I comment on articles on Congress and their attempts to pass laws that need a scientific perspective.
For the purpose of all postings that I refer to in this blog, I will assume that the term “successful adult” means any adult who can earn a living (not necessarily the best salary), support him/herself, interact with other people on at least a minimally successful level, hold a meaningful job throughout life, can make decisions that provide for the future, be able to care for any children and raise them to adulthood successfully. It does not necessarily mean holding a marriage together, or having children inside of a marriage, or holding the same job for the rest of an employed lifetime, or interacts easily with all others a person meets, or has never had any psychological issues (that would mean this person is not human).
Comment on “How To Make Healthy Eating Easier On The Wallet? Change The Calculation” reported on Morning Edition on May 17, 2012 where I describe the most nutritious way to prepare beans for a meal. I also describe how we should be choosing our foods for their chemistry because that is what our bodies do when it signals hunger. I go into much of the chemistry of specific foods and why we need each of the components. I explain how food chemistry can be used to get rid of toxins. I found that if you put together a meal based upon what you need chemically, you will create really delicious and very satisfying meals without stuffing yourself.
NPR reporter Allison Aubrey interviews Andrea Carlson who, with others at the USDA, looked at 4,000+ foods, comparing price per calorie (food energy), price by weight, and price per average amount consumed. She and her colleagues found that fresh produce, especially vegetables, are actually less expensive than the less-healthy foods (potato chips, processed cereals, and foods high in fat like cookies and pies), because “you get more bang–like vitamins and minerals–for the buck.” She suggests eating legumes (lentils and beans) because they can be very cheap. She also says to check labels for sugar because many foods have added sugar (yogurts sweetened with jam, sugary cereals, and granola bars). She also found that the cheaper meats often have more fat in them. Fat melts away when the meat is cooked, leaving less meat than the “more expensive” but leaner meats. If you weighed the cooked meat in each, you will find that the “cheaper” meats may end up being more expensive. Furthermore, she suggests to buy veggies frozen because you get the same nutrition but you do not have to eat the entire package all at once.
Comment on “Doctors Counter Vaccine Fears In Pacific Northwest“ reported on All Things Considered 09/13/11, where I discuss some of the mistakes in this news report, as well as some of our current state of knowledge about mercury in vaccines and the incidence of autism. This post is in no way exhaustive.
NPR Reporter Martin Kaste covers a story about an increasing number of kindergartners not being vaccinated for school, with the poorest record in the states of Washington and Oregon. Public Health officials call this “vaccine hesitancy” and often occurs among well-off, educated parents. There are many people who consider vaccination as a conspiracy by the “medical-industrial complex”. Vaccine hesitancy by parents can occur as the complete avoidance of any vaccination to picking and choosing which vaccines to have their child get. These parents want to discuss every vaccine in the same way they want to discuss a surgery. Disease that can be prevented with vaccines are on the rise. This report refers to the 1998 study in The Lancet by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that showed a link between MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccines and autism, as fraudulent, which appeared to give rise to some of the vaccine hesitancy seen today. Some blame the plethora of studies showing a link to problems with vaccines, combined with states who offer easy exemptions to vaccination rules.
All sorts of reasons for the “obesity epidemic” have been surfacing. Some have blamed the television for promoting “couch potatoes,” others the increasing number of families who eat only fast food, which tends to be high in fat and salt, others blame a lack of exercise, starting in school-aged children who do not have any kind of daily exercise plan or who lost gym classes in the efforts by schools to increase grades or scores on tests. Still others look to a much bigger picture and suspect that the U.S. government is actually fueling the obesity epidemic by its own policies.
Comment on “Is U.S. Farm Policy Feeding The Obesity Epidemic?” on All Things Considered 10 Aug 2011. A look at one possible cause of the obesity epidemic in this country. Farm subsidies were examined to see if they promoted unhealthy eating. A reasoned understanding of what these subsidies do suggests that they do not promote unhealthy eating. This report suggested that the processing and marketing of foods may have a bigger effect, although no study confirms this. A very different take on the problem suggests that the U.S. farm policy supports obesity-promoting farm practices by encouraging the use of pesticides in genetically modified food crops, and not encouraging organic farming practices. There is scientific evidence showing that pesticides can be strongly linked to, if not cause, diabetes and obesity. It is time to take a closer look at these reasons and consider other reasons that have not gotten much attention.
One town’s decision to combat obesity may be misdirected because it fails to consider the environmental causes of obesity.
Comment on “Mississippi Losing The War With Obesity” on All Things Considered 19 May 2011. I discuss how the problems with obesity in this rural town may have to do with more than just what these people eat. I suggest methods for educating the people there about food, its effects on their body, as well as how they perform in exercise tests may help them realize that their physical health could be better once they understand the performance level expected of them.
Updated: 1 Sept 2014
This is part of a continuing series that NPR is running on the prevalence, treatment and prevention of obesity. You can do a search at that site for other reports about obesity. NPR reporter Debbie Elliott spoke with several people living in Mississippi about their obesity problem and the diets they have, along with health professionals and state legislators. There are few places where a person can buy a cooked meal, (they interviewed people who ate at a Double-Quick [gas station/convenience store/lunch counter], where fatty, fried foods predominate), and only one small grocery store with little choice in fresh vegetables and fruit. The perception of healthy to people here means having substantial weight, they have gotten so used to the excess weight. They also assume that being overweight means having difficulty breathing and moving around. State legislators said they had difficulty getting any laws passed that affect food choices.Continue reading →
We have heard about lithium batteries, but do you know what role lithium plays inside our own bodies? Do you know that it is much more than the stuff inside batteries or in the prescription medicine?
