Friday, March 31, 2006

Childhood Heart Attacks and Strokes and other Health News

Who would have thought that not paying attention or having ants in your pants could give you a stroke or heart attack? Yet these are just some of the adverse side effects of the drugs used to treat children diagnosed with ADHD.

CHILDREN as young as five have suffered strokes, heart attacks, hallucinations and convulsions after taking drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder...

While officials said there was no conclusive evidence that the medications caused psychiatric episodes or heart problems, they noted a "complete absence" of similar reports in children treated with placebos during trials of ADHD drugs.


Loneliness and Heart Disease

So does poor emotional conditions lead to ill health?

Here's a quick explanation of how it may happen:

STEP 1: Social isolation, lack of social support, social dislocation (call it what you like) – leads to anxiety, depression and a dysfunction in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis). The HPA-axis controls most of the hormones in our body, and also the unconscious, or autonomic, nervous system.

STEP 2: This HPA-axis dysfunction leads to overdrive of the sympathetic arm of the autonomic nervous system (the flight or fight bit). At the same time there is also disruption of stress hormone production – particularly cortisol.

STEP 3: Abnormal cortisol production leads to abdominal obesity, raised blood pressure, raised clotting factors in the blood, loss of arterial reactivity, raised blood sugar levels, raised free fatty acids etc. etc. (You may have heard this called ‘metabolic syndrome’)

STEP 4: Plaques develop in arteries – and arteries narrow

STEP 5: Death from heart disease.

Moral of the story: Find some friends and get a life.

Soda Pop and Benzene

Benzene is a toxic chemical known to cause leukemia. It can form naturally; it's found in forest fires, gasoline and cigarette smoke. It also is widely used in industrial production to make plastics, rubber, detergents, drugs and pesticides.

The Environmental Working Group has asked the FDA to warn consumers that two ingredients found in some forms of pop contain ingredients that can form benzene: ascorbic acid and benzoate preservatives, also known as Vitamin C and potassium or sodium benzoate.

The FDA said that things like heat, light, and shelf life can determine whether benzene is formed meaning that you could find it in one can, but not in another of the same brand. Therefore, they didn't think it was in the best interests of consumers to inform them of this fact. They would rather let consumers gamble on whether or not things were stored properly, I guess.

Rising Rates of Cancer

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the number of new cases of cancer has doubled from 1973. Approximately 44 percent of men and 38 percent of women can expect to be diagnosed with this disease. At least 50 percent of these cases are related to exposure to known risk factors, meaning that people can take evasive action and avoid them.

One of the biggest sources of chemical exposure is in the home: specifically in cleaning products. Unless it is proved otherwise, you should assume that household chemicals contain carcinogenic compounds.

Here are some of the more common things to avoid:

Chlorine-based powdered and liquid cleansersHazard: Sodium hypochlorite

When mixed with ammonia, these products release chloramine gas, which can cause respiratory problems. Currently not listed as a carcinogen per se, but its by-products, which occur during contact with other substances in the household environment or even water, can be carcinogenic.

Toilet bowl cleaners
1. Beware: Hydrochloric acid or sodium acid sulfate

Burn skin and can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach injury if ingested. Can damage vision on direct contact with the eyes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says no information is available on the carcinogenic effects of hydrochloric acid in humans.

2. Beware: 1,4-dichlorobenzeneA mould, moth and mildew pesticide that has caused liver and kidney tumors in rats and mice, respectively. Classified by EPA as a Group C, possible human carcinogen.

Powdered scouring products

Beware: Crystalline silicaCrystalline silica at a respirable size was classified as a known human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2000. First listed as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen in 1991.

Beware: PhenolCorrosive; can cause diarrhea, fainting, dizziness, and kidney and liver damage. EPA has classified phenol as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity, based on a lack of data concerning carcinogenic effects in humans and animals. But dermal studies have found that phenol applied to the skin may be a tumor promoter and/or a weak skin carcinogen in mice.

Soaps, furniture, floor and metal polishes and waxes

Beware: NitrobenzeneEffects: Can cause skin discoloration, shallow breathing, vomiting and death. Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen by NTP in 2004.

Soaps and detergents
Beware: Formaldehyde used as an anti-bacterial agent and preservativeStrong irritant of soft tissue such as eyes, throat, skin and lungs. Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen by NTP.

