Author: liran

Which way is the best to lose weight, doing exercise or having healthy diet?

Interestingly, an article published recently on the New York Times claims that exercise is not the best way to lose weight though it is beneficial. The opinion in the article is so unique especially under a situation where people believe doing exercises is the best way to lose weight and keep healthy.

In the article, it represents that the calorie consumption of exercise is lower than many people think. Thirty-minute jogging or swimming laps may only burn off 350 calories. However, most people are not able to keep doing exercise regimen more than 30 minutes consecutively. As a result, the calorie burned by doing sports is not that many as what people think. In this article, it points out that the same calorie can be reduced easily by eliminating intake.

Moreover, the article illustrates some problems resulting from doing exercise to control weight. First, this article illustrates that doing physical activity does not necessarily prevent the possibility of being obese with the help of the findings from a 2011 meta-analysis study. Second, according to a 2012 systematic review of studies, this article demonstrates that exercise increases people’s appetite. Therefore, exercise is not the best way to lose weight.

However, although this article backs its argument that exercise is not the best way to lose weight on the basis of findings from two recent studies, it can’t justifiably prove that the exercise does not play an important role in controlling weight.

Which one is the best way to lose weight, exercise or diet? I think we still need conduct more studies to further study this topic.

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Early treatment saves more lives

The benefits of early treatment are clear for both people living with HIV (PLWH) and the whole society. Last Wednesday, based on the findings of the largest clinical trial, federal health officials announced that the benefits of the early treatment are obvious. Besides, they also said that people with HIV should take antiretroviral drugs as soon as they are diagnosed.

This trial is a strong evidence to show that those who got treatment immediately were 53 percent less likely to be infected and develop AIDS or die during the trial. Therefore, the early treatment saves more lives. At present, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), 450,000 of the estimated 1.2 million with HIV are on treatment. Although the influence of early treatment is sound and profound, only 37 percent of infected Americans had the access to get the prescriptions of the drugs. This small percentage is partly due to the limited access to HIV testing, health insurance. Therefore, people infected by AIDS could not afford the drugs or did not see doctors.

In addition, though the substantial evidence of the benefits of early treatment is defining, the shortage of funding is the main cause of a small amount of people living with HIV have the access to the early treatment — antiretroviral medicines. For instance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria constantly struggle to raise money.

It’s true that antiretroviral treatment (early treatment) is the best way to curb AIDS. The shortage of money is the mainly daunting challenge facing organizations targeting at HIV.

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Exercise improves the body’s rhythms

Exercise may influence the circadian rhythm, the built-in body clock, according to a new study in mice. Obviously, people go to sleep at night and be active during the day. However, during the day, people also have certain patterns on physical activity. Here, the circadian rhythm is a sort of dynamic patterns of movements during the day.

Different people have disparate dynamic patterns of movements. Some people tend to move in the morning and settle after moving; while others are more likely to sit for the most of the day. But people all have their own regular patterns to follow during the day.

Interestingly, in the 2009 study, it suggested that the “memory” in these patterns was reduced with age. Older people were still when they should move and restless when they should be still. In order to study whether aging is the only cause of this reduced “memory”, Dr. Scheer and his colleagues conducted a new study.

Unsurprisingly, this new study suggested that exercise certainly affected the internal clock mechanism and therefore its circadian rhythms. Although the new study is short-term and its subjects are mice instead of human beings, it does illustrate the potential relationship between the rhythm of living and doing exercise.

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Humanity VS. Ebola

“You can’t hold your children the way you would in this situation.” “You can’t bury your relatives.”

2 months ago, Ebola was escalating and spread in a wide geographical area. This virus popped up in Nigeria, as a result, this disease aroused international concern. Although lots of NGOs and governments came to assist and to start helping people to address this disease, several opposites happened. Commercial advertisements frightened both people in Nigeria and people around the world. The health system collapsed, the school closed, the market did not function as it would be, the misinformation and misperceptions start even faster throughout the community. Most importantly, people who were exposed to the virus did not allowed to travel. Consequently, Nigeria did not receive the needed help instead it was being isolated.

It is true that we’ve never met this kind of scale in this situation before. Strategies used to address other diseases may not be effective to handle Ebola. However, what we can do is providing emotional and financial support to stand with those people who were exposed to the virus instead of isolating them.

