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Fixin' Healthcare

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Running, Biking and Walking

U.S. society is a sedentary culture with discussions about which exercise is best but little activity. There are differences between the biomechanical effects of running, biking and walking for weight control and health but any physical activity is beneficial over none. It is best to think of physical activity in terms of health.  

Friday, August 30, 2013


This article reports on a study that indicates obstetricians perform more C-sections when there is financial incentive and patients are not knowledgeable about the situation. I am not surprised but I am sorry.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gut Microbes

It is becoming well established that gut microbes are a major factor in determining health. In turn the amount and composition of the population of gut microbes are greatly influenced by diet. And it is a very good idea to avoid antibiotics that are not absolutely necessary. This article reports on the difference in gut microbes between lean and overweight people. What goes around, comes around and it is all related and integrated. 

Nudge Marketing To Promote Health

It is well known that marketing pushes the public in directions for increasing sales of all sorts of items. The processed food industry is a master at the technique. The same principles apply to nudging people to eat more vegetables and fruit and with that to eat less processed food. If people can feel better with more energy, then they recognize their diet is a major factor.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Metabolic Health

A low level of chronic inflammation is associated with metabolic health. Diet and lifestyle are most likely to influence chronic inflammation. Vegetables and fruit plus physical activity, adequate sleep and stress reduction come to mind as good things. Avoid smoking and highly processed food.  

Roasted Tomatoes

Try some roasted tomatoes as a side dish. They should be good this time of year if grown in your own garden.


Lunch at work is often a tough choice for getting good food. That is especially true when on the road. It is a good idea to pack a lunch and vegetable/fruit juice is an excellent option for turning a bad situation into something healthy.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Tomatoes that are pretty don't taste so good. Efforts are afoot to make tomatoes tastier. Perhaps that could reduce the consumption of junk food but such a lofty goal is a stretch. Meanwhile the project is a challenge in chemistry and plant genetics. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Food Poisoning

Each year one in six Americans becomes sick from eating contaminated food and most of this originates in the kitchen. This article contains tips on preventing this from happening. It looks like a lot of trouble but it is better to safe than sorry.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Peace and Quiet

There is value in hearing things that might be danger and danger in noise pollution. We live in a noisy society and it takes a toll on health.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"The Age Of Denial"

In his article "The Age Of Denial" Mr. Frank expresses frustration with the low acceptance of science by the public and the political establishment. He cites climate change and vaccinations as two examples of consequence where the train does appear to have jumped off the tracks. But science is not always understood or accurate and the pursuit of science is not an absolute endeavor.

Medical care is an example of what can happen when acceptance goes too far. Medical care is often wrong in its conclusions about a health problem but the subsequent treatment may become widespread. There is a mysticism about medical care that masquerades as science and it can become popular in the context of desperate people suffering with health problems. And, then, there is the ever present and pervasive medical-industrial complex ready to pounce upon any and every profit potential. Consider, too, the alternative health arena with its "great expectations". Meanwhile, chronic health problems associated with lifestyle and behavior are treated by medical care at great cost but not cured.

Not such a simple issue, is it?   

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Almost all herbs and spices have health benefits and they give food taste that helps with appetite. This article has useful information about basil.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Eating Fruit

This study showed that eating fruit is associated with decreased risk for developing abdominal aortic aneurysm. The same protection likely applies to the entire vascular system.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Industrial Food

Mark Bittman defends industrial food for producing tomatoes that taste good in large quantities and at low prices. He recognizes the economic model of large quantities and competition to bring down prices but laments the low wages of farm workers that accompany the model. If only we could correct all the inequities that reside in the industrial model but there are tensions, tensions everywhere. Farm workers could be paid more and owners could take less or prices would go up. And, then, there is always that nasty competition. Industrial food enters the realm of the global economy and that creates a difficult situation for the U.S.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Biking for health in Texas. More cities should be paying attention. But be careful around auto traffic. Cars are not friendly to bikers.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Coffee is a bean and drinking coffee has been associated with health benefits. However, more than four cups a day may lead to increased risk of death. Best advice is to limit coffee to two cups daily and don't smoke.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Deaths Due To Obesity

About 18% of deaths in the U.S. are estimated to be due to obesity. That is a high figure but it serves to sustain the call to arms for managing the problem. The health consequences of obesity are medical problems but obesity itself is a public health problem. It can be managed and it is being addressed. But when medical care is the health ethic for the nation obesity is just one of the undesirable outcomes.

