Posts Tagged ‘men’

BPA linked to chemotherapy resistance

New research show BPA can reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments. Not surprising since previous research shows BPA can cause cancer.

“In tests on breast cancer cells, researchers from the University of Cincinnati found that Bisphenol A (BPA) may protect cancer cells from dying off when they are exposed to anti-cancer drugs.”

UC researchers used the same low-dose amounts of BPA that are found in the normal adult.

“They found that BPA acts on cancer cells in a similar manner to estrogen. Estrogen stimulates the creation of proteins that protect cancer cells from chemotherapy drugs.
Researchers have long known about this estrogen-induced effect on chemotherapy. However, they have been puzzled by the fact that some women who have less estrogen in their system, such as post-menopausal women, can still be resistant to anti-cancer medications.

The researchers said the findings will help scientists determine why these and other cancer patients, such as those with advanced stages of the disease, are resistant to chemotherapy.”

Very interesting findings. Wonder what the FDA and their cronies in the plastics industry will say to dismiss this?

This is yet another study, in a long and growing list, that shows BPA is indeed harmful at even low doses considered “safe” by the FDA.

Banning BPA will certainly send a message to manufacturers (who are already feeling the pinch in the baby product industry) and the government, that we will not stand for this. BPA is commonly found in the lining of canned foods and soda cans, dental fillings, polycarbonate water bottles, polycarbonate baby bottles and likely lurks in other areas we do not even think about – medical equipment for one.

How do you avoid BPA? Typically, BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic containers – look at the bottom of the container, if a recycle #7 symbol is there, it very likely contains BPA. However, it does not ALWAYS mean BPA is present – i.e. some of those single serve fruit contains are layered plastic and must be labeled as #7. But if the plastic is translucent and hard like glass, it’s more than likely made of BPA. Avoid canned foods (except the Eden Organics line which use another technology and their cans are BPA-free) and canned sodas. If you formula feed—watch out, many formula cans are lined with BPA, so at minimum use a powdered formula and not a liquid.

Sources: CTV.ca, Science Daily and the Daily Green

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Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
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What they didn’t tell you about recent meat recall

This is disturbing. Once again consumers are not being protected. I have to wonder how often this happens?

What they didn’t tell you about recent meat recall
By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune

So why haven’t those products been recalled?

They have been — very quietly.

Nestlé, General Mills, Heinz and ConAgra each acknowledged to news organizations that they have recalled products containing beef from the meatpacking company Hallmark/Westland. Read more….

Sleep is important: Americans are sleeping on the job

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey as part of their Sleep Awareness Week. They polled working Americans and asked them questions regarding their work and sleep habits. They found that Americans are getting a lot less sleep than they expected and many are “sleeping on the job.”

Respondants say they are getting 6 hours and 40 minutes of daily sleep, below the 7 hours and 18 minutes that most people say they need, and below the minimum of 8 hours that is recommended.

This leads to lower productivity, safety on the roads, not to mention medical and quality-of-life-related issues. 2/3 of the respondants acknowledged they knew it was a problem, but are not doing anything about it.

According to the National Institute of Health, more than 70 million Americans are affected by sleep problems. 

This random telephone survey of 1,000 individuals across the country, conducted at the end of 2007, found:

  • Respondents spend an average of almost 4.5 hours each week doing additional work from home. That’s after an average 9.5-hour workday.
  • One quarter of respondents have an eight-to-nine-hour workday; one quarter work nine to 10 hours per day; a third work 10 or more hours daily.
  • 28 percent said that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities at least a few days each month.
  • 29 percent reported falling asleep or being sleepy at work in the past month.
  • Respondents got an average of six hours and 40 minutes sleep per night on weekdays, although they said they needed seven hours and 18 minutes to be refreshed.
  • 36 percent have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving; 32 percent were drowsy while driving at least one or two times a month; and 26 percent drive drowsy during the workday.
  • 20 percent have lost interest in sex or have sex less often because of sleepiness.
  • 12 percent reported being late to work in the past month because of sleepiness.
  • 32 percent only get a good night’s sleep a few nights per month.
  • 65 percent have a sleep problem, such as difficulty falling asleep or waking up during the night; 44 percent said they had such troubles almost every night.
  • 17 percent get help falling asleep, in the form of alcohol or prescription/over-the-counter sleep medications, at least a few nights each week.
  • 58 percent drank caffeine to cope.
  • 38 percent chose foods loaded in sugar and carbohydrates.
  • 37 percent say they take naps.
  • 34 percent work at places which allow napping during breaks.

