"Once You're Through Learning, You're Through"
-John Wooden, retired UCLA basketball coach, 98 years old-
So, how do I decide what I'm including in my brain back-up? Simple. If it's something new to me--something I'd never heard about before--or if it's a piece of information that brings new understanding to something I already know, "I back it up".
I'm trying to make these just "Info Nuggets" with links to the source if you want to know more.
How Safe Is Your Cell Phone? Check Out the New Environmental Working Group Report 9/11/2009
Cell phone safety is near the bottom of my worry list, which is why I took the cheapest phone Verizon was offering when I needed a new phone & wanted one that with a keyboard for texting. Big Mistake! Turns out my phone (the LG EnV2) is on the lower end of the safety scale (Maximum radiation 1.28 W/kg) and the EWG suggests I ought to replace it with something safer, or start using a head set.
Why should we care about our cell phones? Although the research is still ongoing, four billion people around the globe own cell phones, and more of us are choosing to use cells over landlines.
What are the risks from the radiation cell phones emit? There are significantly higher risks for brain and salivary gland tumors among people using cell phones for 10 years or longer. Children are at a greater risk--and men carrying phones clipped to their waist or in a front pocket put their sperm at risk--where soft body tissues absorb radiation.
This was news to me. Ways to limit radiation exposure:
1. Listen More, Talk Less: Your phone only emits radiation when you talk or text, but not when you're receiving messages, or listening.
2. Choose Texting Over Talking: Phones use less power (which means less radiation) when you text--and when you text, the phone is away from your head.
3. Poor Signal? Stay Off the Phone: Fewer bars on the phone means that it emits more radiation to get the signal to the tower. Make and take calls when your phone has a strong signal. I never gave this a second thought!
Check out how safe your cell phone is here. There's no "search screen", so click on your Edit button on the top toolbar, and type in your cell phone name. Keep hitting "next" until your model number appears.
Five Easy Steps to Stay Safe (and Private) on Facebook. Read Sarah Perez' step-by-step guide to changing your Facebook settings
Full Disclosure: I don't use Facebook, (so I'm in no position to have an opinion here) but now that I've read Sarah's article I'd feel a lot more in control of my privacy if I decide to sign up. Read her original article--the one posted on ReadWriteWeb on 9/16/09 for an easy-to-understand graphic step-by-step guide on how to change your settings and restrict access in very specific ways. You can be as safe and as private as you like!
This version, beats the New York Times version of her article, hands down!
Step 1: Why You Need to Make Friend Lists (and no--your friends won't know what lists they are on)
Step 2: Restrict Who Can See What's On Your Profile
Step 3: Restrict Who Can See Your Address & Phone Number
Step 4: How to Change Who Can FIND You on Facebook via SearchStep 5: How to Stop Sharing Personal Info With Unknown Applications
And be sure to scroll down to read comment #12 which basically warns against using any apps (like quizzes) & how your information is still vulnerable if your friends use apps--regardless of your settings.
"There are two separate privacy concerns with apps:
1) If you personally run any app, like our (ACLU) quiz, that app has access to almost all of the information in your profile, on your wall, and so forth. Currently, there is NO privacy setting that limits what the apps you choose to run can access - every app you run has access to almost everything (contact info being one of the few exceptions).
2) If your friend runs an app, like our quiz, that app has access to your information based on your "application privacy settings" (see step 5 above). You can opt out, but (as Sarah said) if you don't the default is that your friends' apps have access to most of your information."
--Chris,creator of the ACLU Quiz application, ACLU Northern California-
If You've Got High Cholesterol, You Might Want to Consider a Bone Density Test
Scientists at UCLA have figured out exactly how a fatty diet and high cholesterol contribute to bone loss--which helps to explain why bone fractures are reduced when cholesterol levels are reduced.
Here's the deal: That nasty oxidized LDL cholesterol causes our immune T cells to pump out a chemical--called RANKL--which in turn causes bone damage. Eating a diet high in saturated fats increases the level of oxidized LDL--and in turn signals the T cells to produce a higher level of bone-damaging RANKL---and when RANKL is manufactured for long periods of time it results in excessive bone damage.
Dr. Rita Effros, a UCLA professor led the study, and published it in Clinical Immunology on 8/20/09. Read about it here. One more reason to ditch a high-fat-cholesterol-producing diet.
Why Women Who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding Need to Get the Seasonal Flu Shot and the H1N1 When It's Available
1. Pregnant women in South America, Central America and Australia fared less well than others during their recent outbreak of H1N1. CDC data from April 15-May 18, 2009, on the first US cases of H1N1 in pregnant women, showed 32% of pregnant women infected with H1N1 were hospitalized, and by June, 6 had died. Read the Lancet article here
2. Pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of complications from flu because as a woman advances in her pregnancy her immune system becomes compromised.
