Archive for April, 2009

THINNER YOU: Bust your bad mood with exercise

By Jason Anderson of SparkPeople

Some days, I am just in a mood. I don’t know what you call it, maybe stressed, bored, lonely, angry, sad, anxious, or tired. I call it “getting into a funk.” When it happens, I have allowed my circumstances to dictate my attitude and my thinking and then—bam! Before I know what hit me, I’m in a full-blown funk. While I like to exercise when a bad mood rises, others turn to unhealthy habits like emotional eating or smoking. When you’re upset, stressed or otherwise not feeling like yourself, exercise—and the mood-enhancing endorphins it produces—can be the best thing for you. Don’t you believe me?

The next time you feel that mood coming on, identify what you’re feeling and why. Are you bored because your best friend is out of town? Are you feeling lonely since the kids have left the nest? Or maybe you are stressing over finances. Whatever it is, pinpoint it. Then use the specific ideas below to bust your bad mood with a feel-good exercise …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Why are we getting diseases from animals?

By Bruce S. Ribner, MD
Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. Even though we hear about a disease such as swine flu and think this type of transmission must be uncommon, animal to human spread of infection is more common than you think.

Zoonotic diseases can be caused by all types of pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and parasites, and can cause various symptoms such as diarrhea, muscle aches and fevers. Sometimes infected persons experience severe symptoms that can be life threatening.

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can occur, most often in persons who work directly with pigs. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited.

About 75 percent of the new diseases affecting humans in the past decade can be traced to …

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Atlanta, how worried are you about the swine flu?

By Joy Johnston

Over the weekend, health officials became increasingly concerned about widespread outbreaks of the swine flu in various parts of the world. The hardest hit area so far appears to be Mexico City but after a confirmed outbreak in New York City, U.S. officials have declared a public health emergency.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the declaration was standard operating procedure and that the public should think of it as a “declaration of emergency preparedness.” It appears so far that the strain of the swine flu impacting the U.S. is milder than the type that has killed dozens in Mexico.

It’s also important to note that the swine flu is usually very treatable, though with like any flu strain, symptoms can range fom mild to severe.

(Just for the record, despite the name, you cannot get swine flu from consuming pork products. While there have been swine flu outbreaks in farm environments where it spreads from pigs to humans, just like with other …

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THINNER YOU: Do you suffer from diet rage?

By Mike Kramer of SparkPeople

After slowing down to an unexplained stop for the 147th time in the space of 2 miles, I decided that I hated the world. Surrounding me were an ocean of maddening brake lights, rain pelting the windshield and thousands of tons of steel and fiberglass flung around by a clueless pack of selfish morons who obviously didn’t know the first thing about driving!!

It was in serious danger of ruining my whole day.

Is there anything more frustrating than being bogged down in traffic? Most all of us have been there before. That discouraged, fed up feeling that just makes us want to throw up our hands in surrender or lay them on the horn.

Thankfully, I stopped muttering helplessly and started thinking instead. And I realized that I often witness another type of “road rage” – the frustration that builds on the road to weight loss: Diet Rage.

Think about your dieting history. Does it give you the same feeling as an exasperating traffic jam? You never quite get …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Autism and your child

By Catherine Trapani, Ph.D.

Media coverage has heightened awareness of autism. Consequently, novice and seasoned parents alike are increasingly vigilant about their children’s development. While some children meet motor, language, and social milestones according to schedule, others are slow to demonstrate the skills that parents anticipate. Sometimes, there is a fine line between children who are developing normally, and children who are exhibiting developmental delays.

So here’s a word of caution.

The cause of autism in not yet known. It affects each child differently. Some children are mildly affected while others experience severe symptoms. Therefore, autism is considered to be a spectrum of disorders.

According to the CDC, currently, one in 150 children is diagnosed with autism. Identifying one in 94 males, boys are four times more likely than girls to be on the autism spectrum. Despite the strides that geneticists have made in identifying genetic markers, there is no …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Do you know your stem cell research?

By Arshed Quyyumi, M.D.

Researchers still have a lot to learn about stem cells and how they function, including how they might be used to treat many different illnesses and medical conditions. But scientists, like myself, believe these cells hold the potential for great medical and scientific advances.

