Play it, Jen
Every good movie has a piano player somewhere in the background--
sometimes seen, usually unseen.
Seldom really noticed.
The feeling, the very soul of a scene, is created by that person tinkering at the keys.
It has been said, "All the world's a stage."
Well then...Play it, Jen.
- Name: Jenny
- Location: Over Yonder, Missouri
I'm a California Native transplanted to the Missouri Ozarks. I've learned how to chase cows in high heels and load hay faster than you can say "Coco Chanel." These are some of our pictures and stories of living in a land with breath-taking beauty and adventure around every bend.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Fire crews raced Thursday to contain the fifth-largest fire in California history before the region’s seasonal Santa Ana winds arrived in full force, but low humidity and irregular winds were complicating the effort, threatening hundreds of rural Southern California dwellings...
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
This change may sound like just a new way of describing the same old thing, but to those with ADHD, the difference is profound. An estimated 2 percent to 4 percent of American adults and 3 percent to 7 percent of children have the brain-based disorder. For them, it’s the difference between seeing themselves as broken and thinking of themselves as having advantages, even if they have to cope with being fidgety, distractible or easily bored.
In praise of ADHD
JetBlue Airways CEO and founder David Neeleman is famously frank about his ADHD. He was diagnosed in 2001, seven years after he realized he had it. By then, he’d already founded and then sold Morris Air. He had done so well in his own eccentric way that he felt he was doing fine without medication. Still, Neeleman says he’s not anti-meds: “I have talked to a lot of people who swear by the medication.”
Neeleman credits ADHD with his creativity and “out-of-the-box thinking”—it led him to invent e-tickets while at Morris, for example. “One of the weird things about the type of [ADHD] I have is, if you have something you are really, really passionate about, then you are really, really good about focusing on that thing. It’s kind of bizarre that you can’t pay the bills and do mundane tasks, but you can do your hyper-focus area.” He spends “all my waking hours” obsessing about JetBlue. The rest of his life, Neeleman says, would be a “disaster” if not for his wife, who manages their home and children; his accountant, who pays the bills and tracks his finances; and his personal assistant, who sends him his schedule every day and steers him from appointment to appointment, keeping him on track.
Ken Melotte, 43, of Green Bay, Wis., is quick to credit ADHD for his successes, too. “I have ideas immediately,” says Melotte, who’s on the management team of a national trucking firm. “I instantly start working on solutions, seeing different ways to do things.”
Yet, ADHD has been a struggle for him. Melotte doesn’t care for medication. The disorder vexes him most at work, as a project manager, when he had “a terrible struggle” keeping track of all the details. On the other hand, he believes that ADHD traits like empathy, intuition and the ability to motivate and inspire others made him a successful manager.
A “context disorder”
ADHD is considered a “context disorder,” Thom Hartmann says. Hartmann, an expert on the disorder, is one of the few who saw the positive side of ADHD before it was fashionable.
“If a left-handed person has a job cutting origami with right-handed scissors, that doesn’t mean they have a disability; they have a context disorder,” Hartmann explains. “Short people trying to play basketball have a context disorder.”
People with ADHD “may instead be our most creative individuals, our most extraordinary thinkers, our most brilliant inventors and pioneers,” writes Hartmann in his 2003 book The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child. He posits that the people with ADHD may carry genetically coded abilities that once were, and may still be, necessary for human survival and that contribute richness to the culture.
When gearing up for this approach, it is important to identify which specific type of ADHD affects the child. For example, does he have the predominantly inattentive type? If so, he may be prone to many of the following symptoms:
Is forgetful of daily activities
Loses items on a regular basis
Doesn’t seem to listen
Has difficulty with organization
Can’t focus or maintain attention
Avoids tasks that require concentration
Often makes careless mistakes
Is easily distracted
Has difficulty with following instructions
If the child has the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type, many of these behaviors will be evident:
Is pretty noisy when engaging in activities
Is constantly on the go
Has difficulty waiting his turn
Doesn’t sit still
Blasts out answers before the question has been fully asked
Often interrupts others
Climbs chairs, desks or runs about more than the “average” child
Constantly moves his hands and feet when sitting
If he seems to have many characteristics from both of the above categories, he would then be diagnosed with ADHD, combined type.
In looking at the above symptoms, many parents may say, “My child does that.” However, in considering the diagnosis of ADHD, we are taking into consideration the following:
Does the child show the behaviors on a more frequent basis than most other children?
Do the behaviors create difficulty in at least two areas of their lives (home, school, social settings)?
Have the symptoms persisted for at least six months?
Once the specific symptoms affecting the child are identified, behavioral treatment is designed to teach new skills to all those involved with handling the results of those problems. For example, if the child keeps forgetting to brush her teeth, the behavioral treatment would be aimed at establishing a routine to help her accomplish this task. If the child acts like a bully to other children, approaches for more effective interactions are designed to help him learn to be friends with his peers. Other techniques used to help the parents assist their child include, but are not limited to:
Communicating expectations in spoken and written words (i.e., brush teeth, wait your turn, etc.)
