Stop Dow Chemical’s “Agent Orange” Crops (petition)

Photo by Center for Food Safety

Photo by Center for Food Safety

 

From the Center for Food Safety:

Dow Chemical, the same company that brought us Dursban, Napalm, and Agent Orange, is now in the food business and is pushing for an unprecedented government approval:  genetically engineered (GE) versions of corn and soybeans that are designed to survive repeated dousing with 2,4-D, half of the highly toxic chemical mixture Agent Orange.

Continue reading

Having Green Space Near Your House Improves Mental Health

Ann Novek( Luure)--With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors

A new research has shown for the first time that green space does appear to improve mental health in a sustained way.

Mathew P. White and colleagues note that mental well being is a major public health issue, with unipolar depressive disorder the leading cause of disability in middle to high income countries.

Some research suggests that part of the blame for this unhappiness lies in increased urbanization  nearly 80 percent of the world’s population in more developed regions live in city environments, which tend to have little room for nature.

Other studies suggest a link between happiness and green space, but no research had convincingly established cause and effect of nature on well being over time. To help fill that gap, White’s team decided to examine the issue.

To figure out if nature makes people feel better in the long run, they compared the mental health of hundreds of…

View original post 49 more words

Trend: Soaring Medical Bills Due to Specialists

Photo courtesy of Isafmedia via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Isafmedia via Flickr

 

I just read a NY Times article about how people are feeling gouged in the wallet by medical specialists. There are several reasons for the high cost of seeing these doctors. One is that specialists tend to charge way more (and get paid way more) than general practitioners. Another is that specialists will insist that they treat a problem that in reality could be taken care of more cheaply by a different doctor.

Continue reading

U.S. F.D.A. Questions Safety of Antibacterial Soaps (FINALLY)

Photo courtesy of awarenessmonths.com

Photo courtesy of awarenessmonths.com

 

In December of last year it was reported that triclosan and triclocarban, the main ingredients in anti-bacterial products such as hand sanitizers, is suspected of being dangerous to human health by the US FDA.

After years of mounting concerns that the antibacterial chemicals that go into everyday items like soap and toothpaste are doing more harm than good, the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that it was requiring soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the substances were safe or to take them out of the products altogether (NY Times).    

After a bit of my own research, I found that the term “mounting concerns” is putting it lightly.

Continue reading

Obama’s “You Can Keep Your Plan” Promise Regarding the Affordable Care Act

Image courtesy of recycledminds.com

Image courtesy of recycledminds.com

 

Just found this article about Obamacare on CSMonitor.com:

At the root of the dispute is this: The Obamacare law allows people to keep health plans they had before the law was passed, if those plans still exist. But in many cases, the plans have evolved since the law’s 2010 passage – due, at least in part, to minimum benefits mandated in the new law. That has prompted many Americans to feel misled by the president.

Continue reading

Don’t Take the Right-Wing Media’s Word For It About Obamacare

Sean Hannity of Fox News - courtesy of http://jimsconservativecommentary.blogspot.com

Sean Hannity of Fox News – courtesy of jimsconservativecommentary.blogspot.com

 

On Rachel Maddow’s blog (from The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC), there’s an article about how the right-wing media is still working on ways to sabotage Obamacare’s success. It seems that they are resorting to telling straight-up lies about it at this point.

Continue reading

Obamacare Allowed Oregon to Cut Its Uninsured Population By 10 Percent Already

Photo courtesy of www.health.com

Photo courtesy of health.com

 

ThinkProgress.org has recently published an article about the success of Obamacare (aka Affordable Care Act) in Oregon, and it’s very encouraging:

Continue reading

Don’t Let Loneliness Make You Sick

Lonely Bench by Mezuss

Lonely Bench by Mezuss

Loneliness doesn’t just hurt emotionally, but physically, too. At first glance, this seems counter-intuitive. How can a feeling have tangible, physical effects on our health? It’s “just” a feeling. Well, research has proven that logic wrong.

According to Slate.com:

“Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.

The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.

Social isolation impairs immune function and boosts inflammation, which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.”

And if you think you’re the only one lonely, you’re not alone. Slate.com says:

“Loneliness has doubled: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s.”

In the age of the Internet, sites like Facebook and Twitter have become wildly popular. Facebook users say that they like to connect with others online, sharing their lives with their personal online communities. But there is an intimacy that is lacking in online connections, and some people, including researchers, are slowly realizing it.  There is a hole in our hearts, and internet-based social networking has proven insufficient to fill it.