Spot removers and carpet cleaners; dry-cleaning solutions

Beware: Perchloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, 1-1-1- trichloroethylene, methylene chlorideAll are hazardous to liver and kidneys if ingested or deeply inhaled. Perchloroethylene is an animal carcinogen and reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Methylene chloride is a carcinogen, a neurotoxin and a reproductive toxin. Trichloroethylene reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Mothballs, solid-stick room deodorizers

Beware: Naphthalene, paradichlorobenzene
May damage eyes, blood, liver, kidneys, skin and the central nervous system. Naphthalene is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Paradichlorobenzene can harm the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys.

Dish anti-bacterial detergents and fabric softeners

Beware: Quarternary ammonium compounds and imidazolidinyl urea.
Both are known formaldehyde-releasers, which are carcinogenic and mutagenic.
Surface active agents and emulsifiers in household cleansers, oven cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, carpet cleaners and pre-washing laundry agents

Hazard: Ethanolamines: monoethanolamines (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamines (TEA)
Classified as hazardous in several states for liver, kidney and lungs, as well as depression of the central nervous system. Have not been tested for cancer-causing effects.

Want to know what to use instead? Have a look at the Guide to Less Toxic Products at the Nova Scotia Environment Health Association or EnviroSense.

Avian Bird Flu: The Next Deadly Pandemic? Likely Not!

They say that figures don't lie, but liars can figure.

Millions of birds in Asia have been slaughtered in an effort to contain something that is being reported to be a deadly strain of influenza. Between Dec. 26, 2003 and Oct. 24, 2005, there were 121 confirmed H5N1 infections and, of those, 62 have reportedly died. That makes the “apparent” death rate just over 51 percent, ranking this infection among the most deadly on record.

HOWEVER, these were people who were sick enough to need hospitalization. There are many who had milder symptoms who didn't need hospitalization and therefore are not on the radar screen. Thus the actual figures of those infected with Avian flu are not known. Additionally, all but one of the documented cases of avian flu have shown that it has been transmitted from animal to person, not person to person. There is also evidence that humans are developing resistance to this virus. Without a sustained transmission from human to human, it is quite likely that avian flu will never become the pandemic that pharmaceutical companies pray it will.

So why all the hype and scare about an Avian Flu pandemic? Follow the money.

Big Pharma is gearing up to make lots of money through vaccines to protect people from a virus that will likely never amount to much. Meanwhile we are being distracted from other important issues by dead chickens in far away places.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Herbs! Herbs! Herbs!

Nothing tickles the heart of a frugal mother in search of natural health remedies like getting a shipment of incredibly reasonably priced herbs.

Marc picked up my first substantial shipment of bulk herbs today. I ordered 54 different herbs in the amount of one or two ounces each -- some for samples and some for current use. Prices ranged from a high of $5. 93 per ounce to a low of $.39 an ounce. Including shipping and tax, I spent a total of $121.07. If I had done this with my normal supplier it would have been several hundred percents in excess of this!

What this means is that not only can I afford to put all my kids on herbs, it also means that many of the families which I serve will be able to treat their entire family with herbs as well. Before the prohibitive (though still relatively inexpensive cost) meant that only one child or family member could be treated.

For Canadians who are looking for an inexpensive source of high quality herbs, check out Biofilia's website. Americans might be able to get these wonderful prices as well, though it is more of a risk when shipping across the border. Email Grant at and ask for the current price list. Tell him Cheryl sent you.

Friday, March 17, 2006

An Early Irish Covenanter ?

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the trinity,by invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three.I bind this day to me forever by power of faith Christ's incarnation,His baptism in the Jordan river, his death on the cross for my salvation;His bursting from the spiced tomb, his riding up the heavenly way,His coming at the day of doom I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,His eye to watch, his might to stay, his ear to harken to my need,The wisdom of my God to teach, his hand to guide, his shield to ward,The Word of God to give me speech, his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,Christ behind me, Christ before me,Christ beside me, Christ to win me;Christ to comfort and restore me;Christ beneath me, Christ above me,Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,Christ in hearts of all that love me,Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.I bind unto myself the name, the strong name of the Trinity,By invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three,Of whom all nature hath creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word;Praise to the God of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord!

