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Pamphlets on General Health and Prostate
'Sexist' stance hurts men
A new report, The State of Men's Health in Canterbury 2009, paints a dismal picture of men's health, but says little is being done to improve it.
Men were more likely to have high cholesterol and heart disease and have higher rates of many common cancers than women.
"While men continue to show, on average, poorer health than that of women, there appears to be significantly more health promotion targeted at women," it said.
Young Canterbury men were more likely to be hospitalised with mental-health issues and abuse of substances such as drugs and alcohol.
They were also more likely to die or be injured in an accident.
In the past five years, 1693 Canterbury men aged 15 to 24 were involved in serious-injury crashes compared with 1221 females.
More than 70 per cent of drowning victims are male.
"It would appear that this is due to the `untouchable' or `bulletproof' attitude a lot of young men tend to possess," the report said.
Canterbury Men's Centre manager Donald Pettitt said there had been a strong focus on women's health for the past 20 years, but men had the worst health-related behaviour and worst health outcomes over that time.
"The system has been blind to the outcome for men and unresponsive to the obvious statistics and it's hard not to think of it as sexist when you look at it long enough," Pettitt said.
He put the lack of focus on men's health down to the absence of advocates within the system and because people were naturally more sympathetic to women's health.
"We have been bailing out half of the boat and the bigger holes are on the men's side," he said.
Report co-author and Sport Canterbury events and marketing manager Jonny Kirkpatrick said it was difficult to attract funding for male-focused health projects.
"Men are partly to blame themselves because of the `she'll be right attitude', but it starts at the top," he said.
"The awareness around women's health is fantastic, but men get breast cancer too and as many men die from prostate cancer as women of breast cancer."
The report's main recommendations were raising awareness around men's health and making services gender appropriate.
"The services are there for them, but the pathways for men to access them aren't quite right," Kirkpatrick said.
A Canterbury District Health Board project, Green Prescription, involved GPs referring patients to a supported physical activity programme rather than prescribing medication.
However, males made up only one quarter of participants, meaning the pathways or programme itself were not engaging enough for men, the report said.
Another health board project, Appetite for Life, was a free service offered only to women wanting to make a healthy lifestyle change.
Kirkpatrick said a steering committee was meeting this month to look at what funding could be available for supporting some of the report's recommendations.
"The reality is health was hit pretty hard with budgets this year and men's health isn't high on the radar."
Health Minister Tony Ryall said major men's health issues were
covered by significant spending each year, including an estimated
$430 million on heart disease; $950m on cancer; just over $1 billion
on mental health; and more than $750m on primary care.
FDA Panel Votes Against Cancer Drug
High-Dose Radiation Cuts Risk of Prostate
Women's Hands Cleaner Than Men, Study
Men, Black Men and High Blood Pressure
Routine Health Maintenance for Men
More Peas, Please!
Does Your Memory Measure Up?
Midlife Test May Predict Dementia Risk
Do food expiration dates really
Is Your Bathroom a Health Hazard?
Rate Your Hearing
Can Magnetic Insoles Boot Foot Pain?
Fans Choose Big Games Over
That's Gross! Body
Functions: Burps, Gas, and Everything Else
and the War on Germs
Is Shift Work Hazardous To Your
Cranberries May Help Reduce Stroke
Pasta Fights Back Amid Low-Carb Trend
How-To Guide for a Healthier Body
Maggots and Worms: Scary Medicine Goes
Funny Business in the Brain
Antibiotics Were Overprescribed Amid Anthrax
fFace Masks of Questionable Value Against
Studies Favor More Use Of Virtual
Schools Scrap the Junk Food
Your Voice Holds Clues to Your Health
St. John's Wort Labels Can Be
Restless Leg Syndrome Explained
Just How Much Water Do We Really Need? The
Answer May Depend On Our Age
Need H2O? Your Body Lets You Know
Drink Up! Your Coffee and Soda May Count
Toward Water Intake!
Antibiotics Were Overprescribed Amid
Trans Fatty Acids: What Are They And Why
Shouldn't You Eat Them?
Consumers Question What Food Safe To
Men Need More Botox Than Women to Smooth
HHS Awards 13.7 Million Dollars To Support
Community Programs To Prevent Diabetes, Asthma And Obesity
Some Are Missing Out on Depression
Smoking Ups Stroke Risk
Wash Away Germs
High Protein Intake Harms Ailing
Check Up or Check Out Website Launched
Life Span Determination?
When a Man Loves a Woman
Exercise May Prolong Men's Sex Lives
Amazing Aspirin: The New Cancer
The Return of the House Call
Fast-Food Market Hustles To Get In
The Benefits Of Chocolate
New Weapon Against The Flu?
New Test Warns of Heart Attack
Elevated Heart Rates After Exercise
NFL, Ditka To Tackle Men's Health Issues
Influenza Vaccine Supply Expected
To Meet Demand
Scientists Developing Blueberry
Blood Transfusion: Safer Than Ever
List Of Tips To Reduce Salt
What You Should Know About Trans Fatty
'Y' You're Male
Male Cyclists Risk Impotence
Your Voice Holds Clues to Your
FDA Approves Over-the-Counter
Sesame Oil Lowers Blood Pressure
A Pain in the Glass
Love Blooms in Doubt
Compound Developed From Mussels May
Lead To Safer, More Effective Medical Implants
Regular Fasting Seems To Improve Health
Implantable Device May Monitor
Red Cross May Have Released Unsafe
Women are the Hardier Sex...
Soothing Nerve Pain
Tired to the Max -- And Then Some
5 More Countries Eyed for Deadly Respiratory
Officials Target Cause of 'Mystery'
'National Crisis' Killing
The U.S. system to get medical advances out of the lab and into patients is broken. That's the diagnosis of 19 members of the Institute of Medicine's Clinical Research Roundtable (CRR). Their report -- based on three years of study by the full CRR -- appears in the March 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The panelists find that a whole generation of medical advances is stuck on the drawing board. They call for action on all fronts. But even this call is not passionate enough for Roger N. Rosenberg, MD, editor of the Archives of Neurology and professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
"Lives are literally being lost daily because of inertia in the system to move promising research quickly enough to the patient in need," Rosenberg writes. "The battle for fast-tracking clinical research to the bedside is being lost."
To resolve this "national crisis of major proportions," Rosenberg calls for immediate action.
"I think there needs to be leadership," he tells WebMD. "I hope that leaders of medicine and science and government can get together to look at these issues."
