Tag Archives: Health

Cat Ladies Beware!

A parasite carried by cats could increase the suicide risk in women…


As a staunch kitty advocate, I just find this interesting and somewhat amusing….

And too good not to post….

But stand by your cats!

From NPR:

There’s fresh evidence that cats can be a threat to your mental health.

To be fair, it’s not kitties themselves that are the problem, but a parasite they carry called Toxoplasma gondii.

A study of more than 45,000 Danish women found that those infected with this feline parasite were 1.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than women who weren’t infected.

That’s not a huge increase, but it’s probably too big to have been caused by chance, says Teodor Postolache, a University of Maryland psychiatrist and senior author of the paper, which was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Still, the absolute risk of suicide remains very small. Fewer than 1,000 of the women attempted any sort of self-directed violence during the 30-year study span. And just seven committed suicide.

But this isn’t the first time T. gondii infection, or toxoplasmosis, has been associated with behavioral changes in people, Postolache says. Previous studies have shown links to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and even the chance that a person will get in an automobile accident.

The T. gondii parasite lives in the intestines of cats. Cat owners can become infected when they change a litter box, Postolache says. But he says people are more likely to be infected when they eat vegetables or meat that are raw or undercooked.

“People should not give their cats away” because of this study, Postolache says.

Scientists still aren’t sure how the parasite affects a person’s brain, he says. But in rodents, it causes cysts to form in areas of the brain involved in behavior.

More:   A Parasite Carried By Cats Could Increase Suicide Risk : Shots – Health Blog : NPR.


Filed under Pets

Manic Nation: Why Americans Are Anxious, Stressed, Depressed and Fat

This makes so much sense….

We just don’t live natural lives anymore….

It’s my goal to try to reach the appropriate balance…

And it gets harder every day…

We keep losing touch with nature and how we were meant to live….

From AlterNet.com

A British-born endocrinologist and psychiatrist, Whybrow has been fascinated with applying behavioral neuroscience to social issues since he took over the institute in 1998. At the time, with the dot-com bubble swelling and the Internet expanding, he saw a dangerously rising tide of growing psychosocial stress and shrinking physiological balance.

“Many of the usual constraints that prevented people from doing things 24 hours a day—like distance and darkness—were falling away,” says Whybrow. Our fast new lives reminded him of the symptoms of clinical mania: excitement over acquiring new things, high productivity, fast speech—followed by sleep loss, irritability, and depression.

Whybrow believes the physiological consequences of this modern mania are dramatic, contributing to epidemic rates of obesity, anxiety, and depression. In his forthcoming book, tentatively titled The Intuitive Mind: Common Sense for the Common Good, Whybrow explores how to repair the damage. “Why is it that we’ve been railroaded down this path of continuous stimulation and can’t seem to control ourselves?” he wonders. “Why can’t we just stop?”

via Manic Nation: Why Americans Are Anxious, Stressed, Depressed and Fat (And What We Can Do About It) | | AlterNet.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care, Uncategorized

Caffeinated Women May Be Fighting Depression With Every Cup

Interesting article about the positive effects of coffee in fighting depression…

Personally, I’m a tea person. I gave up coffee- except for seasonal Starbuck’s Egg Nog Lattes- about three years ago.  I’m convinced tea has the same benefits of caffeine,  but so many more additional benefits. And I don’t have to add the calories of Half and Half to drink it!

Anyway….from NPR:

For many of us, coffee is the first thought of the day. Just thinking about it gives us the buzz, the energy and the power to ask ourselves the next question, do I make it at home or shell out another $4 at the local Starbucks as I race to work?

Well, you may decide to do both if you’ve seen new research that suggests women who drink more than one cup a day may decrease their risk of depression.

The more coffee women drink, the greater we reduce our risk of depression, according to the study. And since one in five women are diagnosed with depression at some point in life, it may be worth contemplating that double shot of espresso.

More:   Caffeinated Women May Be Fighting Depression With Every Cup : The Salt : NPR.

1 Comment

Filed under Health Care

States Consider Banning Teens From Tanning Salons to Help Prevent Melanoma

This would be a very good thing for all the states to adopt.  I know some people are going to complain about “the Nanny State,” but….

I had multiple Melanoma surgeries on my face- yes, my face!  One required removing a part of my face as big as a golf ball. And I am an image-conscious, vain, gay man, so that was more than a little traumatic.

My doctor said Melanomas in that specific spot were almost always the result of tanning bed use when the person was younger.

Luckily, I’ve had no recurrence for over two years.  And I had a very good Plastic Surgeon.  If I had known he was as good as he was, I would have had him do a few other things while he was doing the repairs and reconstruction.  I would now have the eyes of a thirty-year-old.  Another missed opportunity….

