Beauty – My First Wrinkle Cream.

June 4, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

For more beauty, lifestyle and fitness videos visit: www.BodyRock.Tv

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

In pursuit of happiness: The U-Bend of Life

January 26, 2011 by  
Filed under AGING

Life begins at 46. This headline on the cover of the December 2010 issue of The Economist attracted a lot of attention among the middle-aged. Including me. I won’t tell you my exact age but it’s somewhere around that number.

The Economist article was not one of those end-of-the-year lifestyle quizzes to find out your score on a well-being scale. Like typical Economist articles, it was really serious stuff based on sound science.

The article was about the so-called “U-Bend of Life”, a phenomenon of modern sociology which indicates that the happiness of our childhood wanes as we age and unhappiness reaches its nadir (lowest point) at around age 46, after which it goes up again. As the article goes on to say, we shouldn’t fear aging because

“Life is not a long slow decline from sunlit uplands towards the valley of death. It is, rather, a U-bend.”

Indeed, at these times when we are bombarded with news about health problems especially among the elderly, this report is very comforting.

If you are to guess who is happier, a bunch of 30-year olds or a bunch of 70-year-olds, what would be your bet? I mean, you’d think that healthy 30-year olds at the prime of their life would be more contented with life than frail people in their 70s, right? Well, studies measured higher well-being among the elderly.

The skeptics would raise their eyebrows and argue that it is easy for the elderly to feel happy if they live in developed countries where healthcare and social benefits for the old are sufficient to enjoy life. However, it seems that the U-bend is evident in studies conducted in many different countries, rich and poor, and 40 years worth of data. The bend is very pronounced in some countries, less in many, the age of the all-time low may vary but the trend remains: the older we get, the happier we become.

In fact, the U-bend seems pretty universal even after taking into account socio-economic status, other demographic factors, cultural differences, and health. And the global average age of the least happy is 46.

So what’s the secret to the happiness of the elderly?

“Enjoyment and happiness dip in middle age, then pick up; stress rises during the early 20s, then falls sharply; worry peaks in middle age, and falls sharply thereafter; anger declines throughout life; sadness rises slightly in middle age, and falls thereafter.”

Personally, I believe I have reached my personal nadir and life is on the uptrend again. Suddenly, I am looking forward to aging…

Coming next: what determines happiness?

Aging and body temperature

December 30, 2009 by  
Filed under AGING

What is the normal body temperature?

It was originally thought to be exactly 37.0 degrees C (98.6 degrees F), according to the pioneering work in clinical thermometry by Carl Wunderlich. However, it’s actually lower than that, at least according to oral measurements back in 1992. The average measurement at that time was 36.8 degrees C (98.2 degrees F). It can also vary due to a lot of factors.

Different devices and different body areas

Since then, new devices for measuring body temperature have been developed. More recent studies report the following ranges:

The most common method of measuring body temperatures are:

  • Oral temperature
  • Rectal temperature
  • Tympanic (ear) temperature
  • Axillary (under the arm) temperature
  • Field forehead temperature
  • Temporal (temple) temperature

Studies revealed that different devices and methods of measurements vary considerably. The US National Athletic Trainers’ Association recommends the use of rectal temperature as the criterion standard for recognizing exertional heat stroke or hyperthermia for indoor as well as outdoor sports.

Different times of the day

Aside from variability due to different measuring techniques, body temperature can vary at with the time of the day, with low values in the morning and high values in the evening.

Other factors that cause variations

Physical activity increases body temperature. Women have generally slightly higher temperatures than men. The 1992 study reported a “trend toward higher temperatures among black than among white subjects.”

Temperature and age

Finally, several studies reported that body temperature changes with ages. It seems that there is a noticeable drop in body temperature with each decade of life lived. This drop in temperature can have some consequences in the treatment o of elderly patients. Fever caused by infections, for example can go unnoticed. A study by Turkish researchers reported:

The mean age of the subjects was 77.2, SD 7.3. In the 133 older subjects, the mean axillary temperatures ranged from 35.1 to 36.4 degrees C (95.3-97.6 degrees F). The mean temperatures for those aged 65-74 was higher than in those aged 75-84 (p < 0.001) and those aged 85 and older (p < 0.001) at 6 p.m. but not at 8 a.m. or 2 p.m. We concluded that older people have mean axillary body temperatures lower than the reference point of 36.5 degrees C (97.7 degrees F)… When assessing body temperature, it is important to take the age of the patient into consideration. Also, the reference point of 36.5 degrees C is inappropriate in older people, especially when diagnosing a febrile illness.

 Photo credit: stock xchng

The mammogram debate: the two sides

November 25, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER, Featured

Mammogram guidelines questioned

breastMammogram, the gold standard for breast cancer, is currently questioned just like what happened to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) s for prostate cancer. This was brought about by inconclusive research evidence that screening starting at 40 and beyond increases survival rates.

Last week, a heated debate started when the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new federal guidelines on mammography which recommends that the starting age for mammograms to be raised to 50.

The previous US guidelines, with full backing from the American Cancer Society recommend that women should have the mammograms every 2 years starting at age 40. The recommendations applied to women with no family history of breast cancer and are therefore not considered to be high-risk. Those who have high risk profiles still need to continue regular screening tests.