3. Both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) & the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology recommend pregnant women get both the seasonal flu shot--which is available now--and the H1N1 shot when it becomes available in mid-October.
4. 120 expectant women around the country are currently participating in a clinical trial with the H1N1 vaccine. Those results are expected in the beginning of October.
Excerpts From the Empowered Patient: Surviving H1N1 With Baby in Belly 9/17/09 click here for this excellent reviewIf I get the vaccine while pregnant, will this also protect the baby when he/she is born?
Is it safe to get vaccinated while breastfeeding? Should my newborn also be vaccinated?
"One of the things the body does very well is give antibodies to the babies," says Dr. Buddy Creech, a researcher conducting clinical trials on pregnant women at Vanderbilt University. "It's one of the greatest reasons we vaccinate pregnant women."
Creech says past flu studies have found that when women get flu shots before giving birth, they help build immunity for their child that is particularly helpful during the infant's first few months of life.
"If we're going to protect those children, it'll be with vaccines rather than drugs," Creech says.
According to the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, the H1N1 vaccine will be recommended for children ages six months and older. Newborns and infants younger than 6 months cannot receive the vaccine.
Health officials say breastfeeding is one way a mother might be able to help protect her baby. "The vaccine is safe if she breastfeeds, and she may even pass along some immunity to her infant," says Tepper of the CDC. "It will also reduce the chance that [the mom] will get the flu and pass it to her infant."
According to the CDC: Mothers who are breastfeeding should continue to nurse their babies while being treated for the flu. Breast milk passes on antibodies from the mother to a baby. Antibodies help fight off infection.
Be sure to read the CDC seasonal & H1N1 site for pregnant & nursing mother! click here
Sabriya Rice's CNN Empowered Patient article on H1N1 & Pregnancy click here for this excellent review
Ice Cream on the Brain. How Eating Tasty High Fat Foods Like Meat, Milk, Butter, & Cheese Changes Our Brain Chemistry and Makes Us Just Want to Eat More
I found the summary of this "fat addiction" research fascinating. It was led by Dr. Deborah Clegg, out of the University of Southwestern Texas Medical Center. Reminds of Dr. David Kessler's book. Here's an excerpt:
Dr. Deborah Clegg and colleagues suggest that fat molecules from certain foods can change brain chemistry in a very short period, causing appetite-suppressing signals to be ignored.
“Normally, our body is primed to say when we’ve had enough, but that doesn’t always happen when we’re eating something good,” said Clegg, senior author of the rodent study appearing in the September issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
“What we’ve shown in this study is that someone’s entire brain chemistry can change in a very short period of time. Our findings suggest that when you eat something high in fat, your brain gets ‘hit’ with the fatty acids, and you become resistant to insulin and leptin,” Dr. Clegg said.
“Since you’re not being told by the brain to stop eating, you overeat.”
The foods that are responsible for this brain chemistry change contain Palmitic Fat--and it's found in ice cream, butter, cheese, milk, and meat. Not exactly a big surprise. Maybe that explains why I have no self-control with ice cream or cheese.
To read the PsychCentral article, click here
To read the UT Southwestern Medical Center press release, click here.
A Poor Night's Sleep Can Give You a Cold. More Proof of What We Already Know
No excuses! It's cold & flu season. No matter how busy you are, make sure you get a good night's sleep. Plain & simple, and coming out of the Archives of Internal Medicine: If you don't get enough sleep prior to exposure to cold viruses, you are lowering your resistance and have a better chance of getting sick.
Read Anahad O'Connor's article in the NYT's Really? The Claim: Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Catching a Cold. Click here
Worried About Your Tap Water and Don't Won't To Invest In A Water Filtration System? Give Up Bottled Water with the Z-Pitcher from ZeroWater
For $40 you can get a BPA free water filter pitcher that outperforms Brita. I heard about this a couple months ago from Beth Greer, of SuperNaturalMom, and it's recommended by The Daily Green, Consumer Reports, Bottlemania author, Elizabeth Royte and more.
The company's effective demo showed Houston, TX water at 271 ppm and Bensalem, PA water at 157 (New York City's was at 11 ppm--phew!). After running the water through a ZeroWater filter, a follow-up TDS meter test read 000 for all samples. -from the Daily Green-
It is a five-stage unit that takes almost everything out of the water- it is certified to meet the highest standards for removal of lead, iron, zinc and mercury. Although there are no standards to certify it for antibiotics, hormones and perchlorate, they tested it and it removed almost all of them as well. -from the Tree Hugger-
Read More Reviews on ZeroWater & the Z-Pitcher here