--Patrick, First Bishop of Ireland
(AD 387-464)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

From Douglas Wilson's blog:

Trial By Internet Topic: A Justice Primer

The Bible tells us that the man who is able to tame the tongue is able to deal with anything. The tongue is a restless evil, he says, full of poison. It sets the world on fire, and is set on fire by hell. As long as sin has been in the world, this has been true, but whenever new means of communication are developed, sin eagerly rushes in often before cultural sanctification and manners catch up with it.

The printing press was invented, and was gloriously used by God to spread the availability of the Scriptures. But the same printing press made scurrilous broadsheets and pamphlets possible, and those applications were not slow in coming. The telephone was invented, and made many wonderful things possible, but gossip and time-wasting chatter were right there as well.

Now we are dealing with the internet and email, and all the warnings that St. James gave us have to be taken to heart in new ways. We are dealing with the electronic tongue, and we have not yet learned how to deal with the electronic tongue. To the extent that pastors talk about the internet in sermons at all, it tends toward concerns about pornography. This is far from being an unreasonable concern, because porn is a big problem. But I think Scripture also encourages us to address the sins that are commonly and routinely committed by people in front of other Christians. Christians who use porn almost always sneak off to do it alone, in secret. But disgraceful web sites are set up for the whole world to see, and it is not recognized for what it is. We are so much in the grip of radical individualism that as long as someone is advancing something that they call their perspective or "point of view," we think in First Amendment terms rather than in Second Greatest Commandment terms. But points of view are not self-authenticating. They are not autonomous. And to apply Dilbert to this, "When did ignorance become a point of view?"

With this in mind, let me just note a few sins of the electronic tongue. They are all particular applications of principles found in Scripture, revealed to us long before the day of ones and zeros. But we have to remember that we are creatures of habit in our virtues and vices, and this means that people will often do in a new setting something they would never dream of doing in an older, more familiar setting. This is because the older, more familiar setting was governed by a set of manners that were seeking (sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly) to govern that behavior. But when the setting changes, all bets are off. In a previous era, pietistic churches often had rules against going to the movies in a theater, which used to be the only place you could see them. But with the advent of television, the VCR, and then the DVD, members of such churches can watch movies without a twinge in their conscience. Men who would never dream of buying a pornographic magazine will visit pornographic web sites. And bringing us to the point of this post, people will type things at a keyboard that they would never dream of saying.

So here are just a few things to watch for:

Trial by Internet: we have been covering the principles of justice in this series. Those principles are to be applied by individual Christians who are faithful members of churches, sessions of elders, faithful presbyteries, and councils of Christians. They are all to be dealt with in an incarnational way, settled and applied by people who live with one another, and love one another in three-dimensional ways. When someone's reputation is being dragged through the mud, we have to remember to give an attack web site the same authority (i.e. none) that we would give a xeroxed nasty-gram tacked to a telephone pole. Scurrilous sites are easy to identify, and Scripture requires us to ignore them completely. Not only should we ignore them completely, we should ignore those who do not distance themselves from everyone engaged in that kind of thing.

Other sites are not scurrilous, and make a great show of putting on a dignified air, but they are still trying to try the case in the wrong place. Jesus did not say, "And if your brother does not hear you, I hear blogspots are fairly inexpensive."

Speed Is Not Synonymous With Truth: we used to equate a "fast talker" with a greater likelihood of falsehood. This suspicion ought to remain with us. What the Internet does is enable us to circulate our ignorance around the globe at a high rate of speed. The fact that I can click a button, and people in Australia can read what I wrote a few seconds later, does not make it right. Jesus said of the Pharisees that they made a great business of crossing over land and sea to make a convert, and when they made one, he became twice as much a son of hell as themselves. You sell what's on the shelves. You export what you produce. You say what's in your heart. Now if what you have is a pack of lies, or poorly-researched slanders, or plain old-fashioned folly, then that is what goes up when you click the button

The Internet Is Not Private Space: many who sit behind keyboards make the same mistake made by a toddler who hides by covering his eyes. If he can't see others, they must not be able to see him. There is truly a weird phenomenon going on here. A few years ago, a couple who worked for an establishment made some home-made pornographic material and posted on the web. Their employer found out about it and dismissed them. They, in turn, sued the employer for invading their privacy. Now think about this for a minute. Another illustration of this kind of a strange mind-bend is the phenomenon of what should be called the Narcissistic Blog. A private diary is a private diary, and people can have private pity parties in them. But a narcissistic blog is not private, and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered private. But on more than one occasion I have known of young people surprised that their elders knew about something. "How did you know that?" "Well, you posted it on the world wide web." I have sometimes thought (not quite in jest) that larger churches ought to bring an elder on staff whose sole job would be to monitor the blogs of the young people in the church. As Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot by just watching."

Courage Is Personal: when you have something against your brother, or your brother has something against you, buy him a beer and talk to him about it. Commit yourself to it over time. Do everything you can to deal with problems the way a courageous man would, if he were here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Our Lady of Westminster

Go and read this poem by Douglas Wilson.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I am a Free-Wheeling Analyst.

About You
You are an Analyst
Your attention to detail, confidence, sense of order, and focus on functionality combine to make you an ANALYST.

You are very curious about how things work, delving into the mechanics behind things.
Along those lines, how well something works is usually more important to you than what it looks like.

You find beauty and wonder mainly in concrete, functional, earthly things.

You are very aware of your own abilities, and you believe that you will find the best way of doing things.

Accordingly, problems do not intimidate you, as you believe in yourself.

You trust yourself to find solutions within the boundaries of your knowledge.

You don't spend a lot of time imagining how things could be different—you're well-grounded in the here-and-now.

It is important for you to follow a routine, and you prefer the familiar to the unknown.

Your independent streak allows you to make decisions efficiently and to trust your instincts
You prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute.

Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.

If you want to be different:
Try to embrace the imaginative, creative part of your personality more often.
Try moving beyond the things that you find comfortable—open yourself up to a broader range of experiences.

How You Relate to Others

You are Free-Wheeling
Your charismatic nature, liveliness, and independence make you FREE-WHEELING.

You don't mind being in the spotlight, preferring larger gatherings to quiet nights.

You take a practical approach to people, not getting too involved in their feelings—or their business.

At the same time, your acceptance of others leads you to be understanding of their life circumstances, even if you don't quite understand their emotional reactions to some things.

Although you have a wide circle of friends, you're very discerning as to whom you can trust.

You're not rigid in your beliefs about the world, and you don't want to impose your perspective on others, but at the same time, you know that plenty of people don't always act responsibly.

Engaging with others is a large part of how you live in the world, and most importantly, it plays a role in how you see yourself—you tend to learn the most about yourself in situations where you are with other people.

You have an understanding of the complexities of situations, and you don't judge others too hastily.

If you want to be different:
Your open-mindedness about the world gives you a great perspective on things, but your lack of trust in others limits how close you can get with them. Try opening up to people a bit more without losing your healthy skepticism.

While being the life of the party comes naturally to you, be sure to reserve time for yourself—see what you can learn by spending some time observing the world rather than just by diving in.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Today's Amusement-- Funny Bumper Stickers

Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up.
So many stupid people, and so few asteroids.
Never believe generalizations.
Avoid alliterations always.
Know When to Say When
Dyslexics are teople poo.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
The control key on the keyboard does not work.
Lawyers have feelings too (allegedly).
On your mark, get set, go away!
I didn't climb to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian!
What would Scooby do?
I am not infantile, you stinky poopyhead.
I have a degree in Liberal Arts - do you want fries with that?
Suburbia: Where they tear out the trees and name streets after them.
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
My mother is a travel agent for guilt trips.
Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you weren't asleep.
Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?
Cover Me! I'm Changing Lanes
How do I set a laser printer to stun?
The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
The trouble with the gene pool is that there's no lifeguard.
Old age comes at a bad time.
You're just jealous because the voices only talk to ME.
Without ME, it's just AWESO.
Honk if you want to see my finger.
As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.
Your kid may be an Honor Student, but YOU'RE still an idiot.
I took an IQ test and the results were negative.
Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.
Driver carries no cash. He's married.
Watch out for the idiot behind me.
Don't believe everything you think.
Earth is full. Go home.
All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy.
My wife keeps complaining I never listen to her (or something like that).
Never miss a good opportunity to shut up.
If it isn't broken, fix it until it is.
What if the hokey pokey is really what it's all about?