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Health
05/13/2010
IconI received a ton of mail about the call I described in yesterday's blog.' The following letter from a listener is representative of the wide range of reactions people had to that call: Dr. Laura:While listening to your program with my incredibly sexy husband yesterday, I couldn't help but feel some sadness and frustration toward the caller who resented her loved one with dementia. My grandparents, who will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in just over a month, are currently battling dementia, and watching the progression of the disease can be heart-wrenching.' I spent so much time with my "Pop" and "Mi-mommy," learning important principles like "Can't never could do anything," and "pretty is as pretty does."' They were known by others for their compassion, kindness, and wonderful wit. They both began experiencing symptoms of dementia about three years ago, with simple forgetfulness turning into frequent short-term memory loss and the loss of the ability to perform simple tasks.' Dementia is a progressive illness, and although they battle it with all their might by taking medications to help slow the disease, we can see the constant decline.' Resentment has not been a feeling anyone has expressed. When my grandfather tells the same story 5 or 6 times in a 30-minute period, we listen like it is the first time we've ever heard it told.' When my grandmother weaves together in her mind multiple stories and comes up with a muddled collage of a past experience, we engage her and help her to recall the old memories.' When they are struggling to remember how to pour water in a glass or operate the TV, we patiently help them recall.' We don't do it out of obligation or even to keep from feeling guilty.' We do it because, years ago,' THEY taught us to show kindness and love and compassion. I work in hospice, and on a professional level, I know all too well the course this mean, aggressive disease takes.' I cherish every moment that they can tell me a story, and I will treasure every time I hug them and they know who I am.' I know that one day, I will sit down and hold their hands and they won't be able to tell a story, and they won't know who I am.' They won't be able to hold their heads up or smile, but I will still be there with them, because that's the person they have helped me to become.' If I sat with them and listened to them and held their hands every day for the rest of my life, there is no way I could repay them for what they have given me. In October, I'll be walking in the Alzheimer's' Association' Memory Walk ( http://www.alz.org/memorywalk/ ) in honor of my grandparents.' I will do everything I can to fight this brutal disease and I beg those in our society to think about the compassion we owe our fellow man.' A wise physician I once worked with said "The measure of a society can be seen in how we treat our young, our old, and our dying."' I pray that our society does not let me down, and that we treat our elders with the love, respect and dignity they deserve. Striving to be half as wonderful as my grandparents, Alison More >>

Tags: CommitmentHealthMarriagePersonal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconI was a bit flabbergasted when a recent caller to my radio program described how incredibly resentful she was that her elderly aunt, deep in Alzheimer's Disease, would repeat and repeat and repeat old history again and again and again.' This caller was furious that her aunt wouldn't recognize her, wouldn't deal with the here and now, and was so "unbelievably annoying with the same old stories."What pressed my "flabbergasted" button the most was that this caller had been neglected and abandoned by her mother and father and had been raised by this aunt.' Notions of gratitude, graciousness, patience and, above all, respect seemed beyond her view, as she was simply focused on what she wasn't getting from her aunt now .' This caller was no sensitive, confused, na've teenager - she was in her late forties!I explained that the word shouldn't be "wouldn't;" it is, indeed, "couldn't."' It was as though the caller was hauling her resentment about her abandonment by her parents into this "mental abandonment" by her aunt, and making the decision not to see her aunt anymore out of ancient, misplaced rage.By the end of the call, I think she understood and realized that, as uncomfortable and annoying as her aunt's behavior might be, she was as honor-bound to be there for her aunt, as the aunt had been there for her. More >>