Setting up routines (homework, playtime, meals with family, bedtime)
Choosing battles (ignore a little fidgeting and offer praise when he sits still)
Using the time-out method when unwanted behavior occurs
Using the “when and then” method for modifying unwanted behaviors; for example, “when” he climbs all over the clothing racks while shopping, “then” he will need to spend more time helping with chores at home
Using color charts at home to track progress of behavior (use his favorite color for good behavior, and his least favorite for bad)
Practicing good behaviors and pointing out unwanted behaviors before going to public places
Behavioral therapy works best when it is also utilized at school and during times of interaction with other children. This makes it vitally important for parents to work closely with their child, child’s teacher, mental health professional and local ADHD support group.
Untreated or under-treated ADHD can lead to wide-ranging problems beyond the symptoms of inattentiveness or hyperactivity and impulsivity. Some of these life-affecting problems include failure at school, depression, increased anxiety and social isolation. In my opinion, this is a strong reason to include behavioral therapy as part of any plan that attempts to treat ADHD."
Robert Danoff, D.O., M.S., is a family physician and program director of The Family Practice Residency, as well as the combined Family Practice/Emergency Medicine Residency programs at Frankford Hospitals, Jefferson Health System, Philadelphia, Pa. He is the medical correspondent for CN8, The Comcast Network, a regular contributor to Discovery Health Online and a contributing writer to The New York Times Special Features.
David and Lucky
David is officially in the Saddle Up riding classes now. Today was his second class. There are other students and David is able to make friends with children who have various disabilities and see the world through their eyes a bit. There is also a lot more staff--it is so amazing how many people volunteer their time to work with these kiddos.
We got a good laugh today when David arrived and went off with Big David (a volunteer who is assigned to be a side-walker to our David) to bring Lucky out of his corral...
David has been getting exercises and help from the Saddle Up staff because of his toe-walking. David tends to walk on his toes. He has done it since he was very little. It is especially bad whenever he is excited or stressed. Over time, David has over-developed the wrong muscles in his legs so that now he cannot bring his toes up very high. A physical therapist at Saddle Up has worked with David and given him exercises to retrain his muscles. Also, when riding a horse, you have to put your heels down and pull your toes up in order to sit the horse correctly and grip with your legs so you don't fall off. David is put through many exercises where he has to stand in the stirups or ride with his arms straight out or up over his head to help him grip better with his legs and fix his muscle tone.
Well, after all of this training David has been receiving, today when they brought Lucky out of his corral, Lucky was toe walking! David thought that was the most funny thing he'd ever seen. Lucky had his feet "done" and was a bit uncomfortable. Whenever he stepped with his back feet, he brought his hoof up on the end. He looked just like he was toe walking.
So today, David got to talk to Lucky about toe walking and explain to the horse how it would hurt his legs and he showed Lucky how to do the exercises to help overcome his toe walking habit. ;)
Very interesting article that needs to be read. I would recommend everyone go to this article are read the entire thing!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Sugar cravings may be a habit, kind of a comfort food and a very pleasant way to end a meal. Sugar cravings may also be due to low serotonin levels and depression. We may crave the taste of sweets or we may crave the effect of sugar on our brain.
Why Sugar is a Problem
Sugar has calories and no nutritional value and when it is used in treats and desserts, the calories can add up fast. Many sweet desserts and candies contain unhealthy amounts of saturated and trans fats too.
The extra calories mean extra weight gain and obesity. As our sugar consumption has gone up in North America and elsewhere, so has our rate of obesity.
Is Some Sugar OK?
Sure. Mypyramid.gov allows us to have a few discretionary calories each day. However, if you are overweight or obese, you might wish to decrease your total calorie consumption.
As long as you are at a healthy weight, enjoying an occasional high calorie sweet treat won't hurt you, but it shouldn't become a daily habit. BMI calculator
Healthier Ideas for Sugar Cravings:
Get some exercise.
You may feel better if you go for a walk or get some other type of exercise.
Exercise will stimulate brain chemicals that will improve your mood.
Sugar cravings may lessen if you decrease the number of calories you eat each day, so if you are eating too many calories, cut back.
Don't keep high calorie sweets in the house.
Don't skip meals, which can make cravings worse.
Keep your meals simple. The more side dishes and flavors you include in your meals, the more likely you are to overeat. When your brain is faced with several flavors, it takes longer to reach satiety, which means you will eat too much before you satisfy your cravings.
Choose healthy side dishes with a sweet taste. Perhaps if you satisfy your taste-buds' need for sweet flavor during your meal, you won't fall for a big dessert afterward. Fruits and some vegetables are naturally sweet and offer vitamins, mineral and other important phytochemicals. Dressing up your carrots with a little honey glaze may keep the sugar cravings at bay later.
Another option is to choose main dishes with a sweet flavor. Make sure to use recipes that aren't over loaded with sugar and stay away from high fat and fried foods.
Last of all, you can go ahead and have a little dessert or a sweet treat, but choose wisely. Choose low fat desserts that use fruit as the main ingredient. The sweetener should only be added as a condiment, or as a minor ingredient.
Red Yeast Rice
Latin name: Monascus purpureus
Other names: Hong Qu, red rice, red yeast
Red yeast rice is a substance made by fermenting a type of red yeast called Monascus purpureus over rice.
Red yeast rice has been used in China as a preservative, spice, and food coloring. It is used to give Peking duck its characteristic red color, and is also used for fish sauce, fish paste, and rice wine. Red yeast rice was also used in Chinese medicine for improving circulation and as a remedy for indigestion and diarrhea.