The lead author of the JAMA report shares that hope. Nancy S. Sung, PhD, is program officer at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
"We applaud Dr. Rosenberg's passion and hope it can be picked up by those who make a difference," Sung tells WebMD. "The U.S. public has invested billions of dollars in basic science. That investment is supposed to produce better health. Yet we really don't see better health emerging. This really is a crisis."
Sung and colleagues point to two major bottlenecks that keep medical advances from pouring out of the laboratory into hospitals and doctors' offices.
"One bottleneck is the point at which laboratory findings -- proof of new scientific concepts -- are translated into human studies," Sung says. "Another barrier is that once something gets reported as a medical breakthrough, how do we get doctors to change what they are doing? And beyond that, how do we prove a new breakthrough is better than existing treatments? Those questions are not being answered. It is not being done with the level of commitment we see in basic science."
An example is as fresh as this week's headlines. In a mid-size study, researchers this week reported that a new kind of antibody can save the lives of people with severe peanut allergies. The studies -- paid for by drug companies -- came 10 years after mouse studies showed the drug might work. The drug, dubbed TNX-901, got fast-track approval status by the FDA. Where's the drug? Nowhere. A legal squabble among drug companies has stalled the large-scale studies needed to bring TNX-901 to market. Meanwhile, people with peanut allergies continue to die from hard-to-prevent accidental exposures to ubiquitous nut products.
Sung and colleagues call for a number of specific actions by government, industry, medical associations, insurers, healthcare organizations, and the public. They include:
"We are calling for a paradigm shift in the way we look at clinical research," Sung says. "We feel the National Institutes of Health have responded very well -- NIH Director Elias Zerhouni has made clinical research a top priority. But this extends beyond the purview of the NIH. It is really going to require a system solution."
Patients are not mere bystanders in making needed changes.
"The clinical research enterprise involves consumers as well,"
Sung says. "Certainly the need for more people to be involved in
clinical trials is only going to increase. Every volunteer
contributes to bringing medical advances to the bedside."
Source: Daniel DeNoon, The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 12, 2003. Roger N. Rosenberg, MD, editor, Archives of Neurology; professor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Nancy S. Sung, PhD, program officer, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Medical Advances Kept From Patients by
Smoking Decreases Men's Chances Of Fatherhood
By IVF And ICSI
HHS To Launch Medicare Demonstrations To
Improve Health Care Through Capitated Disease Management
CDC Gives Mixed Report On U.S. Health
Optimistic Outlook May Benefit The
Foodborne Illnesses Deadlier Than
Pedometers Help Walkers Stay On Track
Excuses Pile Up As Pounds
Frequency Of Alcohol Use Cuts Heart
How Much Time Does It Take To Stay
Chocolate Treats For The Heart
Patient Simulator Will Enhance Training
For Medical Emergencies In Space
Symposium Aims To Boost Fruit And Vegetable Consumption
FDA OKs Speedier Medication
Vegetarians Have Beef With Tennessee
From Designer Milk To 'Green' Cows:
Predictions For Milk And Dairy Products In The Next 50 Years
Study Records Elevated Mercury From Diets
Heavy With Fish
Pig Genes Modified For Organ Uses
Restraints Reduce Whiplash
Patients With Chronic Illness Not Benefiting From Advances In Care
Guidelines Are No "Magic Bullet"
Many Don't Grasp Info on Risks of Medical
Grandpa's Diet Affects Grandkids'
Scales Tip In Favor Of New Food Pyramid
Bread Crust And
Stuffing Rich In Healthy Antioxidants
Renewing CPR Skills Benefits Others
Holiday Survival Guide
Iron Deficiency In The United States
2,000 Extra Steps A Day: Colorado
Walking It Off
Britons Try Subsidized Golf
Healthy Living: Get Moving! Add Daily
Exercise To Fitness Mix, Experts Say
Experts: Get Flu Shot Now If You're At
Patients Often Miss Out On Nutrition
Counseling, At Cost To Health
Blood-Test Labs Bypass Doctors, Spurring
In a suburban strip mall midway between downtown Denver and health-conscious Boulder, there is a place where people can go and order blood tests to detect any number of medical problems, like high cholesterol, diabetes, HIV and prostate and ovarian cancer.
Men Die Young - Even if Old
A new study across 20 countries reveals for the first time just how much bigger the risk of premature death is for men than women, whatever their age.
In the US in 1998, for example, men up to the age of 50 were on average twice as likely as women to keel over, and the risk remained greater even for those men who had made it to their eighties and beyond. Less surprisingly, the discrepancy in death rates between men and women was most extreme between the ages of 20 and 24, when three times as many men die as women.
"Being male is now the single largest demographic factor for early death," says Randolph Nesse of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Heart disease to homicide
Nesse says that the finding has important implications for public health. "If you could make male mortality rates the same as female rates, you would do more good than curing cancer," he says.
Nesse's colleague Daniel Kruger estimates that over 375,000 lives would be saved in a single year in the US if men's risk of dying was as low as women's.
The US data is backed by death rates in countries including Ireland, Australia, Russia, Singapore and El Salvador. Nesse and Kruger found that everywhere they looked, it is more perilous to be male. In Colombia for example, men in their early twenties are five times as likely to die as women of the same age. Even more surprisingly, the pattern holds for every major cause of death, from car crashes to heart disease to homicide.
For external causes of death, such as accidents, the difference between the sexes is greatest for young adults. But the second largest disparity between men and women in the US occurs when they reach their sixties. At that point in their life, men are 1.68 times as likely to die as women, mainly due to disease.
The gender gap has widened dramatically in recent years, but it has been on the rise since the 1940s, at least in the US, France, Japan and Sweden, where historical figures are available. The researchers suggest a number of factors that could be to blame for the trend.
Population growth and globetrotting have led to a rise in infectious diseases. And improvements in public health and medicine may have benefited women more than men: for instance, far fewer women now die at a relatively young age during childbirth. Technological advances may have played a part, too, by supplying men with more powerful guns and ever faster cars.
Nesse and Kruger say that sexual selection could also partly explain some of the differences. Men generally invest less in their children than women do, and as a result may compete more vigorously with each other for potential mate.
This rivalry could be what drives them to take greater risks, with
the result that men have evolved greater reproductive success at the
expense of longevity. The same may be true for chimpanzees and even
fruit flies, says Nesse.
