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Health (209 posts)
A couple of months later, Donna Dannenfelser, Ed.D., a Long Island housewife-turned-therapist, is counseling pro football players in her home while her kids watch TV. The team starts turning things around. Fast forward a decade, and Dr. Donna, as the players call her, is advising high-profile patients and working as a supervising producer on a show based on her career (Necessary Roughness, Wednesdays on USA).
We thought the woman who made that call to the Jets would have some smart advice about the tough situations we sometimes find ourselves dealing with.
Situation 1: The blow off
We've got an awesome idea but the people in charge won't listen--not unlike that Jets trainer. How do you get past a no answer?
[On the jump, find out how she got a yes--and how you can too]
I thought of her with guilt last week, while I was tipping a package of peanut M&M's into my mouth (what? It was a rough week), and with enormous respect today when I read about a new study that explains the addictive power of high-fat foods. To measure how taste alone affects the body's response to food, scientists from California and Italy fed different groups of rats liquid diets high in one of these three substances: fat, sugar or protein. As soon as the fatty liquid hit the rats' taste buds, their digestive systems began producing endocannabinoids, chemicals similar to those produced by marijuana use, and these rats showed a craving for more fatty food.
Fat is necessary for proper cell functioning, one of the study authors told The New York Times, explaining that "we have this evolutionary drive to recognize fat, and when we have access to it, to consume as much as we possibly can." The problem is our prehistoric ancestors weren't out hunting deep-fried Twinkies, so we've got to outsmart these biological impulses.
I personally find the study reassuring. If we accept that most of us don't have the same snack-mastery--call it willpower, or fortitude, or discipline--as my old friend, and if we acknowledge that one high-fat potato chip will probably lead to a binge, we may be more likely to think twice about indulging at all. Or at least, to save the benders for when we really, really need them.
Wrong, wrong, 500 times wrong, says Kelly Reynolds,
Ph.D., an assistant professor of microbiology at the University of
Arizona. While the
floor may be crawling with 1,000 bacteria per square inch, the sink
hosts around 500,000 bacteria per square inch -- and she's seen sinks
millions more than that. "The sink is a ready source of bacteria just
washing off hands as well as food, which may carry fecal bacteria." The
number of bacteria it takes to make us sick depends on the type, but
Reynolds says that it takes between 100 and 1,000 bacteria to transmit
salmonella, which is the most frequently reported cause of foodborne
Reynolds says our kitchen sinks are often dirtier than the toilets of public bathrooms, which may be regularly scrubbed with powerful disinfectants. "If you dropped something in the toilet at the gas station, would you rinse it off and eat it? Use the same mentality for your sink."[Next: What to do if you drop food in the sink]
A small yet interesting study of 34 middle-aged women (some with rheumatoid arthritis, some with breast cancer), published in the May issue of Health Psychology, found that the women who frequently swore in the company of others turned out to be women who were less likely to feel that people sympathized with them and felt their pain (and this had the power to make them feel even more depressed). "Would middle-aged men—or, for that matter, women of a younger, more swearing-prone generation—feel the same way?" asks Boing Boing. "There's a possibility that this study could have more to say about what middle-aged women expect from themselves, or who other people expect them to be."
You know who doesn't care who other people expect her to be? Helen Mirren, who is one of the classiest cursers we've ever seen (watch her drop the f-bomb with aplomb). Dame Helen is a great example for those who are hesitant to harness the power of swear words when they need it most. Maybe if we were more accustomed to seeing and hearing women express themselves (uncensored!), we'd be less worried about what we shouted when we put our own hands in ice water...or on a molten steering wheel, or in the hinge of a door, or on a hot pan handle. In other words, if we got caught trying to ameliorate the ordinary pains of domestic life.
The hidden benefits of anger, cursing and negativity
This new report backs up previous studies by financial scholars as well as from financial institutions, all of which suggested that female investors were less prone to the overconfidence that can lead to big financial losses (and, less happily, whopping financial gains).
Since these two articles have already gotten the ball rolling, we'd like to point out a few more ways that women have an edge. We're not saying we're better than men; we're just taking a moment to celebrate our gender's advantages.
Can you guess where the nation's top four cleanest, most pristine beaches are located? (Nope, not in Kauai or the Outer Banks).
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: Can I cheat on my diet on the weekends?
A: We asked Janis Jibrin, MS, RD, Best Life lead nutritionist and diet counselor, to answer this question. She says she's heard this a lot lately—and she gave us four reasons to rethink this as a weight loss plan.
Some weekend cheaters gained almost 9 pounds in a year.
Your body doesn't know the difference between weekdays and weekends. If you splurge on the lumberjack breakfast or a plate of beignets, that could have three times the calories of your ordinary oatmeal breakfast. A 2008 study published in the journal Obesity found that participants who were likely to increase their calories on Saturday and decrease their activity on Sunday racked up tiny weight gains that led to almost 9 pounds at the end of a year.
That's what motivated John Carson, a triathlete who was struck by an SUV during a training ride just a mile from his home in Long Island, New York. He suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. Carson threw himself into rehab, and (you know where this is going) within a few months, he stunned doctors by slowly, carefully putting one foot in front of the other. Carson still lacks sensation in his feet—his spinal surgeon refers to him as a "walking quadriplegic"—but just one year after his accident, Carson competed in the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman. He then raced in this year's Boston Marathon and, last weekend, in the Coeur d'Alene Ironman in Idaho.
Carson's near-miraculous recovery story provides inspiration for anyone facing insurmountable obstacles. But what really struck us was what Carson decided to do after he exceeded the expectations of his doctors, his family and himself. Carson told The New York Times last week that he was planning to retire from Ironmans after the Coeur d'Alene.
"Racing used to be the most important thing in my life," said Mr. Carson. "But ... this is a very selfish sport. I've done enough. That five or six hours I spend on a bike Saturday mornings, the run on Sunday, I want to take that time I'd be spending out there and put it to better use."
Carson, now 30, told The Times he would rather devote his energy to his wife, his family and his fundraising work with the Reeve Foundation.
It sounds as if his epiphany came not when he lost his physical abilities, but when he regained them. He reminded us that even when we go beyond where we thought we could...we still might need to go a little farther to get where we want to be.
Given the importance of catching HIV early to get the care necessary to prevent it from becoming AIDS (and to prevent passing it along), I was glad to see the volunteers. Getting tested for something as serious as HIV can be intimidating, and—as many of us know from experience—it can be easy to put off. By approaching all passersby and urging them to take responsibility for their health, these volunteers made HIV tests seem like another ordinary, responsible habit for conscientious adults.
The Black Women's Health Imperative is also trying to get people talking openly about HIV. In honor of National HIV Testing Day, the BWHI's Elevate campaign has organized a "blog-a-thon" to "elevate the conversation about black women and HIV." They've asked popular African-American female bloggers to weigh in on the topic. We especially enjoyed this music video featuring a Lil Wayne look-alike (complete with grill and Auto-Tune). It addresses the elevated HIV risks of the African-American population while cheerfully spreading the catchy message that women and men of all ethnicities should get tested. You'll be humming this tune all the way home...or to a testing center in your area.