Doctors are taking a firmer stance with anti-vaxxers in their clinics.

Click to embiggen.

If anyone should know the benefits of vaccinations it’s pediatricians. With the growing number of parents refusing to vaccinate their kids the waiting room of your family doctor could be a dangerous place to be. So a number of doctors around the country are now insisting that parents with unvaccinated kids sign a waiver or find another doctor to go to:

Pediatricians get more firm when parents refuse vaccines for children –

Doctors are growing increasingly frustrated with what they characterize as misinformation linking childhood immunizations to autism, but many parents continue to be wary of vaccines. While parents research vaccine risks, their sources usually aren’t the medical journals that doctors read.

“My response usually is for them to look at credible, researched information and data and really make an informed decision for themselves versus what someone told them,” said Breaux, a doctor at Brentwood (Tenn.) Pediatrics.

Dr. Robert Lillard of Jr. of The Children’s Clinic of Nashville refers parents to websites for respected hospitals. Doctors have a responsibility to make their clinics as safe as possible, he said.

“We want you to feel if you’re in our waiting room that you are safe,” Lillard said. “By that I mean if you have to come in for a sick visit and you are sitting in the waiting room next to a child that has a rash, we want you to feel pretty comfortable knowing that’s probably not measles. If you are in our practice, you’ve been vaccinated against measles and you’re not going to be exposed to that.

This is a trend I hope will grow among doctors across the country. Pediatricians in particular are in a good spot to educate parents on the real risks and benefits of vaccines. If you don’t trust your doctor enough to provide advice on that topic then you are probably going to the wrong doctor. Or you’re an idiot.

*Cartoon by Stuart Carlson.

Fruit drinks are as bad, or worse, than soda in terms of sugar.

I gave up drinking regular soda in my thirties due to my weight and switched to diet sodas because they were “healthier.” Then it turns out they really aren’t all that much better for you so I gave those up as well. It’s been almost a year since I stopped drinking diet pop and in that time I’ve only broken down once, about three weeks ago, and I only drank half of it because diet pop had gone back to tasting like shit. My beverages these days consist mainly of way more water than I’d ever think I’d drink (it’s not uncommon for me to go through 4 32 oz bottles of it a day, if not more) and coffee.

Plus the occasional lemon-aid and/or fruit drink. But I try to avoid those as well because they also tend to be packed with sugar. Especially “fruit” drinks:

If you’re drinking fruit drinks because you think they’re healthier then you may as well go back to drinking soda. Because it’s pretty much the same thing in terms of sugar intake. You can find juice drinks that are mostly juice, but you have to really read the labels to make sure you’re not getting fruit-flavored sugar water. I track them down from time to time when I get sick of drinking water all the time, but these days it’s easier (if less flavorful) to just drink water.

Still hatin’ every burning second of it, but I’m doing it.

Gonorrhea may soon be an untreatable disease.

The problem of antibacterial resistance is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a growing one and it’s looking like Gonorrhea is near to joining the already too-long list:

Gonorrhea Could Join Growing List of Untreatable Diseases – Yahoo! News

Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world with about 600,000 cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. A few years ago, investigators started seeing cases of infection that did not easily respond to treatment with a group of drugs called cephalosporins, which are currently the last line of defense against this particular infection. Now, the number of drug-resistant cases has grown so much in the U.S. and elsewhere that gonorrheal infection may soon become untreatable, according to doctors writing in the February 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

There have been reports on resistant forms of E. colituberculosis, and pneumonia in the recent past and there isn’t a whole lot of research being done on new antibiotics to replace the ones that are becoming useless. I wonder if the potential for Gonorrhea becoming untreatable will motivate some companies to invest in the research. Think of the profits that could be made.

In the meantime, be careful who you bump uglies with. There’s more than AIDS out there to be worried about.

The potential one shot Leukemia cure that almost never happened.

There’s a new experimental cure for the most common form of Leukemia that has scientists stunned at how successful it is with only a single injection. And it almost never came about due to lack of funding:

Doctors had told Bill Ludwig, one of the research volunteers, that he would die from his leukemia within weeks. Then he got the experimental treatment a year ago.