Source: Betsy Mason, www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992586
Study Hints Lean Means Longer Life
The Doctor's Visit
Flu Vaccine Good For All Adults, Not
Just Elderly Or Ill
Study Offers New Insights Into Overcoming
Disparities In Health
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Paying Cash for Medical Visits
Labels For Trans Fats
Improved Drug Regimens Help Patients Take
New York Men Tell It Like It Is
Compiled from focus groups held around the state, the report serves as the basis of understanding men's concerns in designing healthcare services that are more male-friendly. As one man put it, "As a man, if I'm sick, I have to be real sick 'can't get outa bed sick,' I have this thing inside me that says, `I can't go; I don't wanna go (to the doctor).' Other men mentioned insensitive attitudes among healthcare practitioners as the problem.
Source: The report was compiled by Joseph Zoske, a
men's health promotion specialist in Albany, NY. A free copy of the
report can be obtained by calling Ellen Mullen at 315.437.7026, Ext.
123, or at Ellen.Mullen@cancer.org
Tetanus and be Fatal
Men Needed To Solve Nurse Shortage
Improving Communications And
Support For Doctors, Patients And Partners
Husbands Of Fibromylagia Sufferers In
Slightly Poorer Health, More Depressed Than Other Men
Kellogg Foundation Releases Landmark Report
on Men's Health
The report examines health statistics, provides the social context, and includes case studies. The document concludes: "It is difficult to dispute the health crisis among men of color in the United States. Black men have a lower life expectancy at birth than White males and the lowest life expectancy of any racial group of either gender."
The Kellogg Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic
organizations in the United States. The 30-page report can be
obtained free of charge by calling 800.819.9997, or by going to the
Climate change linked to disease
A team of researchers led by Drew Harvell at Cornell University have completed a two-year study into climate-disease links. "What is most surprising is the fact that climate sensitive outbreaks are happening with so many different types of pathogens - viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites - as well as in such a wide range of hosts including corals, oysters, terrestrial plants and birds," Harvell says.
Co-researcher Richard Ostfeld, an animal ecologist at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York adds: "This isn't just a question of coral bleaching for a few marine ecologists, nor just a question of malaria for a few health officials - the number of similar increases in disease incidence is astonishing. We don't want to be alarmist, but we are alarmed."
The US team found evidence for a variety of routes for climate warming to adversely affect disease spread. For instance, warmer winters could reduce seasonal die-off of many pathogens and their carriers, or allow them to move into areas that were previously too cold. Other possibilities include the spread of pathogens that thrive on warmer water, the joining of pathogen and potential hosts populations previously separated by climate factors.
The researchers examined a number of human diseases whose spread
researchers have connected to warming, including malaria, Lyme
disease, yellow fever and others. Most involved the expanded range of
carriers into higher latitudes. The authors concede that such
connections are controversial because countless factors besides
climate, such as economics and failed prevention measures, play roles
in the spread of human diseases. Men Talk.
Source: Mark Schrope, Journal reference: Science (vol 296, p 2158) www.healthlinkusa.com/getpage.asp?http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992438
HHS Issues New
Statistical Look At Women's Health
Editor's Note: Two things of interest about this
story: 1. Is there going to be such a report on
men? Doubtful, because that list shows men leading in all 10 top
killers of people in the U.S. Things that generally don't kill like
osteoporosis and asthma, seem to be more important, so they get all
of the press.This is just one example of why having a Men's Health
Commission is important. 2. It is from the Harvard Medical
School's InteliHealth.com web site. If you want to know about why
that's important, click
Tinea (Ringworm, Jock Itch, Athlete's
Why Does Eating Ice Cream Give Me a
What's It Like to Stay in the
Why You Should Smile
Making Medicines From Foods
In Folding Proteins, Clues To Many
More Benefits of Folic Acid
60% of Men Burning in UK Sun (5/3/02)
Why do doctors and
surgeons use stitches?
Caffeine may Damage Arteries
Declining Physical Activity Levels Are
Associated With Increasing Obesity
Why Does Hair Turn Gray?
Smart Supermarket Shopping
Men Get Road Maps To Health
Regular Exercise And Blood
Hormone swings affect men too
The symptoms may resemble those of the so-called male menopause, but Lincoln believes the condition can affect men of any age when stress causes testosterone levels to plummet. If he's right, it's not just women who have their hormonal ups and downs.
Lincoln first pinpointed the syndrome in Soay sheep. In the autumn, the rams' testosterone levels soar and they rut. In the winter, testosterone levels plummet and they lose interest in sex. High testosterone is supposed to mean more aggression. But the rams were more likely to injure themselves when testosterone was low.
So Lincoln monitored the activity of eight rams, such as how often they struck out with their horns. As testosterone levels fell, the rams changed from competent males who addressed each other in a ritualistic fashion, to nervous, withdrawn animals that struck out irrationally, he says.
Reindeer and elephants
Red deer, reindeer, mouflon and Indian elephants also show clear signs of irritable male syndrome when testosterone levels fall off at the end of their breeding seasons, says Lincoln. "The mahouts sometimes starve the elephants after the musth, or tie them up to keep them under control."
But what does this mean for people? Here the evidence is shaky, Lincoln admits. But it's clear that testosterone has a major impact on human behaviour.
The brain is loaded with receptors for testosterone and its conversion products. What's more, Richard Anderson, also at Edinburgh, has found that when men who cannot produce testosterone come off hormone replacement therapy, they become irritable and depressed. Their mood improves when they resume treatment.
Lincoln thinks that stresses such as bereavement, divorce or life-threatening illnesses could send testosterone levels plummeting. There are few human studies on stress and testosterone, he says, but numerous studies on animals, including primates, show that testosterone levels fall when stress sends corticosteroid levels skywards.
Men behaving sadly
"It's right on the money," says reproductive endocrinologist David Abbott of the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center in Madison. "Testosterone effects have been missed. When a bloke gets grumpy and irritable, [researchers] try and explain it only in terms of cortisol levels and depression. They ignore the fact that testosterone levels are probably falling too."
But David Handelsman, an expert on male hormones at the University of Sydney, is more cautious. He says the changes in testosterone levels in normal adult men are far smaller than the dramatic swings seen in Soay rams, with one notable exception: levels fall by at least 90 per cent in men who undergo castration for advanced prostate cancer.
"The wives notice it first," says Keen-Hun Tai of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne. "The men become more withdrawn, but more emotional. They laugh and cry more easily."
Clearly, the jury's still out when it comes to people. But if irritable male syndrome does affect men, diagnosing it won't be easy. It's far from clear what normal testosterone levels are, while extra doses of the hormone may increase the risk of heart disease.
But the syndrome could still be worth investigating. "Instead of putting stressed men on Prozac, a little testosterone may do the job," says Abbott.
