Friday, August 17, 2018
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Groucho Marx famously said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” Pink ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When I stood up in church recently, during the time when congregation members share their joys and sorrows, I told them, “I have Stage II breast cancer.” A short time later, a member stood up to tell me, “Carol, welcome to the club I know you didn’t want to join. There are many of us survivors here.” I’m in the “This isn’t fair,” phase of this journey. I have no risk factors that I can identify. I don’t smoke, have no cancer in my family,... (Read More ...)

It never occurred to me when I was pregnant with our first child that having a roommate who was a smoker could be a problem. And, she was considerate, for the times. She never blew smoke near my face, held her hand out the window when we were in the car, cleaned up her own ashtrays. We knew about smoking and pregnancy by then, in the summer of 1968. But, little was known about second-hand smoke, or, as it is called now, passive smoking. Pregnancy-and-second-hand-smoke (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Now, we know it puts babies at risk for SIDS and can cause low birth weight. My son weighed in at 6 pounds,... (Read More ...)

Cigarette Smoke (Photo credit: Wikipedia) My mother didn’t smoke. My father, who likely picked up the habit as a soldier in World War II, when cigarettes were included in C-rations, smoked until he caught my younger brother stealing cigarettes off his dresser when he was in junior high. My father smoked off and on the rest of their life, as did my brother. I don’t know if my father’s eventual hemorrhagic stroke, a death 20 years earlier than all the men in his family, was related to smoking or not. I didn’t fit any of the categories that seemed to draw teenagers to smoking. I was thin. I... (Read More ...)

If you wanted to cut down the leading cause of death for children under five, then around 500 a year, what would you do? A bottle of brand coated tablets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) President Nixon signed the Poison Prevention Packaging Act into law on December 30, 1970 to require child-resistant packaging for hazardous household substances and medicines. Now, about 30 children a year die from accidental poisoning. What is included in the special, child-resistant packaging requirement? Furniture polish Turpentine Prescription drugs Lighter fluid Ibuprofen Aspirin Manufacturers have to include... (Read More ...)

So, why would we think that turkey makes us sleepy? Pumpkin pie, from Scrumptious and good for you! Pumpkin pie is loaded with a healthful phytonutrient called beta-carotene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Just because after a heavy Thanksgiving dinner you want to take a nap? Yep. That’s why. So, is there any truth to it? Should we be eating a turkey sandwich whenever we have trouble going to sleep? Nope. The science tells us that a chemical turkey has in abundance, tryptophan, makes serotonin which can cause drowsiness and is a precursor to melatonin,... (Read More ...)

Spring ahead. Fall back. Set your clocks back one hour this weekend, as Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 3, at 2 AM. Engraved brass horizontal sundial corrects for latitude, time zone, daylight savings time, longitude, and equation of time; with magnetic declination correction and spirit levels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) My father-in-law told us the story about taking the bus to work when he was a newlywed.  Then, Georgia adopted Daylight Savings Time. Suddenly, the bus schedule no longer worked as it brought him to work either too late or too early. So,... (Read More ...)

Tuberculosis Awareness and Prevention Poster. Circa mid-1920s. Source: National Library of Medicine             (Photo credit: Wikipedia) In the mid-1700s, tuberculosis (TB) was thought, by some, to be caused by vampires, the energy of successive family members draining away after the first one got sick. Its toll peaked in the 1800s, when 25% of deaths in Europe were caused by TB. In the early 1900s 110,000 died a year in the U.S. Improved public health conditions, better hygiene and access to clean water, as well as isolation of those infected with TB in sanatoriums, where the primary... (Read More ...)

The Rorschach Test is a series of 10 inkblots used by psychiatrists to uncover personality disorders that might be revealed more easily indirectly than through direct questioning. The eighth blot of the Rorschach inkblot test (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It was developed by Hermann Rorschach, a Swiss psychiatrist, as a psychiatric diagnostic tool for schizophrenia and described in his 1921 book, Psychodiagnostik.  Rorschach, son of an art teacher, had enjoyed playing with inkblots and a common game using them since he was a child.  But, after getting his medical degree, he started studying the different... (Read More ...)

Autism was named by a Swiss psychiatrist, Eugen Bleuler, when he was looking at symptoms of schizophrenia in 1910. In 1938, Austrian psychiatrist Hans Asperger adopted the term in his study of child psychology. His work eventually led to a separate definition of Asperger syndrome. Subject: Quinn, a boy with autism, and the line of toys he made before falling asleep See more about Quinn at: Date: Circa 2003 Place: Walnut Creek, California Photographer: Andwhatsnext Original digital photograph (cropped and resized) Credit: Copyright (c) 2003 by Nancy J... (Read More ...)

Did your parents warn you not to sit too close to the television when you were growing up because it would hurt your eyes? American family watching TV (cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Mine did. Two feet was still too close in their opinion, which, for my brothers and me, was just the right distance for lying on the floor in front of the tv watching Saturday morning cartoons It turns out, there was some radiation emitted from the televisions of our childhood, in the 1950s, because cathode ray tubes (CRTs) worked by having an electron gun shoot at a fluorescent screen. It was the radiation hazard,... (Read More ...)