mm469: Blast from the Past! No. 41

August 15, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

© Carbouval | Dreamstime.com

© Carbouval | Dreamstime.com

So, back into the archives yet again, but hey, recycling is IN, right? We’re all about doing the right thing here at Left-Handed Complement, and in that spirit we’re recycling some of yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s favorite electrons.

I hereby stop apologizing for observing the prime directive of blogging: Thou Shalt Blog Daily!

And, I’m guessing that most of you weren’t here nine months ago. As one of my favorite paper publications used to say as they flogged unsold back issues: “If you haven’t read it yet, it’s new for you!”

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Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last fall, and always in season, one of my first Sandy Szwarc posts, originally posted October 26, 2007, and titled “mm177: Healthy eating — Overrated!”

MUDGE’S Musings

Sandy Szwarc has, at least twice this month, provided health related stories that I’ve seen no where else, in her blog, Junkfood Science.

In a previous post, I highlighted her evaluation of recent under-reported studies showing counterintuitive results: that fat people survive cardiac episodes better than thin ones!.

She even responded politely to the post, even though I thoroughly and consistently misspelled her name! How embarrassing for MUDGE! Sorry, Sandy Szwarc!

She toppled my world again last week. She writes about a gigantic study launched in 1993 to pursue the relationship between what’s been known forever as healthy eating, and good health.

Remember reading about this study? I don’t.

Guess why. Because, once again, the results were startling.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm447: Blast from the Past! No. 36

July 24, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Well, today was that Thursday that actually began at 10:00pm last night, flowing seamlessly from Wednesday, and save for about two hours between the end of one meeting at 2am and the preparation for the next at 5:15am, sleep for yr (justifiably) humble svt has been as scarce as home buyers.

So, we’re on a reduced blogging schedule, with just enough energy to faithfully observe the Prime Directive: Thou Shalt Blog Daily.

As we’ve opined in the past (recently, actually) one of our favorite bloggers regardless of topic is Sandy Szwarc.

The first time we found her was last October. Enjoy!

lhc7601904[3]

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last fall, and always in season, originally posted October 8, 2007, and originally titled “mm165: Junkfood Science: Obesity Paradox No. 13 — Take heart.”

MUDGE’S Musings

Welcome to one of the newest members of the Left-Handed Complement blogroll, Junkfood Science.

Sandy Szwarc seems to have the credentials, and she has a point of view.

Points of view are not lacking in the blogosphere (although credentials may be!), but I was attracted to hers immediately.

Anyone glancing at the rendition of Yr (Justifiably) Humble Svt that graces the top of the sidebar of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© can probably tell that one might charitably describe MUDGE as horizontally challenged.

Fat.

Obese even.

A war fought over all but six decades. Oh, a battle won here or there, but the trend is lousy. And, the implicit message has always been: get skinny or die early.

Well, heredity and Snickers bars have long impaired my ability to do the former.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm445: Another dietary mistake

July 20, 2008

dreamstime_3286477

© Simone Van Den Berg | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’s Musings

Summertime. People are vacationing. The weather, here in the Northern Hemisphere, at least (reportedly quite chilly in Oz, sorry guys!) is excessively hot and humid. The beach beckons.

News is sparse, but the need to sell the advertisers’ wares means that the 24-hour news cycle keeps on spinning.

Thus a story in the New England Journal of Medicine received undue prominence this week: a report on a clinical study of a comparison of two popular diet programs, the Atkins diet (once a tool of yr (justifiably) humble svt) vs. the Mediterranean diet (a favored tool of an official brother of y[j]hs). So it was all over the headlines for a day or so, midweek, filling those column inches and 30-second sound bites during the summer doldrums and of more than a little personal interest.

This was a 2-year study, and the weight loss reported was depressingly small. What was going on?

I turned, as often I do when trying to dig beneath the headlines on medical issues, to Left-Handed Complement‘s favorite authority on such medical studies, especially as regards weight loss, Sandy Szwarc, writing in her amazingly wise blog, Junkfood Science. Here are some previous occasions when she cut through the jargon and the statistical distortions for us.