With tears welling up, he told NBC, “I’m more closer to the people I love and I appreciate them more… I’m getting emotional… the grass is greener and flowers smell wonderful.”

The other two patients have chosen to remain anonymous but one who happens to be a scientist himself wrote,  “I am still trying to grasp the enormity of what I am a part of  — and of what the results will mean to countless others with CLL or other forms of cancer. When I was a young scientist, like many I’m sure, I dreamed that I might make a discovery that would make a difference to mankind – I never imagined I would be part of the experiment.”

via New leukemia treatment exceeds ‘wildest expectations’ – Health – Cancer –

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania published research on Wednesday on their efforts to come up with a treatment for chroniclymphocytic leukemia (CLL) which is the most common form of Leukemia. Usually it’s treated with chemotherapy, but that’ll just keep it at bay. The only way to cure it previously was via a bone marrow transplant which only has about a 50% success rate and brings with it a whole host of problems.

This new treatment involves using a modified version of the HIV virus to insert modified genes into white blood cells collected from the patient which makes the white blood cells into lean, mean, cancer killing machines. They cultivate a whole bunch of these new super-powered white blood cells and then inject them back into the patient:

In similar past experimental treatments for several types of cancer the re-injected white cells killed a few cancer cells and then died out. But the Penn researchers inserted a gene that made the white blood cells multiply by a thousand fold inside the body. The result, as researcher June put it, is that the white blood cells became “serial killers” relentlessly tracking down and killing the cancer cells in the blood, bone marrow and lymph tissue.

As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal.

How awesome is that? That’s pretty fucking awesome! So why did it almost not happen?

Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down. But good guesses are the general shortage of funds and the concept tried in this experiment was too novel and, thus, too risky for consideration.

The researchers did manage to get a grant from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, a charity founded by Barbara and Edward Netter after their daughter-in-law died of cancer. The money was enough to finance the trials on the first three patients.

There’s still a ways to go before this will become widely available, but it’s a stunning result so far to cure two out of three people and on the one it didn’t cure it still made a helluva difference. Most exciting is the fact that this technique could possibly be effective on other forms of cancer as well. The good news is that there should be plenty of funding coming in now to really put it to the test and see if these results are a fluke or a real breakthrough.

*Science. It works, bitches graphic lifted from the XKCD store where you can buy it on a t-shirt!

New research suggests artificial sweeteners no help in battle against obesity.

Well this just fucking sucks:

Epidemiologists from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio reported data showing that diet soft drink consumption is associated with increased waist circumference in humans, and a second study that found aspartame raised fasting glucose (blood sugar) in diabetes-prone mice.

“Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised,” said Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Clinical Epidemiology in the School of Medicine. “They may be free of calories but not of consequences.”

via Waistlines in people, glucose levels in mice hint at sweeteners’ effects: Related studies point to the illusion of the artificial.

I’ve said before that as a younger man I used to swear that I’d never switch to diet pop because it tasted so awful. Then I hit my early 30’s and got married and my daughter came to live with me and I suddenly was responsible for a lot more than just myself. So when the doctor told me I was borderline diabetic and suggested I switch from regular to diet pop to help me lose weight I took to heart that advice. It took awhile to make the switch, but I eventually did and it did make a difference, at first. I lost close to 40 lbs only to gain it all back within the year.

Given the findings of these studies, I’m not surprised by the the return of the weight:

Measures of height, weight, waist circumference and diet soda intake were recorded at SALSA enrollment and at three follow-up exams that took place over the next decade. The average follow-up time was 9.5 years. The researchers compared long-term change in waist circumference for diet soda users versus non-users in all follow-up periods. The results were adjusted for waist circumference, diabetes status, leisure-time physical activity level, neighborhood of residence, age and smoking status at the beginning of each interval, as well as sex, ethnicity and years of education.

Diet soft drink users, as a group, experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users. Frequent users, who said they consumed two or more diet sodas a day, experienced waist circumference increases that were 500 percent greater than those of non-users.