Read the entire article.

Health Remedies that Work

I found this interesting article in Men’s Health Magazine. Interesting and unique ways to cure common ailments. If anyone has tried any of these, please comment and let me know if they really work. Here’s a summary.

18 Tricks to Teach Your Body
Soothe a burn, cure a toothache, clear a stuffed nose…
By Kate Dailey

1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear! – OK I just tried this because I have a sore throat and would you believe it, this really worked! Well, for a few seconds anyway.
2. Experience supersonic hearing! To better to someone talking use your right ear, for music, use your left.
3. Overcome your most primal urge! If you need to tinkle and you are far from a bathroom, the author suggests you fanaticize about sex or Jessica Simpson. If you are too young, hate sex (and/or Jessica Simpson), or aren’t comfortable with this type of thinking, maybe fanaticizing about having dinner with, or just kissing Brad Pitt, Jessica Simpson or whoever trips your trigger.
4. Feel no pain! If you are getting shot, cough during the injection.
5. Clear your stuffed nose! Thrust your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then press between your eyebrows with one finger. (OK, how do people figure this stuff out?)
6. Fight fire without water! Sleep on your left side to help prevent acid reflux.
7. Cure your toothache without opening your mouth! Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger.
8. Make burns disappear! When you accidentally singe your finger on the stove, clean the skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your unmarred hand. (Personally I have used breastmilk, so if you have any of that around, I highly recommend applying that after doing this trick. The milk helps take the sting out.)
9. Stop the world from spinning! Dizzy? Put your hand on something stable.
10. Unstitch your side! Get stitches in your side when running, exhale as your left foot hits the ground instead of your right. I personally can attest that this works (at least it did 13 years ago when I actually ran)!
11. Stanch blood with a single finger! For a nose bleed, put some cotton on your upper gums — just behind that small dent below your nose — and press against it, hard. A much better alternative than pinching your nose and leaning back.
12. Make your heart stand still! Got butterflies? Blow on your thumb. The breathing triggers a nerve to help control your heart rate.
13. Thaw your brain! To cure that ice cream headache, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can.
14. Prevent near-sightedness! Poor distance vision is usually caused by near-point stress.” In other words, staring at your computer screen for too long. Every few hours during the day, close your eyes, tense your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. Tightening and releasing muscles such as the biceps and glutes can trick involuntary muscles — like the eyes — into relaxing as well.
15. Wake the dead! If your hand falls asleep while you’re driving or sitting in an odd position, rock your head from side to side.
16. Impress your friends! Next time you’re at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He’ll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that’s a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will cave like the French.
17. Breathe underwater! Before diving to the bottom of the pool, take several short breaths — essentially, hyperventilate. When you’re underwater, it’s not a lack of oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it’s the buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes your blood acidic.
18. Read minds! Well, your own anyway. Review a speech (or for a test perhaps) right before falling asleep. Since most memory consolidation happens during sleep, anything you read right before bed is more likely to be encoded as long-term memory.

Read the entire article.

Do Aromatherapy Products Work?

According to an Ohio State University study, they really don’t.

Aromatherapy claims can be found in everything from candles, lotions, bath salts and more when certain essential oils are added to the product. The claim depends on the essential oil that is used – lavender to help you sleep, basil for headaches and lemon as an anti-depressant. OSU conducted a study using lemon and lavender oils and put the subjects through several scenarios from pain response (dunking feet in cold water) to mood response (completing psychological tests). What they found was that lemon oil had a positive effect on subjects’ moods, but lavender didn’t have any perceived effect. Neither essential oil significantly affected pain responses, heart rate or blood pressure.

I doubt these finding will curb much, if any, spending on aromatherapy products, but the findings are at least interesting. I personally think if you feel it works then it’s worth it. Whether there are real results of that essential oil or you psychologically feel the effects, then really it does “work.” It just may not have the same effect for everyone.

Get Heart Healthy at Work

No one is safe from heart disease. Everyone should be heart-smart. But the reality is, very few of us probably are because of our busy lifestyles. I just read this article, and it is a reminder as to how important exercise and stretching are.

I know I have problems finding time to fit in exercise during the day. It’s morning rush to get the husband and 23 month old up, ready and out the door and to work and school on time (I use “on time” loosely). Then after work, it’s a rush to get home and get dinner ready, then clean up dinner, bathe the baby and spend some time playing with her and cleaning up the house at the same time. Then put her to bed and clean some more, check email, get things laid out for the morning, etc. You’re familiar with the routine.

