I am fat. Not only am I fat, I am "morbidly obese". What I mean by that is that I have a very high risk of dying by heart problems or diabetes due to my weight.

This started to come to a head (sadly, way later than it should have, or rather, I didn't take it seriously enough until now) in Christmas. While I am aware of how overweight I am, there were two things that happened that really smacked me upside the head.

1) According to my family members, I look fatter than my dad. Now, that's kind of a stupid yardstick to measure by, but it certainly gave a comparison for me to really "get" it. My dad is a big guy. So am I. But I always perceived myself as smaller than him. Even when I started to weigh more than him... But now I'm quite larger than he is, both in terms of weight and apparently, appearance :P

2) My sister expressed her concern about my weight, and said "we love you." Now, I know my family members love me, but we aren't really the closest family in the world. Granted, we are certainly not the worst by any means, but we don't really express "love" usually. Maybe a good bye hug or a simple "Love, Dave" in a letter. My mom is probably the most expressive of Love. Contrast with my Dad who is very lowkey about emotions in general.

Read more... )

Heart attacks. Cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis. We hear these words everyday, even if, unlike me, you don't work in the field. That's because this growing epidemic is responsible for so many deaths each year in industrialised nations. A combination of our diet, habits like smoking, not exercising enough, gum disease, industrial pollutants and genetics are combining to cause the greatest cause of death for men and women.

Scarcely a day goes by when another item is added to the list we mentally keeped taped to the fridge, entitled "More things that will kill me." Less frequently, items get added to the other list, "things that might keep me alive." Recently, it was announced that a compound in red wine, resveratrol, could be beneficial in warding off heart disease. Now we might be able to add its less socially-accepted colleague, cannabis (subscription required).

THC, one of the active ingredients in cannabis, acts on a family of receptors called CB receptors. There are two subclasses of CB receptor, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are present in blood vessels, amongst other tissues, and they cause blood vessels to dilate. The role of CB2 receptors is less well understood, but they are expressed on circulating immune cells like macrophages.

These cells are critically important in many inflammatory auto-immune diseases, and in atherosclerosis the disease is driven by the recruitment of circulating macrophages into the wall of the blood vessel, where they take up deposits of cholesterol and lipids. Steffens et al. have shown that adding THC reduces the development of atherosclerosis in mice, and that activation of the CB2 receptor by THC affects their activation and recruitment to the plaque.

Now at this point I ought to point out that smoking cannabis isn't necessarily going to be beneficial for you — the sedentary life style, the hypotension, and the fact that smoking anything is bad for the lungs and circulation. It is possible that we will see drugs targeting CB2 receptors being developed however, as oral or transdermal administration are both better routes of administration.


In the past year alone, up to half of all bees in the country may have died. The culprit is the tiny varroa mite, first identified here in 1986. The eight-legged parasite is no larger than a grain of salt, but to bees it is lethal.

The scourge is by no means confined to the US, but nowhere has it been as devastating. For a while after its arrival in the US (probably from Africa or Asia), the problem was manageable. However, the bug has now grown resistant to almost every chemical used against it.

Unless a new treatment is found, or a new mite-resistant breed of bee is developed, fruit crops including strawberries, cherries, apples, squash, avocados melons and cranberries, which to varying degrees depend on bee pollination, could be affected. Domestic honey production has also fallen steeply.

Nowhere is the threat greater than in California, to the state's annual production of almonds - half a billion kilos, or 80% of total world output.


I don't know how much of this is hyperbole, but I suspect it's not too exaggerated.

And damnit if I don't love almonds...
This shit is now in samples of human and cow milk from across the country in high doses. And it has real deleterious effects: impairment of the thyroid gland, and that it can cause neurological development problems in fetuses and infants.

But let's just worry about (insert cartoon character here) being gay...

Rocket fuel contaminant found in women's breast milk

Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

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A team of Texas Tech University researchers has found a contaminant from rocket fuel in women's breast milk at five times the average level found in dairy milk.

This first study in breast milk of perchlorate, a chemical that interferes with the thyroid, indicates that the majority of breast-feeding infants would be exceeding the safe daily dose set by the National Academy of Sciences.

The peer-reviewed data published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology reported perchlorate in 36 milk samples from women in 18 states and in all but one of 47 cow milk samples from 11 states.

The average level in breast milk was 10.5 parts per billion, with a high of 92 ppb, while the average in cow's milk was 2 ppb with a high of 11 ppb.

Other studies of cow's milk -- including by Texas Tech and by the Food and Drug Administration -- have found perchlorate in cow's milk from 5 to 6 ppb. The levels vary depending on the cow's diet at different times of the year.

Perchlorate, a salt, can impair a person's ability to take up iodide, a form of iodine and the building block of thyroid hormones that control brain development. High levels of perchlorate in the body also may reduce the amount of iodide in breast milk.

Read more... )

death clock*

Jan. 1st, 2005 11:01 am
symbioidlj: (Default)
I think I did this before, but wanted to see what it said to remind myself.

Your Personal Day of Death is...
Saturday, May 10, 2042

I think I can live with that. 38 more years? plus 28 is what 66? That's certainly doable. I'm not someone that has to have a really long life. I'd like to make it to mid 70's, but I'd be happy to make it over 60. Plus that would be doing my part to help society not be burdened with SS payments to me. :)

*(yanked from [livejournal.com profile] bradhicks, you should read his journal. Quite interesting. Today I've learned a lot more about him and feel I can connect a bit better...)


symbioidlj: (Default)

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