Junkfood Science: Sandy Szwarc’s Genius

mm390: Mudge’s Healthy Obsession
mm363: “60 Minutes:” Dead wrong?
mm305: Google Health – 1984 for the 21st Century
mm276: Fat Tuesday…
mm197: Short attention span
mm177: Healthy eating — Overrated!
mm165: Junkfood Science: Obesity Paradox #13

Sure enough, yesterday’s Junkfood Science post provided a thorough analysis, detailed but not excessively technical, of the study. Were you aware, for example, that it was partially funded by the Atkins people?

Read the rest of this entry »


mm390: Mudge’s Healthy Obsession

May 24, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

While puttering around doing the formatting and graphics hunt for today’s effort, discovered that, without really being specifically aware of it, MUDGE has devoted at least 30 posts to issues relating to health. That’s a sizable chunk of time and attention.

But, why not? As we’ve noted frequently, the oldest of the Boomer cohort of which I am nearly a charter member is 62 years old, eligible to retire (and, indeed, a number of MUDGE’s friends have already done so). And, regardless of age, for at least the past 25 years we Boomers have paid outsized attention to health issues.

This year alone at Casa MUDGE, while dealing with the Achilles tendon partial tear that has been a pest for way too long and my wife’s rotator cuff issue (after the last cortisone injection, doing very well thank you), we continue our concern with our Los Angeles daughter’s Crohn’s disease (current treatment seems to be helping, thank goodness, although there’s a health insurance battle brewing), and my dear mother’s recent diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (she’s fighting it tenaciously).

Not to mention, of course, our various chronic conditions for which our monthly pharmaceutical expense is ever increasing.

So, health is on our mind, all of the time. Fortunately, there is never a lack of news.

In that spirit, to conclude setting the table for today’s health post, here’s a link table of our most important posts on the topic.

healthyobsession1_thumb[3] dreamstime_1230255-400_thumb[4] MUDGE‘s Healthy Obsession

mm386: Your Boomer brain…
mm363: “60 Minutes:” Dead wrong?
mm346: All together now: Ewwwww
mm325: I’m an Internet informed parent…
mm323: Get medicine out of the hands…
mm305: Google Health – 1984 for the 21st Century
mm283: Cause and effect: an ongoing mystery
mm281: No! Don’t take away my Mountain Dew!
mm276: Fat Tuesday…
mm270: Health trilogy
mm268: Sometimes it’s personal
mm251: Stem cells – Lab harvests non-destructively
mm230: Stem cells; Insurance scum; Overtreatment!
mm227: Nanotechnology: The future is safe?
mm223: Pigs, bees, fish – dangerous ways
mm221: The dread disease we all hope to catch
mm201: Stemming the tide of ignorance
mm200: Stem cells: an alternative source
mm198: GM foods – Wrongheaded opposition
mm197: Short attention span
mm190: U.S. Health Care – Excuses, not facts
mm177: Healthy eating — Overrated!
mm176.5: Sleep: The Threequel
mm176: Sleep: But <after> you read this, please!
mm172: Diabetes: Not so simple, Simon…
mm171: Maintain your brain
mm165: Junkfood Science: Obesity Paradox #13
mm152: Evidence of genetic response to diet
mm073: 22 ways to overclock your brain
mm012: Hazardous to your health

Read the rest of this entry »


mm363: "60 Minutes:" Dead wrong?

April 29, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

The ‘Sphere is full of fulminating amateurs. Take yr (justifiably) humble svt, for example. When it comes to blogging, amateur. Maybe a little talented. Maybe.

Then there are the well informed, insightful, professionals, with credentials and research chops, who could be writing anywhere, but, I’m guessing, have found in the blogosphere the editorial freedom that might be lacking in the constrained world of the mainstream media.

One such genius has been admired in this space many times.