Given that I’ve cut way back on the amount of sugar I consume I have been surprised to find that my glucose levels still showed as high on blood tests where I’d been fasting beforehand. If the research on mice is any indication then I now know why:

One group of the mice ate chow to which both aspartame and corn oil were added; the other group ate chow with the corn oil added but not the aspartame. After three months on this high-fat diet, the mice in the aspartame group showed elevated fasting glucose levels but equal or diminished insulin levels, consistent with early declines in pancreatic beta-cell function. The difference in insulin levels between the groups was not statistically significant. Beta cells make insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar after a meal. Imbalance ultimately leads to diabetes.

“These results suggest that heavy aspartame exposure might potentially directly contribute to increased blood glucose levels, and thus contribute to the associations observed between diet soda consumption and the risk of diabetes in humans,” Dr. Fernandes said.

Well fuck me.

I’ve been working on not drinking as much soda for awhile now, but I’m still not a huge fan of drinking water and it’s difficult to find anything other than water to drink when dining out so I’m still consuming some diet soda on a regular basis. But I am doing better. I regularly have at least two cups of water at work and a couple more at home in the course of a day. Now I guess I’ll have to make an effort to cut out diet pop altogether.

Which is upsetting because a good cold soda is one of life’s little pleasures on a hot summer day. Something that a cold glass of water just doesn’t compare to. But I’ll suck it up and put my big-boy pants on and just deal with it.

But I’m still going to pout about it.

It has come to this: Man robs bank of $1 to get medical care in jail.

What do you do when you’re jobless and homeless with a host of medical problems none of which justify a visit to an emergency room? Well, they provide free medical care in jail.

That’s the solution James Verone of North Carolina came up with so he walked into a local bank and handed the teller a note that simply said: “This is a bank robbery. please only give me one dollar.” Then he went over to a bench and sat down and waited for the police to arrive and arrest him:

“I wanted to make it known that this wasn’t for monetary reasons, but for medical reasons,” he says.

That’s right James Verone says he has no medical insurance. He has a growth of some sort on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot. He is 59-years old and with no job and a depleted bank account. He thought jail was the best place he could go for medical care and a roof over his head.

Verone is hoping for a three year sentence.

He’d then be able to collect social security when he got out, and says he’d head for the beach.

“I’ve already looked at a condominium. I’ve spoken to a realtor, on Myrtle Beach,” he says.

via Man claims he robbed bank of $1 in order to secure jail health care |

It’s arguable whether or not he had no other choice, I’m not familiar enough with what options for free medical care exist in the region of North Carolina he resides in, but it’s probably the approach with the least red tape. He doesn’t recommend everyone take this approach to getting needed medical care, but he doesn’t have any regrets even after the jailhouse doctor scolded him for manipulating the system.

There’s just one small flaw with his clever plan:

Because he only demanded one dollar and didn’t have a weapon police charged him not with bank robbery, but larceny, so he might not get as much time in the slammer as he was hoping for.

Ain’t that a bitch? You go through the trouble of robbing a bank and the cops only charge you with larceny. What’s an honest man got to do to get three years of jail time around here?

Of course if we had a single payer system here in America then even the homeless could get needed medical care without having to resort to crime to get it. But that would be too much like those cesspools of communism known as the U.K. and Canada.

Just face it: The Universe is out to kill you.

Sometimes this is all it takes.

I love my doctor because she’s willing to just lay the truth out for me without beating around the bush. I had to see her on Monday for a checkup because the folks at Blue Care Network, the medical insurance company Anne gets through her job, have decided that in order not to charge us a ridiculous amount of money for a shitty policy we have to jump through hoops to qualify for paying a slightly less outrageous amount of money for a slightly less shitty policy. The upshot being that several months ago we had to go through physicals to see how badly out of shape we are. Which, admittedly, we are.