Red yeast rice was found to contain naturally-occurring substances called monacolins. Monocolins inhibit an enzyme in the body known to trigger cholesterol production, called HMG-CoA reductase.
A class of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (commonly called 'statin' drugs), such as Lipitor, Zocor, and Pravachol work in the same way. In fact, lovastatin (Altoprev™, Mevacor®) was originally derived from a type of red yeast called Monascus ruber.
Because of this action, red yeast rice products containing a higher concentration of monocolins have been developed and marketed as a natural product to lower cholesterol.
Red yeast rice is classified as a dietary supplement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because of its similarity to the statin drugs, there is an ongoing legal debate about whether red yeast rice should be reclassified as a prescription drug rather than a dietary supplement.
There have only been a few well-designed studies on red yeast rice in humans. A study conducted by the UCLA School of Medicine examined the use of red yeast rice in 83 people with high cholesterol.
Subjects were randomized to receive 2.4 grams a day red yeast rice or placebo, and they were told to consume a 30% fat diet (with no more than 10% of this from saturated fat and less than 300 mg cholesterol a day).
After the 12 week treatment period, there was a significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, compared with placebo. HDL cholesterol was not affected in this study.
The side effects of red yeast rice are not fully understood. Side effects may include:
Bloating and gas
Damage to peripheral nerves
Red yeast rice, like the statin drugs, can cause myopathy. Signs and symptoms include muscle pain, weakness, and elevated levels of creatine kinase.
Rhabdomuolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that can lead to kidney failure, is a serious side effect that can occur rarely. People who notice muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness while using red yeast rice should see a doctor immediately.
In studies, red yeast rice has been found to interfere with the body's ability to produce Co q10, similar to statin drugs.
There is insufficient information about the long-term safety of red yeast rice.
Red yeast rice products have been found to contain citrinin, a toxic by-product of the fermentation process.
Pregnant or nursing women and children should not use red yeast rice.
People with liver disease or at risk for liver disease should not use red yeast rice, as red yeast rice may impair liver function.
People with acute infections, kidney disease, or who have had an organ transplant should not use red yeast rice.
People taking red yeast rice who develop muscle pain or tenderness should discontinue the product immediately and check with their doctor.
HMG Co-A Reductase Inhibitors / Statin Drugs: e.g. atorvastatin (Lipitor®), lovastatin (Mevacor®), pravastatin (Pravachol®)
Statin cholesterol-lowering drugs should not be taken with red yeast rice because it may increase the effect of these medications and raise the risk of side effects such as liver damage.
Fibrate Drugs: e.g. fenofibrate ((Tricor®, Triglide™, Lofibra™), gemfibrozil (Lopid®), clofibrate (Atromid-S®)
Drugs in the fibrate family are used to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood. Using them with red yeast rice may increase the effect of these medications.
Cyclosporine: Cyclosporine (Sandimmune®, Neoral® Gengraf™) should not be taken with red yeast rice. Because red yeast rice works in a similar way to statin drugs, taking them with cyclosporine increases blood levels of red yeast rice and raises the risk of the serious condition rhabdomyolysis.
Macrolide Antibiotics: e.g. erythromycin, azithromycin (Zithromax®), clarithromycin (Biaxin®), dirithromycin (Dynabac®), roxithromycin (Rulid®, Surlid®)
Macrolides are a class of drugs used to treat infections such as respiratory tract infections and soft tissue infections. They are known to interact with statin drugs (and therefore red yeast rice) and increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis.
Antifungal Drugs: Antifungal agents, particularly the azole antifungals fluconazole (Diflucan®), itraconazole (Sporanox®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®) are known to interact with statin drugs (and therefore red yeast rice) and increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis.
High-Dose Niacin: Niacin supplements may increase the risk of myopathy if combined with red yeast rice.
Nefazodone : Nefazadone is primarily used to treat depression. If combined with red yeast rice nefazodone may increase the risk of red yeast rice.
Protease Inhibitors: Protease inhibitors, such as amprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, are used for HIV infection. Use of red yeast rice with a protease inhibitor may increase the risk of myopathy.
Warfarin (Coumadin®): Red yeast rice used with warfarin may increase the risk of bleeding.
Statins have been found to decrease Co q10 production as a side effect of their action.
A Columbia University study in New York found that 30 days of statin therapy (80 mg/day) decreased Co q10 levels by half.
A Columbia University study in New York found that 30 days of statin therapy (80 mg/day) decreased Co q10 levels by half.
Another study by researchers at Kanazawa University in Japan found that smaller doses of statin drugs can reduce Co q10. After 8 weeks of 10 mg a day statin therapy, Co q10 levels decreased by 40 percent.
Some researchers suggest that this side effect may counteract any benefits of taking statins.
However, research on the use of Co q10 supplements in people taking statins is still inconclusive, and it is not routinely recommended in combination with statin therapy.
What is Co q10?
Co q10 is a naturally-occuring compound found in every cell in the body. Co q10's alternate name, ubiquinone, comes from the word ubiquitous, which means "found everywhere."
Co q10 plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria, the part of a cell responsible for the production of energy in the form of ATP.