Junkfood Science: Sandy Szwarc’s Genius

mm305: Google Health – 1984 for the 21st Century
mm276: Fat Tuesday…
mm197: Short attention span
mm177: Healthy eating — Overrated!
mm165: Junkfood Science: Obesity Paradox #13

This past weekend Ms. Szwarc took on the top of the respected television news pyramid: “60 Minutes.” Now, that’s a contradiction in terms if ever one was coined: respected television news. But, millions of people watch it, and have done so for 40 or more years.

And when “60 Minutes” recently presented a glowing report on gastric bypass surgery, Ms. Szwarc says that they left the realm of news far, far behind.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm305: Google Health: 1984 for the 21st Century

March 4, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

We’ve written previously (here and here, for two examples) of our awed admiration for Sandy Szwarc, whose blog, Junkfood Science is in yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s humble opinion, one of the absolute gems of the ‘Sphere.

Her furious concerns include the wrongheaded, conventional wisdom “obesity crisis,” and the distressingly distorted reporting of much medical research.

Last week, she published a simply dazzling comprehensive analysis of the implications of Google Health.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm281: No! Don’t take away my Diet Mountain Dew!

February 10, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

As a charter member of the Boomer cohort, health issues are never far from top of mind.

Embarrassed to admit that, at dinner with the closest of friends the other night, our various afflictions comprised the sum total of the conversation for the two hours the four of us were together.

Not our kids (except relating to their health); not politics (what presidential election?); just visits to this chiropractor (by now a virtual member of our friends’ family); that specialist; these MRI results. Ugh.

Never again, that!

But, typical.

Imperceptibly, somehow when I wasn’t paying attention I joined that group of health-obsessed codgers that I used to make such cheerful fun of. Anyone have a pill to treat depression stemming from participation in excessive health-related conversation?

–Coming right up, sir!

Read the rest of this entry »


mm276: Fat Tuesday, and Skyhawks

February 5, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Fat Tuesday

This headline just popped out at me today:

Fat People Cheaper to Treat, Study Says

So I took a look, and after reading a couple of paragraphs, as I’ll suggest you do, I asked myself a question.

Fat People Cheaper to Treat, Study Says


By MARIA CHENG | AP Medical Writer | 4:00 PM CST, February 5, 2008

LONDON – Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn’t save money, researchers reported Monday. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars.

“It was a small surprise,” said Pieter van Baal, an economist at the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, who led the study. “But it also makes sense. If you live longer, then you cost the health system more.”
In a paper published online Monday in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal, Dutch researchers found that the health costs of thin and healthy people in adulthood are more expensive than those of either fat people or smokers.

I asked myself: “This is prime Sandy Szwarc territory; I wonder what she thinks of this research?”

Sure enough, her highly informed take was featured on her wonderful blog, Junkfood Science.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm270: Health trilogy

January 30, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

As yr (justifiably) humble svt trudges around this excessive winter in his oh-so-elegant cam-boot (complete with exposed sock — wow! is it cold!), nursing his partially torn Achilles and worrying that his odd appliance-forced gait is causing new compensatory aches and pains in his lower back, health is very much on his mind.

And as a charter member of the Boomer cohort, one would expect no less. And since we are such a huge demographic, health news, never in short supply, can now be, appropriate to the season, officially classified as a blizzard.

A blizzard of health related news. This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© proudly brings you its all-health news SASB©.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm197: Short Attention Span

November 17, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

shortattention_thumb2

Short and sweet for a football Saturday:

Daily, the media reveals the results of some important new medical study. Daily, the survey results seem to be spun out of all recognition of what are the true implications of the research.

Sandy Szwarc blog, Junkfood Science, punctures the preconceptions and the distortions by actually reading the studies, cutting through the spin and reporting to her growing audience the truth. We’ve highlighted some of her recent work here and here, and our Drafts folder of our Windows Live Writer has the makings of a future such post, pending suitable long attention.

This week, Sandy Szwarc marked the first anniversary of her extraordinary effort, Junkfood Science.