The pros

The reasons for these new recommendations are quite similar in some ways to the reasons why many medical professionals (including the American Cancer Society) do not support routine prostate cancer screening with the PSA tests. Some of these reasons are:

  • Too many false positives that result in unnecessary but invasive biopsy
  • Overdiagnosis and overtreatment of a disease that is not necessarily fatal and may go away by itself.
  • Too many false alarms that lead into mental pressure, unnecessary fears and worries. Why worry 10 years earlier?
  • Mammograms present health risks, such as exposure to radiation
  • Upgrade to international standards.
  • Unnecessary healthcare costs

Indeed some of these points sound familiar in connection with the PSA test in 2008 and it was the same task force USPSTF that recommended the PSA 2008 guidelines. However, those guidelines were widely accepted, even embraced by the health community.

Regarding international standards, guidelines vary from country to country. Many developed countries, including the UK, Canada, set the age limit at age 50. I had my first mammogram 4 years ago in Germany. During my last gynecological check up here in Switzerland, I asked my doctor whether it’s time for the next one. But you are not yet 50, she told me.

Health care cost is another sore issue. Countries with universal health care system tend to cut down on screening methods that do not show conclusive benefits in order to allocate limited resources for what is necessary without compromising health care quality. Americans may dismiss this as “rationing” but it does have the upside of giving access to affordable health care to everybody.

The fact remains that there is no significant differences in breast cancer mortality between countries who start screening at 40 and those who start 10 years later.

The contras

Many health experts however, do not agree with the new guidelines

  • For one thing, women without family history of breast cancer can have the disease before the age 40. For these women, forewarned is forearmed. They’d rather take unnecessary anxiety than miss the chance of an early diagnosis and therefore early treatment.
  • Although the recommendations are not binding, there is danger that insurance companies might not cover mammogram expenses before the age of 50.

Some high profile health experts explicitly expressed their disagreement with the new guidelines.

American Cancer Society (ACS)

According to Dr. Otis W. Brawley Chief Medical Officer of ACS

The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40. Our experts make this recommendation having reviewed virtually all the same data reviewed by the USPSTF, but also additional data that the USPSTF did not consider. When recommendations are based on judgments about the balance of risks and benefits, reasonable experts can look at the same data and reach different conclusions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in an interview advises women to “keep doing what they have been doing” with regards to breast cancer screening.

“The task force has presented some new evidence for consideration but our policies remain unchanged.Indeed, I would be very surprised if any private insurance company changed its mammography coverage decisions as a result of this action. ..My message to women is simple. Mammograms have always been an important lifesaving tool in the fight against breast cancer and they still are today. Keep doing what you have been doing for years — talk to your doctor about your individual history, ask questions and make the decision that is right for you.”

Former head of the National Institute for Health Dr. Bernadine Healy

Ex-NIH director Dr. Bernadine Healy’s take is to ignore the new guidelines, which he believes, could save money but not lives.

Other resources:

Mammogram advice accurate but not ‘right’

Five Reasons to Welcome the New Mammogram Guidelines

6 Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis

October 25, 2007 by  

By Robert Groth

There are several recognized risk factors in Multiple Sclerosis, although there is not a definite known cause. These risk factors do not guarantee that you will be diagnosed with the disease, but they do increase your chances.

Heredity is the first of the known risk factors for Multiple Sclerosis. If no one has Multiple Sclerosis in your family, then your chances of having MS are only 1 in 750. Having a parent or sibling with MS increases the odds to 1 in 100. If you have an identical twin with MS, your chances are 1 in 4, although both twins do not always have MS. For this reason, many researchers believe that Multiple Sclerosis is not just a genetic disease, although heredity does affect the chances you will have it.

Environmental factors are the second risk factor for Multiple Sclerosis. Research shows that bacteria and viruses, especially at certain ages, can increase your chances of having MS. Alone these infections should not cause MS, but when combined with other risk factors for Multiple Sclerosis, especially heredity, they can greatly increase the odds of having it. The infections that could be related to MS are measles, herpes, chickenpox, rubella, mononucleosis, chlamydia, and some types of flu. These may have the most risk when they are contracted as a teenager.

Geography is the third risk factor in Multiple Sclerosis. For some unknown reason, MS is more common in temperate climates such as Europe, southern Canada, northern United States, and southeastern Australia. This geographical factor seems to be most important during puberty.

Gender is the fourth risk factor for Multiple Sclerosis. Women are 2 to 3 times more likely than men to have MS. This is believed to be due to hormonal differences. Men who smoke are twice as likely as men who do not smoke to be diagnosed with MS.

Age is the fifth risk factor for Multiple Sclerosis. Usually MS is diagnosed to people between 20 and 50. It is possible to be diagnosed during childhood or after the age of 50, but this age range seems to be the most critical.

The sixth risk factor in Multiple Sclerosis is giving cow’s milk to babies. This is a newly discovered risk, and the reasons are not yet known. It may be proven in the future to be in no way linked to MS. Pediatrician’s advise against cow milk for infants under one year of age, anyway, so it would be best to be careful. Breast milk is believed to be the best food for infants because it helps the brain develop faster and more fully. This may be the link between cow’s milk and MS, since the brain would not be as developed.

Heredity is probably the only risk factor for Multiple Sclerosis that may cause the disease on its own, but combining several of these factors together may greatly increase your odds. Since many of these things are beyond your control, if you meet several of these risk factors for Multiple Sclerosis, you may want to consult a doctor. At the least watch for any symptoms related to the disease. Anything you can due to reduce your chances or your loved one’s chances of meeting these risk factors for Multiple Sclerosis would be worth the effort.

© CG Groth 2007

Robert Groth, author and speaker was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1990. Receive more information and a free inspirational daily email on how you can beat multiple sclerosis at

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.