Monthly Archives: October 2011
The headlines scream at us with all too frequent regularity. Another abused child has been rescued by authorities. Another teacher or scout leader or religious figure has been accused of doing unspeakable things to the innocents left in their care. Another babysitter or nanny has endangered the lives of the children they’ve been entrusted with. No parent likes to think about the horrible “what ifs?” that come with the job of raising children. And yet, for many parents, the stuff of many a parent’s nightmare, the stuff of the headlines and breaking news stories is their reality–child abuse, sexual abuse, abuse at the hands of a trusted caregiver or other adult. So what do you do when your world, and that of your child, has come crashing down around you?
The most important thing to remember is not to panic. And you don’t want to over-react, either. Your first call should not be to a child abuse attorney, but to your doctor. You have to establish that abuse, did in fact, occur. And even if you go to the police first, they’ll need a medical professional to assess and back up your claims. You may want to contact a child psychologist, too, to help you and your child deal with the mental after-effects so often accompanying physical and sexual abuse.
If you feel you must contact a lawyer because the criminal courts can’t help you for lack of evidence, or if you feel let down by the outcome of your criminal case, make sure you find an attorney with experience in the field. A child abuse attorneyor sexual abuse attorney will know how to handle both your and your child’s needs. They may have a team of specialists already in place to serve you. They will certainly know the law and what you can and can’t expect. They can help you through the long, often frustrating process better than someone with little to no experience in the field.
Expect to make the news. Yes, sadly, you and your family will become one of those unpleasant headlines we mentioned earlier. The media can’t help it. They can smell a good story like a shark can smell blood in the water. Especially if the unthinkable happened within a well-known organization like boy scouts. There are specialized individuals, like a Boy Scout sexual abuse lawyer, that will be able to help you handle the frenzy that comes along with the grief of a situation like this.
The best defense is, of course, to prevent and protect your children the best that you can. Your second best defense is to be prepared, to take the appropriate action, and to know what to expect when the unthinkable happens to your child.
It’s no wonder kids today are showing higher and higher numbers of childhood obesity. Snacks and even school lunches are loaded with sugars, salt, and fat. Dinner is too often a drive-thru pick up on the way to or from some after school activity or childcare. Long sedentary hours are spent in a combination of homework, television, computer time and/or video games every day. Kids are simply too busy to indulge in an off-the-cuff pick-up game of basketball, football, or kickball. And all too often, parents are too busy to be bothered to ensure that their kids are getting out of the chair, off the couch, and actively playing. We’ve become a lumpish, sluggish society.
So, what’s to be done? One line of defense against childhood obesity is obvious–the school physical education programs. That’s what they are there for, after all, isn’t it? To help the kids learn how to become and stay physically active and lead healthy, fit lives? Yet much of the physical education curriculum out there doesn’t emphasize fitness. They emphasize short-term athletic ability, not long-term health. They concentrate on sports skills, or on team activities–easier to do, no doubt with large groups of children. Some simple improvements could be made to physical education lesson plans to overcome these obstacles and get the kids on the right track to lasting physical fitness.
Elementary physical education programs should steer clear of all the group games. Teaching children how to play kickball or soccer or basketball isn’t necessarily bad, but what do the kids do when there’s only 4 of them on the block, and they haven’t got a ball to kick or a hoop to shoot for? Kids prefer to engage in active play, and if all they know are games that they can’t play outside of school, they will resort to less active, less productive fun. Young children could be taught to jump rope, play hopscotch, and tag, or even just a good game of “Follow the Leader.” Old fashioned, yes. Good active fun all the same.
Physical education lesson plans at all levels should stress exercises–stretches, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, toe touches, tumbling, running, and jumping–that can be done with no equipment or companionship whatsoever. And a new “old fashioned” mindset has to be re-established, too. In days gone by, physical fitness was something to be proud of, to be striven for. Now, it seems that no one concentrates or focuses on fitness. Fitness isn’t as important as skill. But not all children want to be, or even can be, skilled athletes. And for those that can’t, physical education curriculum plans that place more importance on skill over fitness are going to be one more thing to forget about come the end of that very busy school day.
Superoxide dismutase is one of those super good-for-you antioxidants doctors and nutritionists are always telling us we should “get more of.” Why? Well, because every day our bodies suffer damage at the very core of our beings–DNA damage in the cells–from oxygen in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, even within our bodies themselves. And SOD–superoxide dismutase–can help to repair this damage before it can cause anything from wrinkles to cancer. Now that’s an antioxidant worth talking about!
The body naturally forms a defensive compound superoxide as part of the immune system. Its purpose is to help fight off microorganisms through oxygenation. Superoxide, however helpful to the body in fighting off foreign invaders, is highly toxic to the body it is defending. Thus, the body has to create an antidote of sorts to its own domestic poison. That antidote is SOD. Superoxide dismutase works by mutating the harmful superoxide into harmless oxygen and peroxide. The peroxide is flushed from the body, while the oxygen is returned to the cells.