Double-blind research suggests that Co q10 may reduce symptoms related to heart failure, such as shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and swelling. Co q10 is thought to increase energy production in the heart muscle, increasing the strength of the pumping action. However, recent human studies have not supported this.
641 people with congestive heart failure were randomized to receive either Co q10 (2 mg per kg body weight) or placebo plus standard treatment. People who took the Co q10 had a significant reduction in symptom severity and fewer hospitalizations.
32 patients with end-stage heart failure awaiting heart transplantation were randomized to receive either 60 mg of Co q10 or placebo for 3 months. Patients who took the Co q10 experienced a significant improvement in functional status, clinical symptoms, and quality of life, however there were no changes in echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or in objective markers.
Another study randomized 55 patients with congestive heart failure to receive either 200 mg/day Co q10 or placebo in addition to standard treatment. Although serum levels of Co q10 increased in patients receiving Co q10, Co q10 didn't affect ejection fraction, peak oxygen consumption, or exercise duration.
A longer-term study investigated the use of 100 mg Co q10 or placebo in addition to standard treatment in 79 patients with stable chronic congestive heart failure. The results indicated that Co q10 only slightly improved maximal exercise capacity and quality of life compared with placebo.
Several small trials have found Co q10 may be helpful for certain types of cardiomyopathy.
Lower levels of Co q10 have also been observed in people with Parkinson's disease. Preliminary research has found that increasing Co q10 may increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is thought to be lowered in people with Parkinson's disease.
A small, randomized controlled trial examined the use of 360 mg Co q10 or placebo in 28 treated and stable Parkinson's disease patients. After 4 weeks, Co q10 provided a mild but significant significant mild improvement in symptoms and significantly improved performance in visual function.
A larger 16 month trial explored the use of Co q10 (300, 600 or 1200 mg/day) or placebo in 80 patients with early stage Parkinson's disease. The results suggested that CoQ10, especially at the 1200 mg/day dose, might have slowed disease progression.
In a 12-week randomized controlled trial, 74 people with type 2 diabetes were randomized to receive either 100 mg Co q10 twice daily, 200 mg/day fenofibrate (a lipid regulating drug), both or neither for 12 weeks. Co q10 supplementation significantly improved blood pressure and glycemic control. However, two studies found that Co q10 supplementation failed to find any effect on glycemic control.
A small study looked at the topical application of Co q10 to the periodontal pocket. Ten male periodontitis patients with 30 periodontal pockets were selected. During the first 3 weeks, the patients applied topical Co q10. There was significant improvement in symptoms.
A typical Co q10 dosage is 30 to 90 mg, taken in divided doses.
Co q10 is fat-soluble, so it is better absorbed when taken with a meal that contains oil or fat.
The clinical effect is not immediate and may take up to eight weeks.
Consult your doctor before trying Co q10, especially if you have heart disease, kidney failure, or cancer.
Co q10 is used in combination with standard treatment, not to replace it.
Co 10 may lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should not use Co q10 unless under a doctor's supervision.
The safety of Co q10 in pregnant or nursing women or children has not been established.
Diabetes Medication: e.g. Insulin, metformin(Glucophage®)glyburide (Diabeta®, Glynase™, Micronase®) may interact with Co q10, because Co q10 has possible blood sugar-lowering effects.
ACE Inhibitors: e.g. captopril (Capoten®), fosinopril (Monopril®), enalapril (Vasotec®), fosinopril (Monopril®) are medications used to lower blood pressure. Co q10 has been found to lower blood pressure, so it may interact and increase the effects of these drugs.
Beta Blockers: e.g. atenolol (Tenormin®), metoprolol (Lopressor®, Toprol XL™), propranolol (Inderal®)
Beta-blockers are medications that can lower blood pressure. Co q10 has been found to lower blood pressure, so it may interact and increase the effects of these drugs.
Calcium Channel Blockers: e.g. nifedipine (Adalat®, Procardia®), verapamil (Calan®, Isoptin®)
Calcium channel blockers are medications that can lower blood pressure. Co q10 has been found to lower blood pressure, so it may interact and increase the effects of these drugs.
Diuretics: e.g. hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL®, Esidrix®, Oretic®), furosemide (Lasix®)
Diuretics can lower blood pressure. Co q10 has been found to lower blood pressure, so it may interact and increase the effects of these drugs.
HMG Co-A Reductase Inhibitors / Statin Drugs: e.g. atorvastatin (Lipitor®), lovastatin (Mevacor®), pravastatin (Pravachol®)
Statin cholesterol-lowering drugs have been found to lower the body's Co q10 levels.
Anticoagulants: e.g. Warfarin (Coumadin®)
Co q10 has a similar chemical structure to vitamin K, a vitamin that increases the ability of blood to clot. Co q10 may interact with anti-clotting medications such as warfarin or heparin and decrease their effectiveness.
Dopamine-Enhancing Drugs: e.g. carbidopa-levidopa (Atamet®, Parcopa™, Sinemet®)
Co q10 may increase the effects of dopamine, so it may interact with medications that increase dopamine. These drugs are often used to treat depression and Parkinson's disease.