Let’s fight, we will win this war.

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“Epidemic Bad Laws” vs. Human Rights

What is “an epidemic of bad law?” According to Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the “bad law” punishes and discriminates people living with HIV. For instance, HIV travel restriction allows to detain or deport foreigners who pose risks to the economy, the security, the public health, or the morals. At present, there are 50 counties impose this restriction on entry or stay of people living with HIV (PLWH).

These “bad laws” violate the human rights, especially for vulnerable groups of people such as transgender people, sexual workers, and injection drug users. Based on an article published in the New York Times, a Chinese transgender sex workers was punished by a policeman.  Xiao Tong (the transgender sex worker) was selling sex on the streets of Beijing when a man lured her into his car. The man took her to the police station and punched her. It is obvious that Xiao Tong, as a transgender sex worker, is the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in China. She was discriminated and punished by the policeman due to the absence of non-discrimination laws. However, the precondition of this case is Xiao Tong was selling sex in public place. Although it is inhumane to punch her, she deserves punishment from my point of view.

I do not believe that it is legal to sell sex in public places in other counties! It is true that we need some laws to protect vulnerable groups such as prisoners, sexual workers, injection drug users, transgender people, women and children. But the precondition is those groups of people do not influence or damage other people’s interests.

Therefore, what is “bad law?” I think a new definition is needed.

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Who are the victims of misinformation on indoor tanning?

Yesterday, Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State attorney general, filed lawsuits against two indoor tanning salon chains. He accused them for not playing up the hazardous consequences, instead playing down the hazards of indoor tanning.

The adverse consequences of Indoor tanning are not questionable including premature aging of the skin and several types of skin cancer (the most lethal, melanoma). Many health agencies and experts warned about and proved the side effects of indoor tanning. According to a study, it is estimated that indoor tanning contributed to 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States every year.

However, these two popular indoor tanning salon chains—Portofino Spas and Total Tan—posted misinformation on their website to deceive their audience. “Conflicting data exist questioning the UV-melanoma relationship.” “Some independent dermatology researchers question whether UV and melanoma are related at all.”

Fortunately, there are state laws against engaging in deceptive business practices. The Total Tan and Portofino Spas will be punished because of their misinformation of indoor tanning on websites. However, the fact is not every piece of misinformation will be revised immediately and will raise awareness among the general public at a large scale.

Incorrect news can be spread via social media before the authoritative news agency has an opportunity to correct it. Even if the misinformation was once corrected, there is no guarantee that the correct news will reach the same population that the misreported version did.

What can be done to address misinformation problem?

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Will mental health advocates influence lawmakers?

Will mental health advocates influence lawmakers?

According to an article published on North Carolina Health News, mental health advocates planned to persuade policymakers to protect funding for mental health via sharing their stories.

By learning how to give a compelling storytelling with legislators, almost 50 advocates from Youth M.O.V.E.  — an organization focusing on the criminal justice, child welfare and mental health systems for youth — are looking forward to sharing personal stories on mental illness to the General Assembly.

On their minds, there are two main mental issues should be addressed immediately. Firstly,  It is necessary for school system to change its method addressing behavioral issues with students with mental illnesses. Because mental illness is so invisible to be recognized that most of the students with mental issues cannot be treated effectively and properly. “Mental illness is invisible,” Wolf said, a staff in state psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment facilities, ”You wouldn’t know just by looking…that somebody has a mental illness.” Therefore, the school system should pay more attention on educating students about mental health and providing  special treatment to meet personal need. In addition, the second issue is overmedication. Although the side effects from medication are obvious, the school still recommends students with mental issues to take the medicine. To illustrate, children of Arias and Niketa Currie both were diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The school system encouraged Arias and Niketa to take the medication treatment like Adderall—a drug addressing ADHD — to help their children. However, this drug has a list of side effects such as nausea, vomiting and seizures. As a result, instead of taking Adderall, they used alternative methods like positive parenting to handle behavioral issues.

Will mental health advocates influence the decision of lawmakers to protect funding for mental health successfully? Let’s wait and see.

Creating dangerous products will not be punished ?