Apparently, out of the two of us, I’m the bigger (ha!) offender as I had to go back for this recent checkup to see if I’d managed to lose any of the near-300 pounds I’ve been carrying around. For, if I hadn’t, steps would need to be taken if we wanted to keep the slightly less shitty policy. Naturally, I managed to gain four pounds in the interim going from 294 to 298 pounds. Considering the first checkup was just before last Thanksgiving and this one was just after Easter, I suppose it’s probably not much of a surprise given the amount of good eating during those months. My blood pressure was borderline, but still on the “healthy” side, and my disposition was as snarky as ever.

As it turns out, when they said that steps would have to be taken, they meant it literally. I had a choice, my doctor said, if I wanted to keep the slightly less shitty policy to either sign up for Weight Watchers or get a Pedometer and start walking more. The insurance company pays for it either way, but of the two options the get-off-your-ass one was more appealing. If only because I’ve been meaning to do that anyway and now that I’ll be constantly recorded like some alcoholic with a breathalyzer strapped to his wrist perhaps that’ll actually motivate me to STFU and GTFO.

All of that is background to explain why I love my doctor. She’s the one who gave me the title for this entry. She said it after I mentioned a recent study that suggests that sitting too much will kill you. Duh, you’re probably thinking. Lack of movement is what makes you fat and being fat will kill you earlier. Yes, that’s true, but apparently it is much worse than that:  Sitting may be a lethal activity.

Researcher James Levine at the Mayo Clinic wanted to know why it is that some people seem to be able to eat without gaining weight while others struggle with weight issues even if they generally eat the same amount of food. So he got a bunch of both types of people together and had them eat all their meals in a lab where their caloric intake could be controlled. He wired them up with special underwear that were packed with accelerometers and inclinometers to measure the subject’s movements and what positions they spent their time in.  Then he gave them 1,000 more calories than they needed and told them not to exercise. As you’d expect, the folks who tended to eat without gaining weight stayed fairly skinny and the others tended to pack on the pounds:

“We measured everything, thinking we were going to find some magic metabolic factor that would explain why some people didn’t gain weight,” explains Dr. Michael Jensen, a Mayo Clinic researcher who collaborated with Dr. Levine on the studies. But that wasn’t the case. Then six years later, with the help of the motion-tracking underwear, they discovered the answer. “The people who didn’t gain weight were unconsciously moving around more,” Dr. Jensen says. They hadn’t started exercising more — that was prohibited by the study. Their bodies simply responded naturally by making more little movements than they had before the overfeeding began, like taking the stairs, trotting down the hall to the office water cooler, bustling about with chores at home or simply fidgeting. On average, the subjects who gained weight sat two hours more per day than those who hadn’t.

OK, no big surprise there. That’s pretty much what you would expect. Here’s where it gets worse:

People don’t need the experts to tell them that sitting around too much could give them a sore back or a spare tire. The conventional wisdom, though, is that if you watch your diet and get aerobic exercise at least a few times a week, you’ll effectively offset your sedentary time. A growing body of inactivity research, however, suggests that this advice makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging. “Exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting,” says Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

The posture of sitting itself probably isn’t worse than any other type of daytime physical inactivity, like lying on the couch watching “Wheel of Fortune.” But for most of us, when we’re awake and not moving, we’re sitting. This is your body on chairs: Electrical activity in the muscles drops — “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,” Hamilton says — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides — for “vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,” as Hamilton puts it — plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.

So basically what they’re saying is, if you sit around a lot you’re putting your body into a state that is innately damaging to its well being. This isn’t a takes-a-long-time-to-affect-you kind of problem either:

Hamilton’s most recent work has examined how rapidly inactivity can cause harm. In studies of rats who were forced to be inactive, for example, he discovered that the leg muscles responsible for standing almost immediately lost more than 75 percent of their ability to remove harmful lipo-proteins from the blood. To show that the ill effects of sitting could have a rapid onset in humans too, Hamilton recruited 14 young, fit and thin volunteers and recorded a 40 percent reduction in insulin’s ability to uptake glucose in the subjects — after 24 hours of being sedentary.

Over a lifetime, the unhealthful effects of sitting add up. Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher. Patel estimates that on average, people who sit too much shave a few years off of their lives.

[…] Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. “Excessive sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.”

