Monthly Archives: January 2012
The Internet is changing the way medicine is practiced today. From databases of illnesses and conditions and their various symptoms, to websites and blogs offering alternative health practices and products, we’re more informed about what we can do to stay healthy, and what may be wrong with us when we aren’t at our best, than ever before. It’s a good bet that your doctor is just as plugged in, if not more so, as you are.
Just as you and I can surf the web looking for products and ideas to help us stay healthy, your physician is surfing the web, too. Some of the things he’s looking for are the very same things you are looking for—new ideas and products to keep you healthy, and to find out what’s wrong with you when you come to him with a problem. Let’s take a look at what’s available online for today’s plugged-in physician.
1.) Papers, journals and videos – Today, your doctor can read the very latest in published papers and research from other physicians and medical scientists. He doesn’t have to wait until he can get to the medical school library, or even to his home. Most of the top research firms are online. All of the major medical journals are as well. So, whether it’s an article in the Lancet, or a video on the latest in surgical techniques, it’s right there at his fingertips, waiting to be watched or read.
2.) Used medical equipment – When something breaks in his office, or when he’s in need of new medical equipment, your physician can now go shopping on the Internet. Everything from used EKG machines to used autoclaves and even used patient monitors are available from reputable online dealers and distributors. No, he’s not searching eBay for the best deal. But he can save a great deal of money by searching for used medical equipment online.
3.) Alternative treatments – Believe it or not, many doctors do use the Internet for new ideas and products to try. If the research is there, if the treatment is supported by facts and figures, it’s a good bet that someone has posted about it somewhere online. And your doctor may just be taking advantage of that knowledge on your behalf.
4.) Conferences and seminars – Online conferences, Skype calls, webinars—these things aren’t just for business execs anymore. Physicians are using the interactivity the Internet can offer to their advantage, too. And it keeps them from having to travel away from busy practices and demanding patient loads. Even job interviews for new positions can be conducted over the web nowadays, making acquiring a new physician less of a hassle than before.
So the next time you see your physician carrying his laptop bag, or behind the monitor in his office, don’t tease him about playing Angry Birds or watching YouTube videos. He may just be learning the latest way to save a life!
We’ve come to accept and indeed expect a certain amount of high technology in our world and daily lives. We want the convenience of instant banking, paying our bills online, cars that start from the warmth and comfort of our living rooms instead of the snow and ice of the wintery driveway. Our health is no different matter. We feel we need the latest in exercise equipment to keep us in tip-top shape. Likewise, we expect the services of the most up-to-date in medical miracle machines that can instantly tell our doctors exactly what is wrong with us when we aren’t feeling right. Just like the rest of our high-tech gadgets and gizmos, however, those spiffy slightly sci-fi looking diagnostic machines are rather pricey. And that has our healthcare professionals turning to the services and catalogs of used medical equipment distributors.
Now, hold on a minute. There’s no need to fuss. Unlike that second-hand car your brother-in-law bought last month that sounds funny and has that strange shimmy in the front end, used medical equipment has to pass rigid recertification processes and meet strict standards in order to even qualify for resale. So no clinks or clunks or shimmies in your doctor’s new-to-him EKG or anesthesia machines. He has the reassurance of his used medical equipment distributor’s rehab staff. They’ve painstakingly refurbished each gizmo and gadget that comes their way, certifying them to be in top-notch, like-new condition.
Used medical equipment helps your healthcare professionals keep some of their costs low, while keeping the standards of care high. And some of those low costs may actually benefit you. Which would you rather have—a small local hospital with the exact same high-tech equipment as the big city big boys, or a rag-tag facility unable to meet your needs, causing you to travel needlessly for your care? Sure, not every small town clinic or hospital can offer every service, but isn’t it nice to know that yours can offer more services than it might otherwise, thanks to purchasing used medical equipment? And large hospitals are saving money by purchasing some of their equipment used as well.
High-tech medical care has become a necessity in today’s world. Patients expect it. Doctors and nurses expect it. And if that means taking advantage of used medical equipment, then so be it. They’re using used medical equipment in San Diego, they’re using it in New York. And it’s a good bet they’re using used medical equipment in your town, too.
Cheerleaders take a bum rap when it comes to debates about what is and isn’t a sport, what does and doesn’t constitute an athlete. You haven’t seen any cheerleaders doing commercials for Nike? Nike cheer shoes aren’t the hottest sporty thing going? Who cares? We’ll settle the debate once and for all, at least on THIS blog, as we look at five reasons why cheering must be considered a sport. So grab your pom poms, cheer shirts, face paint, and other essential cheerleading supplies, and get ready to go!