Source: Rachel Nowak, Melbourne. Exclusive
from New Scientist Print Edition, Journal reference:
Reproduction, Fertility and Development (vol 13, p 567)
Meatless Marvels (3/1/02)
Tips for Vibrant
Health at Every Age (3/1/02)
Source: The Saturday Evening Post,
Losing Weight More Than Counting
Source: FDA Consumer, www.ustoo.org/screamoutput/index.html
Blood test labs bypass doctors
Health Impact of 911
Not An Olympian? Get in Shape Anyway
The Eyes Have It (2/24/02)
UNICEF Discriminates Against Men
Source: The UNICEF website at www.unicefusa.org/alert/casia/landing.html
As a result of this mindset, international health programs often exclude men from their services. For example, Luis Benavente, MD, recently wrote this letter to the British Medical Journal:
"Although our international programs are usually focused on mothers and children, we included adult men in a survey in the Amazon Basin. Anemia prevalence rates were much higher among men than among women. But iron supplementation was available only to women. Since anemia is associated with low productivity, it could be expected that by preventing anemia among men, men could bring more food to the table.
Men's health has an impact in the health if the entire family, thus interventions based in the assumption that adult men are a low-risk group should be revised."
Call UNICEF at 800-FOR-KIDS (800-367-5437). Let them know what you
Women's Growing Health Insurance
Gap (10/01, p. 8)
Dear Mr. Service:
I am writing to convey my concerns about your recent blurb on "Women's Growing Health Insurance Gap."
The article correctly cites the fact that there are more uninsured men in the United States than uninsured women.
The article then goes on to quote Jane Lambrew of George Washington University, who identifies several sub-groups of women who are more likely to be uninsured, but neglects to mention any sub-groups of men who are more often uninsured.
Lambrew then goes on to make recommendations how health insurance for women can be improved, but again ignores the greater uninsurance problem among men.
This line of logic is based on the implicit assumption that the health of women is more important than the health of men, even though it's men who die 6 years sooner than women in this country. Such an assumption borders precariously on anti-male bigotry.
The Spare-Tire Syndrome
Normally, the hormone insulin regulates glucose output and shifts blood sugar into the cells for energy. But when so much glucose is being released that insulin can't properly suppress it, that's tantamount to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a common harbinger of diabetes.
Previous studies have shown that lifestyle changes resulting in the reduction of abdominal fat can control blood sugar and insulin production. Diet and exercise have been found to lower levels of insulin, more so than diet alone.
The new report was presented at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in Philadelphia.
Principles of Moderation
Female Hormone Stunts Male Growth
Scientists studying the genetic cause of height in males have found two genes involved in the production of male and female sex hormones determine height in more than a third of men.
"It's likely that the estrogen, which determines when you stop growing, is the final arbiter," said Stephen Harrap, a professor in the department of physiology at the University of Melbourne.
Professor Harrap and Justine Ellis, whose research is published in the international Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found the genes could cause a height difference of up to 4.2cm.
They examined the genetic profiles of 413 men and 335 women and found a gene called CYP19 and another on the male Y chromosome affected men's height, but the link was weak in women.
CYP19 triggers production of aromatase, a protein that converts the male sex hormone testosterone into estrogen. Men and women produce testosterone and estrogen, but in different amounts. Professor Harrap said production of estrogen stopped teenagers growing and that height was set by the speed and length of growth. Previous studies have shown short men are more at risk of heart attack and cancer.
Professor Harrap hopes his research will lead to new insights into the growth process and the causes of osteoporosis in males. "Height is essentially a cosmetic issue, unless you bump into doors a lot or can't grab the tram rail," he said.
Source: Stephen Brook, The Advertiser (Australia)
Project Aims to Find Out about Men's Health
A limited amount is known about men's health, the board says, although recent reports indicate that on average men die six years younger than women.
Men are more likely to suffer accidents, injuries on the road and incidents in the workplace. They also have a higher rate of suicide, which is the leading cause of death among young men.
Ms Biddy O'Neill, the board's health promotion manager, said that while women's health had been placed at the top of the strategic agenda for health services in Ireland, men's health had had no specific targeted strategy.
With funding of £70,000 from the Department of Health and Children, the board is to undertake a region-wide consultation programme with men about health issues. A researcher to carry out the work is to be appointed shortly.
As men are not inclined to talk about their health, a proactive approach will be taken.
"We'll be targeting workplaces, sports organisations, community groups, wherever we can access men. We have to go to them because men are not great at coming to meetings," Ms O'Neill said.
A campaign to advise building workers of the dangers of working in the sun without adequate protection was highly successful when health board personnel went on site.
"We were telling them of the need to wear T-shirts and apply protection to the skin and we got a very good response. We even had calls from other building sites asking us to visit them. Now if we'd held a meeting in some hall and asked men to come along, it would not have been as successful," she said.
The research project follows the establishment by the board of a working group in 1999 to review the area of men's health and identify opportunities for development. The findings will be sent to the Department and will help inform a strategic approach to men's health at national level.
Source: Irish Times, www.ireland.com:80/newspaper/ireland/2001/0523/reg3.htm
Australian National Men's Health
The program also highlighted The Western Australian Pit Stop program as an example of a health program that has decided to go to where men are in an effort to increase men's involvement with health services.
A transcript of the program is available from the 7.30 Report website at www.abc.net.au/7.30/s309211.htm
More information about the Centre for Advancement of Men's Health can be found at their website: www.mannet.com.au
The Health Department of Western Australia issued a press release
about the Pit Stop program which can be downloaded from: www.health.wa.gov.au/press/view.cfm?id=153
The Wind Chill Factor: Impressive on TV,
but not in real life (2/20/01)
Beefy male centerfolds mirror muscle
New polio symptoms can arise 30 years
Men's increased risk of severe asthma
Waist circumference can help diagnose disease
Men help other men stay strong; family
Aerobic fitness slows down artery
It's All Over After Age 45
Man remarkably fit despite his
Keeping yourself safe from drug
In faltering economy, older workers'
health at risk
Sick Americans seek solitude
Why can't women park a car -- is it depth
HMOs: 'Come and see us when you get
British Men Gobble the Chips, Skip the
Satisfied men live longer
Is snacking a bad habit?
What Are The Fit Or Fat Rules For Smart
A: Smart eating the Fit or Fat way means eating a diet that is:
We use a circle divided into four sections to represent each of the four food groups -- the Milk Group, the Meat Group, the Bread and Cereal Group, and the Fruits and Vegetables Group. We use the Four-Food-Group system as the basis of the Fit or Fat Target Diet because it satisfies the most fundamental of our four basic rules -- eat a balanced diet.