Monday, September 25, 2006
This is such a cool animation. Glad it finally got onto YouTube so I could get hold of it. ;)
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
We have a fire burning in an area rather nearby us. It started on Labor Day and they have yet to get control over it. The winds have been taking the smoke mostly towards the L.A. basin. The local news has had lots of fun showing satellite pictures of the huge plume of smoke over a large part of the "southland" area. Yesterday the winds shifted and the smoke started coming back our direction. The kids played out under a blood red sun yesterday afternoon. The sky is full of what looks like dirty clouds but is actually smoke drifting over us. My sister just sent along this picture to me. Her husband works right in the area that this fire is burning.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
sheet', which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The
mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form,
and then the pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.
Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are
some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Quantas pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers. By the way, Quantas is the only major airline that has never, ever, had had an accident.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back order.
P: Autopilot in altitude mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to be more believable.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.
P: IFF inoperative in off mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in off mode.
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious.
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed in cockpit.
And the best one for last....
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget
pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget!!
Talk Like A Pirate Day
Monday, September 18, 2006
In two articles published in the current online issue of Nature Chemical Biology, researchers describe an approach that is more efficient--and environmentally friendly--in developing new antibiotics, those needed to kill the increasing number of infections resistant to multiple drugs. "
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called antibiotic resistance one of the world's most pressing public health problems. Once only found in hospitals, these "superbugs" are now being found in community settings, including schools, nursing homes, and locker rooms.
These infections don't respond to common antibiotics such as erythromycin, which belong to a ring-shaped class of antibiotics called macrolides. Nearly all antibiotics in use today are natural molecules made by bacteria to kill their enemies. The bacteria use specialized proteins called enzymes to carry out the chemical steps in making these ring-shaped antibiotic molecules.
One way to increase the number of antibiotics for fighting infections is to start where nature stopped and engineer the enzymes to produce new molecules, and thus new antibiotics. But to do this more effectively, scientists need a clearer picture of how the enzyme molecules act upon the precursor to the antibiotic.
The interdisciplinary team of scientists, including research professors David H. Sherman and Janet L. Smith from the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute and Fecik of University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, is the first to crystallize an enzyme in the process of closing the antibiotic ring, which illustrates exactly how the ring is formed.
Their work creates important opportunities for drug discovery to stay one step ahead of the superbugs.
In traditional drug development, researchers start with an existing antibiotic and chemically manipulate it to develop a new version of the original drug. With the new approach outlined in the article, researchers describe a method that can be used to get the bacteria itself to produce new compounds that turn into the ring structure and may be useful as new drugs.
Typical drug development involves chemical manipulations that result in chemical waste, which can be difficult to dispose of and is hazardous to the environment.
This research implies it is realistic to develop a more environmentally friendly way to discover more potential drug compounds with less chemical manipulation, and thus less chemical waste.
"What didn't surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity," Fowler tells WebMD. "What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher."
In fact, when the researchers took a closer look at their data, they found that nearly all the obesity risk from soft drinks came from diet sodas.
So how can this be?! Check out the following from this article:
Sugar substitutes may offer sweet treats for calorie-conscious dieters, but a new study shows that they may also play tricks on the body and sabotage weight-loss efforts.
Researchers say artificial sweeteners may interfere with the body's natural ability to count calories based on a food's sweetness and make people prone to overindulging in other sweet foods and beverages.
This article, written in 2004, goes on to say you may not need to ditch your diet soda just yet. Well, from further research it now seems we do need to ditch our diet sodas right now! I do like the term they use "liquid candy". Perhaps if we started looking at the things we put into our body a little more carefully and realistically, we'd be a healthier people. So often we are more careful about the quality of the fuel we are putting into our cars than the food we take into our own bodies.
Most people would agree that their love affair with the sweet stuff--whatever flavor it might be--isn't all that healthy, but no one would put it in the same class as a truly bad habit such as smoking or drinking alcohol to excess, right?
Wrong. Scientists are beginning to do just that. The bulk of the research has focused on connecting the dots between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain, but there is mounting evidence that our national obsession with liquid candy affects more than just our figures. From the very first sip, experts say, cola starts to wreak havoc on the body. It corrodes the teeth, confuses the appetite-regulating hormones in the digestive tract, attacks the bones, and encourages the organ breakdown that leads to diabetes.
Interesting article here, very much worth a look. How often do we feel yucky but don't take the time to track down what is causing that feeling. Especially as something as innocent as a soda in our hand. Everyone drinks it. It can't be that bad for us! If it was so bad the government wouldn't let the companies sell it to us....
Sunday, September 17, 2006
In one study, researchers at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine found that drinking mandarin orange juice may reduce the risk of developing liver cancer in patients with chronic viral hepatitis. After a one-year study period, no liver cancer was detected among a group of 30 patients with viral hepatitis who were given one cup daily of a specially prepared beverage containing mandarin orange juice, whereas an 8.9 percent rate of liver cancer was found among a group of 45 patients who did not drink the juice supplements, according to Hoyoku Nishino, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher at the university.
In an epidemiological study by scientists at the National Institute of Fruit Tree Science in Japan, scientists surveyed 1,073 people in a Japanese town noted for its high consumption of mandarin oranges. The researchers found certain chemical markers in the subjects' blood that are associated with a lower risk of several health problems, including liver disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and insulin resistance (a condition associated with diabetes), according to study leader Minoru Sugiura, Ph.D."