A cupcake for each of you

It’s Junkfood Science’s first birthday. While I can only share a cyber-cupcake with each of you in celebration, it comes with thanks and a note to let you know how terrific you all are! Readers have grown in numbers, without hit gimmicks or paid media connections, to nearly 1 million. We’re mere days away to the millionth reader.

Regular readers get what this blog is all about, too. It’s not trying to sell you anything; market some politician or agenda; promote some health and wellness program, diet or pill; or scare you. Of course, that’s the fastest, surest way to make one unpopular among all those who are. Despite what some may believe or claim, there is no money in the truth and speaking out for scientific integrity, either, which is probably why we so rarely hear it. But you deserve better than the nonstop “the sky is falling” drumbeat we get everywhere.

Happy blogversary, Sandy Szwarc! You remain a glowing example of the power of the blogosphere to inform and educate.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Junkfood Science: A cupcake for each of you

shortattention_thumb2[6]

Some of our highest highs and lowest lows are the result of our enjoyment of Patrick Smith’s Ask the Pilot column at Salon.com. Highs, because he writes so compellingly as a working commercial airline pilot about his profession and the ailing industry.

Highs, because our posts referring to his stories are among the most read at this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©.

Lows because my derivative howbeit well-intentioned blogging efforts came to the attention of Salon’s lawyers. Oh, well, the day one stops learning is the day one stops.

Patrick’s column this week takes an interesting swipe at that Apple iPhone television commercial we’ve all seen.

Not buying it when the pilot tells you weather is holding up your flight? iPhone to the rescue!

Nov. 16, 2007 | If you’ve been watching TV at all, you’re by now familiar with Apple’s iPhone blitz. You know the campaign I’m talking about. Each ad stars this or that insufferably regular Joe who proceeds to share some touchy-feely tale of how his iPhone all but saved the nation from calamity. As a rule, I don’t like talking about television, especially commercials, but I’m obliged to address the iPhone spot featuring the pilot.[…]

Alas, not everyone is wisely skeptical, and the first time I saw the ad, I flicked off the set and offered up a silent prayer for pilots and flight attendants the world over. Thanks to this half-minute charade, they must now contend with legions of smart-aleck iSleuths gullible enough to believe what they’re told by a commercial.

So I guess today’s potpourri has some commonality after all. Most weeks Patrick Smith, and all of Sandy Szwarc’s posts, skewer the assumptions we’re fed by what many of my colleagues in the ‘Sphere contemptuously refer to as MSM, the mainstream media.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Ask the pilot, Patrick Smith, iPhone | Salon Technology

For some, for these two certainly, blogging is so much more than a hobby or creative outlet. Patrick Smith and Sandy Szwarc are both listed on the L-HC blogroll2, and MUDGE is grateful for their hard, always illuminating work.

shortattention_thumb2[8]

Since as a typical guy, MUDGE is fascinated by planes, trains and automobiles (and in some lighting [all right, any lighting] might even distressingly resemble a very much shorter John Candy, sorry to admit), our last segment is an editorial from the NYTimes this week.

The Prince and the Plane | Published: November 14, 2007

On Monday, a Saudi billionaire, Prince Walid bin Talal, placed an order with Airbus for his new private plane, the A380. That superjumbo will be the largest private jet on the planet. No hard figures were mentioned, but the asking price for an A380, which weighs 200 tons more than a Boeing 747 and has a floor space of about 6,000 square feet, is around $300 million. That is for the raw plane itself, hull, wings, engines, etc. — nothing to distinguish its interior from the hold of a cargo plane. But even unfurnished, the purchase of this Airbus offers some interesting numbers to think about.

For instance, the average-size house in America — about 2,300 square feet — would cost $106,812,000 at the price per square foot that Prince Walid paid. Even in California, this is a lot.

a380

Notwithstanding the fact that the Times editorial gave us an always welcome excuse to include an aircraft photo, and even lets us remind you that Patrick Smith believes the A380 to be the ugliest aircraft ever placed into commercial service, this is a salutary reminder of the wretched excess that our insatiable appetite for Saudi oil makes possible. A comparatively benign example at that.

Sigh.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE