My novel is written in layman's language, just the way we're talking here, because I believe reading should be not only informative, but pleasurable, never work. My story will solve the central mystery, not 'Who did it?', but 'Why?'. It is in its final stages of editing and hopefully will be with a publisher by year's end.
So sit and enjoy your morning coffee, or your bedtime nightcap, and do some light reading about what's happening on your insides. I'll keep you informed on a variety of health issues. I'll also pass along good medical websites, because I believe knowledge, and self-advocacy, are keys to staying healthy. Add me to your Favorites bar and visit here Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for new information.
Also, please let me know what you find interesting, and what you're interested in.
But if Charles Cullen had been your nurse, you might have been one of the patients he took a fancy to. He might have emptied a syringe full of poison into you one night, just the way he killed dozens of other patients over the course of 16 years. The truly shocking story is how he managed to get away with all those murders for so long. That’s the story journalist Charles Graeber began researching, beginning after Nurse Cullen was convicted in 2003 of killing more than 3 dozen victims that could be positively identified in 9 different hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey over 16 long years.
How was it possible that a nurse could manage to get away with tampering with the contents of IV bags that put his patients into insulin shock? How could he actually get caught stashing empty bottles of dangerous drugs at night, and still manage to get hired at other hospitals and continue killing his patients?
How could hospital staffs ignore patients who were found to be poisoned by an Angel of Death? Doctors were seeing a rash of patients crashing, and looking at them as if they were dying of a disease that needed to be studied. Meanwhile, the lawyers were seeing the poor, hapless victims as potential lawsuits that needed to be buried in order to protect the reputation of their hospitals. Nobody was seeing his victims as our mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and children. How must it have felt to the scores of his unidentified victims as they looked down from their heavenly clouds, knowing that they would remain nameless and faceless because they were more threatening to hospitals than a psychopathic killer nurse?
It took Charles Graeber six years to dig up the answers that satisfied him, and he has put the whole chilling, true story into a new book, The Good Nurse. To read more, click on the link below.
Our friends, the mice, ran their little butts off recently to prove to researchers that exercise can make our brains function better. Here’s how scientists say that works.
When we go out with our dog for a brisk thirty minute walk, not only are we getting our heart pumping faster, which helps to lower our blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps us burn off some of the inflammatory fat that’s leaking toxic waste into our abdominal organs, but keeping pace with our dog also stimulates the formation of new neurons in our hippocampus, a region of our brain involved in learning and memory, and scientists say the reason is because of an increase in our Serotonin.
The researchers found when the mice ran in their plastic ball, their pineal gland released more Serotonin into their brain’s hippocampus. They also observed that the Serotonin helped stem cells to become neurons. So, if we are able to stimulate the production of Serotonin by something as easy as walking our dogs, that will increase the neurons in our hippocampus and we will be able to learn more and our memories will be better.
The hormone, Serotonin, is not only found in our brains, but in our digestive tract, in our central nervous system, and in our blood. That would explain why people who have lower levels of Serotonin often have not only anxiety and depression, but they also suffer with migraines, acid reflux and other digestive problems. No wonder Serotonin is known as the ‘happiness hormone.’ It’s because those of us who are low on Serotonin are unhappy.
Once again, those unfailingly cooperative mice have given all of us with low levels of Serotonin some good news. If a simple thing like walking our fast-paced dog for 30 minutes every day can increase our level of Serotonin, not only will we make more neurons, which will improve our reasoning and memory, but more Serotonin might also help alleviate our headaches, decrease our acid reflux, and help us to sleep better. It means no matter how tired and depressed we feel before we walk our dog, we can be assured we will feel less tired, less headachy, and a little happier when we come back home. That’s comforting. It’s a reason to walk. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513110926.htm
My novel revolves around a central mystery, not ‘Who did it?’, but ‘Why?’ It has romance, mystery, intrigue and suspense that I promise will keep you guessing from beginning to end about the final outcome. It is in its last editing and hopefully will be with a publisher by year’s end.
In the meantime, I’ll keep you informed on a variety of health issues. I’ll also pass along good medical websites, because I believe knowledge and self-advocacy are keys to staying healthy. Visit me here Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for new information. And if you have friends who might find my posts useful, I’ll be happy to ‘friend’ them. Also, please let me know what you find interesting, and what you would like to read more on.
