. Talking about “prevention” or “risk-factor reduction” or living longer is either scary or boring to most people. It doesn’t work well. Ornish writes, “Sometimes, people say, ‘I don’t care if I die early – I want to enjoy my life.’ Well, so do I. That’s the false choice – is it fun for me or is it good for me? Why not both? It’s fun for you and good for you to look good, feel good, have more energy, think more clearly, need less sleep, taste better, smell better, and perform better athletically–and sexually.”

He says, “When you eat a healthy diet, quit smoking, exercise, meditate (they use yoga), and have more love in your life, then your brain receives more blood and oxygen, so you think more clearly, have more energy, need less sleep. Your brain can grow so many new brain neurons in only three months that your brain can get measurably bigger! Your face gets more blood flow, so your skin glows more and wrinkles less. Your heart gets more blood flow, so you have more stamina and can even begin to reverse heart disease.”

How often do I hear someone say, “I have been bad” when they have eaten unhealthy food. Eating bad food does not make you a bad person. Ornish says, “The language of behavioral modification often has a moralistic quality to it that turns off a lot of people (like ‘cheating’ on a diet). It’s a small step from thinking of some foods as ‘bad’ to seeing yourself as a ‘bad person;’ at that point, might as well finish the pint of ice cream.”

Have you heard about Medicare coverage of Ornish’s clinic on television? I have not and we may not. Its goal is actual healing, instead of patching up with surgery and a lifetime of drugs. Considering who supports TV with ads, I doubt it will be widely publicized. However, as a friend once said, “You can’t hide the truth forever.”

Copyright 2011 The Sun-Times. Some rights reserved

The Dietary Supplement Scam Continues | NationofChange

The Dietary Supplement Scam Continues | NationofChange:
Now we learn that most of those oils, minerals, exotic fruit extracts and herbs don't help us any more than would a sugar pill, and some actually do harm. Furthermore, all those Earth-themed bottles have little to do with hippies offering cures from nature. They are part of a nearly $30-billion-a-year U.S. industry. Behind it stands an unusually unpleasant team of lobbyists tasked with ensuring that we're never sure what's actually in those pills, threatening politicians who call for their regulation and paying off those who stop said regulation. Makes me want to occupy something.

In addition to possibly doing harm in high doses, the poorly regulated supplements pose two other dangers, Marion Nestle, a food and nutrition specialist at New York University, told me. They may contain impurities from the manufacturing process. And they may not have the active ingredient on the label. A person who eats "reasonably well," she added, doesn't need any dietary pill unless a test shows a deficiency.


Friday, October 14, 2011

China Targets GE Turbines With $15.5B War Chest - Bloomberg

China Targets GE Turbines With $15.5B War Chest - Bloomberg

China has taken on General Electric Co. (GE) and Western peers that control the $70 billion wind-turbine market, striving to repeat its 2010 coup when the Asian nation sold more than half the world’s solar panels for the first time.
Armed with at least $15.5 billion in state-backed credit, China’s biggest windmill makers Sinovel Wind Group Co. and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. won their first major foreign orders in the past year. They plan to set up plants abroad, including China’s first in the U.S., easing entry into markets for delivering machines that can weigh 750 tons each.
Sinovel and Goldwind may counter the quality concerns of customers and overtake Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S as the biggest supplier by 2015, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance survey forecast. That can erode sales and margins for suppliers such as GE and Vestas that already face cutbacks in European subsidies and a 22 percent plunge in turbine prices from their 2008 peak.
“The Chinese dragon is coming,” said Jose Antunes Sobrinho, chief executive officer of Brazil’s Desenvix SA, a wind developer that ordered 23 Sinovel turbines in September.
The deal, South America’s first contract with a Chinese supplier, “is going to be a stepping stone for them” to showcase machines that are about 10 percent cheaper than those sold by competitors in Brazil such as GE and Germany’s Siemens AG (SIE), he said by telephone on Oct. 3.