To stay healthy and in shape, you need a healthy diet and exercise. So with the busy lifestyle of a typical working parent, there leaves little time for exercise. Exercise is very important, so you have to be a little creative. Here are a few things you can do at work to help:

1. Park at the back of the parking lot, or walk to work or the train if you can.
2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
3. Walk to ask your colleague a question in person rather than sending an email
4. Bring walking shoes and take a quick 15 minute walk at lunch – or walk the stairs
5. Use resistant bands while on a long phone call (you may get some weird looks if you are in a cube environment
6. Google “desk exercise” or “yoga at your desk” and you will find all kinds of different exercise you can do on a quick break.
Anything that helps your heart rate get up for any amount of time is beneficial.

Aside from activity, watch what you eat. Concentrate on adding healthy items to your diet rather than determining what you need to eliminate. Research shows you can reduce your chances of heart disease by 4% for each additional daily serving of fruits and vegetables. That’s just 25 servings to reduce your chances by 100%.  

It is also important to reduce stress in the effort to prevent heart disease. It’s suggested that you take a “breather” for yourself everyday. Your body needs a break, a stress reliever. 

At home there are other things you can do too that will also allow you to spend time with your kid(s). You just have to be creative. Here are a few things I do:
1. Turn on the music and dance
2. Limit TV time in the evening – get off the couch and move
3. Use your child as a weight and balance them on your feet while they are superman; or lay on your back, curl up your legs and bounce them on your feet like a horse.
4. Race down the hall. I often hold my daughter and we run down the hall. She loves it!
5. It’s getting warmer (well, that’s debatable I guess). Plan to get up or get home 15 minutes earlier and take a walk outside.
6. We are planning to get bikes for our anniversary with a baby seat on it, so we can bike ride as a family.

I believe that making daily exercise part of your child’s daily routine will set them on a course for good health and exercise habits. Then exercise is just something you do, like brushing your teeth, rather than something you should do.

Here are a few articles to help you get moving at work. Note, these are not great cardiovascular workouts, but it is definitely better than nothing.

WebMD’s Desk Workout

Exercise at your desk – article and links to several types of desk exercises

Add Years to Your Life

Four Healthy Behaviors Can Add Many Life Years
AHIP Medical Affairs Issues Report
February 13, 2008

A study conducted in the United Kingdom looked at the impact of four lifestyle behaviors on mortality. Though the health effects of smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and fruit and vegetable intake have been examined separately in many studies, the researchers wanted to examine the effects of their combined impact.

The study examined 20,000 white British men and women, age 45-79 years old, first surveyed in the 1990s. At baseline, the participants had no known cardiovascular disease or cancer. Participants scored one point for each health behavior: current non-smoker, not physically inactive, moderate alcohol intake (1-14 units per week), and fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day (measured by plasma vitamin C levels). Participants were asked to complete a health and lifestyle questionnaire, and were examined by trained nurses at a clinic.

After an average 11 year follow up and controlling for age and other factors that may affect the likelihood of death, results showed that those who scored four points (exhibited all four health behaviors) had one quarter of the mortality risk compared to those who scored zero points. This risk was equivalent to about 14 years difference in chronological age. Those who had a score of two were twice as likely to die as those with a score of four. The trends were strongest for deaths from cardiovascular causes, but there were also associated deaths from cancer and other causes.

The authors noted that the differences in survival were also observed in people with existing chronic disease. They encouraged public health officials to use this information to educate people that modest and achievable goals have significant impact on health, even later in life and for those with chronic conditions.

My personal comments: These 4 things are relatively easy, it just takes a little will power for some people. We all know smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is bad, and exercise and eating fruits and veggies are good. For me, it’s finding time for physical activity. I do have a 22 month old, so I at least have help in that respect, but I do not have time to devote 30 minutes to daily exercise. But I do feel pretty good that on most days I am hitting 3 out of 4 of these items.

It’s also a great idea to go ahead and make this a part of your daily life as a parent and instill these things in your child so these will be natural habits for them going into their adult years. We do not keep “junk food” in our house (not to say we don’t have the occassional Oreo now and then) but to our 22 month old daughter fruits are sweets; and she also loves to chew on carrots, she will eat a big bowl of lima beans, and hummus dip is a daily staple. Some parents say “my child will not eat anything besides junk.” Well, if you don’t have it around to start with, I bet you they will eat the healthy choices that are put in front of them. 

This article was published in the January 2008 issue of the PLoS Medicine journal and can be accessed by clicking here.

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