Does F.D.A. allow supplement companies to introduce dangerous and adulterated products with impunity? At present, with the advent of a newly published study on BMPEA, there is a hot debate on the responsibility and the speed on reaction towards new products of F.D.A.

Dr. Pieter A. Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard MedicalSchool and also an internist at the Cambridge Health Alliance, points out in the new study published on Tuesday that BMPEA is dangerous and cause lots of illnesses. The authors of this study stated that BMPEA, a synthesized chemical and a replacement for amphetamine, has never been fully studied in humans. What’s more, the new study also notes that this synthesized chemical is not an authorized dietary supplement ingredient. Similarly, The Canadian government issued a public health alert on BMPEA via informing consumers about its consequences such as increasing blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature.

However, the F.D.A. claimed the results of the newly published article is partial. The F.D.A is waiting for substantial evidence for proving the side effects of BMPEA. While Dr. Cohen argued that it would be late for waiting in that BMPEA was and continues harming consumers. Vitamin Shoppe, one of the largest specialty retailers of dietary supplements, also supports the opinion on adverse consequences of BMPEA by pulling all products containing BMPEA from its shelves. Likewise, the Council for Responsible Nutrition called on the F.D.A. “to enforce the law” and remove products related to BMPEA.

What should F.D.A, do to address BMPEA? Does the F.D.A. send a signal for supplement companies to create hazardous products with impunity?

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Idling is killing yourself and our environment

Did you know that even in cold weather, there is no need to idle for more than 30 seconds to warm up your car before driving? Did you know that Americans waste 3.8 million gallons of fuel per day from idling, which is enough to fill 5 Olympic-size swimming pools?

If your answers to these two questions are “yes”, you probably notice the necessity of anti-idling. If you have “no” to either questions, it’s the right time to learn that idling is a serious issue not only damaging the environment but affecting individual’s health.

What is idling? According to Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Air Quality (Waterloo Region), allowing the engine to run for over 10 seconds while the vehicle is not in motion is idling a vehicle. What’s more, in order to tackle idling successfully, Mecklenburg County Government issued a policy on anti-idling: operators must not idling a vehicle for more than five consecutive minutes. Now, more and more county governments and countries conduct regulations on idling to save the environment directly and to prevent idling pollutants from harming individual’s health indirectly.

Why is idling harmful? There are a myriad of consequences caused by idling. However, health and issue are two main results of idling. Idling causes air pollution. As we all know that the emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen directly harm the nature so that several health issues emerged subsequently. Under acute effects category, eye, throat, and bronchial irritation, Nausea, lightheadedness, cough, phlegm congestion, and increased risk for cardiac events are all mainly caused by idling pollutants. While under chronic effects category, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, damage to sperm chromatin and DNA are serious health issues brought by idling pollutants. Besides those two main reasons, idling also wastes money and fuels and it damages vehicles. 

Therefore, please do not idle your car more than 10 seconds.

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Let’s talk about sex

Don’t you feel embarrassed when you hear someone talking about sexuality? Are you comfortable to talk about sexuality? To be honest, I have been embarrassed talking about sexuality though I want to know more about it due to my curiosity.

Because of the nature of sexuality, it is impossible to discuss such private topic comfortably.

However, there is a chance for teenagers to learn physiological knowledge to protect themselves from being hurt. The course called “For Girls Only” is opened towards teens to provide a professional, informative but anonymous platform discussing sexuality. With an open and entertaining environment, this class is a new approach to make “The Talk” less dreadful and awkward for parents and their children. Last year, this newly opened course was split into two sessions targeting at preteen boys and girls respectively.

Julie Metzger, the creator of the course, with the idea of having a funny and interactive class talking about sex among parents and their children in mind, she finally created a sexually educational class. “Parents walk in feeling almost victimized by preteens and puberty, and my job is to utterly transform their ability to connect,” she says. There are two parts of the class. The first part is an informative stand-up routine, while the second part is answering questions from children. In order to be anonymous and protect children’s privacy, kids scribbled their questions on their index cards (which issued before class) without letting their parents know. After collecting all the cards, parents and children sit together and discuss those written questions.

Sexuality is a sort of taboo topic in our culture when it comes to adolescence. Both school and family take this topic seriously. As for me, Metzger made a huge step in spreading information on sexuality by creating an informative, interactive but funny environment.

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