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The 'Terrible 10': The Worst Aspects Of America's Food Scene

The 'Terrible 10': The Worst Aspects Of America's Food Scene:

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Public health expert: American Indians cannot be ignored in discussions of ethnic health disparities |

Public health expert: American Indians cannot be ignored in discussions of ethnic health disparities | "
Even though alcoholism, diabetes and other diseases kill American Indians at much higher rates than other minority groups, the disparity is often ignored because American Indians account for less than 2 percent of the population, Bird said."

This article was so well-written, it was impossible to edit.  Instead I left many links back to the author to be sure he is credited with the writing of the article.

Public health expert: American Indians cannot be ignored in discussions of ethnic health disparities |

Public health expert: American Indians cannot be ignored in discussions of ethnic health disparities
Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 4:10 PM Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 4:40 PM
By James T. Mulder / The Post-Standard

"Michael E. Bird has spent much of his career in public health shining a light on health problems that devastated his family and many other American Indians.

Bird, the first Native American to serve as the president of the American Public Health Association, visited Syracuse University today to give a talk about American Indian health disparities. The free lecture, open to the public, is at 6 p.m. in Room 001 of the Life Sciences Building."

Even though alcoholism, diabetes and other diseases kill American Indians at much higher rates than other minority groups, the disparity is often ignored because American Indians account for less than 2 percent of the population, Bird said.

Bird said he’s battled with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups to include American Indians along with blacks and Hispanics in discussions of and research into ethnic health disparities.

“Any discussion about populations that have been marginalized has to be about all of us or none of us,” Bird said.

Bird, 59, is a Santo Domingo-San Juan Pueblo Indian from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has master’s degrees in social work and public health, and worked for many years for the Indian Health Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The American Public Health Association, the world’s oldest organization of public health officials, elected him president in 2001. He’s now working as a consultant to Kewa Pueblo tribal officials in New Mexico, helping them develop a tribally owned and directed health center.

He and other delegates of the American Public Health Association have been invited to the White House later this month.

Bird jokingly said a fitting title to his life story would be: “From the outhouse to the White House.”

Bird grew up in a poor family. His mother had a seventh grade education and was 17 when she gave birth to him. His father was an alcoholic who died of cirrhosis. That family dysfunction steered him to a career in social work, then public health.

“I wouldn’t be who I am today if it were not for that experience,” Bird said. “I understand what it’s like to have that hurt and pain, but I’ve learned not to be overwhelmed by it, to control it and direct it.”

American Indians and Alaska Natives die at higher rates than other American from tuberculosis (500 percent higher), alcoholism (514 percent higher), diabetes (177 percent higher), car accidents and other unintentional injuries (140 percent higher), homicide (92 percent higher) and suicide (82 percent higher), according to the federal government.

Bird said the disparities are the consequences of Native American being removed from their ancestral lands, racism, poverty and other factors.

Despite the statistics, Bird said he sees encouraging signs.

Many tribes like his own are taking control of their health centers to improve services. The Urban Indian Health Institute is doing research to focus more attention on the health needs of American Indians who live in urban communities, he said.

Bird said he was encouraged when the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in 2007 which affirmed the equality of the world’s more than 300 million indigenous people.

“It’s not legally binding, but it provides visibility to issues faced by indigenous populations all over the world who share the same socioeconomic deficits of high morbidity, high mortality and high incarceration,” he said.

Even though he considers tobacco use a major health problem, Bird sees cigarette sales as a necessary evil for the Onondaga Nation  and many other Indian reservations.

If the United States had kept its promises to Indian people to provide adequate health services, education and many other benefits in exchange for their lands, reservations would not need to sell cigarettes or operate casinos, he said.

“It’s sort of like being in the middle of a lake and there’s a storm coming,” Bird said. “If those are the only oars you have, you are going to use them.”

Related topics: Syracuse University Michael E. Bird

 Submitted photo
Michael E. Bird, a national expert on Native American public health, visited Syracuse University Wednesday.


Even though alcoholism, diabetes and other diseases kill American Indians at much higher rates than other minority groups, the disparity is often ignored because American Indians account for less than 2 percent of the population, Bird said.


