Women who want to get pregnant are now being advised to avoid tofu and other soy products, at least around the peak times for conception. New studies have shown that even small amounts of genistein, which mimics the hormone estrogen and is found in soy products, cause sperm to lose their fertility.

Well, I guess that explains why 20% of the world's population is Chinese!
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, June 24, 2005 at 7:13 am | Edit
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Who wouldn't want to be smarter, think more clearly, and be able to concentrate better? New Scientist has compiled a list of brain-building suggestions for everyone from students to senior citizens.  Some were new to me, some old hat, some intriguing, and some frightening: (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 2:40 pm | Edit
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Research has shown, once again, that the human body works best when used according to its original design. A study of more than 2000 nine to fifteen year olds indicates that exclusive breastfeeding significantly lowers systolic blood pressure, with the strength of the benefit directly proportional to the duration of the breastfeeding. This positive effect is comparable to that of exercise and of restricted salt diets in adults.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 8:09 am | Edit
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When God created the sun, He called it good. In recent years we have been told that God was wrong. Doctors—and hence parents, especially mothers—have been insisting that we dare not venture out into the sunshine without the protection of clothing and/or lavishly applied sunscreen. Living in Florida, I have a highly-developed sense of respect for the power of the sun's rays, and certainly do my share in supporting the sunscreen industry. But I also remember my mother's insistence on the importance of sunshine on skin for making much-needed vitamin D. Thus it was heartening to read that evidence is mounting in favor of my mother (not to mention God). (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, May 22, 2005 at 8:36 pm | Edit
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While the United States is busy wrestling with the so-called right to die, in the United Kingdom it's the right to life that is in question. Leslie Burke, who has a degenerative brain disease, has won a court judgement forbidding doctors to withdraw nutrition and hydration should the time come when he needs them and is incapable of expressing his wishes. The government is challenging the decision, claiming that doctors, not patients, should be the final arbiters of treatment decisions. Nor do they make any attempt to disguise their financial concerns, for under socialized medicine, leaving the power to "pull the plug" in the hands of those who wish to continue to live can get very expensive for the government. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 8:08 am | Edit
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Parents in Rochester, New York no longer have to stay home with sick children, nor be inconvenienced by having to take them to the doctor, thanks to a program that connects schools and day care centers with doctors via the Internet. Little Johnny wakes up feeling miserable? No need to fret; just pack him off to school or day care anyway. There, a staff member with a whole week's worth of training will examine his ears, swab his throat, and otherwise check him out using equipment that sends the results over the Internet to a physician. The diagnosis is made, medication begun, and you pick your child up at the end of the day as usual, no fuss, no bother. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 6, 2005 at 7:31 am | Edit
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I'm am really tired of reading about procedures that were once known to be right now being shown to be useless or even harmful. Actually, I'm not tired of learning the truth, just frustrated with those (especially doctors, teachers, and governmental authorities) who are absolutely certain they know best and thus justiify runing roughshod over other people. I think of the Canadian judge who will force an unwanted medical procedure on a child, in violation of her own conscience and the desires of her family, because he and some doctors think it's the best thing for her; of those who would insist, with the force of law, that a hospital is the only acceptable place to be born, and a school the only acceptable place to be educated, despite mounting evidence to the contrary; of bloodletting, and hormone replacement therapy, and routine circumcision, all procedures once pushed by the medical profession and since retracted. Here's the latest: episiotomies, once considered essential to prevent serious problems during and after childbirth, have now been shown to be useless.

I know we must make decisions based on the knowledge we have at the time, and have no problem with honest errors. My quarrel is with those—I include myself—who in the certainty of their own convictions would use the force of law or their position to shut down contrary beliefs.

"First, do no harm."
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 5, 2005 at 7:42 am | Edit
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Regular breast self exams, pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams, full excision and pathological examination of moles that once were just shaved off at skin level, even routine full body scans—our understandable fear of cancer is reflected in the many procedures available and often recommended in hopes of besting this scourge.