New posts can be found Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on my website: http://thelittlebulldog.tumblr.com/
It is true that Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor and all the other statin drugs can keep our livers from synthesizing the fatty cholesterol that clogs up our arteries. Unfortunately, researchers have found there are a few side affects that can cause us problems.
If we start taking a statin drug, and we suddenly find ourselves losing our car keys, or our car, and we can’t remember what day it is, it could be because of the statin. We might also find ourselves becoming anxious and depressed.
The problem is because our brains need cholesterol, and the statin that’s lowering our liver’s synthesis of cholesterol is also lowering the level of cholesterol our brains need for data-processing and memory functions. Cholesterol actually stimulates memory and thinking. And it’s important in stimulating the hormone, Serotonin, which influences our mood and behavior. So, while we’re lowering our risk for a heart attack or stroke, we could be, horrors! sliding down a slippery slope into premature mental decline.
Also, we could be noticing muscle pain and weakness, just like 75 percent of the other people who are taking statins. What’s our doctor’s solution for muscle pain? Add another pill, maybe Co-Q10, to give us more of the Q10 protein our statin is depleting.
So, what are our choices? Do we have to choose between plaque-hardened arteries and heart attacks, or unclogged arteries and an addled, ornery old brain and wimpy muscles? Or can we have it all, healthy arteries and a sharp as a tack mind, and buns of steel?
If we’re genetically lucky, and we make it a habit to eat our greens and beans and exercise, we might be able to hold our chronic and progressive hardening of the arteries at bay well into old age, without statins that numb our brains and weaken our muscles. But we need to start caring for our arteries while we’re still in our prime, because we don’t know if we’ll get the opportunity to turn things around in our fifties. Besides, food is cheaper than drugs and exercise is less time-consuming than doctoring. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130510150143.htm
THANK YOU, Mothers, for mothering us and those we love.
This month I’ve been honoring rats and their tireless labors on our behalf. Today, we can thank their little cousins, the mice, for yet another medical breakthrough.
Researchers recently gathered together a group of old mice with age-related thick heart muscles and surgically paired each of them with a young mouse so that their blood circulatory systems merged into one. And they made an amazing discovery. When the old mice were infused with the blood of the young mice, they experienced a reversal in the thickening of their heart muscles.
The reason for this reversal in cardiac aging? It turns out the old mice had lower levels of a blood hormone known as growth differentiation factor, GDF11. When they got more of the blood hormone from their surgically conjoined young partners, their heart muscle cells became smaller and the thickness of the muscle wall reverted back to that of the young mice.
If the researchers are correct, and some of our age-related diseases are due to the loss of a circulating blood hormone, that means some day if we begin to experience shortness of breath because of our thickening heart muscle, we will be able to get a prescription for GDF11 hormone replacement, and soon we’ll be spry as kids again.
It’s one reason we need to keep our arteries open and elastic. Ten years from now, when a hormone is developed to rejuvenate our aging hearts and get them pumping strong again, we will need to have healthy arteries to circulate the blood. What good would a young heart be without a healthy, wide-open delivery route? http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130509123416.htm
No, we don’t want to sweat on a treadmill next to our size 2 girlfriend who’s constantly chirping about how good we’re doing. She’ll drive us right off the miserable treadmill, because we know she’s being insincere and condescending and smug just because her thighs are skinnier than our forearms.
Researchers have decided that our perfect exercise partner is someone who can out pace us by about forty percent, but who will keep the verbal blather to a minimum. That means our optimal exercise partner is our dog. It’s estimated that if we spend just 30 minutes a day walking our faster-paced, tight-lipped dogs, we will burn 67% more calories than if we spent the time sweating in a gym with weights.
Just think about that. A mere 30 minutes a day walking our dogs not only lowers the level of the unhealthy fatty acids in our blood, but it increases our oxygen uptake by as much as 11%, and it can lower our resting heart rate and resting blood pressure. Walking our dogs will also improve our fasting insulin resistance and reduce liver enzymes and fasting triglyceride levels, which doctors say are known risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.
There’s more. A fast-paced walk with our dog is better than time spent lifting weights in terms of burning that deadly fat buried deep inside our abdomens that squeezes and inflames our internal organs and leads to diabetes and heart disease.