We illustrate the other three rules -- low-fat, low-sugar, and high-fiber -- by adding inner circles to the Four-Food Group circle, making it into the Fit or Fat Target. Then, focusing on one food group at a time, foods are graded so that the best ones in each group are in the center of the Target and the worst ones are on the periphery. All the foods above the horizontal center line are graded according to their fat content. Foods below the horizontal center line are graded according to their fiber and sugar content.
For example, foods such as shredded wheat, skim milk and most vegetables are placed in the center of the Target, because they are low-fat, low-sugar, and high-fiber. But things like mayonnaise and butter are placed in the periphery of the Target. Other foods are placed somewhere inside the Target, depending on their fat, sugar and fiber content. For example, white meat is lower in fat than ground beef, so white meat is closer to the center of the Target than ground beef is.
The goal is to aim for the bulls eye of the Target. This doesnt mean that every single food you eat must come from the center. A healthy mix is expected. But, the fatter you are the more important it is that you stick closely to the center ring. Occasionally straying to the periphery only to quickly jump back to the center.
Examples of foods that are near the center of the Target:
Breads and Cereals:
Fruits and Vegetables:
Adapted from The Fit or Fat Target Diet by Covert Bailey.
Brain Scan Gives Baby's-Eye View of The
Children's Art Reflects Internal
mind, said Dr. Suzanne Dixon. www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?ID=44886&src=n49
Doctor Says Lasik may be Okay for Children,
Infant Injuries Spur High Chair
New Moms Breast-Feed with Support from
Nutrition Lacking in Pregnant
Teens and Women
Scientists find Gene Possibly Linked
Short Babies have Higher Adult Blood
Australian Moms Calming Kids Down
How Stressing Women's Health Research
Over Men's Health Research Hurts Women (11/5/00)
Buckling under the weight of enormous political pressure, the National Institutes of Health established the Office of Research on Women's Health. The purpose of the ORWH was to assure the inclusion of women in medical research, and was doled out $20 million a year to fix things up. It has now become clear that the hysterical campaign to helpwomen's health research play catchup is based on a superbly-crafted myth.
Men face a 50% greater risk of dying of cancer than women. Yet reports from the National Cancer Institute reveal that as early as 1989, males represented only 43% of all participants in cancer research, and females 57%. Hardly an example of the "routine exclusion" of women.
Beginning in 1988, the NIH began to analyze research funding on a sex-specific basis. That year, men's health garnered 4% of the NIH research budget, compared to 10% for women's health. Since then, the margin is swung even more sharply in favor of women. Where's the beef, Senator Mikulski?
Maybe political partisanship is excusable. But distorting the facts in official NIH documents is not. Repeatedly, I have come across NIH reports that are simply false. Last year, for example, the NIH issued a fact sheet on women and mental health research that categorically claims, "Historically, research studies were conducted with only men." But according to the 1979 NIH Inventory of Clinical Trials, women participated in 96% of all clinical trials in that year.
As a result of the belief that women's health research was shortchanged, men's health research has been pushed aside. Men now represent only 37% of participants in NIH research studies, according to the recent report on Women's Health from the General Accounting Office.
So why does this end up hurting women? Because of the historic neglect of men's health, men now die 6 years sooner than women. That translates into 40,000 premature male deaths each year. Many of these men are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. They have wives and children.
Their children grow up without a daddy. And their wives lose the family breadwinner. When their widows reach their 70s and 80s, they are at four times greater risk of being placed in a nursing home, to spend their final years alone. Is this what we want for the women of this country?
Edward E. Bartlett, Senior Policy Advisor, Men's Health America,
Rockville, Maryland firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Feel Their Health Issues are
Ignored.By Karen Pallarito (11/16/00)
Elected officials do not care enough about women's health issues, at least in part because most of these officials are men, according to results of a new survey of women around the US.
The survey found that most women do not think media and medical researchers care enough about women's health either.
Sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Lifetime Television, the survey included a national sample of 500 adult women and is the first of 12 in a year-long effort to find out what American women think and their concerns regarding healthcare policy.
"What we've learned in this first survey is that women feel that elected officials haven't given enough attention to women's healthcare concerns. Why? Women feel it's because women's health is not valued in our society and because most of the people making these decisions are men," said Project Director Marion Sullivan.
Overall, 70% of women said that elected officials do not give enough attention to women's health issues, and 44% said the same about the media. Almost two-thirds felt that medical research overlooks health concerns that are unique to women.
The survey reports that women think the most important policy issues are expanding healthcare coverage for individuals without insurance and making Medicare financially sound for the future. Other issues ranked as ``very important'' included prescription drug coverage for the elderly, increased research spending for women's health concerns, and helping families pay for long-term care.
In addition to the monthly surveys, which will address ``a wide range of issues affecting women's health,'' Sullivan said, the joint project between Kaiser and Lifetime Television includes a daily information program on the television network and on Lifetime's Web site at http://www.lifetimetv.com. The Web site also provides details about each survey and additional information about what women can do to voice their concerns and advocate for health issues.
"We're trying to empower women to become more informed participants in the healthcare debate, and to become better advocates for their own healthcare in a system that's becoming increasingly difficult to have your voice heard," Sullivan explained. "All over the country there are women who live and breathe these issues every day, but don't know how to make themselves heard," she added.
"Women want their healthcare concerns considered and given greater
priority in Washington and in the state capitals," she concluded.
"And women were a major force in the 2000 elections."
It's Time to End the Gender Gap in
Health Care (11/15/00)
It's a well-known fact that women, on average, outlive men by six years. Between 15 and 44, men's mortality rates are more than twice as high as women's. These shortfalls are noted in ''Healthy People 2010,'' a report issued this year by the Surgeon General and the US Department of Health and Human Services outlining a health care agenda. But Edward Bartlett, senior policy advisor of a group called Men's Health America, points out that no action has been taken to address such concerns. There are no men's health committees or task forces; the HHS has an Office of Women's Health but no Office of Men's Health.
The reason for this neglect, Bartlett said at the press conference, is the belief that gender equity requires more attention to women's health concerns. A decade ago, claims that women had been shortchanged by a male-dominated medical establishment caused an outcry from activists and legislators. As it happens, these allegations were little more than a politically driven myth.
In 1990, the Congressional Women's Caucus raised a ruckus over a government report showing that less than 14 percent of the money spent by the National Institutes of Health in 1987 went to female- specific illnesses. Yet less than 7 percent of the NIH budget was allocated to male-specific problems; the rest was spent on studying diseases that afflict both sexes.
