We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, September 5. 2023
Interesting, possibly controversial topic. I do not trust Dr. Google, but one of my two hernias became visible after deadlifts. Maybe it's been brewing for years.
I also know that I often err in holding my breath with heavy weights. Wrong technique, I know. I try to do it all correctly but sometimes forget, or just strain to my max to get it done like any ordinary foolish person.
Surgeon is going to fix them sooner. He says it's a myth about weights and hernias. He's a smart, experienced, and pleasant guy. Whatever. I'll do whatever he says.
Monday, September 4. 2023
Sunday, September 3. 2023
Those EMS people taught the 30 pumps, then mouth-to-mouth, and repeat. They made a good point which is that, if somebody doesn't need it, they will resist. When somebody goes down it's not easy to know for sure. As they said, forget about looking for a pulse because you'll only feel your own.
This Youtube is pump only.
Saturday, August 26. 2023
For one thing, the numbers mean nothing for us as individuals, because our life chances depend on weight, fitness (a tiny bit), genetics, luck, etc.
If you go back a few centuries, it is surprising to see that, at least in the Western world, life expectancy has not increased much if you discount infant and childhood mortality from infectious diseases. In 1700, if you made it to age 25, you had a goodchance to make your 80s barring farm accidents. There is also the factor of maternal mortality from Puerperal Fever. Many women died from that.
My main point is that the bimodal death rates in the pre-antibiotic era skew the life expectancy data. Antibiotics have saved plenty of adults too, along with immunizations against infectious diseases. George Washington's life could have been saved with a shot of penicillin.
Every journalist should study these books (but they won't cuz it's math-ish):
Thursday, July 27. 2023
Babesiosis was on my mind because a pal recently got sick after a tick bite. I've had countless tick bites, but never got ill after one.
And I see that AVI just got it too. Sheesh. Like Lyme, same darn kind of deer tick (not an ordinary dog tick. We're all used to dog ticks).
Anyway, Babesiosis is a nasty consequence if you get bitten by a bad tick.
Thursday, July 13. 2023
That might not apply to 8 hours on the Appalachian Trail or a day job as a lumberjack, but it is certainly true for me with my 1-hr daily exercises. The more consistently I exercise, the less interest I have in food and the smaller the portions I can handle. This effect is most pronounced with demanding cardio and calisthenic exercise, not much with strength exercise or with sports. There is a theory that the effect has something to do with Peptide YY.
Nobody wants to eat anything after a hour of tough cardio exercise and that suppressive effect tends to last 24 hrs.
Maybe it makes some genetic sense. If you need to move yourself vigorously and frequently, the less fat you have on you the better you can avoid becoming part of a Tiger Dinner Party. Hunger is an interesting instinct and only recently has it been studied biochemically. One thing we know for certain is that subjective hunger or attraction to food is not a signal for a need for nourishment for most adults in a food-rich environment.
Overweight people seem to have the strongest subjective hunger, and sedentary people tend to have stronger appetites. Cause or effect? Chicken or egg?
Friday, June 23. 2023
The article entitles it "Who's in charge of your health -Your Doctor or Your Insurer?" but "health" is a more complex question because lots of health has to do with luck, and some to self-care.
Nobody is entitled to health.
And nobody wants to need a doctor, but we all do or will. It can be expensive and always will be. Either we pay it, or other citizens pay it for us. Any kind of insurance makes sense.
Saturday, June 17. 2023
Lots of people have, let's say, interesting nutritional habits.
To each his or her own, I guess. Luckily for me, nutrition gives me little joy - unless beer is nutrition. (One thing that gives me joy is leaving the damn gym after a workout.) I'm not skinny, but fit for age. Wait - that's a lie because I do enjoy a few slices of a rare ribeye.
Zero carb eating is not especially about losing fat (altho it works for that). Jordan Peterson only consumes steak and bubbly water for some wacky reason. Lex said he is sort-of similar. Whatever, but they should do a daily or weekly multivit. That's fine despite being a little idiosyncratic.
Fortunately, we have learned that dietary fat is harmless, and also necessary.
Lots of people find too much eating makes them less sharp and more lazy. I'm like that. My trainer, who pushes me to eat more, always notices that I am stronger after a day without food, like, after some GI problem.
My nutrition has been mainly Thai take-out lately. Convenient. One $11 take-out meal is 2-3 meals for me. I tend to eat once or twice daily, not by discipline but for lack of interest and because food makes me tired. I am also a very slow eater and tend to stop the minute any hunger goes away.
So people are different, but food is not medicine. Again, not talking about getting rid of surplus body fat even though that's a good idea for life fitness and vanity.
Tuesday, May 2. 2023
Just as a precaution, and because my fitness trainer wants me to, I get one every year or two. They have always been normal and I have never had any heart symptoms.
This year my cardiologist recommended a Nuclear Stress Test. Apparently the regular test is only 60% effective at finding arterial problems, but the nuclear test over 90%.
Yes, angiography is 100%, but generally needs to be justified by symptoms.
I haven't had blisters from either urban hiking, wilderness hikes, or hunting, for many years. I used to get them mostly from urban hikes, and they ruin the enjoyment. I use liner socks and the right shoes or boots for the purpose.