Besides that, our daily 30 minute dog walk will boost our brain connections, meaning we’ll be mentally sharper. And the time spent in the sunshine will also help reduce our blood pressure and cut our risk for heart attacks and strokes. Just think. Our dogs can do all that for us. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531102205.htm
Why? First, it’s easy, and quick. Throw some foil over your scorched broiler pan, lay a salmon fillet on it, along with some vitamin D rich mushrooms, some antioxidant rich tomatoes, some fresh garlic and onion, toss some salad dressing over everything, and broil for five minutes at most. In the meantime, throw lettuce leaves in a bowl, flavor with olive oil and flaxseed oil, scoop the fish and veggies on top, pour yourself some antioxidant rich red wine, and dinner is ready.
What else is good about this meal? It is rich in those essential Omega-3 fatty acids that we keep hearing about. Omega-3s are found in fish, especially in salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, and in plants, especially in flaxseeds and their oil. Guinea pigs, who, just like most of us, are plagued with arthritic joints, started eating an Omega-3 rich diet and reduced their arthritis by fifty percent. Researchers theorize that if the Guinea pig has less joint pain and inflammation, so will we.
Researchers also believe eating fish and flaxseed oil can lower the triglyceride fat in our blood, can reduce our blood pressure, can prevent fat from accumulating in our aorta, and it may even block cholesterol buildup in our arteries. That means more Omega-3s in our diets would lead to better vision as we age and a healthier heart. Omega-3s could even help protect those of us troubled by colitis.
So there you have it. If you want to lower your blood pressure, lessen your achy joints, keep fat out of your aorta, keep your eye sight, and open up your arteries, eat salmon and salad, with a dollop of buttery flaxseed oil.
One money-saving tip – buy the salmon when it’s half price, the date at which it must sell, cut it into individual serving portions, and freeze it. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017111600.htm
That’s what has come out of the latest research involving a group of hypertensive, heart-failure prone rats who stuffed themselves full of grapes for 18 weeks. At the end of the study their hearts were more relaxed, less enlarged, and had less scarring. The researchers translate that to mean if we snack on grapes, we’ll lessen the chance that our chronic high blood pressure will cause our hearts to fail.
The reason, we’re told, is that grapes, and most other fruits and vegetables, are full of antioxidants that influence gene activities and metabolic pathways. Grapes, in particular, contain a chemical called glutathione, which is the most abundant antioxidant in our hearts.
So, once again the precious rats have made an important discovery that can save our lives. Munch on grapes all day and you will not only shave off pounds, but you will be cleansing your heart muscle of oxidative stress, and that will help keep your heart muscle relaxed and full of oxygen-rich blood that will be able to pump out through your more relaxed and open arteries. Grapes will keep you healthier, happier, and with all that extra oxygen getting to your brain, wiser.
Well, not just yet. But maybe in the next year or so, after you pack in your juicy red steak and baked potato and cocktails and a couple of smokes, you’ll be able to pull out your iPhone and within thirty seconds you’ll have a blood pressure and electrocardiogram reading registering at a database center. If your blood pressure is normal, and there are no bleeps in your EKG, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the rest of the night. Yes, apps for heart monitoring are coming soon.
In the meantime, it’s the morning after your enjoyable Saturday night, and you’re feeling a little fatigued and achy in your chest. Should you be concerned? Of course not, because you’re only thirty-five. You’re way too young to have hardening of the arteries.
Well … doctors are now telling us that our arteries can start hardening in adolescence, even as young as eleven years old. They have decided we need to worry about our triglycerides, which tell us how much fat from last night’s steak and how much sugar from our potato and cocktails is running around in our blood. Doctors tell us that bad LDL cholesterol and high triglycerides will stiffen our arteries and put more work on our heart. That means our arteries could be older and stiffer than we are!
So, what to do the morning after your big steak? You immediately reach for your fish oil supplements, and you pop a Niacin pill to give you more HDL to help ferry the bad LDL out of your arteries and into your liver. Unfortunately, doctors have decided Niacin isn’t working, and fish oil could be nothing more than a placebo.
What’s left? You get off your couch, swallow down a few handfuls of heart healthy nuts, and get on your bike for an afternoon ride in the Vitamin D rich sunshine. Then you come home and fix yourself a healthy dinner of beans and brown rice and broccoli and spinach and more nuts and a few ounces of red wine, and you spend the rest of the night in front of the television, munching antioxidant rich grapes.
Monday morning, if you’re still a bit concerned about your arteries, call your doctor. Tell him you want fasting tests for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and other heart-risk markers. And you would like a noninvasive test based on pulse wave technology that will measure the elasticity in your blood vessels. Your doctor might say you don’t need all those tests. But remember, you’re in charge. You’re paying him. You decide: