Wednesday, February 28, 2007


This post is a rant!!!! Today's subject.....drivers!

OK....why do so many people on the highway insist on driving slow in the left most lane? A friend and I drive a 4 lane highway (that's 4 in each direction) to and from work every day. We drive at or a little above the speed limit....not much over, just 5 mph or so.'re driving along and you come across a driver going 5-10 mph under the limit. WHY???? Do the move over so you can pass???? NO! I don't get it!

Slow drivers around here (NC) also seem to get together and drive the speed they want to....we call them "pace cars". These people will drive whatever speed they want....and in any lane they want. And, on the highways, these guys seem to get together and drive side by side along the highway....sometimes all 4 lanes!!! You can't go around them, you can't get them to speed up.....all you can do is follow them and hope someone gets off the highway....or a slower car breaks up the pack. Do these people understand that sometimes people have needs??? I got stuck in this situation once attempting to get to the hospital with a sick friend!!! I ended up having to go into the turning lane to get around them!!!'re driving down the road, usually a one laner....and the car up ahead puts on his/her right turn signal. There's only one road for them to turn into, and it's about 1/4 mile ahead....fine they put on the turn signal early....better than not at all! BUT They start to slow down....and end up going about 10mph when they're still a good distance from the turn!!!!! I've even seen cars come to a complete stop before they turning!!! Now, I'm not talking about a narrow road, or a road that has a dip at it's entrance.....this is a wide, clear can clearly see that there are no cars coming....heck, you and the guy in front of you are the only ones on the roads for miles!!!!!! So....why do they have to slow down so much????

Parking lots!!! Parking in general.....why can't people park between the lines? And did you ever notice it's often the smallest cars that are the worst? I worked with a woman who literally took up 2 places.....with a Mitsubishi Spider!!!!! Her left fron wheel would be in one slot....and her right rear in another!!!! Surprisingly, when she drove her hubbys Navigator she actually did much better!!!!! And why can't people respect the lanes in parking lots? And keep to a reasonable speed? They drive faster in parking lots than they do on the highway!!!!!!!

Why can't drivers use their turn signals???? Why can't the pay attention to their driving? Shut off the cell phone or pull over!!!! If you don't know where you're going, why can't you pull over so the people behind you can get past????? And are yu really trying to hit people as they cross the road? Because some times it certainly seems like it!!! Especially elders! I've seen these poor people trying to move as fast as possible, with a car bearing down on them!!!! I'm surprised some of them don't have a heart attack before they get to the other side! about putting on makeup while driving??? I've heard about this, but never saw it until today. A woman driving down the highway putting on mascara!!! Now, not only was this woman on a major highway, but she was going 70 miles and hour!!! And she was on a ramp, which merged into 4 lanes of highway!!! Is she nuts?!?!?! What if she hit a bump? That mascara wans would have poked her in the eye!!! And then what would have happened??

OK.....I'm done.....for now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Women and the AHA

Women and heart disease.

I decided to evaluate the AHA's recommendations for the prevention and treatment of heart disease in women.

The AHA, in my opinion, is pretty much a joke. The continuously ignore good scientific findings and allow drug and device companies to steer the way to setting treatment standards.

The AHA recommends exercise. Of course they do, no one will argue that exercise isn't good for you!
"No time to exercise? That's OK. Don’t think exercise — think action. Standing is better than sitting; walking is better than standing. Increase your physical activity to at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week, even if you do it 10 minutes at a time."

Great to start, but most would argue that at least 30 min a day of some kind of physical movement would be the absolute least amount of exercise required.

And of course the AHA recommends not smoking. Everyone does. There is NO upside to smoking!

How To Love Your Heart

Only you can love your heart. There are some risk factors for heart disease you can control:

  • High blood pressure. This condition can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Smoking. If you smoke, your risk of developing coronary heart disease is two to four times that of nonsmokers. Smoking is also a major preventable cause of stroke.
  • High cholesterol. The higher your total blood cholesterol, the greater your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke..
  • Physical inactivity. Lack of physical activity increases your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke..
  • Obesity or overweight. If you have excess body fat — especially at the waist — you’re more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
  • Diabetes. Having diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, especially if your blood sugar is not controlled.

There are other risk factors to be aware of — talk to your doctor about how your age, race and heredity may affect your risk for heart disease.

Now, just what is a "healthy diet" according to the AHA? Well, check out their No Fad Diet. After drilling down a bit, I was able to find the guidelines:
  • Whole grains and legumes: 6 servings.
  • Vegetables and Fruits: 5 servings.
  • Fat free or low fat dairy: 3 servings.
  • Lean meat fish poultry and vegetarian protein: 2 servings.
What is 1 serving?
  • Whole grains and legumes: 1 servings is generally 1 ounce. A cup of cereal, a slice of bread, 1/2c hot cereal, 1/2c whole grain pasta, 1/2c cookedstarchy vegetable (this surprised me!).
  • Vegetables and Fruits: 1 serving is generally 1 medium piece of fruits, 1 cup raw and 1/2c cooked veggies or 3/4c fruit or vegetable juice.
  • Fat free or low fat dairy: 1 serving is 1 cup milk, 1/2c cottage cheese (fat free or low fat only for milk & cheese) or 1 ounce hard cheese.
  • Lean meat fish poultry and vegetarian protein 3 ounces lean meat, fish, poultry or 1/2c cooked beans or lentils. let's try a menu:
1 6oz container fat free, sugar free yogurt
1 cup sliced strawberries with 1 tsp sugar.

2 slice whole wheat bread with 2 tsp "light tub margarine"

Mid-morning snack:
4 reduced fat or light vanilla wafer-type cookies
10 grapes

Cheese toast made with 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese and 1 whole wheat English muffin.
1/2cup baby carrots

1/2cup fat free or light ice cream

Afternoon snack:
1/2 medium banana

1 serving pork tenderloin with cranberry salsa (recipe included)
1 baked sweet potato with
2 tsp "light tub margarine"
1/2cup green beans cooked in 1 tsp olive or canola oil.

As you probably already guessed, this isn't my choice of a diet, but the AHA's choice. This is the sample recipe they give for a 1200 cal/day diet.

My totals, when I entered everything in Fitday, come out a little higher.

Here are the totals:

Not too bad,
Fat: 42g (27%) with 12g saturated, 10g poly and 15g mono.
Carbohydrates: 202g (55%) with 24g fiber
Protein: 64g (18%)

Well within their guidelines for fat and carbohydrate, under 30% for fat and 45-60% carbs. I'm not sure of the protein level, but it seems low to me. we know we're within the guidelines for fat/protein/carb about the guidelines for grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy and protein?

Let's see:
Grains: 2 slices whole wheat bread, whole English muffin (we'll count as 2) and 1 serving sweet potato that's 5 servings. (6 is the recommended amount)
Fruits and vegetables: strawberries, banana, green beans, grapes and carrots = 5 servings (5 is the recommended amount)
Dairy 3 servings: yogurt, cheese and ice cream. 3 servings (3 is the recommended amount)
Lean meat/fish/poultry: 2 3oz servings. hmmm...3 oz pork is one serving. Yogurt and cheese both contain protein, so maybe that counts for the other serving? (2 is the recommended amount)

OK....below their recommendations on grains, but others are OK.

Now, I must go off on another track at this time. Trans fats. There is absolutely no excuse (in my opinion) for anyone, let alone the AHA, to recommend any food that may contain trans-fats without a warning or notation or something!

Most commercial breads contain at least trace amounts of trans-fats. Cookies, commercial ice cream and tub margarine often contain trans-fats! But not one word about checking labels.

OK....back to the sample menu.

How about RDA, How does it add up?

Shocking, isn't it? RDA is met or exceeded, for only Carbs, fiber, protein, Vitamins A & C, and Manganese. Phosphorus and riboflavin are close with 97 & 99% RDA, so I'll give them those two also. But, it is deficient in every other parameter! Look at Vitamin D! Zinc! B12! the RDA is based on more than 1200 calories, which I agree are too low for the average woman.

Let's take a look at their recommendation for a 2000 calorie diet:
1 omelet made with egg substitute, mushrooms, spinach and milk and canola or olive oil cooked in 2 tsp "light tub margarine".
1/2 whole wheat English muffin with 1
tsp "light tub margarine" and 1 tablespoon light sugar preserves.
6 oz low sodium tomato or fruit juice.

