Saturday, May 21, 2011

Multiply Can Use Blogger, But Not Cleanly

When I imported all my Blogger Natural Treatment Therapies information to Multiply, another social networking site, the end result is an unsatisfactory set of text blocks without any of the advantages of the original site.

So Natural Treatment Therapies will be staying exactly where it is. I suspect that in the end what I've just experienced is exactly the reason that we'll eventually see a decline in online networking. Problems with communicating what we really mean.

In the old days we talked about the game of telephone, where one person whispers in another person's ear. As you went around the room, the message got less and less coherent.

How often today I deal with issues generated by texting miscommunications. Where is the class for the average person in concise, appropriate texting? I know I need one. How do you deal with multiple messages when you're busy? Is 'k an appropiate response or are you being rude? If 90% of communication is non-verbal, where does that leave any of us online?

I wonder what we've become when online communication is how we find each other and how we judge each other.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Does Alternative Medicine Cost More Money Or Less For Fibromyalgia?

There are two schools of thought on this issue.  One says that adding insurance coverage for alternative medicine will cost more money because people will use both.  The other says that using alternative medicine saves money because people get less sick and take care of themselves more.  Can we have the drumroll please?  The cost less people win!  Washington state did an analysis of people who had coverage and the people who use alternative medicine cost the insurance companies about $400 dollars less.  Most interesting is that the really sick people cost insurers almost $1500 less per year.  Some of these people had  back pain, fibromyalgia or menopausal symptoms. 

In terms of Fibromyalgia, I went looking for the alternatives for Fibromyalgia on WebMD.  The person writing about Fibromyalgia is an M.D. who happens to have Fibromyalgia.  He's written thirteen books on Fibromyalgia.  He also happens to be "a physician speaker for pharmaceutical companies that make medications used to treat fibromyalgia."  I sense a vague conflict of interest when discussing alternative treatments as primary. Not surprisingly, he doesn't mention dietary change, GABA, DHEA, probiotics, or a range of other likely treatments.  Instead he focuses on a number of antidepressant herbs that are basically milder versions of the antidepressant pharmaceuticals being used.   

In focusing on the antidepressant aspect of treatment, our expert is playing to the "all in your head" phenomenon I see more and more often in chronic diseases.  But the reality is that a range of other factors affect Fibromyalgia patients, including a blunted adrenal response.  A number of different studies support this connection (one is below).  So rather than saying it's all in your head, we should be looking at the rest of the body.  Maybe this is why alternative medicine saves people money.  We look toward the big picture rather than just managing the symptoms. 

J Rehabil Med. 2010 Sep;42(8):765-72.

Evidence of reduced sympatho-adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary activity during static muscular work in patients with fibromyalgia.

Kadetoff D, Kosek E.

SourceOsher Center For Integrative Medicine, Stockholm Brain Institute, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

OBJECTIVE: To assess activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis during static exercise in patients with fibromyalgia.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Sixteen patients with fibromyalgia and 16 healthy controls performed a static knee extension until exhaustion. Plasma catecholamines, adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol, as well as blood pressure and heart rate, were assessed before, during and following contraction. Plasma C reactive protein was analysed at baseline.
RESULTS: Blood pressure and heart rate increased during contraction (p < 0.001) and decreased following contraction (p < 0.001) in both groups alike. Compared with baseline, plasma catecholamines increased during contraction in both groups (p < 0.001), but patients with fibromyalgia had lower levels of plasma adrenaline (p < 0.04) and noradrenaline (p < 0.08) at all times. Adrenocorticotropic hormone increased at exhaustion in controls (p < 0.001), but not in patients with fibromyalgia, who also had lower adrenocorticotropic hormone at exhaustion (p < 0.02) compared with controls. There were no group differences, or changes over time in plasma cortisol. High sensitivity C reactive protein was higher in patients with fibromyalgia compared with controls (p < 0.02).

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dude, Where's My Electric Car?

Warning:  The following is a thinly veiled rant by a gasoline addict feeling the pain of the pump. 

Ooh, big oil crunched it before they decided to maim our economic recovery at the pump.  You can read the spoiler for this movie at Wikipedia. 

In crazy news, the same guys who killed the electric car are bringing it back.  Funny thing, though, it has the same problems (short range/high price) that it did before even though we've evidently invested heavily in new technology.  Since these are the same people who got rid of the other electric cars years ago, as well as dismantling our public transportation systems decades ago, I'm vaguely suspicious.   

Don't we own most of the car companies now?  Shouldn't we be selling ourselves a decent car at a decent price?  Maybe even putting batteries at every gas station or grocery store (we do for propane tanks, so what's the problem?)

How is it that it's pretty darn impossible to make tiny functional electric cars for a decent price, but Tesla Motors is making roadsters for 100k?  I'm sorry, but it occurs to me that some enterprising soul with cheap labor and a liberal view on copyright infringement might buy one and take a look under the hood.  I certainly wouldn't want to condone such behavior, but it seems to happen with every other consumer good.  How is it possible that cars have tighter security than any other electronic device?

Oh, we can buy cheaper cars, but they have a forty mile radius and a 25 mph top speed.  Doesn't my kid's electric hotwheel getting faster than that?   

So, we'll have to build our own.  Here's the starter kit blog.  I'll get right to it as soon as I finish my fully enclosed greenhouse backyard.  Now, if only my neighbors didn't have so many trees...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How To Drag Your Children Away From Their IPods.

Remember when children just got their brothers hand-me-down jeans?  Nowadays, we have hand-me-down electronics.  My elder son is the proud owner of IPod sixteen or something, which seems about ready to take off (didn't IPod take over the shuttle missions?  I think it's a free app.)  He worked like a dog and saved his money (my money, but I got chores out of it).  So his brother received his hand-me-down IPod.  I've been dealing with App anxiety all week. 

I had a vision of a different time, when my father read to us in the evening.  So I went to the library (yes, they still have those, although ours desperately needs renovation).  My mission was to engage my children with literature or at least dime store novels. 

I picked out The Book of Three, Dune, Harriet the Spy, the Elfstones of Shannara, and Dragonsong.  I figured something was bound to take. 

As you may have guessed, my elder one played IPod silently while listening.  But my four year old sat and played legos.  Both of them want me to continue tomorrow. 

The boys picked Elfstones after some debate.  Book of Three was second.  My twelve year old was reading Dune after his brother went to bed.  Sometimes, just sometimes, we can make a stand in the sands of time and create a little family space amidst the din.