There are three types of superoxide dismutase–SOD1, SOD2, and SOD3. Studies in the 1990s showed a lack of or mutation in SOD1 production has been linked to ALS–Lou Gehrig’s Disease–a form of muscular dystrophy. Other studies have linked a decrease in the production of SOD3 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease–COPD–a lung disease that effects many the elderly; especially those who have smoked.
Therefore, superoxide dismutase is one antioxidant that the body cannot live without. Lab rats born without SOD2-creating abilities die within a few days–horribly suffering from all sorts of oxidative cellular damage and showing signs of rapid aging. As we’ve already discussed, several serious and deadly diseases have been linked to low levels of superoxide dismutase. It’s role in disease prevention is vital.
Doctors have ways of knowing just how much, and what kinds, of SOD your body is producing. Using superoxide dismutase assay equipment, they can acquire a rather accurate look at just how much SOD you’ve got, and what you’re doing with it. Lower levels can be countered through the use of supplements, or through diet. While SOD is easily damaged by stomach acid, some foods high in the elements from which superoxide dismutase are formed–zinc, copper, and manganese–can help with SOD production by providing the right building blocks. Other antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta carotene can also help with SOD levels by simply doing their bit to fight free radicals and not leaving it all up to lil ol’ superoxide dismutase to carry the load.
Our cells incur DNA damage every day. Outside factors such as chemicals in our food and drink, smoke and other air pollutants, and even sunlight cause DNA damage. Internal forces like stress and even just the bi-products of cellular function can also wreak havoc on our poor cells. With this constant bombardment, scientists estimate that the DNA in just one of our cells can be damaged as many as 10,000 times in a single day. With all this damage at the DNA level in every cell every day, it’s a wonder we’re still alive!
Our cells, however, have two things going for them to keep them alive and kicking. They have their own internal repair operations that go to work knocking out dents and polishing up the chrome. When the repair crews can’t restore the DNA to proper working order, our cells have a “self destruct” mechanism called apoptosis. When this is put into motion, the cell demolishes itself and its wrecked DNA.
Just as tiny errors can occur in the normal functioning and dividing of a cell’s DNA, so too can tiny errors occur in the repair process. Sometimes however, that “Mission Impossible” self-destruct fail-safe fails. This leaves us with a cell with DNA damage. When that cell with its poor damaged DNA divides and replicates into new cells, those new cells carry that same DNA damage within them. That is how cancer starts–from one tiny glitch in the body’s own maintenance shop.
These damaged, mutated cells don’t function as they should, and the body’s other natural defenses go into action. One of the defense mechanisms used against DNA damage is 8-OHdg. (Technically, it’s called 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine.) 8-OHdg is an antibody formed in the pituitary gland that signals DNA damaged cells are present in the body. As our bodies produce and use 8-OHdg, it is flushed out of the body through the kidneys. Thus, 8-OHdg can be detected in a person’s urine.
Doctors can use this urinary presence of 8-OHdg to determine just how badly damaged a person’s cells are by using an 8-OHdg assay. This is a test to measure the amount of 8-OHdg present in a person’s urine. Since everyone suffers some DNA damage every day they are alive, everyone will have some measurable 8-OHdg in their bodies. However, those with cancerous cells will have significantly higher levels than those with “normal” cell damage. Thus, an 8-OHdg assay can help your physician determine the likelihood you have cancer, and just how extensive that cancer might be.
Some of you readers may be considering some of the more commonly mentioned cosmetic or plastic surgeries that we discuss here on our lil’ ol’ blog home on the web. Now, you don’t have to live in Beverly Hills, or Long Beach, or Manhattan or anywhere really special to find a competent cosmetic surgeon, but you can take some tips from those oh-so-metropolitan, oh-so-hip ladies and educate yourself on what’s in and what’s out, what’s hot and what’s not, before you decide on which surgery is for you.
Women looking for a breast augmentation in Long Beach know that there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” When choosing breast augmentation to enhance your décolletage, bigger isn’t always best. You can go up a simple cup size and still have a lovely, shapely figure. You don’t need to rival Dolly Parton or Pamela Anderson in bust size to enhance your looks. In fact, some of the celebrities have lately begun undergoing breast “un” augmentation surgery, having their large implants removed completely, or replaced with smaller, more natural ones. So, what’s in is healthy, natural looking bodies. What’s out? Bosoms the size of basketballs. What’s hot? Going from an A cup to a B, or a B to a C. What’s not? Needing a back brace to hold up your front!
Now, on to the nose job, otherwise technically know as rhinoplasty. Babes looking for rhinoplasty in Beverly Hills know when, and when not, to mess with their snozzolas. Some consider it a crime to take away an Italian gal’s Roman profile, or an Irishman’s signature pug look. If your nose defines who you are, or where you come from, you may want to rethink having it redone. On the other hand, there are some snozz size factors that no California girl would put up with. If you can’t see you for your nose, or if your nose throws a bigger shadow than your head, well, you may want to go ahead and schedule that rhinoplasty today.