But weren't those diseases studied almost exclusively in men? No. In 1979, the earliest year for which such data are available, 268 of the 293 NIH-funded clinical trials included both male and female subjects - and of the remaining 25 studies, 13 were all-female.
An analysis of medical literature in the Medline database shows a similar picture. Over two-thirds of clinical trials in the 1970s and 80s included both sexes, while single-sex trials were almost evenly divided between all-male and all-female ones.
Women's ''exclusion'' from heart disease research has drawn especially harsh criticism. In fact, nearly a third of clinical trials of heart disease treatment and prevention in 1996-1991 were all-male. This was primarily because it often makes scientific sense to study a disease first in the population in which it occurs most often - and men under 65 are three times more likely to have heart attacks than women.
Remarkably, however, during the same period men were underrepresented as subjects in cancer-related trials (even though they suffer from cancer at higher rates than women).
Perhaps the biggest myth is that breast cancer research was put on the back burner due to sexism. Former congresswoman Patricia Schroeder of Colorado once commented that male researchers are ''more worried about prostate cancer than breast cancer.''
Yet from 1981 to 1991, the National Cancer Institute spent $658 million on breast cancer research and $113 million on prostate cancer. Long before the rise of breast cancer activism, medical journals published more reports on breast cancer than on any other type of cancer.
Thanks to the crusade to remedy perceived inequities, it seems that men's health is being short-shrifted. A May 2000 report by the US General Accounting Office shows that men now account for 37 percent of subjects enrolled in NIH research (down from 45 percent in 1994) and just 29 percent in cancer research. In recent years, both Republicans and Democrats have been sponsoring women s health measures such as minimum hospital stays for breast cancer surgery, while men are roundly ignored.
The myth of women's medical neglect has bred needless resentment in many women. It has also hampered efforts to improve health care for men, who are much less likely to get regular medical check-ups or to seek care promptly when they have symptoms of illness, and more likely to be uninsured. At Monday's press conference, Irvienne Goldson, a manager with the Men's Preventive Health Program in Boston, noted that fears of shortchanging women make it difficult for men's health programs to get funding.
But women and men are not isolated from each other. When men die prematurely, the women who love them are affected as well. Isn't it time to stop playing gender politics with medicine and redirect our energy toward providing better care for everyone?
Cathy Young, contributing editor at Reason magazine. Her
column appears regularly in the Globe.
Theme Issue on Men's Health
1. Real men don't eat quiche (or go to doctors)
2. The little gland that can
3. Erectile dysfunction
4. Preventive health screenings
Each of these articles is followed by comments of members of a
men's health panel that convened June 7 in Chicago. Copies of the
report can be obtained by contacting: Ann Peterson, Business and
Health Special Reports, Medical Economics, 5 Paragon Dr.,
Montvale, NJ 07645-1742. Put the request on your business letterhead
and include the number of copies you would like.
Thousands of Women Walked a Marathon in
Their Bras (5/14/00)
DON'T SWALLOW! (5/00)
Discordant couples (couples in which one partner is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative), singles dating, young people experimenting with early sexual encounters, and those involved in casual sex all need to understand some of the issues that may make oral sex more or less risky,. Some basic tenets: risk of HIV transmission is far less with unprotected oral sex than with unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse. Risk performing fellatio on an HIV-positive man may be small but distinctly present. Risk from fellatio is markedly increased if either semen or pre ejaculate is present in the mouth. The risk from receiving either cunnilingus or fellatio from an HIV-positive person is theoretical only. While there are very few cells in the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat that are vulnerable to HIV transmission, it does represent an important mode of transmission regardless of the lower risk factor, due to the frequency of occurrence. This is in contrast to the membranes of the rectum and vagina, which have a proliferation of cells, which are capable of acting as receptors for viral transmission.
There are four major factors contributing to the risk of transmission by having oral sex with an HIV-positive person:
The presence of active, untreated infections such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, ulcerated herpes or syphilis, and even vaginal candidacies (thrush), will increase the level of white blood cells in the semen or cervio-vaginal fluids. This increase in blood cells is likely to increase the levels of HIV in these sexual fluids. Also, cuts and sores in the mouth, damaged gums and lips, can be sites for oral transmission of HIV. There are reports of individuals with gingivitis (a common gum disease in adults over the age of thirty, that can lead to bleeding, inflammation and abrasion) becoming infected after performing fellatio.
Despite guidelines recommending condom use during oral sex, the practice has been accepted by very few gay men and only a portion of females, though a greater number of sex workers are using it with their customers.
Michael's Fight: New hope in the war against Parkinson's Disease (5/22/00)
Men's Fear of Physicians, Washington
Times, 3/5/00 - By: Karen Goldberg Goff
"I think the primary problem was that this is a tough group to reach," says Dr. Sam Harrell, a family physician and one of the clinic's founders. "The great majority of the time a man comes into the office, it is because the woman in his life has kicked him in the tail to get him there." Indeed, women visit family physicians about 2 1/2 times as often as men, according to data from the American Academy of Family Physicians. A nationwide survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Men's Health magazine and CNN found that one-third of men would not go to the doctor even if they were experiencing chest pains or shortness of breath, two top indicators of a heart attack.
The National Men's Health Foundation estimates that nearly 7 million of the 87 million American men have not seen a doctor for a checkup in more than 10 years. "I hate going to the doctor," says Bob Eller, a 42-year-old Silver Spring businessman. "I had some mild chest pains, and my wife practically twisted my arm to get me to the doctor's office. I now go every couple of years for a physical, but I hate going. If you don't go, then you won't have to hear the bad news."
Avoiding the doctor can lead to worse news, however. It is important to have a relationship with a primary care doctor even if you are not sick, says Patrick Taylor, spokesman for the National Men's Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization that tries to educate and motivate men to take better care of themselves. "Men tend to only go to the doctor when there is something seriously wrong," Mr. Taylor says. "By then, they might have to rely on emergency care. When you are being wheeled into the ER, it is not exactly a place for an open dialogue." Men's perceptions of health care seem to be a mixture of fear, embarrassment and machismo, Mr. Taylor says.