There are a couple of more studies highlighted in this article that are very interesting. I think once we get into a major disease it takes good medicine to pull us back from it as best they can, but if we eat nutritiously ("Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." --Hippocrates) all the time and keep in mind what it really is we're taking into our bodies, we stand a much better chance of getting around the major diseases or at least have a better chance of coming back from them if they do catch us.
After following the animals for up to eight weeks, the researchers concluded that neither nanotubes nor adult stem cells alone triggered regeneration or repair in the brain-damaged regions. In fact, when used alone, adult stem cells migrated to healthy areas of the brain. But when combined with nanotubes, adult stem cells not only remained in the brain-damaged regions, they began to differentiate into functioning neurons. The finding could have important implications for the treatment of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders, Webster says.
Nanostructures promote formation of blood vessels, bolster cardiovascular function after heart attack
Injecting nanoparticles into the hearts of mice that suffered heart attacks helped restore cardiovascular function in these animals, according to Samuel Stupp, Ph.D., chemist and director of the Institute of Bionanotechnology in Medicine at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
The finding is an important research advance that one day could help rapidly restore cardiovascular function in people who have heart disease, Stupp says. The self-assembling nanoparticles - made from naturally occurring polysaccharides and molecules known as peptide amphiphiles - boost chemical signals to nearby cells that induce formation of new blood vessels and this may be the mechanism through which they restore cardiovascular function. One month later, the hearts of the treated mice were capable of contracting and pumping blood almost as well as healthy mice.
In contrast, the hearts of untreated mice contracted about 50 percent less than normal.
In other recent studies using a similar technique, Stupp and his colleagues found nanoparticles hastened wound healing in rabbits and, after islet transplantation, cured diabetes in mice. Nanoparticles with other chemical compositions accelerate bone repair in rats and promote the growth of neurons in mice and rats with spinal cord injuries, he says."
How awesome! Perhaps it is possible I will see a cure for liver disease in my lifetime!!!!!! :)
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
"Teenagers are more selfish than adults because they use a different part of their brain to make decisions compared to adults, new research suggests.
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a cognitive neuroscientist from University College London, UK, asked 112 participants (aged from 8 to 37) to make decisions about other people’s welfare and timed how long it took them to respond. The questions included: 'How would your friend feel if she wasn’t invited to your party?'
She found that the response time got shorter as the participants got older, suggesting that the older people found it easier to put themselves in other people's shoes.
Blakemore found that teenagers rely on the rear part of the mentalising network to make their decisions, an area of the brain called the superior temporal sulcus. In contrast, adults use the front part, called the prefrontal cortex.
The superior temporal sulcus is involved in processing very basic behavioural actions, whereas the prefrontal cortex is involved in more complex functions such as processing how decisions affect others.
The research was presented at the British Association for the Advancement of Science Festival in Norwich, UK."
I have spent the weekend thinking about this report and wondering about the different angles of it.
I work with a number of teenagers and my husband and I are around teenagers a lot. Today's teens are different from the generation that I grew up in. I'm sure my generation shocked previous generations as well.
Today my husband and I find ourselves often astounded by the behaviour of the majority of the teens we see. There is a very explicit lack of respect and regard for authority. There is no longer any fear of consequences. Of course there has always been those few trouble makers in previous generations, but the majority was respectful of adult authority.
Among the teens I know today, there is great audacity, this "I'm going to do what I want and you can't do anything about it!" attitude. It is almost like they dare you to catch them or to correct them.
Then a little light comes on.
These children are testing boundaries. That's what children do best, right? They have to test boundaries. It is in their nature. It is how they check if people care enough to be noticing them and if people care enough to keep them safe.
It used to be that much of the boundary testing went on inside the family. If it went on outside of the family then the family got involved and handled it. That isn't happening so much any more. There has been a lot of destruction of family in our society. We no longer have the safe corral for kids to grow up in. They are loose and they are running wild. (Ever tried to bridle a wild horse?!) They are no longer being taught the ideas and skills to help them develop empathy and respect and regard for authority.
When was the last time you actually heard someone reference the golden rule? These things are not taught to our children any more. How can they develop the empathetic parts of the brain if they are not given opportunity to exercise them?
This really scares me.
Teenagers can have empathy and can learn to function with it. But they must be taught in order to develop that.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Red Moon Rise
Joe and Shindenkan Budo
Joe, our second son, has started taking lessons in Shindenkan Budo. He has been attending class for about a month now. He is absolutely loving it. Joe is learning great skills for self defense. He works very hard. Last week he faced the "flaming noodle of death" and lived to tell about it. ;)
I really like this particular discipline. I love the way they instruct the kids. It is about defense and discipline. There are no over-blown egos here. It is a beautiful art. I love the grace, discipline and honor I see in this practice.
It is good for me too, because I have to try to practice with Joe during the week and I'm getting quite the workout as well.
Go Joe! You totally rock dude!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
'I spoke with [some] colleagues the other day and they mentioned three cases recently where parents blatantly asked for the medication so that their children would perform better in school, yet there were no other indications that the child had ADHD,' says Dr. Nick Yates, a pediatrician and director of medical ethics for Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y."
What is going on in our world?!!! What happened to sitting down with your child and working with them every day to help them with their school work?!!
And this, after the FDA just slapped a black box warning on a drug used for ADHD.
Man are we screwed up these days.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
David and the horse...Week Two
This week David got to ride.
David got Lucky out of his corral and brought him over to the hitching station. He had to bring Lucky's tack and saddle out (Miss Jane helped David carry the saddle on the way out--that saddle is heavy! David wondered how Lucky was able to carry that thing around).
David needed to brush Lucky down to get the dirt out of his coat so he wouldn't get saddle sores. Then they got Lucky all ready to ride. David learned how to saddle a horse.
David was so excited and happy to see his friend Lucky again.
In the arena, Miss Lisa and Miss Jane helped David into his saddle and showed him how to hold his feet--heels down, how to get the horse to walk and stop, and how to make him go one way or the other.
Miss Jane lead Lucky and David around the arena a little bit so David could get used to the motion of the horse and find his balance. Then Miss Lisa and Miss Jane worked with David to help him stand up in the stirrups and place his hands on Lucky's neck for balance. (He looked like a little jockey!) Finally they had David close his eyes and also hold his arms straight out as he rode to help him find his sense of balance and learn to trust Lucky. They played a game of Red Light, Green Light. Then David trotted with Lucky a couple of times. That was bumpy!
When the riding was done they took Lucky back to the hitching station to brush him down and get him ready for bed.
Now it was time for David to feed the horses. Miss Jane helped David with the hay. David went into the horse corrales by himself this time. When the horses came up to sneak a bite before he could put the hay in the trough, David put his little hand on their noses and pushed them back. It was so It was so amazing to watch him handle these horses with so much confidence and see the horses' response to him.
At the end of the day, riding and feeding done, a physical therapist that works there with Miss Lisa talked with David and showed him some exercises to do every day that will strengthen certain muscles he needs to be able to ride well and also to help stretch out his legs so he will be able to keep his heels down better.
It was such a great day. I even had a few moments of the mommy tear up watching this little man out there perched so confidently and strong on this horse. There were times I could have never even imagined I'd see him doing this. He is amazing.
Yeeeee-haaaaa! They have to make this "official" list to get people to listen? Are people going to listen? I think a few will, but those are the folks who would keep their children home when sick anyway, they don't really need the list. The people who send their sick kids to school aren't going to bother with this list.
It is so frustrating to me to see people sending their sick kids to school. My kids inevitably get sick. The teachers sometimes end up catching the illness as well and then the kids are stuck with a substitute and lose even more valuable educational instruction.
People!!! Keep your children home when they are sick!!!! Not only do I not want you sharing your illness with our family, your poor child needs to be home where he/she can rest and receive care so their little body can fight off the illness more efficiently and quickly. Forget yourself for a bit and think about your child!
Seven or more days before the fast, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, dairy, wheat, animal meat, fish, and eggs are usually reduced or eliminated from the diet. The diet should consist mainly of organic fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Between 32 and 64 oz. of juice is usually recommended per day. The juice is sipped throughout the day. Typical fruits and vegetables include celery, carrot, kale, cabbage, apple, pineapple, cranberry, spinach, beet, and greens. Citrus fruits are often avoided.
Approximately 6 glasses of room temperature or warm filtered water are often recommended in addition to the juice.
Organic fruits and vegetables are usually recommended. If organic produce isn't available, practitioners suggest peeling the skin off fruits and vegetables or washing vegetables with a non-toxic produce cleaner, usually available at health food stores.
Freshly juiced fruits and vegetables are preferred, but if unavailable, practitioners suggest buying it from the health food store or juice bar as fresh as possible.
Green vegetables and sprouts contain the pigment chlorophyll, which juice proponents thought to be especially beneficial during a juice fast.
A combination of fruits and vegetables is recommended.
Variations on the strict juice fast include eating one meal a day in a addition to the juice.
Certain fruits and vegetables and their parts should not be juiced, such as the pits of peaches, apricots, cherries, and other fruits, apple seeds, citrus peels, carrot and rhubarb tops, tough skins (such as kiwi, pineapple, mangoes), and bananas and avocados."
There is one detox juice fast that I really like and do every so often. It goes as follows:
Day 1: Celery and Apple Juice for the intestines
Day 2: Lemon juice in distilled water for the liver
Day 3: Pianpple juice for the small intestines
Day 4: Green juices
Day 5: Carrot juice
Day 6: Beet juice
You have to make sure to drink lots of distilled water as well as the juices. It is hard to stick with just the juices--the first day is so hard!!!!!--and not have food but it gets a little easier and I feel so good from it that it really motivates me to stick with it.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Seth's teacher gives them extra credit for doing little things outside of school. This time the assignment was to watch this race and report which place Funny Cide came in. It isn't for betting or anything like that, the teacher just loves animals and loves to watch these horses run. He wants the kids to gain an appreciation for these animals as well.
Well, since we were just sitting around that afternoon anyways, we decided to have a little fun with it. ;)
It's almost that time!
Quite some years ago my sister in law turned me on to Throat Coat tea. Good stuff. Had never heard of it before, thought the name was funny, but I took her advice and found that it worked great for a sore throat.
Then a few years later we were visiting my husband's family at Christmas time and I can down with a nasty virus. My throat was a mess. Jason's younger sister offered to run to the store to get something that would really help...she came home with a box of Throat Coat tea. :) And again, it helped.