Lastly, let’s take a brief look at the neck lift. No one wants to look like the Thanksgiving turkey, with a big wattle hanging beneath their chin. No one wants to set off seismic meters with a simple nod of the head. Whether in Manhattan’s elite set or on Hollywood’s hot list, most everyone in the know about plastic surgery possibilities will tell you that a neck lift is not something every woman may need, but most will certainly want. And they’ll tell you that saggy, baggy chins may look great on Basset Hounds and turkeys, but that’s about it.
Are your laugh lines nothing to chuckle over? Is your nose too big, too small, or just too not you? Are your eyelids invoking more snoozes than bedroom invitations? If so, you’re not alone. Facelifts, rhinoplasties and cosmetic eyelid surgeries are still some of the most commonly performed types of elective procedures in the world of plastic surgery.
You don’t need to be a Hollywood diva to have a facelift anymore, though many of the celebrities still do succumb to the vanity of a new look as age starts to deteriorate their signature “looks.” There are even different types of facelift procedures available. Some aren’t even invasive procedures. Botox injections can temporarily restore a youthful, rounded, smooth-skinned appearance to cheeks and forehead. Good bye, tearful laugh lines! Hello, sweet smile! Since the purpose behind most face-altering procedures like facelifts and Botox injections is to restore a youthful appearance, instead of a “new” face, many satisfied facelift patients feel as though they have their old “new” face back again. Ah, the fountain of youth – found at last!
Rhinoplasties are otherwise known as nose jobs. Nose jobs can be performed for medical reasons – deviated septum or smushed cartilage and soft tissue from accidents or sports injuries – or they can be a completely vanity driven attempt to change one’s profile with a more pleasing proboscis. If your sniffer doesn’t pass muster, plastic surgery can help. Too big? It can be remade smaller, shorter, skinnier. Too small for your face? It can be plumped up and made to be a nose of distinction. Too crooked or too smushed looking? No one likes to look like they’ve gone 10 rounds with a prizefighter, so a nose job can make you seem less pugilistic and more pleasing.
Eyelid surgery is becoming more and more common, for both aesthetic and optometric reasons. As some people age, they lose the muscle tone in their upper eyelids. Not only can this be unpleasing to the eye, it can be unhealthy to it, as well. As the droopy eyelid impairs sight and eye function, problems with everyday tasks may arise. Eyelid surgery can tighten and tuck the upper eyelid back into a more normal position, creating both a clear line of sight and a clear vision of a more youthful, pleasing appearance.
Plastic surgery may not be for everyone, but for those who see it as a necessity, the good news is that some of the more popular procedures are so common, it is not necessary to travel to Hollywood to share in that Hollywood experience.
Throughout many periods of history, hair loss was really no big deal, because no one knew whose hair was real and whose hair wasn’t. The ancient Egyptians shaved all their hair and even the women wore elaborate wigs. The Greeks and Romans didn’t seem to care, and even may have considered baldness a sign of advanced sagacity. Then, during the Renaissance and Reformation, high society required the wearing of wigs once again. Even Jefferson and Washington’s “enlightened” age at the end of “early” modern history was awash in powdered wigs for men and fancifully styled wigs and hair pieces for women.
So it really wasn’t until the 19th century that baldness came to be seen as something other than either a sign of advanced age and wisdom or societal necessity. And with that change in attitude, came the first hair loss treatments.
The first hair replacement treatments were little more than patent medicines hawked by con men or unsuspecting salesmen out of suitcases and ware cases designed to display the shoddy wares. They looked good, often smelled good, but did little else.This trend continued well into the 20th century, causing most with “little up top” to either suffer silently, or settle for wigs and hair pieces. The Japanese experimented with a surgical treatment in the 1930’s, but with the advent of World War II, the procedure became neither well-known, nor perfected. Finally, the 1950’s arrived, and with them, the first real hair replacement services.
A dermatologist in New York began to work with donated hair transplants, surgically attaching donated hair to the scalps of patients with male-pattern baldness. Against widely held belief that the new hair wouldn’t fare any better than the old, the treatment worked, and the first hair loss clinic was, in a sense, born. Once Dr. Orentriech proved that hair transplants would indeed work, others took up the cause, practicing and perfecting hair loss treatments until they became fairly commonly performed, as well as more and more natural looking in appearance.
The “Me” generation of the 1980s made male pattern baldness something of a disgrace, and in doing so expanded the demand for new and different kinds of hair loss treatments. To meet the need for more hair replacement services, “chains” of hair loss clinics sprang up across the US. Hair loss treatment had gone big business in a big way! Doctors now had non-surgical treatments to turn to, as well as their tried and true methods. Unlike the old patent medicines, though, the new creams, lotions and shampoos actually do more than just look good in the bottle.