However, there is a downside to all this screening that is now beginning to be recognized. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 8:12 am | Edit
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If this story doesn't scare you, you need to read it again. (Here's another version.) A 14-year-old Canadian girl has gone into hiding to avoid being forced to have a blood transfusion that some doctors in British Columbia believe she needs because of her cancer chemotherapy. The girl does not want the transfusion, and her parents agree with her. Whether you believe private medical decisions belong in the hands of individuals of any age, or of parents in the case of under-age children, this is a gross violation of individual and family rights by the Canadian government. Of course it's all done with the best of motives and "for her own good," but somehow that makes it even more frightening. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 2, 2005 at 4:45 pm | Edit
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Watching our grandson grow, seeing his parents making choices for his care that I wish we had made with our children, knowing much more now than I did 30 years ago, I sometimes wish I were having children now rather than before the turn of the century. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 30, 2005 at 9:29 am | Edit
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Janet needed a chest x-ray as part of a pre-employment physical. Having been advised that insurance would not cover the procedure, she attempted to find out what it would cost. That was much easier said than done, and more than once in her quest she received the following encouragement:

You don't have to pay anything now, you'll get a bill later.

As if that had any effect on the cost! Have we become so inured to debt—home mortages, car financing, credit cards, college loans—that the only price tag we care about is what we must pay right now, the copay, the down payment, the minimum monthly charge?

And what are we to think of a health care system that buries the price of its procedures under so many layers of bureaucracy that no one knows the true cost?
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, April 28, 2005 at 1:16 pm | Edit
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Studies have already confirmed the traditional wisdom that drinking cranberry juice contributes to a healthy urinary tract. Now researchers at the University of Wisconsin have discovered potential benefit to our arteries as well, causing clogged arteries to relax and function more like normal ones. I'm off to have a glass of Bay Punch!

Bay Punch, a primary ingredient of which is cranberry juice, was developed at the University of Rochester Computing Center in the 1970's. It is one of the greatest drinks in the world, and absolutely the best thing to drink with pizza. The "Bay" in the name comes from Bay and Goodman Pizza, the original source for our Tuesday night feasts. I'll post a recipe if I can get permission from the only one of the Bay Punch creators with whom I've kept in touch.

UPDATE: I did get permission, and the recipe is here.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 4, 2005 at 7:17 am | Edit
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When Terri Schiavo dies, there's going to be cheering, and I don't understand why. I know there will be cries of exultation because of the commentary I've heard, and the rude jesting, even from as mainstream a production as National Public Radio's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. Perhaps people make light of tragedy in self-defense; I know my family was able to find humor even as our father lay dying. There was, however, an enormous difference: our humor was suffused with an undeniable love for the man and a determination to do all we could for him. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 at 8:21 am | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Politics: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Children & Family Issues: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Random Musings: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Once again, Florida is making national headlines, this time because of the mysterious outbreak of serious kidney disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome. Most, although not all, of the sufferers had attended either the Plant City Strawberry Festival or Orlando's Central Florida Fair. What else did they have in common? High on the list of suspects is the petting zoos, and the e. coli bacteria often found in animal feces. This is by no means the only source being considered, but it has been jumped on by the media and parents seeking answers. Panicked parents and teachers have cancelled planned zoo trips, and it's not hard to understand why. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 at 1:27 pm | Edit
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The whole world is now following what once was just a Florida story: the tragedy of Terri Schiavo, the woman who collapsed 15 years ago and suffered severe brain injury due to lack of oxygen to her brain. She continues to survive—it's hard to call this "living"—in a nursing home, breathing on her own, but dependant on a feeding tube. Doctors say she is completely brain dead, her brain has atrophied, and what looks like reaction to stimulus is really only reflexive movement. Terri has no living will nor other end-of-life directive. Her husband insists that she would not wish to linger in this state, and is trying to have her feeding tube removed. Terri's parents, on the other hand, believe there is hope, and are fighting for their daughter's life. I do not presume to be able to judge either Terri's neurological state nor her desires, but wish to emphasize an aspect of this mess that has always seemed of primary importance, but which has been generally ignored. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, February 25, 2005 at 9:10 am | Edit
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