Medicine Isn't Plumbing

Cardiac stents may open a clogged artery but it does not relieve the systemic problem(s) that led to the obstruction. Nor does it address the additional obstructions that already or will exist. That requires a change in lifestyle and some medications. Medicine isn't plumbing but some physicians may be plumbers. Whether or not they do any good depends upon the situation and the followup. An obstruction is a specific problem but a patient is a person. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Medications Can Impair Performance

Medications of all types have consequences and can impair performance. Sleep medications taken the night before can result in drowsiness the next morning and impair driving performance.

Breast Feeding

Personal circumstances aside, there is significant and lasting value of breast feeding for infants and mothers. All evidence indicates that in matters surrounding birth and infancy it is best to follow nature's plan. Decisions made during that time have long term consequences.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Good News On Obesity

Public programs to support nutrition can be useful to reduce obesity but they have to be managed.


Alcohol contains calories and often stimulates appetite for high calorie food. If you drink wine and get visions of cheese and crackers in your head, you will have a problem drinking wine and losing weight or maintaining a desirable weight. Think before you drink.


Many people I see are on antidepressants and have been on them for long periods of time. The majority of these people can no longer tell if there is continued benefit and some could not tell if there was any benefit to begin with. There should be clear reason and benefit from taking any medication and this is especially true for medications taken over a prolonged period of time.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bone Health

Intermittent weight bearing exercise is best for bones. Walking is good but there has to be some walking faster, walking up hills and climbing stairs. Gardening and carrying in the groceries are helpful activities. Please, don't just sit there. Get up and do something.  

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Agriculture Policy

U.S. government agriculture policy promotes crops that contribute to junk food and causes poor health. From there is a direct link with the excessive need for medical care, which cannot cure the chronic diseases but maintains them at a very high cost. It is a vicious cycle. With the evidence so overwhelming on the matter one has to wonder why they keep doing this. Perhaps it is because change will be difficult, slow and drastic. Think of America with an different agriculture system, food industry and reduced medical care system. None of those groups would go willingly into such a future and our political system would not support it. The change is likely to come when individuals, groups and communities alter lifestyles.    

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Reduction In Obesity

The CDC reports a small but significant reduction in the rate of obesity among poor young children in 19 states. If this persists and spreads to other states we may be turning the corner with the epidemic of obesity that plagues the U.S. Should that be the case it will due to public health and community efforts. Obesity is not a disease and it is not a medical practice issue.  

Loss Of Sleep And Weight Gain

Loss of sleep results in weight gain. Not only are people eating more late at night but fatigue causes metabolic changes that have a negative impact and stimulates appetite for calorie dense food.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Eat More For Breakfast And Less For Dinner

Eating more of daily calories for breakfast and less at dinner resulted in greater weight loss. Based upon current eating habits and weight distribution in the U.S. it makes sense to give it a try.

Bone Health

Bone health must be addressed early in life. Postmenopausal is way too late. Appropriate exercise, calcium and vitamin D are all important.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Find And Fix

Medical care is moving from recognize and respond to find and fix. The earlier the better is the motto for detecting disease. It is a good theory and it fits with the development of highly sophisticated and expensive technology. But the jury is still out as to when it is actually beneficial and how much trauma, physical and psychological, it brings to patients. Find and fix is medical care and it approaches a state of wellness from the sickness and disease side of the equation. That is a world apart from primary prevention.

Clean Plate Club

Dictating what children eat may not be helpful. Who among us does not remember being told to clean our plate?

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Water Workout

This article describes a water workout for those people with limited physical capability. The objective is to keep moving. Physical activity conveys multiple health benefits and the limitations most people experience is mental rather than physical.


Pickling is a good way to preserve vegetables and enhance their taste. Foods that have sharp taste often help with control of appetite. Herbs and spices have health benefit and they add taste to food.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Eat The Fruit

The worry about sugar in whole fruit is unfounded. There are many compounds in fruit beneficial to health and the fiber protects against the sugar. The sugar in whole fruit is not the same as processed sugar. Fresh fruit/vegetable juice prepared in a blender or food processor contains the pulp, which is good for you.