For example, our recent findings show that patients treated with their own bone marrow stem cells after a heart attack had increased circulation within the heart. Such progress in restoring the heart has given hope to doctors who want to help patients heal.

Stem cells function as a kind of repair system for the body. The basic term ’stem cell is’ used to describe a number of types of ‘undifferentiated’ cells that have the potential to become different kinds of specialized cells. By themselves, they lack the potential to carry out specific bodily tasks. For example, stem cells can’t act as neurons because they do not make the signaling chemicals that neurons use to …

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THINNER YOU: How to Tell Others about Your Weight Loss Goals

By Stepfanie Romine of SparkPeople

You want to change your life and improve your health. Reading this article and joining other ajc.com readers who started a healthy nutrition and fitness plan at SparkPeople.com are great first steps. Whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds, eat more vegetables, or get in shape, you’ll eventually want to share your goals with your friends and loved ones.

Yeah, yeah, we know. Talking to your family, roommates, and even your co-workers about tough subjects can be more uncomfortable than a colonoscopy. But your spouse or partner, children, and even your parents and siblings need to know what’s going on in your life. And you might find out that they’re very eager to help you reach your goals, too. But you’ll never know how they’ll react if you don’t talk to them!

If you’re nervous about sharing your goals with others, start by talking to a close friend. Is there someone in your life who has successfully lost weight or gotten in shape? Talk …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Bad economic times means more child abuse

By Stephen Messner, M.D.

Child abuse — a term that encompasses neglect, physical and sexual abuse — increases with the presence of stressors in the home. These stressors can vary from economic tensions to a crying baby in the middle of the night.

In times of economic distress, the rate of child abuse increases; neglect being the highest. According to Georgia’s Protective Services Data System, 83 percent of abused children experienced neglect.

At Children’s, one of the child advocacy centers in Georgia, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of infants admitted to the hospital as a result of physical abuse. One of the most serious occurrences of this is abusive head trauma, also known as Shaken Baby Syndrome. This form of abuse is most commonly seen in 3- to 8-month-old infants at the hands of a caregiver.

Caregivers become upset under various types of stressors. This frustration can lead some of them to do things they normally would never think of doing — be …

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CANCER TALES Family, faith, friendships strengthened as wife battles breast cancer

Claire, Margie, John Mark and Chris LaSalle.

Claire, Margie, John Mark and Chris LaSalle.

By Chris LaSalle

On Sept. 15, 2007 my wife Margie called me into our bedroom. She was lying on our bed and looked scared. Our two young children, Claire and John Mark, were nearby.

She said, “Feel this.” I felt a lump in her breast and was surprised by its size. We were too young, too healthy, too busy for cancer.

After a whirlwind of doctors’ appointments our worst fears were confirmed: Margie was diagnosed with breast cancer. We agreed to the traditional treatment: surgery, chemo and radiation. We focused on getting through treatment and tried to keep our lives as consistent as possible to protect our children from undue fear.

Margie continued to teach at Georgia State University and to work on her dissertation during her treatment. We believed that once she got through treatment she would be healthy and we would resume our normal life. We found positive statistics to boost our confidence.

Radiation, the last phase of Margie’s …

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CANCER TALES Colon cancer survivor seeks to inspire, educate others

U. Shaye Dunn poses with Capt. Colon. UDunn survived colon and lung cancer. She has started a cancer support group.

U. Shaye Dunn poses with Capt. Colon. UDunn survived colon and lung cancer. She has started a cancer support group.

By U. SHAYE DUNN

A nagging lower backache I’d been dealing with for weeks really got my attention on St. Patrick’s Day, 2004. Before getting in the shower, I sat on the toilet and knew I had a problem when blood began pouring out of my rectum.

I went immediately to my doctor. My blood pressure had dropped so low from the blood loss that she sent me directly to the emergency room. There I learned I needed to see a gastroenterologist as soon as possible. After a consultation with her, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy.

I was able to see the images as the procedure was taking place. When the doctor located the tumor I asked, “What is that? It looks like a bleeding brain! It was the cancerous tumor. I couldn’t believe it — 36 years old with colon cancer. I always thought it was an “old person’s disease.”

A few days after the colonoscopy, I had a colon resection. The …

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