Anyway, we all need to remember that Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer if it is not caught in time.  Take it seriously and try to prevent it.  Look on the soles of your feet – they hide there- as well as your face and back.  Go to a Dermatologist if you see anything suspicious.

This law is really common sense, but sometimes we have to try to legislate common sense.  When I was 25, looking good at that moment was the most important thing to me.  I wasn’t thinking of risks down the road.  We should at least try to save the teens from themselves- and their idiot parents- as they are at the most susceptible for damage from the tanning beds.  And they may not know it for 20-30 years.

End of sermon…..

From The Huffington Post:

– If a proposed law passes, California teens under 18 will need a fake ID to “fake and bake” themselves to a golden brown.

Citing skin cancer risks, legislators have joined lawmakers in at least 21 other states who have debated bills this year to ban or restrict tanning bed use by minors.

via States Consider Banning Teens From Tanning Salons.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care, Uncategorized

The Gayest Work Out Video of All Time….

From the 1980’s of course….

It’s kind of like a Village People Workout- or something….

I guess not everyone was doing the Jane Fonda Videos….

I wouldn’t know anything about this…

My idea of a workout back in the 1980’s was mixing a drink and lighting a cigarette multiple times a night while trying not to fall off a bar stool…

And I looked marvelous!

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Gay

Musicians Are Probably Smarter Than The Rest Of Us

Well, I took piano lessons for years, dabbled at guitar and played the clarinet-poorly- in High School Band…

Sounds like I should have stuck with one of these…

I wonder if we can cram a piano somewhere in this house….

From HuffingtonPost.com:

Want to keep your mind healthy and sharp throughout your life? Pick up an instrument. A new study found that musicians might have brains that function better than their peers well into old age. Bet you wish you stuck with those piano lessons after all.

Researchers tested the mental abilities of senior citizens and discovered that musicians performed better at a number of tests. In particular, musicians excelled at visual memory tasks. While musicians had similar verbal capabilities to non-musicians, the musicians’ ability to memorize new words was markedly better, too. Perhaps most importantly, the musicians’ IQ scores were higher overall than those who spent their lives listening to music rather than performing it.

More:   Musicians Are Probably Smarter Than The Rest Of Us.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Music

Know the Dangers and Health Effects of Soda Consumption

Interesting info here…

I never touch the stuff, so I can gloat a little…

I’m convinced High Fructose Corn Syrup is evil…

From ABC news via Dr Mercola…

Click the link for the video:

Soda is on my list of the five absolute worst foods and drinks you can consume.  The video above offers a compelling illustration of why I make this claim.

In it, reporter Yunji DeNies drinks a 20-ounce glass of cola, which contains the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This is nearly three times the maximum daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association.

HFCS typically contains a mixture of 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose (although recent investigations have found that many brand-name sodas actually contain 65 percent fructose!).

Once ingested, your pancreas rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. The rise in blood sugar is quite rapid. Here’s a play-by-play of what happens in your body upon drinking a can of soda:

Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.

Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. As you could see in the report above, DeNies’ blood glucose level was 79 at the outset of the experiment, and after 40 minutes it had risen to 111!

Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.

After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a blood sugar crash, and you may be tempted to reach for another sweet snack or beverage.

As I’ve discussed on numerous occasions, chronically elevated insulin levels (which you would definitely have if you regularly drink soda) and the subsequent insulin resistance is a foundational factor of most chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer.

via Know the Dangers and Health Effects of Soda Consumption.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Health Care, Uncategorized

Obesity Rates Higher Among Churchgoers | AlterNet

Another reason I steer clear of organized Religion….

It just isn’t healthy…

Young people who are active in their religion are more likely to become obese by the time they reach middle age, according to a new study. Participants who go to church at least once a week were found to be about twice as likely to have a higher body mass index than those who attended infrequently or not at all.

The LA Times reports:

Young adults age 20 to 32 who were on the high end of religious involvement were 50% more likely to be obese by the time they hit middle age compared with those in the “none” category. This was true even after researchers adjusted for sex, age, race, education, income and the participants’ body mass index at the start of the study.

More about the research, which was presented at an American Heart Association conference, from CNN:

“Churches pay more attention to obvious vices like smoking or drinking,” said Matthew Feinstein, lead author of the research and fourth-year medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Our best guess about why is that…more frequent participation in church is associated with good works and people may be rewarding themselves with large meals that are more caloric in nature than we would like.”

The [research] involved 2,433 people enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The group was tested – at first between 20 and 32 years old – for various cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and smoking. Those same tests were repeated in the same group over the next 25 years.

CNN quotes a pastor in Chicago who suggests two factors that may be involved: the disappearance of church-sponsored sports leagues, and that church attendance will often displace involvement in less sedentary activities.

via Obesity Rates Higher Among Churchgoers | AlterNet.

Leave a comment

Filed under Religion, Social Commentary