Ankle Sprains and Basketball Study – Braces work for “virgin ankles” as well as previously sprained ankles


A new study of ankle bracing suggests that you probably should be wearing one during active  sports like basketball or tennis even if you have NOT had an ankle injury:  www.uwhealth.org/news/wisconsin-study-shows-fewer-injuries-among-athletes-with-ankle-braces/31794

The surprise finding was that the bracing did NOT increase knee injuries and DID help with “virgin” ankles – ones that have not been injured before.

I’ll hope to have a lot more information about ankle sprains and other sprains at the website  “MySprain.com“, but it’s not live yet….

Red Meat Study: Eat a burger, lose 37 minutes of life


A new study from Harvard links red meat consumption to health problems and higher mortality.  Although the negative health stuff has been known for some time, this study is more authoritative in terms of large sample and long study period.  Also it seems to quantify things in such a way that we can get a somewhat legitimate calculation for the life years lost cost of meat eating.  For red meat lovers the results are very discouraging.

WSJ source for red meat stats: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304636404577297802304647434.html

I extended  that to a per hamburger health cost and got 39 years x 365 burger days = 14,235 burgers cost you a year of life, or 8760 hours of life. Thus a single burger costs us 37 minutes of life.

Obviously this measure has a lot of technical flaws, but in general terms I think it should reflect a “real” measure of red meat risk, a risk I’m thinking I’ll be reducing starting right away.

Vaccinations WORK and are extremely safe. All informed “debate” is over, Vaccinate your children!


Whilst researching the status of polio in India I ran across a US website ranting about the (almost entirely imaginary) “dangers” associated with vaccines.

Sad to see so many in the USA still so persistent with their opposition to the obvious, while in India vaccine programs have run into some problems when poorly informed local leaders and traditional medicine practioners scare people away from the greatest medical innovations in all of human history – Vaccines.

[note – I’m not informed enough to talk about about the new  and politically controversial cervical cancer vaccine many believe should be mandatory for girls – here I’m talking about the old vaccines like DPT and Polio, tried and true, that have been used for decades]

Vaccinations have saved *hundreds of millions* of lives outright and spared *hundreds of millions* more from dramatic reductions in the quality of life.  Like any broadly applied remedy, Vaccine complications have caused a few deaths and a very tiny number of complications.   Only a narrow and irrational approach focuses ONLY on risks and ignores the massive benefits.

Vaccination math is overwhelmingly supportive of vaccines, yet ignored by the folks in the very vocal and active  anti-vaccine crowd, who simply refuse to do the math, choosing instead to point to imaginary or “one in a million” risks as if they these outweigh the 999,999 in a million benefits.

I wrote a comment over at the site I bumped into just now:

Sorry to see sites like this that discourage people from the “no brainer” that is vaccination of children.  Usually the misunderstandings come from the fact that you will have a very, very, very tiny number of complications with anything that touches billions of lives. This is NOT a reason to fear vaccines irrationally, as far too many do both in USA and developing world.  Leaving your children unvaccinated places them at hundreds of times the risk of a vaccinated person. You also put others at greater risks.  Ironically this would NOT be an issue if vaccines had not been such an incredible success because people would see the affects of polio, smallpox, and other diseases all around them. We don’t see that because we use vaccines.

———————

One MINOR caveat here to the above.   There is a point in time when vaccination success may lead to a total regional eradication of a disease.  At that time the (tiny, tiny) risks of vaccinating can wind up being greater than the (nearly zero) risk of contracting the eradicated disease.   This happened with smallpox in the USA and it’s why we no longer vaccinate for smallpox.    This fact hardly undermines the importance of vaccines or supports the “anti vaccine” crowd’s imaginary complications  (e.g. autism), but it’s important to keep it in mind when doing vaccine math.

Rotator Cuff Exercises


After starting up Tennis again I’m already experiencing what I think is a rotator cuff irritation so it’s time to look for some rotator cuff exercises so hopefully I can play without injury or pain.   It’s hard getting old!

The Rotator cuff is a complex of thin muscles on your shoulders that allow the extensive motion you have in this area – motion that allows things like ball throwing and racket or club swinging, and more.   Irritation in this area is very common, especially with sports, and should be considered potentially serious.   Rotator cuff exercises help prevent injury to the shoulder.

Rotator cuff exercises:

Side-lying lateral raise.   Instructions from “FitBie”

Standing rows with free weights and tubing.  Not sure if this is what is meant by that or not:

Prone horizontal abuduction.

Wall pushups.

Internal and external rotation.

Weight and lifespan / longetivity


This really interesting summary just popped up in some research of the effect of weight on lifespan.  In the very interesting advocacy documentary film “Fathead”  (which I’ll review at length later), it’s suggested that fat people tend to live longer.   This is not consistent with any other information I’ve heard and I think it’s probably just based on a silly interpretation of the challenges faced in hospitals by low weight folks who are stressed by illness.   In some specific cases like that it may help to have extra body fat, but the general findings of many studies are of course consistent with the studies noted in this 1992 paper, summarized below:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1600586

<cite>The study was conducted to evaluate one aspect of the entropy theory of aging, which hypothesizes that aging is the result of increasing disorder within the body, and which predicts that increasing mass lowers life span. The first evaluation of the impact of human size on longevity or life span in 1978, which was based on data for decreased groups of athletes and famous people in the USA, suggested that shorter, lighter men live longer than their taller, heavier counterparts. In 1990, a study of 1679 decreased men and women from the general American population supported these findings. In the present study data on the height, weight, and age at death of 373 men were obtained from records at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego, CA, USA. Men of height 175.3 cm or less lived an average of 4.95 years longer than those of height over 175.3 cm, while men of height 170.2 cm or less lived 7.46 years longer than those of at least 182.9 cm. An analysis by weight difference revealed a 7.72-year greater longevity for men of weight 63.6 kg or less compared with those of 90.9 kg or more. This corroborates earlier evidence and contradicts the popular notion that taller people are healthier. While short stature due to malnutrition or illness is undesirable, our study suggests that feeding children for maximum growth and physical development may not add to and may indeed be harmful to their long-term health and longevity.</cite>

 

Day 180 of the Davies’ Happy Meal Project


Day 180, 2010 Sally Davies Happy Meal Project

Originally uploaded by sally davies photo

Sally Davies took pictures of a MacDonald’s burger and fries for 6 months. Most viewing these, and I’m guessing Sally, would suggest this shows something about the unhealthiness of MacDonald’s food.

The problem with that “logic” is that the same approach using, say, a Big Mac and a Coke – a far less healthy meal than this reasonable meat and potato meal – would be a nasty mess.

Michael Pollan, crusader against fast food for both reasonable and silly reasons, has suggested that rotting food is a good sign of healthy food, and I think this test may have been inspired by that somewhat twisted logic.

A natural foods challenge that is not discussed nearly enough is that while unprocessed, unpreserved foods often offer the nutritional benefits of complexity, protein balancing, and more, they also
generally carry a greater risk of spoilage and in that case can harbor some very nasty bacteria.

Moderation, in all things …

Changing the world, one PR firm at a time


The CES 2010 pitches are coming in strong now as John and I get ready to cover the year’s biggest technology event over at  Technology Report.

I was so happy today to see one of them signing off saying they were a proud supporter of the Room to Read Project, which is a major effort to work towards world wide literacy and education.   Readers of this blog know I’m a huge fan of that kind of project, and one of the reasons I’m very optimistic about the world’s future is that for I think the first time in history it’s become very, very “fashionable” to support global poverty reduction efforts in even the strongest bastions of capitalism (e.g. big time PR firms).

Now, cynics will suggest – correctly to some extent – that part of the motivation when capitalists support charity is to benefit from the positive buzz.    However I’m fine with that, and furthermore I’m *glad*  to see potential win-win economic relationships develop around charities like this.