Updated 1 Sept 2014
Comment on “Lithium Battery Industry Keeps Going, And Going …” on Morning Edition 9 May 2011, where I criticize those who think of lithium as an inert substance and suggest that it is a primitive but very powerful ion carrier in natural systems. Presence in large quantities in the natural habitat might pose ecological dangers as well as endanger humans who mine it.
Should we have a national health care policy? Isn’t there a better way to handle basic health care needs and reduce the cost or stem the rise in cost of health care?
The U. S. still does not have a national health care policy. Oh, yes, we have tried to start a conversation on this topic, way back in the 1990’s during the Clinton presidency, but nothing was achieved. With President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act, we have made a tiny step toward some kind of national health care policy, but about half of the states decided not to extend Medicaid for the poor, pretty much defeating the purpose of the Act in those states. Worse, health insurance premiums are rising there to cover the costs of the poor who are getting extended Medicaid in other states. I discuss then Candidate Mitt Romney’s comments on a health care policy, and one state’s attempts to solve the problem. I offer discussion about several ways to achieve affordable health care for all.
There are many kids in trouble who were probably rejected by their mothers at birth. Are we seeing the tip of the iceberg? I examine one news article which may have provided evidence.
Comment on “Help for Hollywood Street Kids’ Broken Dreams” on Morning Edition on 14 May 2011, where I discuss how these street kids may be children rejected by their mothers before the critical ages of three weeks, three months, and three years, how winning their trust may never be fully successful and how to help them survive when their brains never had the chance to fully develop social ties because of that rejection by the mother.
Posted 14 May 2011
Updated 19 June 2011
NPR Reporter Gloria Hillard interviews an outreach worker, Moises Cabrera, of Covenant House of Los Angeles and some street kids who fled poor living conditions elsewhere to come to Hollywood because it was familiar and appeared to be a place where they could live their dreams, only to find homelessness. Continue reading →
The Supreme Court has guaranteed the right to have an abortion to all women. Yet there are still attempts to prevent their making that choice that are truly harmful to all women. There are ways to bring the number of aborted fetuses down every year, and still provide all women with the rights to which they are entitled. Yet, many states don’t want to do that.
Comment on “GOP Lawmakers Push for Stricter Abortion Laws” on All Things Considered on 10 May 2011, where I discuss how these laws are a ridiculous method for getting rid of all abortions. I suggest that lawmakers instead work on helping women with those aspects of life that make it too difficult for them to take on the burden of giving birth and raising a child, of preventing the child from growing up unwanted by his/her mother, and thus preventing much bigger costs to society than the costs of psychological, social, medical and economic support needed by women to raise a child successfully to adulthood.
Updated: May 21, 2011
Bills banning funding or increasing the hoops women must jump through before getting an abortion are being introduced in states across the country. Since the GOP doesn’t think it can pass a bill in the Senate with these controls, they are increasingly attempting to pass them in Republican-controlled state governments. Continue reading →
There are four important aspects of human life that play a major role in women’s reproductive decisions. Since she alone bears the risk of losing a life growing inside her, she alone gives birth to that new life. She alone is responsible for the care and feeding of the infant (although bottle-feeding has freed women from some of the time constraints, even if it is not as good for the infant as breast-feeding), and the care, feeding, and subsequent growth of all children until they reach an age where fathers can offer as much support as the mother can. She must be recognized for her power, taught how to exercise it wisely and given complete societal, familial, and government support so that she can be the mother needed by her child and by society as a whole. Even children raised by gay couples must have a parent who can take over these duties as well as a biological mother should. The impact of psychological, social, medical, and economic forces against the mother is huge and must be rallied by society in support of the mother, the child, and the family in all cases. Continue reading →
Mothers have an enormous power over children because they are responsible for so many aspects of life and development. However, women can be powerless in the face of society’s pressures. Fathers, on the other hand, because they cannot give birth, and are not physiologically adapted toward nurturing very young children, often cannot exert such a powerful influence on their own children. Power is perceived very differently by both sexes as a result. The powerlessness of the mother causes such an anger in their own children that it reverberates throughout society at all of its levels, individual to family to city, state, and country.
Comment on “House Passes Bill To Bar Tax Subsidies For Abortion” on All Things Considered on 4 May 2011. Much of the action by congressional members against abortion is a result of a rage against women as a result of the powerlessness of their own mothers.
Updated 21 May 2011
This bill doesn’t just ban federal funding for abortion, it also extends the ban into the tax code. HR3 ends ability to write off abortion as a tax deduction under medical expenses, it also ends being able to use medical savings accounts as a way to pay for abortions, or tax credits to buy insurance plans that include coverage of abortions. (See my comments on another report at All Things Considered 10 May 2011, “GOP Lawmakers Push for Stricter Abortion Laws“). Continue reading →