Mid-morning snack:
1 6oz container fat free, sugar free yogurt
1/2cup raspberries

Sandwich with 2 slices whole wheat bread, 3 oz fat free, reduced sodium deli roast beef, lettuce, tomato and mustard
1oz baked potato chips
1/2cup blueberries with 1 tsp sugar
8oz fat free milk

Afternoon snack:
1 medium banana


1 serving bistro chicken with asparagus (recipe included)
1 cup cooked summer squash with
2 tsp "light tub margarine"
1/2 cup couscous (98% fat free, reduced sodium)
1 whole wheat dinner roll with 1 tsp "light tub margarine"
1/2 c fat free or light ice cream with 1/2 cup sliced peaches and 1/4 cup sliced almonds.

Sounds like a pretty reasonable menu. Again with the tub margarine and packaged foods, and I don't get adding sugar to berries! They're sweet enough!

OK so here are the numbers:

Again, my numbers are a tad higher, but again, the guidelines for fat, protein and carb is pretty much on track. Carbs are actually a little low (based on 45-60% of calories from carbs).

Here's the nutrition stats:

And the %RDA:

And, once again, we see some serious deficiencies, especially in Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Folate!! Better than the 1200 calorie example, but still deficient in important nutrients.

So. This is the AHA's idea of a healthy diet?

Even though Folate is very important for women, and Vitamin D is now being implicated in several diseases and disorders (including cancers and heart disease), this diet is below the RDA. And look atcalcium! We hear how important calcium is, but this diet is barely adequate.

So. You follow this "No-Fad Diet" and what happens? Because your carb intake is high, you'll likely have high triglycerides and small denseLDL. Your HDL will likely be low due to the artificial foods and lack of saturated fats. Because you're eating processed foods that likely contain at least HFCS or trans-fats, (not to mention a slew of other chemicals!) you'll have higher levels of inflammation. And because you're deficient in some key vitamins and minerals, you'll have less protection against not only heart disease, but also cancers anddegenerative diseases!!! You're also probably well on your way to developing insulin resistance and possibly even diabetes. If you're already diabetic, you're probably finding it hard to keep your sugars in good control.

And then what?

For the high cholesterol readings, especially the low HDL, they'll tell you to cut saturated fats even more, watch cholesterol intake, and maybe even be given drugs to lower your cholesterol. Drugs, I might add, that show NO benefit to women.

For the inflammation, you'll also be given anti-inflammatories and possibly be pushed into taking statins as they have a strong anti-inflammatory effect.

And for the diabetes and insulin resistance, you'll be given prescriptions and told to eat less and exercise more.

What about taking vitamins? minerals? anti-oxidants?
"The American Heart Association doesn't recommend using antioxidant vitamin supplements until more complete data are available. "
“Our study does not suggest that taking folic acid, B6 or B12 primarily to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) would be worthwhile. Women who are taking them solely for that purpose may want to discontinue,”
The possibility that magnesium deficiency has a role in the development of coronary heart disease is only an interesting and provocative hypothesis."

In summary,
The American Heart Association, which is "a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke". is recommending the intake of a diet that is deficient in several key nutrients.

Statins. Even though there is NO evidence that statins do anything for women, or even that lowering cholesterol naturally benefits women, the AHA continues to recommend statins for women. There are articles on the AHA website that extol the virtues of statins:
Statin drugs lower heart disease risk in postmenopausal women
"Treatment with a cholesterol-lowering statin can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and possibly death in postmenopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), investigators report in the rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association."

American Heart Association's Guidelines At-A-Glance for Preventing Heart Disease and Stroke in Women
  • ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers are recommended for all high-risk women.
  • High-risk women should be prescribed statin therapy even if their LDL cholesterol levels are below 100 mg/dL.
  • Niacin and fibrate therapies are given a strong recommendation for high-risk women with specific cholesterol abnormalities.
In the 12 guidelines, 6 of them, fully half, recommend some kind of medication. Only two are diet related, and says "In addition to a heart-healthy diet, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid may be considered in some high-risk women." and "Smoking cessation, regular physical activity, a heart-healthy diet and weight maintenance are given a strong priority in all women." It specifically excludes the use of antioxidants too! "Hormone therapy and antioxidant vitamin supplements are not recommended for CVD prevention for women at any level of risk." Now I can see the HRT, but antioxidants!?!?

Nothing about limiting processed foods. Nothing about avoiding HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and trans-fats that are present in many processed foods.

For more information about statins and their effects, I strongly recommend Dr Graveline's website.
For information about lowering blood sugar levels, I would check out Dr Mary Vernon, Dr Michael Eades and Dr Mary Dan Eades. Also nutritionists Jonny Bowden.
For information on the truth about dietary and blood cholesterol, and the "risk" of heart or other diseases, see Dr Michael Eades, Joseph Mercola and
Uffe Ravnskov.
The Weston A Price Foundation is a great source of information on the benefits of natural foods vs the dangers of industrial foods.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Texas Governor orders Gardasil for all girls entering 6th grade.

Anti-cancer vaccine mandatory?

First, let's call this as it is. The vaccine is an anti HPV (Human pappilloma virus) vaccine. Some forms of HPV have been implicated in causing cervical cancer. But not all forms of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. About 70% of cancers are felt to be linked to HPV.

In the news lately are articles about how Texas Governor Rick Perry has bypassed the normal route, through Legislature, and ordered that all girls must receive Gardasil before entering the 6Th grade.

This is causing an uproar, mainly by religious groups that are afraid this will give the "green light" to girls considering sexual activity. Personally, I think that's absurd, but sure, I can see a few kids taking it that way.

From MS-NBC:

Required STD shots worry some parents
Texas governor orders cervical cancer vaccine for schoolgirls

AUSTIN, Texas - Some conservatives and parents’ rights groups worry that requiring girls to get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way they raise their children.

By using an executive order that bypassed the Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry — himself a conservative — on Friday avoided such opposition, making Texas the first state to mandate that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the virus.

Beginning in September 2008, girls entering the sixth grade will have to receive Gardasil, Merck & Co.’s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Now, this article is about parents being afraid that their children will be "encouraged" to engage in sexual relations, but I have a different problem with this.
The federal government approved Gardasil in June, and a government advisory panel has recommended that all girls get the shots at 11 and 12, before they are likely to be sexually active.

Merck could generate billions in sales if Gardasil — at $360 for the three-shot regimen — were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.
Yes, that's right, it's been less than a year since this was approved, so that means we have no long-term data available, except for the data from the studies done by the drug company. And yet, we want to require this for all children past the age of 11.

No serious side effects? This is what bothers me. according to
In the clinical studies, subjects were evaluated for new medical conditions that occurred over the course of up to 4 years of follow up. The number of subjects who received both GARDASIL and placebo and developed a new medical condition potentially indicative of a systemic immune disorder is shown in Table 10.

Table 10
Summary of Subjects Who Reported an Incident Condition Potentially Indicative of Systemic Autoimmune Disorder After Enrollment in Clinical Trials of GARDASIL

Potential Autoimmune Disorder
(N = 11,813)
(N = 9701)
Specific Terms
3 (0.025%)
1 (0.010%)
Juvenile arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Other Terms
6 (0.051%)
2 (0.021%)
Reactive Arthritis
N = Number of subjects enrolled

So, there really isn't a way of knowing if these children would have developed these conditions anyway, but maybe they were made more susceptible because of the vaccine? And maybe it's protective against those conditions.

I have a daughter, age 24. I have recommended that she not take the vaccine at this point. If, in a few years it proves safe, I might recommend it. But at this point, no I'd say hold off.

If I had a child that would be affected by this ruling I would be boiling mad, and maybe even risk legal action.

I have no problem immunising against childhood diseases, although I suspect today's vaccines cause more problems than anyone is willing to admit. Vaccines against influenza, measles, mumps, etc are a good thing because these diseases can be prevented or minimised. And that means fewer will die as a result of them. However, how many children die as a result of being vaccinated? And how many more are permanently damaged? Is the cost worth the benefit?

I did, and would again, allow my children to be immunised according to the recommendations for children in Massachusetts. They didn't get flu vaccines, but they were pretty low risk for getting complications (no asthma, etc). When the chicken pox vaccine was first approved, we were given a reasonable period of time to have a voluntary immunisation. Some (most?) states still don't require it.

But here we have a vaccine that hasn't been approved for even a year, and has followup for only 4 years, and we are making it mandatory?

So....what is going on here?

The New Jersey-based drug company is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company’s three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff. His current chief of staff’s mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

The governor also received $6,000 from Merck’s political action committee during his re-election campaign.

A top official from Merck’s vaccine division sits on Women in Government’s business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.

Merck spokeswoman Janet Skidmore would not say how much the company is spending on lobbyists or how much it has donated to Women in Government. Susan Crosby, the group’s president, also declined to specify how much the drug company gave.

Oh!!!! Money is involved! Oh my! I'm shocked!

Greedy isn't he?