A wise man changes his mind, a fool never”
- Spanish Proverb quotes

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
-Carl Sagan

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
- Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
- Dr. Carl Sagan


“A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.”
- Dr. Carl Sagan

“A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.”
- Dr. Carl Sagan

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
- Dr. Carl Sagan

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Curry Eating Competition Lands Two People in the Hospital

Curry Eating Competition Lands Two People in the Hospital:

" in Edinburgh recently held a spicy curry eating competition that wound up being a "shambles," as several people got sick and two were hospitalized.
An American student was one of the regretful contestants who ate the "killer curry" for the charity competition. It will be her last time doing so:"

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This Automated Pizza Vending Machine Has a Built-In TV

This Automated Pizza Vending Machine Has a Built-In TV: "

Behold, the ne plus ultra of American innovation: Pizzametry, an automated machine capable of making 150 different types of pizza in mere three minutes, while you watch TV. Let us marvel at the pneumatic glory of Pizzametry spinning dough, slicing pepperonis, squirting sauce, and sprinkling cheese.

Pizzametry has a flat-screen TV mounted on it, so you can learn about your pizza and watch a music video or two while you wait. Someday, all Americans will be born with Pizzametry machines glued to their ..."

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Oral Sex Virus May Surpass Smoking as Cause of Throat Cancer - Businessweek

Oral Sex Virus May Surpass Smoking as Cause of Throat Cancer - Businessweek:

...may cause more cases of throat cancer in men than smoking, a finding that spurred calls for a new large-scale test of a drug used against the infection.

Researchers examined 271 throat-tumor samples collected over 20 years ending in 2004 and found that the percentage of oral cancer linked to the human papillomavirus, or HPV, surged to 72 percent from about 16 percent, according to a report released yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. By 2020, the virus-linked throat tumors -- which mostly affected men -- will become more common than HPV-caused cervical cancer, the report found.

HPV is known for infecting genitals. The finding that it can spread to the throat and cause cancer may increase pressure on Merck & Co., the second-largest U.S. drugmaker, to conduct large-scale trials to see if its vaccine Gardasil, which wards off cervical cancer in women, also prevents HPV throat infections.

“The burden of cancer caused by HPV is going to shift from women to men in this decade,” Maura Gillison, an oncologist at Ohio State University and study senior author, said in a telephone interview. “What we believe is happening is that the number of sexual partners and exposure to HPV has risen over that same time period.”

Gillison said she worked with researchers at Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck several years ago to design a study in men. After Merck acquired Schering-Plough Corp. in 2009, though, the trial “was canceled,” she said.

HPV-linked throat cancers, or orophyaryngeal cancer, are increasing so rapidly that by 2020 there will be 8,700 U.S. cases, with 7,400 cases in men, versus 7,700 cases of cervical cancer, the study said. Male cases alone will outnumber cervical cancer cases soon after 2020, Gillison said. The Ohio State study is based on tumor samples from several U.S. states.

HPV Infections

Roughly 20 million Americans have genital HPV infections, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least half of sexually active women and men get it at some point in their lives, the CDC says. Most of the time it doesn’t cause health problems.

Until recently, head and neck cancer mainly occurred in older patients and was associated with tobacco and alcohol use. The HPV-linked head and neck cancers, usually of the tonsils, palate or tongue, hit men their 30s, 40s, and 50s, Gillison said. It is unclear why women are affected much less often than men, she said.

Treatment involving chemotherapy, radiation and sometimes surgery, “is very nasty,” said Gillison. “It can leave people with permanent physical disfigurement, difficulty with speech and swallowing and poor dental health.”

In a 2007 epidemiology study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Gillison and her colleagues found that having a high number of oral or vaginal sex partners are risk factors for HPV-associated throat cancer. The cancer may also be spread by open-mouth kissing, Gillison said in the interview.

“Nobody paid attention to oral HPV infections until 2007,” she said. “We are about 15 years behind in the research” compared with the data on cervical cancer and HPV, she said.

--Editors: Chris Staiti, Reg Gale.
reporter on this story: Robert Langreth in New York at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

How To Find Greater Resilience

Finding The Bright Side Can Equal Greater Resilience:

When dealing with challenges in life, we tend to find situations
more stressful if we have less control over our circumstances. Often, we may feel that we have virtually no control in some of the situations we face, but we always have some control over our responses to these situations. the one thing we can control is our thoughts. We can control our thoughts, and on what we focus on in any situation, which can help control how we react.

Because the body's stress response is triggered by perceived threats as opposed to objectively verifiable ones, we know that shifting our focus away from seeing everystressor as a threat, and toward seeing stressors as challenges or even potential opportunities, can make a significant difference in how stressed we feel. However, it can be difficult to find a way to alter our thoughts and patterns of thinking about things, especially when stressed. It helps to know what to do.

That's where positive psychology research can help. One study in particular shed some light on a few areas of how to change your perspective and feel less stress and depression. The study, built upon previous research that showed that finding the hidden benefits in a difficult situation can be an effective way to reduce depressive symptoms and associated stress, examined a couple of unique ways to achieve this state of mind.

Specifically, the researchers looked at two routes to gaining a 'benefit-finding' frame of mind: optimism, and maintaining a good mood (also known as 'positive affect') in patients who had been diagnosed with MS. In this randomized clinical trial, 127 MS patients were given telephone counseling, and assessed at the beginning of the study, at 8 weeks, and 16 weeks into counseling sessions, using four separate assessments. After adjusting for time since MS diagnosis and type of treatment, assessments affirmed that decreased depression was associated with increased benefit-finding over time, and that benefit-finding was affected by both increased positive affect and increased optimism. This study not only affirms that finding the positive in a negative situation can indeed bring real benefits for mood, but sheds some light on effective ways of altering your perspective long-term.


‘Porn widows’ decry smut as a relationship killer | Wellbeing | Life | National Post

‘Porn widows’ decry smut as a relationship killer | Wellbeing | Life | National Post:

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Smoking has allure for impressionable young people.

I watched her for 5 minutes and vicariously smoked an entire cigarette.
I feel better now.

Smoking is ruinous to your health.

If children are considered the future, why the smoking?

For Chinese Students, Smoking Isn’t All Bad - Businessweek: "In dozens of rural villages in China’s western provinces, one of the first things primary school kids learn is what helps make their education possible: tobacco. The schools are sponsored by local units of China’s state-owned cigarette monopoly, China National Tobacco. “On the gates of these schools you’ll see slogans that say ‘Genius comes from hard work—tobacco helps you become talented,’” says Xu Guihua, secretary general of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, a privately funded lobbying group. “They are pinning their hopes on young people taking up smoking.”

Anti-tobacco groups say efforts in China to reduce sales.... "

Chinese kids smoking on the outskirts of Shaoyang in Hunan province

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Monday, October 3, 2011

News from The Associated Press

News from The Associated Press:

Salads are nice, but burgers are what really sell

In a country where more than two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese, food choices are often made on impulse, not intellect. So, while 47 percent of Americans say they'd like restaurants to offer healthier items like salads and baked potatoes, only 23 percent tend to order those foods, according to a survey last year by food research firm Technomic.


That explains the popularity of KFC's Double Down, a sandwich of bacon and cheese slapped between two slabs of fried chicken. It's the reason IHOP offers a Simple & Fit menu with yogurt and fruit bowls, but its top seller remains a 1,180-calorie breakfast sampler of eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns and pancakes. It's also why only 11 percent of parents ordered apple slices as an alternative to fries in McDonald's Happy Meals.

The mixed message hasn't stopped many restaurants from offering healthier fare. After all, the government has stepped up its oversight - and influence - over the industry that it blames for America's expanding waistline. National rules about putting calorie information on menus are expected to take effect next year and Mrs. Obama touts restaurants and companies that slash calories in foods.

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