Needless to say I found this to be quite alarming considering that I spend a good portion of my day sitting at my desk and a good portion of my time at home sitting at my desk. Worse, I like sitting. With laying down coming in a close second. I always figured that once I got around to exercising for 30 minutes a day I’d be much better off, but this research suggests that’s not the case at all. Presumably I’d have to spend most of my time walking to offset any sitting I tend to do and I just don’t like walking that much.

So I looked at my doctor and I said to her: I’m doomed. And she said that I had to just face it, the Universe is out to kill you. Everything causes cancer, viral and bacterial infections are an ever present threat, and even if you manage to avoid all of that crap you can still step out your door and get clobbered by a meteorite or a bus or, well, just about anything really.

Still, I thought, if you can find the motivation there are at least things you can do to help prolong your life. I sincerely believed that until I read this article this morning: Heart-Healthy Omega-3s Not Healthy for Prostate: Study.

MONDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) — High levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in the blood may be associated with an increased risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer, while elevated levels of unhealthy trans-fatty acids may lower the risk, a new study suggests.

Got that? If you’re eating lots of food with omega-3 fatty acids to to avoid coronary disease you may be increasing your risk of prostrate cancer whereas those artery clogging trans-fatty acids may actually reduce your chance of prostrate cancer while increasing your risk of coronary disease. Talk about having to choose between the lesser of two evils. Which is pretty much what they say you’ll have to do:

“We were stunned to see these results, and we spent a lot of time making sure the analyses were correct,” Theodore M. Brasky, a postdoctoral research fellow in Hutchinson’s Cancer Prevention Program, said in a Hutchinson news release. “Our findings turn what we know — or rather what we think we know — about diet, inflammation and the development of prostate cancer on its head and shine a light on the complexity of studying the association between nutrition and the risk of various chronic diseases.”

But, Brasky and his colleagues don’t believe men who are concerned about heart disease should stop using fish oil supplements or eating salmon or other fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

“Overall, the beneficial effects of eating fish to prevent heart disease outweigh any harm related to prostate cancer risk,” Brasky said. “What this study shows is the complexity of nutrition and its impact on disease risk, and that we should study such associations rigorously, rather than make assumptions.”

Still, it’s upsetting to think that you can’t fix one problem without potentially causing a different one in the process. To my inner cynic this is just proof that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Mind you, I don’t find this depressing. I find it annoying. It’s certainly not the way I’d run the Universe if I were in charge. Still, with so many ways of shuffling off your mortal coil I suppose it’s silly to worry about any particular one to a excessive degree. So I will get my pedometer and I will walk more and take the stairs more, not so much because I think it’ll prolong my life, but because it’ll save us a bit of money on insurance premiums. I will endeavor to eat a healthier diet, but I’ll still be a human with all the failings that entails and indulge in foods I probably shouldn’t because they make me happy.

In the end, given my family history, I’ll probably die from either cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s,  and/or accident of one sort of another. If I’m really lucky, I’ll die from all of them at once and set some sort of familial record. Hopefully it’ll be later rather than sooner, but if my quality of life were to get too shitty for some unforeseen reason then sooner wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing in that case.

But I’m not going to sweat it too much anymore because it’s not like I’m going to get out of life alive in the end anyway. No one does.

Potential new circumcision recommendations have ‘intactivists’ all hot and bothered.

Pic of circumcised banana.

It's like this. Except with your dick.

To circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question pondered for thousands of years by new parents of baby boys. For most of that time the decision was usually pretty simple: Are you Jewish or Muslim? If so then you remove the skin-hoodie. If not, God has no interest in your foreskin so you can keep it. (Technically the Jews considered it an edict from God whereas the Qur’an doesn’t specifically mention it, but many Muslims do it anyway because fuck you, we’re Muslims, and we do shit like that.)

Then, sometime around the dawn of the 20th century as the Germ Theory of Disease finally started to take hold, the idea that having a foreskin could be unhealthy (because, for God’s sake, think of where you stick that thing) caught on in Western societies and the practice went from being a quirky religious rite to a matter of good health and cleanliness. Also, a lot of people thought it helped to curb masturbation which was also considered a very bad thing. Masturbation that is, not the curbing of it.