The problem begins in the late teens and early 20s. Though women are taught the importance of seeing a doctor for an annual pap smear to detect cervical cancer, men have no such scheduled tests and, once they are on their own, no mother to press them into going. By contrast, reproductive issues such as birth control, childbirth and breast health generally ensure that women see a doctor at least once or twice a year. The fallout from that is that women usually are more amenable to seeing other specialists for various health problems, says Dr. Lanny Copeland, a family physician in Albany, Ga., and a board member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
"We have done a good job of educating women about the importance of the pap smear and of family planning," he says. "And that has brought them into the office a great deal more than men. Men, particularly young men, just don't think anything is going to happen to them." (Editor - And the Health Services and educational system have done a lousy job educating boys about testicular checks, while spending a great deal of time and money educating the girls. Boys and men are left on their own by the same governmental and educational bodies that have spent millions making women aware of health hazards.)
"From 20 to 30, most men don't feel they need a doctor," says Dr. Matthew Mintz, an internal medicine specialist and professor of medicine at George Washington University. "You see a pediatrician every year until you go away to college. Then you go to the school clinic if you need something. After that, you are thrown out there on your own." The 20s should be a decade to educate oneself, Mr. Taylor says. It should be a time to establish a relationship with a doctor so when a man does need something simple, such as an antibiotic to treat a sinus infection, he will be able to get in to see a doctor as an established patient. While he is there, he can discuss other matters. "The 20s may be the Teflon years, but young men should get checked for testicular cancer and learn how to examine themselves," Mr. Taylor says. "They should start understanding the value of nutrition, about what bad eating and drinking habits can affect later. The 20s are more about information, not procedures." Dr. Mintz says two checkups should be enough to get a man through his 20s. However, by age 30, a man should see a doctor at least every three years or so, especially if he has a family history of such things as heart disease or colon cancer, which have a strong hereditary link, he says. "The risk of those types of disorders is stratified by decade," Dr. Mintz says. "High blood pressure can start then if we don't check it, as can diabetes and high cholesterol. Even if a man is a healthy, jock-type guy, he can have high cholesterol, which has a high genetic component."
Doctors recommend screening for those disorders by the late 30s or early 40s, particularly if there is a family history. Those without a strong family history can wait until age 50 to do annual tests for prostate and colon cancer, Dr. Copeland says. Mr. Taylor says black men need to be aware that they have a 66 percent higher incidence of prostate cancer and also have higher rates of high blood pressure and stomach, prostate and liver cancer than white men. "African-Americans, or anyone who is at high risk, should get screened for these things in their 40s," he says. The 40s also are the time to seriously think about heart health. Baseline tests such a stress test, a cholesterol test and an electrocardiogram (EKG) can help assess one's risk of a heart attack.
Through all the decades, it is important for men to recognize the signs of stress and depression, such as a racing heartbeat, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping or sadness that won't go away. "Mental health is one of the great, dark secrets that most men like to avoid," Mr. Taylor says. Even if men are reluctant to see a doctor, there are other tools they can use to at least get them thinking about their health. The wealth of information on the Internet can be a valuable tool, Dr. Copeland says. "I think the Internet is a good thing," he says. "The better educated the patient is, the easier my job is. Some doctors are offended when a patient comes into their office with something he has downloaded, but that is the way it is today." Dr. Copeland advises getting medical information from reputable sources such as hospitals, universities or medical association sites. "You had better be careful," he says. "There is some real garbage out there. But at least men are reading it, and it gets them in to see their doctor."
Another quick health-check tool is to take advantage of health
services that large companies sometimes offer. When the bloodmobile
or a free cholesterol screening is being offered in the cafeteria,
use it, Dr. Mintz says. "I definitely recommend office health," he
says. "Sometimes those tests are not totally accurate, but at least
it promotes conversation. Received from email@example.com
1. Breast cancer screening
2. Cervical cancer screening
3. Chlamydia screening in women
4. Prenatal care in the first trimester
5. Checkups after delivery
6. Initiation of prenatal care
7. Frequency of ongoing prenatal care
8. Discharge and average length of stay - maternity care
9. Cesarean section
10. Vaginal birth after delivery
11. Management of menopause
12. Weeks of pregnancy at time of enrollment
These are the standards for mens health:
0. No, thats not a typographic error, as we understand it. There are 12 standards for womens health, and none for mens health.
Act now. Complain to your local HMO, elected
representative, whomever. Because people care about your
Top Ten Immune Busters
1. Junk the Junk Food. Combined with sedentary lives, a poor diet is estimated to kill between 310,000 and 580,000 Americans each year.
So, how bad is junk food for your immune system?
Experts have known for some time that when a person is malnourished, her immune system is weakened. When you restore the person to normal nutrition, her immune system improves, which is no surprise. But what they're just learning is that when you continue to improve nutrition beyond mere adequacy, the immune system continues to improve, even in healthy people.
One thing that a lot of junk food has in common is excess fat. Fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, tend to suppress the immune system. Cut your total fat intake to no more than 25% of daily calories.
Another bad component of junk food is excess sugar. Sugar inhibits phagocytosis, the process by which viruses and bacteria are engulfed and then literally chewed up by white blood cells.
2. Dodge Those PCBs. It takes just one exposure of less than one-millionth of a gram for immunotoxic contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, certain pesticides, and dioxin-like substances to disrupt the immune function of innocent wildlife. Since these chemicals can stay in the environment for decades, vulnerable wildlife species have no escape from their devastation. Moreover, not only do these toxins become more concentrated as they move their way up the food chain, they can also cause life-threatening autoimmune reactions--the immune system's inability to tell the difference between the body's own tissues and foreign invaders.
So, what does this have to do with your immune system? A lot. Evidence suggests that some of these same chemicals may be putting us at risk. A few examples: In Aberdeen, N.C.--home of the Aberdeen pesticides dump--scientists found that young adults were two times more likely than nonresidents to have shingles, a painful condition caused by a herpes virus. In another study, researchers found that chlordane, a termite-killing substance, caused weaker immune responses in people who had been exposed.
So what can you do? Reduce your exposure as much as possible to unnecessary toxins. Stay away from cigarette smoke, excess alcohol, and illicit drugs. Buy organic produce when possible. Rinse your fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove pesticides. Switch to natural gardening methods and stay indoors or go away when your neighbors are using pesticides. Choose cleansers, paper goods, and other products that are made with less toxic materials. Read food labels vigilantly and avoid products that contain unnecessary chemicals.
3. Avoid Sleep Deprivation. Sleep deprivation has a powerfully detrimental effect on your immune system. The perfect example is college students who get sick after pulling all-nighters cramming for exams.
If you're tired when you wake up in the morning, you're not getting enough sleep, or maybe not enough quality sleep. Either way, your immunity is probably compromised. Poor sleep is associated with lower immune system function and reduced numbers of killer cells that fight germs. Killer cells are also the part of the immune system that combats cells that divide too rapidly, as they do in cancer. Lower their numbers and you may be at greater risk for illness.
Studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation also contributes to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and other medical illnesses. One study on the effects of sleep deprivation showed that a group of men restricted to 4 to 6 hours of sleep per night experienced changes in hormone function and carbohydrate metabolism that mimic aging changes; the lack of sleep was making them older faster.
4. Release Yourself from the Stress Trap. No doubt about it, stress is an Immune Buster.
The loss of a job, the death of a spouse, the breakup of a marriage--these are all examples of situations that can trigger a vigorous stress response in the body. There is compelling scientific evidence that chronic stress causes a measurable decline in the immune system's ability to fight disease. Severe and chronic stress have a direct impact on the immune system that can cause disease or change the course of a preexisting disease. For example, studies have indicated that higher levels of stress hormones lead to more rapid cancer progression.
Other research has shown that people who are stressed are more prone to developing cardiovascular disease. Studies show that women with cardiovascular disease who are better able to manage their stress live longer and remain healthier than women with cardiovascular disease who undergo a lot of stress and don't know how to manage it.
Periods of extreme stress can result in lower natural killer cell count, sluggish "killer T" cells, and diminished macrophage activity that can amplify the immune response. In fact, widows and widowers are much more likely to get sick during the first year following the death of their spouse than their peers who have not experienced a major loss.
5. Adopt an Optimistic Outlook. Even subtle shades of sadness can weaken your immune system. Here's why:
Studies show that pessimists who look at a half-glass of water and think that it's half-empty don't live as long as optimists, who see the same glass as half-full. When pessimists put a more positive spin on the calamities in their lives, they have less stress and better health. One reason for this could be that optimists take better care of themselves. It could also be due to less stress-related damage to your immune system, such as killer cells that suddenly become pacifists. In one study, cancer patients who completed a special course designed to make them more optimistic had stronger immune systems than those who maintained their woesome ways.
Other research supports the idea that having a negative outlook when under stress can make you and your immune system miss out. A 1998 study at UCLA found that law students who began their first semester optimistic about the experience had more helper T cells midsemester, which can amplify the immune response, and more powerful natural killer cells. The reason? They experienced events such as their grueling first year as less stressful than did their more pessimistic classmates. Researchers say that this establishes the possibility that a person's outlook and mood when stressed might affect responses to common immune challenges such as exposure to cold viruses.
6. Avoid Sedentary Lifestyles. One in four American women doesn't exercise at all, making sedentary lifestyles even more common in women than in men. Sedentary ways have a tremendous impact on health. The benefits of exercise are so great that choosing not to exercise is like throwing away a winning lottery ticket. Millions of Americans suffer from illnesses that can be prevented or treated through exercise, including 50 million people with high blood pressure, 13.5 million with coronary heart disease, and 8 million with type 2 diabetes.
Studies show the dangers of a sedentary life. One study compared inactive people with those who walked briskly almost every day. Researchers found that those who didn't walk took twice as many sick days in 4 months as those who walked.
Over time, you should work up to the standard recommendation of five times a week for at least 30 minutes. Experts say that it takes a half-hour of aerobic exercise to sweep white blood cells, key immune system components that are stuck on the blood vessel walls, back into circulation.
Moderate exercise is the key. If your exercise is too intense, it can actually suppress your immune system, which is why marathon runners often get colds after a race. What defines overexertion depends on your fitness level. Consult with your doctor to determine yours before starting an exercise program.
7. Avoid Social Isolation. The cost of social isolation may be higher than we think. Studies show that the fewer human connections we have at home, at work, and in the community, the more likely we are to get sick, flood our brains with anxiety-causing chemicals, and die prematurely.
One study in Sweden showed that those who frequented cultural events such as concerts, museum exhibits, and even ball games tended to live longer than their stay-at-home peers. The key factors could be increased social contact and reduced stress. Other studies have found that people who are isolated may live only half as long as those who have a lot of human contact. Love seems to be an immune system nutrient.
The good news is that these same studies also show that the more human connections we have, the more likely we are to live longer and healthier. Connectedness is the unacknowledged key to emotional and physical health. The more ties you have, the more likely you are to stay well in the first place. Researchers who monitored 276 people between the ages of 18 and 55 found that those who had six or more connections were four times better at fighting off the viruses that cause colds.
8. Stop Smoking. Smoking, and breathing in secondhand smoke, are terrible for your entire body. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds. Of these, at least 43 are known carcinogens.
Here are just some of the ways it wreaks havoc: Smoking causes heart disease, lung and esophageal cancer, and chronic lung disease. It contributes to cancer of the bladder, pancreas, and kidneys. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have problems, including babies with low birth weights, which is a leading cause of infant death.
In fact, smoking kills more than two times as many people as AIDS, alcohol abuse, motor vehicle accidents, homicides, drugs, and suicide combined. One out of every five deaths in America is smoking-related. On average, smokers die nearly 7 years earlier than nonsmokers!
Secondhand smoke is almost as deadly. Each year, because of exposure to tobacco smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer and 300,000 children suffer from lower respiratory tract infections. Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack and aggravate symptoms in people with allergies. In addition, tobacco smoke has been shown to make asthma worse in preschool children and may even cause it.
9. Arm Yourself Against Too Many Antibiotics. The cost of antibiotic resistance is high, both literally and from a health perspective. Literally, while it costs only $12,000 to treat a patient who has tuberculosis that responds to antibiotics, the cost soars to $180,000 for a patient with a multidrug-resistant strain.
From a health perspective, the cost of antibiotic resistance is an increase in the seriousness of disease. For example, treating a person with tuberculosis caused by a strain that is killed by antibiotics is highly effective. In contrast, between 40 and 60% of people who get antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis die.
The cost of misuse of antibiotics can be a weakened immune system. Researchers found that certain patients taking antibiotics had reduced levels of cytokines, the hormone messengers of the immune system. When your immune system is suppressed, you're more likely to develop resistant bacteria or to become sick in the future.
Here are steps to take to use antibiotics properly:
10. Use Laughter to Beat Stress. Researchers have found that the positive emotions associated with laughter decrease stress hormones and increase certain immune cells while activating others. In one study conducted at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California, 10 healthy men who watched a funny video for an hour had significant increases in one particular hormone of the immune system that activates other components of the immune system.
So how can you add a little humor to your life? Simply find
reasons to laugh. Rent a funny video; read a book of jokes. Have
lunch with a friend known for her sense of humor. Lightening up can
really light up your immune system.
Jim Fixx, author of The Comlete Book on Running, died while running.