1.) Athletic ability – Cheerleading requires as much, if not more, athletic ability than most other sports. Cheerleaders have to tumble, dance, run, jump, lift, and toss teammates and then catch them again. That takes some serious athletic ability. Oh, and they have to do all that with a smile on their face, while wearing a tight, revealing uniform, and they have to look good doing it. If that’s not an athletic endeavor, I don’t know what is.
2.) Training – Cheerleaders have to train and practice regularly. Many take outside classes in gymnastics and dance, on top of their school or team training sessions, too. Cheering takes a great deal of dedication and devotion, just like any other sport. You have to make the squad, and you have to be at the top of your form to stay there.
3.) Coaching – Sports have coaches to help them and teach them. Cheerleaders have coaches that do the same for them. Most of them are from the ranks of talented and experienced veteran cheerleaders. Now, if the guy on the bench has a “sports” team in the high school has-beens on the office softball league, don’t tell me cheering isn’t a sport.
4.) Competitive Nature – Now that cheering competitions have sprung up all over—from the local to the national level—there’s no denying the competitiveness of cheering. Every performance may not end in a score, and every routine may not be a winner, but there is a competitive side to cheerleading.
5.) Strategy – All good sports teams develop and utilize strategies to outsmart the opponent. The cheerleader’s main opponent is a quiet and sullen crowd. Therefore, good cheer squads need to know what cheer to use when, what dance moves and tumbling routines will fire up the bleachers, even when the team on the field or court is looking a bit lackluster. And the strategies used in cheering competitions are fierce play books of closely guarded secret weapons and surprise moves worthy of any sport!
From California to New Hampshire, medical malpractice lawyers are handling an astonishing amount of medical malpractice suits every year. Medical malpractice law suits cost doctors and hospitals upwards of 5 billion dollars every year, nationwide. And all across the nation, from California to New Hampshire, medical malpractice law firms say that many of those cases are preventable.
There are steps that hospitals and physicians can take to reduce the chances of legitimate medical malpractice from occurring. One of the easiest and simplest is to ensure that their policies and procedures are up to date and are actually being followed by the staff. Many avoidable medical malpractice suits are due to a staff member cutting corners and not acting as they should on a patient’s behalf. Other suits are simply caused by the staff diligently following policies that are outdated and ineffective. Making sure that all policies and procedures meet current federal or equipment manufacturer’s guidelines is one of the easiest ways to reduce medical malpractice suits.
Improper training of staff is another source of avoidable medical malpractice suits. All medical staff needs to be properly prepared to care for the lives that are placed in their hands. Allowing someone to perform a procedure that they are not adequately adept in is a medical malpractice suit in the making. Allowing staff to carry out tasks for which they are not trained, or are not properly equipped is another. Have the right people perform the right jobs and needless law suits will have no breeding grounds on which to prosper.
Another important factor is to ensure that the proper amount of staff is on hand to do the jobs necessary. Working short-handed and/or working long hours to cover for absent or non-existent employees is a recipe for disaster. Staffing issues can lead to poor patient care, poor attention to tasks at hand, medical errors and asking staff to perform tasks for which they are not trained or prepared to handle. While emergency situations may sometimes arise, there is no excuse for poorly staffed medical facilities in today’s economy.
Medical malpractice lawsuits cost time and money. They ruin careers and damage reputations. And from California to New Hampshire, medical malpractice attorneys agree that many of them are needless and sadly avoidable. Just a few simple steps, taken from the top down, can turn the trend around.
We all know that any kind of physical exercise is good for us. We all love to watch our favorite professional athletes strut their stuff on field and off. Their lean, lithe bodies are models for how we should be—toned and strong, not flabby and soft. And you can be in just as good a shape (almost) as your favorite big hitters in baseball. All you need is a little time, a little strategy, and a few baseball training aids. While you needn’t learn to spit like a big hitter to get in shape like one, you will need to practice hitting, catching, and batting.
Equipment – Sports training equipment has become very specialized, depending on the sport you wish to excel in. Baseball is no exception to that rule. In baseball, you’ve got to know when and how to swing that bat at the ball. That’s where a baseball swing trainer can come in handy. It allows you to practice hitting the ball time after time, without ever chasing after it. You don’t even need a pitcher, as the ball is an integral part of the trainer. Other equipment you’ll want to consider is a pitching arm exerciser. This will help strengthen your upper body and arms. Whether you want to strike ‘em out, or throw ‘em out from the outfield, a pitching arm exerciser is one baseball training aid you’ll love!