In recent years there’s been quite a debate over whether there actually is any health benefits from trimming a man’s sausage with a number of studies indicating that any health benefits were probably minimal at best and were offset by the disadvantages (decreased sensitivity, etc.). “Intactivisits”, folks who advocated against circumcision as unnecessary and unethical, launched campaigns to not only discourage the practice, but to help men who have been “victimized” by their parents come to grips with what they considered the mutilation of their favorite organ. A few took the problem well in hand and came up with products designed to help you regrow a foreskin if you were so inclined.

Needless to say, they won’t be to happy to read about this:

Pic of ant-circumcision marchers.

I understand you're passionate about this, but there's no need to make yourself a dick over it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, currently neutral on whether to circumcise, are drafting new policies in light of recent studies suggesting circumcision helps prevent transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Both agencies say they plan to publish their new recommendations this year, though they’ve been saying that for the last two years.

Anti-circumcision activists — dubbed “intactivists” because they advocate leaving penises intact — fear official endorsement could encourage more parents to subject their sons to what they consider an unethical and purely cosmetic procedure.

“That would be a disaster,” said John Geisheker, executive director and general counsel for the advocacy group Doctors Opposing Circumcision. “We hope they waffle again.”

My guess is that the chances the CDC or AAP will go back to recommending circumcision are probably small. At best they might offer a flaccid endorsement, but will otherwise continue to leave it as a choice for parents to make. Various studies have suggested that being circumcised may help reduce the spread of sexual diseases, reduce the risk of penile cancer, and so on. That said, the intactivists do have a point:

“We’re talking about amputating tissue from a child in order to prevent disease that adult behavior can prevent,” Geisheker said.

[…] Both sides agree that most parents circumcise their sons not for health but to conform to cultural norms, which raises ethical questions about whether parents should be able to irrevocably alter their kid’s appearance.

“You’re removing healthy, erogenous, highly nerve-supplied tissue from a human being who has not given his or her consent, and you’re doing it for nontherapeutic reasons,” Geisheker said.

On the one hand I can agree that circumcision is ethically questionable, but on the other I think the Intactivists are way more aroused by this than they should be. As a circumcised male myself I have to admit that I don’t miss what I never knew I had and I can’t think of any outstanding mental or physical health issues that are a result of my lack of foreskin. Any decrease in sensitivity that I’ve suffered from due to the lack of my dick-turtleneck hasn’t impaired my ability to enjoy sex over the years in any noticeable way.

That said, I tend to come down on the side of if there isn’t significant health benefits in it then it’s probably best to leave things where they are crowd. But then I feel the same way about unnecessary plastic surgery. There’s certainly nothing that says if for some reason a man later in life decides he wants a circumcision that he can’t elect to have one, but probably best to leave that up to each male’s prerogative unless you can demonstrate the aforementioned significant health benefit.

So that’s that then. My only real reason in writing about this was to see how many masturbation and dick jokes I could squeeze in without using lubrication. I think I rose to the occasion quite well, though it was a little hard going there for awhile.

New study determines that abortions don’t cause mental health issues.

One of the arguments put forth by anti-abortion advocates is that it causes major mental health problems for the woman who has one, but a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine says that’s not the case at all:

“This is an extremely, extremely well done study,” he said. “There is no evidence that abortion predisposes a woman to psychiatric and mental health problems.”

[…] Blum, a former president of the Guttmacher Institute, would like to say goodbye to the political buzz words.

“There is no post-abortion trauma, post-abortion syndrome, or anything of the like,” he said.

Danish researchers looked at the health records of 85,000 women who had had first-trimester abortions. Those women were more likely to seek mental health treatment while they were pregnant, but didn’t need more help after having the abortion. That’s not surprising, says Nada Stotland, a professor of psychiatry at Rush Medical College in Chicago. She says that women considering abortion are often struggling with problems with a partner or family members.

“People have abortions often under troubled circumstances,” she said. “You have an abortion because there is a problem.”

What makes this study unique is that it looked at women who chose abortions and also looked at women who chose to have the baby. Stotland says this gives us a much better picture of the stresses of abortion and childbirth.

“Above all it really fairly contrasts the outcomes of abortion with the outcomes of pregnancy,” she said.

via Study: Abortions Don’t Cause Mental Health Issues : NPR.

As it turns out giving birth is actually more likely to cause mental health problems with postpartum depression being one of the major ones. It would help quite a bit if more resources were devoted to post-birth mental health care for new mothers.

While this study most likely won’t end the debate anytime soon, it does debunk one of the common arguments against abortion.

hCG spammers descend on SEB in less than 24 hours.

Pic of homeopathy poster.

It's an obvious implication of the theory, but no one mentions it.

As if to drive home the point of how profitable the hCG diet supplement scam is, it took less than 24 hours from the time that I posted that entry to the arrival of a spammer trying to submit entries promoting that “product.”

After registering with the username hcgdietinsight5 he or she then submitted two short entries the first of which carries the title: Drastic Weight Loss with HCG-HCG Dangers. I present it to you now, with my comments added in.

Are you still tormented by your fat body and which had made you too fat to move? And have you found a fast way to lose weight? There are lots of questions about this but do you know why? Why people are looking for a fast way to loseweight? Now let’s start the journey for body shape slim.

Yes, I do know. Because people are basically lazy and would prefer a solution that involves no real effort and no real change to their lifestyle and which works almost immediately. Being someone who falls into the category of obese myself I can attest that it takes a lot of willpower to motivate oneself to get off their ass and exercise and to push oneself away from the table. If someone ever does manage to come up with a pill or spray that could magically induce weight-loss they’d be a billionaire overnight. Alas, it’s highly doubtful such a pill is possible.

Now I will tell you HCG diet can help you. First you must know why you are fat. There were generally three different types of fat stored within the body structural fat which is stored between the organs, normal fat, which is available freely as fuel when needed and abnormal fat, which is locked away and cannot be used by the metabolism until all other fat has been burnt. The truth is we can run out of these abnormal fats so that give back a sexy body by using HCG products. But we should pay attention to the HCG dangers.

What a crock of shit. In actuality there are two types of adipose tissue, or body fat, as it is technically known. They are white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). WAT is the stuff we want to get rid off as it’s basically fat stored in a cell for later energy use. BAT is used primarily for non-shivering thermogenesis, probably better known as body heat. BAT actually makes use of WAT as part of that process which could lead to a method of weight-loss through the stimulation of BAT growth. Something scientists have accomplished in mice already.

If you do a Google search for “abnormal fat” you won’t be surprised to see that most of the sites that mention it are selling, you guessed it, this hCG bullshit. There’s no such thing and no evidence that hCG has any effect on fat deposits of any kind.

Many people are surprised by it. They don’t know the HCG dangers. What you should know is HCG works at the metabolic level to discharge these stores into the bloodstream so that they can be used as fuel, and this is why a very low calorie diet must accompany the HCG dosage.

The HCG dangers are very little. The content of HCG dieters is very natural, which is not man-made products. So many people using HCG will not feel the bad effect of HCG. This is the evidence of the safety of HCG.

I’m surprised that anyone falls for this nonsense. You’ll note that this helpful person doesn’t bother to describe how hCG supposedly works at the metabolic level. Nor do they specify what the danger actually is. The low calorie diet is so that you actually experience some weight-loss making you think the product is working, but it’s not doing a damned thing. You’re just starving yourself.

The specific physiological effects of the HCG make the body feel as if it’s getting plenty of food. But in reality, dieters are only eating approximately 500 calories. This limited caloric intake is simply not enough to support an intense workout.

You will never be distressed by your double chin and your fat body because you have HCG without dangers.

Here’s a question: If hCG is releasing the calories in the fat stores to be used as fuel then shouldn’t an intense workout even at only 500 calories a day be perfectly OK? Presumably the body is making up for the lost calories from the fat stores being released by hCG so why should an intense workout be a problem?

I’ll tell you why: Because you’re only getting 500 calories a day and your body is slowing down its metabolism to try and prevent you from starving.  You simply don’t have the energy needed for an intense workout without causing major problems.

Which brings us to the second attempt at an entry titled: HCG Works Well, But Please Notice HCG Dangers.

HCG(Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is a hormone produced in large amounts by pregnant women to control metabolic functions, but is found in both men and women. HCG diet works directly with the Hypothalamus gland. This gland actually controls body fat, emotions, and helps to develop the reproductive organs during puberty. Each and every person is given HCG at birth. Many people don’t notice the HCG dangers because of this.

Quite a bit of the nonsense that’s endlessly repeated about hCG comes from the work of British endocrinologist A.T.W. Simeons. It was his theory that hCG must be programming the hypothalamus to protect the developing fetus by promoting mobilization and consumption of what he called abnormal, excessive adipose deposits. He believed that an ultra-low calorie diet (high-protein, low-carbohydrate/fat) in conjunction with daily low-dose hCG injections would promote WAT loss without losing lean tissue in the process, something that often occurs on starvation diets. He was wrong, but that didn’t stop unscrupulous “alternative therapy” advocates, such as the infamous Kevin Trudeau, from promoting it as a weight-loss miracle.

An important point to make is the fact that Simeons’ theory involved daily injections of hCG. The vast majority of hCG products being sold on the internet are “homeopathic” which means they contain little to no amount of the hormone at all. That makes them a doubly stupid purchase.

Recently Most of the food has been overloaded with chemicals. These chemicals are designed to remove HCG from your body. So we use HCG products can supply you this element. But you must know that each medicine has side effect, so does HCG. This means that there are no HCG dangers at all. We all know that HCG will reduce your craving for food and metabolize stored fat. You will not experience irritability, headaches, weakness or any hunger pains as with other low calorie diets, but you will lose abnormal fat, reshape your body and look the way you are supposed to. Particularly, it works regardless of whether you exercise or not. Nonetheless, you will not lose abnormal fat so much if you do a mass of exercise rather than use HCG diet.

I can only assume that whoever wrote this doesn’t speak English as their primary language. At least I hope that’s the case because otherwise they’re a babbling idiot.

Ignoring the obvious contradiction for a moment, it’s worth mentioning that diet alone will not “reshape your body” to “look the way you are supposed to.” All of those diet plans that show someone going from fat to ripped neglect to mention that you don’t get ripped without exercise. I also like how they claim that you won’t lose “abnormal fat” with massive exercise. Which is technically true seeing as there’s no such thing as abnormal fat.

There is also no appearance for HCG diet’s dangers and HCG side effects, maybe there are some but the property are incredibly rare!

Gotta love this bit. There are no side effects except maybe some but you’re probably not one of the very rare people who do experience side effects that never happen anyway so don’t worry about it.

The HCG diet is widely available over the Internet and often cheap. Nowadays, peoples are researching of HCG diet to make a medical breakthrough on how we can control the body’s fatness. The results shows that HCG diet is effective, completely safe, having little dangers. The HCG weight loss diet consists of either a 23 or 40-day protocol. Don’t be hesitate anymore and just say “bye-bye” to your fatness without pains of exercise. This answer is HCG diet.

The only true claims in the above paragraph are the very first two about hCG being widely available over the internet and often being cheap. Every other claim in that paragraph is false. The research that has been done does not indicate that hCG is effective or safe and, according to the FDA, isn’t even legal.

It says something that this spammer considered it worth their time to show up here and submit a couple of cut-and-paste entries despite the fact that just the day before I posted an article trashing their product. The desire for a quick and easy weight-loss solution encourages lots of wishful thinking and, even with bad publicity sitting right next to it, they know that some folks are going to buy into it regardless of how badly their article mangles the English language.

The best defense against these scumbags is education. Don’t take my word for it, look this stuff up yourself. Preferably from sites not trying to sell you on it. If that’s too much work then just read what they’re saying very carefully. If you break it down like I did it’s pretty clear they’re full of shit.