Warm herbal teas are so soothing and Throat Coat® looks like a great product to sooth a sore throat and help you rid yourself of excess mucous. One thing to note, however, is that glycyrrhizic acid can raise your blood pressure, so if you have hypertension or heart disease, you may want to be careful.
Here are links to all of the ingredients:
Wild Cherry Bark
Bitter Fennel Fruit
Sweet Orange Peel
Now, I do not give this to my son who had the liver transplant. Unfortunately, I cannot give him anything that will give his immune system a boost. Most herbs have qualities that stimulate the immune system so herbs are a huge no-no for David.
However, my other children get to suffer through the joy of mommy giving them wonderful things to fight off the lovely bugs they bring home from school.
I love to sit back and sip a hot cup of Throat Coat when I am coming down with a sore throat. It is one weapon in the arsenal I have to battle the many bugs that assault our family during the cold/flu season.
Color my world
Green: A great source of vitamins (including folate, one of the B vitamins) green vegetables also provide minerals and fiber. Some - including spinach, collards, kale and broccoli - contain antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that can protect aging eyes from developing cataracts and macular degeneration. They may also protect against clogging of the carotid arteries in the neck. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and turnips contain antioxidants and other phytonutrients that reduce cancer risk.
Oranges/Yellows: Sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, apricots and other yellow or orange fruits and vegetables are rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system. Orange fruits and vegetables also give you vitamin C and folate, needed to reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent certain birth defects. Yellow fruits and vegetables give you more carotenoids plus vitamin C, and minerals.
Reds: Tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, and pink grapefruit are among the red pigmented fruits and vegetables that contain lycopene. This powerful antioxidant helps fight heart disease and some types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer.
Blues/Purples: The blue color in blueberries, purple grapes, red cabbage, beets, and plums come from anthocyanins, phytochemicals that protects against carcinogens and may help prevent heart disease.
Whites: Garlic, onions and other white-hued vegetables contain allicin, a phytochemical which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure; other phytochemicals, polyphenols, found in pears and green grapes, may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
Try to include a spectrum of color in your daily diet. It's an easy way to make sure you’re getting all the fruits and vegetables needed for good health.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Labor Day Sky Parade
This could mean only one thing.....
The Labor Day hot air balloon race! :)
Every year lots of hot air balloons come for the Labor Day Sky Parade. They launch from a park right by our neighborhood and we get to stand in our front yard and enjoy the beautiful balloons floating majestically through the sky.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Sight reading on a horribly out of tune piano....
Too bad! I'm celebrating anyway! I love September!!!!! :)
David and the horse
David has been given the opportunity to take riding lessons at a special place that does theraputic riding for children with disabilities. It is run by an amazing woman named Miss Lisa and David's CubScout leader volunteers there doing a lot of work with kids--her name is Miss Jane. These are two wonderful and amazing ladies. They have given David the opportunity of a lifetime to get to work with and ride horses.
Last Monday was David's first visit to the stables. He got to meet his horse "Lucky". Lucky has a special story himself, just like David does. Lucky had to have liver surgery that saved his life, just like David did. Lucky had a huge stone (I saw it! It was about the size of a cantalope!) in his liver that had to be surgically removed. If it wasn't taken out then Lucky would have died. David immediately felt a special bond with Lucky because of his own experience with liver disease and transplant.
The first thing David did was meet all of the horses then bring Lucky out of his corral to the washing station for a bath.
With the help of Miss Lisa and Miss Jane, David sprayed Lucky with the hose, scrubbed shampoo into his coat with a sponge and then washed him off. He also got to put conditioner in Lucky's tail to make it pretty and shiney. Then David worked to get much of the water off of Lucky and then brushed him.
After giving Lucky a bath, it was time to feed all of the horses. Under the direction of Miss Jane, David prepared the feed buckets for all of the horses with the different feeds and supplements each horse requires.
Then it was time to go into the corrales. Miss Jane went in with David to help him. Miss Lisa gave David hay to put in the horses' feeding stations. They climbed between the rails--the way real cowboys do!--going from horse to horse. Some of the horses were hungry and came up to David trying to steal some of the hay before he could get it into the trough.
When the hay was done then it was time to give the horses the feed in each of their buckets. When that was done then David walked Lucky back to his corral and put him to bed for the night.
It was an amazing experience for David and he is madly in love with Lucky. Next week he gets to clean out a corral (oh boy! LOL) and learn how to bring his horse out and brush him and get him ready to ride. He will begin riding next week also. He is so excited. He has pictures of Lucky that he draws at school every day. It is a wonderful and amazing experience for this little boy!
Researchers in a National Cancer Institute study had success using the technique to treat skin cancer in two men.
'These results represent the first time gene therapy has been used successfully to treat cancer,' said NIH director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD, in a news release. 'We hope it will be applicable not only to melanoma, but also for a broad range of common cancers...'"
'Choosing fish two or three times a week is a good idea,' researcher Thomas Kottke, MD, MSPH, tells WebMD.
'Grilled, baked, or broiled -- not fried,' he adds. 'Fried fish appears to lose all of its benefits.'
The study by Kottke and colleagues will appear in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine's October edition.
Kottke works in St. Paul, Minn., at Regions Hospital's Heart Center..."