Tags: CommitmentHealthMarriagePersonal ResponsibilitySocial Issues
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Tags: HealthPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconAs I have mentioned on the air many times, I race sailboats.' I've won some races and lost some, but the favorite wins have been the ones that I least expected would or could happen.' I remember the time that we were over early at the start and had to do a penalty turn of 360 degrees, after getting out of the way of the other starting boats.' We had a heck of a time starting again, as, by the time we finished our penalty turn, many boats were already in our way.'This incident happened early on in my sailing training, and I became despondent almost immediately, because I realized we now had absolutely no chance of even a third place finish, let alone a first.' My coach and tactician sternly yanked me out of my doldrums and told me that we were "down but not out," and we had to work even harder now to catch up.' Frankly, I thought this was philosophically lovely, but hugely impractical, and I could barely see the sterns of the boats in front of us as they had so much distance on us.Nonetheless, after considering breeze, windshifts, current, direction choices, steering, and crew work, there were enough variables to work with to keep our chins up.'We pulled together as a team, and worked very hard to maximize every option we had, and we ended up winning the race.' I learned a lot that day.' It's a lot more gratifying to succeed when it is a righteous challenge than when it seems like more of a slam dunk.Jason Lezak knew this lesson.' Fifty meters from the finish line in the 4x 100 meter freestyle relay at the Beijing Olympics, Mr. Lezak doubted he could overcome the half-body length lead of his French opponent, Alain Bernard, who also happened to hold the world record in the 100-meter freestyle.Instead of just accepting the probable loss, a determined Mr. Lezak pulled grit from down deep, and swam the fastest he's ever done, and touched the electronically sensored wall, winning by eight one-hundredths of a second.' He shattered a world record and won a gold medal.'And then he heard the fat lady sing...the American national anthem! More >>

Tags: AttitudeEat Less-Move MoreFitnessHealthHobbiesHolidaysPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeSailingSocial IssuesValentine's Day
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05/13/2010
IconNo, I don't mean by the age of forty; I mean that if the trends of the past thirty years continue, it's possible that every American adult could be overweight forty years from now.' This is the warning coming from the Federal government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.' You can read all about this in the journal Obesity (online 7/24/08). They estimate that 86% of American adults will be overweight by 2030, with an obesity rate of 51%.' By 2048, all U.S. adults could be at least mildly overweight, a/k/a fat .The researchers also estimate that the healthcare costs directly related to excess body weight will double each decade, and reach almost $1 trillion in 2030, accounting for at least one of every six healthcare dollars spent in the USA.Being fat is voluntary.' Healthcare costs are skyrocketing, largely because people "volunteer" to move less and eat more.' Our Presidential candidates can mull over healthcare plans, but we need to take more personal responsibility for the state of our own health. More >>