For the mountain hikes around Sedona, I could have used my Meindls, but did not anticipate the rockiness.
Tuesday, April 18. 2023
The varieties of presentations under the umbrella of Schizophrenia worldwide is around 0.3 %. Not rare. There are no cures, but there are things than can help these people somewhat, if they want them. I do not know what % of the street people they represent.
In the old days, non-functional and irrational people were kept in the attic or basement, or situated in asylums and sanitariums. With modern medicines, people can do somewhat better if they accept treatment and reasonable support for a lifetime. In the US, that is voluntary.
Like the author of the article, a good pal in my freshman year in college descended into psychosis. I watched the darkness and dysfunction descend until his parents took him home. Tragic. I wonder what happened.
Thursday, March 23. 2023
Thursday, March 9. 2023
This is more relevant for men than women (they are not medically-equal). If over 45-50, never a bad idea to get an echo stress test on some sort of regular basis. I've seen many trim, athletic guys drop dead, or almost drop dead, with cardiac events which could have been dealt with semi-ok for years.
While it is a fact that almost half of male Western humans (Asians too) will succumb to arterial disease (and almost the other half to some cancer - something will take us down), there is no reason to speed up the former death. (Less civilized areas have people of all ages dying of infection, accidents, war, etc.) Can treatments for cadiovascular disease keep you going? Yes - just ask my 90+ year old overweight, wine-loving father-in-law who has had stents, bypass, pacemaker, and ongoing treatment for congestive heart failure, and is still truckin' and loving life.
Sheesh, it's only arthritis that really limits him now. Too many sports.
Tuesday, January 3. 2023
People have been asking me about Damar Hamlin. Cardiac arrest or, sometimes termed "Sudden Cardiac Arrest", occurs at all ages. It is only newsworthy when it occurs in young, otherwise healthy athletes. Still, it happens enough that many states have rules about medical check-ups for athletes. I suspect that it occurs more often than reported.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is usually associated with a heart arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. The heart stops. These have a long list of possible underlying causes, but it seems possible, if rare, that even a blow to the chest can set it off. The risks are that you die, or survive with brain damage. First aid is CPR (all of our readers should know how to do that), then shock from a defibrillator. The brain begins to die after a handful of minutes without a functional heartbeat.
In youth, arrest is hardly ever related to a "heart attack," which refers to a Myocardial Infarction.
Friday, December 30. 2022
Tuesday, December 27. 2022
Anecdotally, it looks likely. But the catch is that it's the most fit people who do an hour or so most days, so is it causality? Statistically, fitter people are best prepared to deal with the attacks of nature: better disease-resistance, better healing, etc.
People with physical jobs do not need to think about it, but most of us do. In a way, daily exercise is an attempt to recreate a bit of what humans were built to do.
I feel that exercise (The Maggie's Fitness for Life program, especially) has the main goal of maintaining functionality and vigor for as long as possible. Sure, looking good matters too, in life. Nutrition for weight, exercise for strength.
Tuesday, December 13. 2022
Friday, December 9. 2022
I understand that we live in an hyper-politicized world right now. It seems more so than in the past, but I can't say. It does seem to me that "the long march through the institutions" has been occuring. I especially hate to see it occur in my field of clinical medicine.
I do not mind debate about the role of government in medical care, and will even listen to arguments in favor of Medicare for all citizens. That is a different topic.
Tuesday, December 6. 2022
Sunday, November 13. 2022
Why do people with any fat stores ever feel hungry, or eat anything at all, considering they may have 1-5 month's worth of energy stored as fat? (We term the hunger experienced by overweight people "False Hunger," because it is.) Except in the truly malnourished or extremely fit, low body-fat athletes, hunger is rarely a signal of an energy deficit or of any nutritional need.
Think about it. Even normal-weight (neither overweight nor underweight) people carry 8-10 weeks of energy stored in fat if they can only access it.
You can consider appetite in the pudgy or overweight, not to mention the obese, to be a design flaw based on the hunting and gathering, and, earlier, just plain gathering condition of human existence, same as the other great apes who only become overweight in captivity. Agriculture and food abundance, along with sedentary life, exposed the design flaw for people who overnourish themselves. Of course, physical inadequacy is another side effect.
Here are a few issues (below) -
Continue reading "Why do overweight people ever feel hunger? (re-posted)"
Sunday, October 30. 2022
Wednesday, October 26. 2022
Tuesday, October 18. 2022
It Was Once Someone’s Job to Chat With the King of England While He Used the Toilet, “Groom of the Stool” could be a crappy role, but it came with great benefits.
Thursday, September 8. 2022
If you care about fitness and functionality, staying trim and strong is a good idea. Staying strong is easy: Go to the gym or something daily with weights and cardio and calisthenics. It is rewarding if not exactly fun. Exercise will not keep many people trim.
It's an American thing. I don't know why because many parts of the world are full of cheap, tasty fast foods.
Without wanting to seem obnoxious to any overweight readers, I have to offer the best article I've seen about nutrition and weight. It's a bit of a long read, but entirely reasonable: Behavioral Nutrition.
The authors are correct. For many people, willpower doesn't work. Habits do. A quote:
Wednesday, August 17. 2022
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