“All of our Internet interactions aren’t helping and may be making loneliness worse. A recent study of Facebook users found that the amount of time you spend on the social network is inversely related to how happy you feel throughout the day.

Even those “popular” users who have upwards of 1,000 “Facebook friends” are not faring any better than those with less.

“In terms of human interactions, the number of people we know is not the best measure. In order to be socially satisfied, we don’t need all that many people. According to Cacioppo the key is in the quality, not the quantity of those people. We just need several on whom we can depend and who depend on us in return.”

In my own opinion, it’s perfectly ok to connect with people online. It can be truly fun and rewarding, especially when you can interact with like-minded people who care about the same things you do. I think blogging is wonderful, and I love to do it. But if you are very lonely, don’t rely solely on your computer to fill that need. Make friends outside of the internet- those friendships will be even more rewarding because you can see the person’s facial expressions when they talk, hug them, hang out with them, and in general have a real human connection that you can never get online. Pets are great, too, for the bond and unconditional love they provide.

The mind and body are deeply connected. What you think and feel mentally has a profound impact on your physical self. So taking care of any emotional or psychiatric problems you may face is very important to your overall well being.

For more on studies about loneliness, go to Slate.com.

10 Reasons to Love Obamacare

Photo courtesy of drexel.edu

Photo courtesy of drexel.edu

 

About Pres. Obama’s new health care plan, Care2 says:

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is called that for a reason. Otherwise known as Obamacare, it protects patients from HMOs’ common abusive tactics and makes health insurance more affordable.”

Here are 10 reasons why you should feel good about Obamacare (and not listen to Republicans) –

1) Everyone will have access to health care coverage

2) Pre-existing conditions will no longer affect your coverage

3) Sick patients will no longer be dropped by their insurance 

4) Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans

5) Free preventive care

6) Regular check-up with a gynecologist will be free for women

7) Free birth control

8) You will save money on medical bills

9) The whole country will save money (Obamacare will reduce the national deficit by two hundred billion dollars in its first ten years)

10) The Medicare “donut hole” will close (Seniors on Medicare  who experience this donut hole often pay up to $4,550 out of pocket for prescription medication. Obamacare will seal up the hole by 2020)

For more details, go to Care2.com.

The Uninsured Mentally Ill

Photo courtesy of caregiving.com

Photo courtesy of caregiving.com

Here’s a scary fact: A single hospital admission for a mentally ill patient paid for by the taxpayer-financed state medical-assistance program costs more than a year of private outpatient care. It makes little financial sense, yet it happens every single day in America.

Everyday, a mentally ill person is admitted to an ER in the throes of a psychiatric emergency, desperately needing care and having nowhere else to go. No psychiatrist, no therapist, no case manager, no nothing. So they rely on ER doctors and nurses- and tax payers. But after the patient gets emergency care, they are back on their own. Until it happens again.

So why do these patients lack proper, long term psychiatric care that could provide regular treatment? Why do they end up in this endless cycle? The answer is simple, yet still disturbing- they have no health insurance.

Psychiatrist Christine Montross wrote an article,”The Woman Who Ate Cutlery,” about this quandary that many mentally ill people who lack health insurance face on a regular basis. The article was featured in the New York Times on August 3, 2013.

From NYTimes.com:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — M is a 33-year old woman who swallowed silverware. Each time she ingested utensils, she went to the emergency room so that doctors could remove them from her esophagus and stomach.

Then the hospital transferred M to the psychiatric unit, where she was assigned to my care. When I met M she had already been hospitalized 72 times.

M’s case is dramatic. But she is one of countless psychiatric patients who have nowhere to turn for care, other than the E.R.

It is well known that millions of uninsured Americans, who can’t afford regular medical care, use the country’s emergency rooms for primary health care. The costs — to patients’ health, to their wallets, and to the health care system — are well documented. Less visible is the grievous effect this shift is having on psychiatric care and on the mentally ill.

How could this cycle of self-injury be disrupted? M and other psychiatric patients who turn to emergency rooms for care need regular outpatient appointments with a doctor they know and trust who can monitor their symptoms and assess the efficacy of their often complicated medication regimens.

Sadly, M’s history of recurrent hospital admissions is not uncommon. Recently I treated a 65-year-old man caught in a chronic cycle of homelessness and suicide attempts who had been in and out of the E.R. 246 times. If M had insurance, or enough money to pay out of pocket, she might see a therapist every week for an hour and a psychiatrist once or twice a month.

For full article, go to nytimes.com.