Random Pearls to take to heart, or to educate/entertain/irritate others

Light Reading for Sick Rooms and Parties

Todays topic: Random pearls to take to heart, or to educate/entertain/irritate others. Hence the relevance in Sick Rooms and at Parties.

– Kids wear backpacks:
Risk for back pain is proportional to weight.
Recommended weight: less than 10% of their body weight.
What they carry: most often over 15% of their body weight.
Girls at higher risk for back pain than boys. No wonder 25% of kids complain of back pain.

– “Sit up Straight” may please your mom
Actually a straight up sitting position is not the best position at all. The best back position approximates a 135 degree angle (body-thigh) with the hips higher than the knees. When you lie down the discs in your back rehydrate and the nerve outlets are helped by the change of the curve of the back. The 135 degree position approximates most closely this position. Luxury car manufacturers have already started to incorporate this into their design. Until furniture makers take note, use adjustable desks and chairs, and footrests.

– Sleep is essential; sleeping pills are not
Sleeping pills are associated with greater than 3x increased hazards of death even when prescribed less than 18 pills/year.

Explanations for this include: mixing with alcohol, increased risk of depression/suicide, impairing of motor and cognitive skills suchas driving, hangover sedation increasing risk of falls, worsening of sleep apnea in some individuals which in turn increases their risk for heart failure, abnormal rhythms. These medications may cause sleep-walking night-eating syndromes, as well as other automaton-like behaviors which can be dangerous. Have a care with the use of sleeping medications and talk with your doctor about non-drug approaches to improved sleeping habits.

– Massage may accelerate healing
The relief that comes from rubbing sore muscles seems to have tangible roots: researchers have found clear molecular signs that overworked muscle cells respond to being manipulated by massage. There are measurable decreases in inflammatory compounds in massaged muscle tissue and indications that muscle cells rev up their energy processor for the inevitable repairs that follow hard exercise. (Feb1. Science Translational Medicine)

– Breslow obituary (April 16, age 97)
Dr. Breslow in the mid 20th century studied 6928 people and their behavior for 20 years. This most lauded of his studies was one of the first credible quantitative analyses of health and human behavior. It proved that a 45 year old with at least six of the seven healthy habits Breslow chose as important had a life expectancy 11 years longer than someone with three or four. The seven habits: do not smoke; drink in moderation, sleep 7 to 8 hours/night, near daily at least moderate exercise, eat regular meals (versus snacking or skipping), maintain a moderate weight (BMI < 27), eat breakfast.

A follow up study showed that those who followed these habits were less likely to become disabled. Of those with four or more good health habits, 12.2 percent were likely to be disabled 10 years after the study began; those with two or three 14.1 percent, and those with only one or no positive health habits at all 18.7 percent.

Breslow found that a 60 year old who had followed the seven recommended behaviors since age 45 would be as healthy as a 30-year-old who followed fewer than 3. Breslow practiced what he preached. He died at age 97 and enjoyed good health and mental alertness until the very end.

Bruce Kiessling, M.D.




‘Just a G.P.’

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