Tags: ChildrenHealthParenting
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05/13/2010
IconBecause I need my voice for my daily radio program, I've been quick to use the Z-pack (zithromycin) whenever I get the feeling I have a sinus issue.' Evidently that's been the wrong thing to do.It turns out that almost 21% of antibiotic prescriptions written in the U.S. for adults are for sinusitis, even though studies show the drugs often do little or no good in the overwhelming majority of cases that begin as viral infections.' Less than 2% of those turn into bacterial infections (the kind that CAN be helped by antibiotics) so the American Academy of Otolaryngology suggests that you wait 10 days after the onset of a sinus problem.' If you're still suffering after 10 days, then it's antibiotic time.' Otherwise, saline irrigation, Tylenol, topical steroids and decongestant sprays (used for no more than three days) are the way to go. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCivilityHealthValues
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05/13/2010
IconAsked by the Pew Research Organization why they choose to eat so much junk food, the respondents overwhelmingly say it's due to its convenience.' The second most common reason is junk food's good flavor, and the third reason is because it is so heavily advertised.' Fourth is its affordability, and the final reason why people eat so much junk food is "ignorance of food values."' Yeah, I really believe that last reason!Since approximately three-quarters of the respondents eat junk food out of convenience, it seems a good time for them to re-work their lives so that breakfast and dinner are family meals at home, and lunch is considered a lighter repast to keep the engines going during the day.Want to really relieve stress?' Take off your figurative plate all the overscheduling - running around with too many activities and piling on too many responsibilities.' Two-career homes leave little time for the lovely, "home-y" amenities.' Rethink your lives and you'll probably live longer, while being healthier and happier.' Having lots of personal possessions and living beyond your means is a disastrous recipe for stress that leads to all kinds of self-destructive behaviors. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter-Courage-ConscienceHealthSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconAll those who don't follow the guidelines for good eating and no smoking are just going to have fewer choices available to them.' Free will to be self-destructive is about to managed by the government.The Los Angeles City Council approved a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a 32 square-mile area of South Los Angeles, an area plagued by above-average rates of obesity:' 30% of adults, as compared with about 21% in the rest of LA.' Nationally, 25.6% of adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.When you look at the realities, an intact family with a homemaker mom or dad (versus a two-career, busy, busy, busy set of parents) generally results in everyone eating less fast food, and more nutritious at-home meals.' But promoting marriage and a division of responsibilities is politically incorrect, isn't it?California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law ordering that, as of 2010, no California restaurant will be able to serve foods containing a harmful form of fats called trans fats .' Baked goods containing trans fats will be banned in California as of 2011.' If a product's list of ingredients contains the words "partially hydrogenated," the product contains trans fat, which is used to harden vegetable oils into shortening and margarine to help extend product shelf life.' Trans fats lower "good" cholesterol (HDL) and contribute to other health problems.According to the New England Journal of Medicine , eliminating artificial trans fats from the food supply "could" prevent between 6 and 19 per cent of heart attacks and related deaths each year.'Do you think there'll be an underground market for trans fat products?San Francisco is ready to become the first city in the nation to ban sales of tobacco products at pharmacies, which last year accounted for almost 20% of U.S. tobacco sales.' The logic is that pharmacies are places people go to get healthy, so cigarettes ought not to be on the shelves as they are a known health hazard.'Since trans fats are going to be off the supermarket shelves because they're unhealthy, shouldn't supermarkets stop selling cigarettes too?I am all for healthy habits.' I work hard at eating as healthily as possible, generally ordering fish without sauces in restaurants and salad without dressing.' As sauces, gravies, and dressing are very high in calories, perhaps they should be banned from restaurant recipes, or ordered only under a physician's approval...assuming you already have a very high HDL level.Lastly, restaurants around the country will soon have to post on menus the exact calorie count of a meal.' It will blow your mind to see what you thought was healthy is actually loaded with hidden calories.' There's a terrific book, called "Eat This, Not That" which will make your head explode when you find out where calories are hidden in some of your favorite meals. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityPersonal ResponsibilitySocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconAt this point, every news outlet has discussed the conclusions of some researchers from the University of North Carolina.' The researchers insist that three genes "may" play a strong role in determining why some young men raised in rough neighborhoods or deprived families become violent criminals, while others do not.The research team studied only boys, and used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a U.S. nationally representative sample of about 20,000 adolescents in grades 7 - 12.' They found specific variations in three genes that appeared to be associated with bad behavior, but only when the boys suffered some other stresses. "But if people with the same gene have a parent who has regular meals with them, then the risk is gone," said one of the researchers.Genes give us a range of potential - the interaction of those genes with real life determines the outcome - and it appears like family is everything with respect to raising decent, adjusted, functional children. More >>

Tags: FamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyHealthParentingRelativesValues
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05/13/2010
IconThe American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that under the current guidelines, thirty per cent of the nation's children are overweight or obese.' Many doctors fear that a rash of early heart attacks and diabetes will strike these children as they grow older.The nation's pediatricians are therefore recommending wider cholesterol screening for children - starting at age two - and more aggressive use of cholesterol-lowering drugs starting as early as eight years of age in hopes of preventing adult heart problems.Because statins (cholesterol drugs) have been around since only the mid-1980s, there really is no evidence to show whether giving statins to children will, indeed, lower the risk for heart attack in middle age.The main problem is that we live in a culture which is largely hooked into electronic entertainment and spend too much time feeding one end and not moving the other. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthObesityParenting
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