Strategy – Failing to plan is planning to fail, I once heard someone say, and your physical fitness is no exception. If you don’t engage in a little strategy session before you begin training, how will you know what to do, when? Or when you’ve reached your goals? Most major leaguers do not engage in the same type of training day in and day out. They rotate through batting, pitching, and catching practice sessions. They run, strength train, and do other cardio exercises. Serious players also involved themselves in some form of flexibility training—Pilates or yoga—to ensure that their muscles and joints are limber and healthy to avoid the possibility of injury. Plan your plan, work out your routine of work outs, to ensure that you, too, are following a well-rounded fitness plan.
Time – Serious athletes put in serious time. Training takes time. But so does rest. Don’t expect to become big hitter overnight. Don’t expect to get in shape in just a few minutes a day, or with a couple of workouts a week, either. If you want to play, look and feel like a big leaguer, you need to put in some big league time.
A little time, a little strategy, and a little equipment will have you getting fit like the World Series champ you can be!
When it comes to personal fitness and getting in shape, we all could use a little more inspiration and motivation. Goodness knows when the miles get long and the days become wearying, the last thing we want to do is engage in our physical exercise routines. To help beat back the exercise blues, allow me to offer a few fitness lessons from dancers and cheerleaders to maybe get you back on your feet and back on track to meeting your fitness goals. And no, you don’t need pom-poms, cheerleading clothes, or those cute little Soffe shorts with your team’s name across the rear.
Cool clothes – Now, I promised you wouldn’t need the little shorts, but one thing dancers and cheerleaders have in common is their cool workout clothes. From cheer uniforms to leg warmers, they seem to have all the fun, colorful outfits. If your old grey sweats are getting you down, try something new. Go for those orange leg warmers, or that hot pink track suit, or that awesome muscle shirt with “No Pain, No Gain” emblazoned on the front. Fitness fashion can add some excitement and energy back into your workout. If you feel great in those new yoga pants then you’ll be more motivated to rock ‘em for a workout.
Cool music – Dancers and cheerleaders use music not only to perform and practice, but also to warm up. From hip-hop to classical, the tunes run the gamut of genres. And your workout music can, too. Plug in your mp3 player, or put on your favorite CD. Firm up that junk in your trunk with a little rockin’ funk. Hip-hop those hips goodbye, baby! Forget the groans and grunts, moans and mumblings. Sing along and exercise your lungs as well. Just remember—the other folks in the gym may not like the Beach Boys, so be careful of just how public your workout vocalizations become.
Cool downs – Don’t forget to cool down after exercising. All dancers and cheerleaders do. It’s just as important as warming up beforehand. And using some cool cooling off techniques like meditation or yoga can add just enough of a spark to your regular routine that no other change is needed. Cooling down before hitting the shower or the parking lot or the sofa keeps the body from overworking itself. Muscles that aren’t properly disengaged after a workout can become stiff and sore.
Cool drinks – Every cheerleader and dancer has their favorite water bottle, and you should, too. Exercising without proper hydration before, during, and after can be harder work than it has to be. Your body needs proper fluid intake, especially when you are asking it to work harder and sweat more. You’ll workouts will go better and you’ll feel better afterwards when you’re drinking enough water.
Everyone agrees that today’s kids and adults need to be more active. They need to get fit and stay that way, for life. However, many schools’ physical education curriculum programs just don’t cut it anymore. They are old fashioned and outdated, overrated and ineffective. Many still insist on focusing on team sports. They turn students off instead of firing them up. Instead of helping, they lend a hand to the problem of childhood and teen obesity. There is hope, though, and there are ways to keep PE alive in our schools.
1.) Get involved – Whether its direct involvement through volunteering, or indirectly through PTA meetings, parents still hold a great deal of sway in their children’s schools. Are you a former college player? Volunteer at your kids’ school. Been practicing yoga for years? Lead a class for teachers who can then pass the skills on to the students. Use your PTA votes to add more equipment. Your physical education curriculum program needs your voice, your talent, and your time.
2.) Get innovative – Leave tired old dodgeball behind. Forget basketball and tag, too. Use creative funding ideas, like the PEP grant, to obtain fun new equipment. One school in California has a climbing room, complete with climbing wall and “chimneys” for the students to test and build their strength. Grants for physical fitness programs and equipment are now more abundant than they used to be, as government and private agencies realize the need for better physical education curriculum.
3.) Get interested – Show your kids that you yourself are interested in physical fitness. Ask them to teach you what they’ve learned in PE class. Show them some new tricks of your serve, stride, or stroke. By showing your kids that fitness matters to you, you’ll be imparting in them the idea that perhaps fitness should be important to them, too. Then they can have more enthusiasm and energy for the PE classes they are offered in school. Research has shown that kids are still opting out of PE whenever they can. Getting them interested in personal fitness can turn that trend around.
4.) Get vocal – If your child’s PE class is nothing but a “murderball” fest of dodgeball day after day, or a place where the jocks hang out with the coach while the kids that need physical activity get to watch from the bench, let your school know about it. Let your school board know about it. Write letters, attend meetings, organize other parents, lead a student protest. Physical fitness is too important to let it slide by ineffectively. Demand better service. You’d do it at a gym or restaurant. Do it for your kids’ sake, and for the sake of those who will come behind them.
We’re all trying to become or stay healthy these days. We buy air filters for our homes. We lobby for better food and water quality, concerned with pollution in our environment. We try to eat as we should. We sweat it out at the gym or at home every day, trying to ensure we get in our 30 minutes of daily exercise. We have forsaken the late night talk shows for more sleep, as we need that, too, to remain in tip-top shape. And then we get up in the morning and go off to perhaps the most unhealthy place of all—our workplace.
Your office could literally be making you sick, and we’re not just talking about the boss’s awful ties, the secretary’s nasty perfume or your co-coworker’s penchant for bringing salami and onion sandwiches, either. Whether you work in a really dangerous situation as a firefighter or a deep sea fisherman, or something a little tamer, say an accountant or kindergarten teacher, workplace dangers abound. Often, these dangers are apparent, such as rushing into that burning building or dealing with those sickly 6 year olds. Other times, they aren’t so obvious, or even expected. So-called “sick building syndrome” may affect millions of American workers, and they may not even be aware of it. Changes in building codes over the years have created some buildings with inadequate ventilation. Others have created buildings with hazardous storage areas, damp basements and carpets, or dusty air ducts incapable of delivering clean, breathable, healthy air.
Sometimes, it is the nature of the work that brings the dangers, such as our firefighters and fishermen. Other jobs, too, call for physical stresses and dangers. Stocking shelves can mean lifting heavy boxes. Reading electrical meters and delivering the mail means dealing with the weather, slippery sidewalks and nasty canines. Office workers often have to worry about the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome on their hands, while dealing with the effects of poorly designed desks and chairs on their backs. So, even when you’re nice and snug in your accountant’s office, there’s still no escaping the harmful effects of work on your body.
Luckily, every state has different laws to protect their workers and offer them some hope of help should they need it. And each state is required to notify their workers. So what you read, say on Ohio Labor Laws posters might not be the same as what you’ll read on Florida Labor Law posters or Texas Labor Law posters. 2012 may see even more differences, as new labor laws come into effect, and old ones are done away with in state legislation across the nation. So, read your labor law posters, buy some breath mints for salami guy, and try to stay as healthy at work as you can.
Alzheimer’s disease (often just called Alzheimer’s) is all too common a fate for many of our elderly today. Earlier and earlier onset of the mind-stealing condition is robbing more and more families of their loved ones long before their physical health declines. And since medical science has yet to find a way to eradicate this dreadful illness, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is still pretty much a death sentence, though it is a long, slow process. However, there is hope. Medical research suspects that oxidative stress, specifically mitochondrial damage, may be the cause behind such devastating diseases as Alzheimer’s.
Free oxygen molecules—known as free radicals—damaging the cells within the body, cause oxidative stress. Since we can’t stop breathing, there is no real way to stop oxidative stress from occurring. However, through the use of antioxidants, we can stem the tide of the damage to our cells, and thus avoid or at least delay some of the diseases and conditions caused by oxidative stress. Super antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, literally form the body’s first line of defense against illness and aging. Some diseases actually cause either a shortage of, or an overabundance of, certain antioxidants like superoxide dismutase. And that is where medical science can get the early jump on debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Through the use of assays, tests that measure the amount of certain body chemicals like antioxidants, doctors can now have a better idea of what is going on inside you at the most intimate level—in your cells. The health of your cells determines your overall health, after all, and catching cell damage and disease early can stop or at least lessen the amount of damage to your overall health and quality of life. Two such tests—the HORAC assay and the ORAC assay—may help doctors find and treat Alzheimer’s sooner. Since the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be treated for quite a long time, and the disease’s severity lessened because of medical treatments, finding it earlier can mean adding years to a patient’s life. And many families find those added years a blessing.
Until medicine can find a way to cure debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s, the use of tests like the HORAC assay and the ORAC assay can at least offer a bit of hope. While they can’t change the ultimate diagnosis, through early diagnosis and treatment, they can at least give back a little of the time the disease would otherwise snatch away.