That might be a common attitude with women who choose to wear high-heeled shoes, but foot doctors have some words of caution. They share their concerns in this Washington Post article, which includes a pain-inducing photo of what a foot in high heels looks like when X-rayed. In a high enough heeled shoe, the ball of the foot can be at a 90-degree angle to the rest of the foot. Ouch.
Here's the quick list of foot problems high heels can cause:
• Calluses and corns, caused by weight being borne by a small amount of skin on the foot's bottom.
• Inflammation of connective tissue around the foot.
• Capsulitis, a painful inflammation of the joints where the toes attach to the foot.
• Pinched nerves, where pointy high heels squeeze the toes.
• Stress fractures, or cracks in the bones of the feet.
If the conditions become severe, the incredible pain can be treated with a corticosteroid shot. And doctors can also prescribe lower, wider shoes to relieve the pain.
Still want to keep wearing those hot shoes? Doctors say the best compromise is to wear lower shoes when you're primarily walking and keep the high platforms for less strenuous activity. But to be completely safe and foot healthy, doctors still recommend not wearing heals that are more than two inches high.
Does any of this information change your feelings about fashionable footwear?
Courtesy DiliffWhen zookeepers at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo noticed their grizzly bears were getting flabby, they came up with a novel idea on how to turn their health around. They got the bears acting and eating more like they do in their natural environments. And the lessons learned for the grizzlies can easily be applied to us humans to eat better, too.
In fact, there's a growing trend in medicine now to for doctors and veterinarians to share their research to find out if new behaviors that can help animals could help humans, too. You can read all about it here.
But looking specifically at the grizzly bears in Chicago, zookeepers ditched the laboratory composed diets of mixing dog foods and ground beef for the bears and went to more traditional berries, grains and meats the bears would actually prey on like fish and rabbits. The food was no longer delivered on metal trays the same time each day, but hidden around the bear's enclosure, forcing them to forage and work to get their grub. Within a year, both bears had lost hundreds of pounds.
So what's the human equivalent diet modifications? For one thing, not stockpiling up several weeks worth of food is a good start. Rather, buy just a few days worth of fresher, seasonal foods at a time. Most vegetables at grocery stores now days are engineered to have longer shelf lives, but less nutrition. Buying foods at farmers' markets and the like can lead to healthier greens.
And like a grizzly, we can burn more calories if we "forage" by walking or biking to the market. Not using a cart in a store or a car to transport our food home will also limit the amount of what we buy to what fits nicely in a basket or bag.
No, you're not seeing double in this post. Last week a Houston woman gave birth to two pairs of identical twins. For those of you charting it out at home, that would be a set of maternal twins that both divided into sets of fraternal twins right after conception. The four boys were named Ace, Blaine, Cash and Dylan. See any pattern there?
While alcohol is a depressant and can have the effect of making you go to sleep quicker, new research says it doesn't help you sleep better. A review of 27 different sleep studies shows that consuming alcohol diminishes REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, which is considered the most restorative part of the sleep cycle. And the more you drink, the bigger the disruption of the REM stage.
Courtesy jaduarteI don’t know why this should surprise anyone, but a study coming from King’s College in London suggests that smoking not only adversely affects your physical health but also damages your mental health, reducing your brain’s capacity to learn, reason, and remember.
The study was published in the journal Age and Aging and involved lifestyle data gathered from 8,800 people over 50 years of age. The study was looking for links between the likelihood of stroke or heart attack, and the condition of the brain. Four years after the initial data was collected, participants were examined again, and given brain tests, such as naming as many animals as they could in a minute’s time, or learning new words. The same tests were administered again eight years later.
Not only did participants with high-risk physical conditions such as obesity or high blood pressure fair poorly in the cognitive tests, but those who smoked had a “consistent association” with lower scores as well.
"We have identified a number of risk factors which could be associated with accelerated cognitive decline, all of which, could be modifiable," said Dr. Alex Dregan, one of the researchers involved. "We need to make people aware of the need to do some lifestyle changes because of the risk of cognitive decline."
Courtesy Mark RyanOkay. It’s 2012! The beginning of a brand new year. A time for making resolutions, a time for change. That special new era that began with a magical tick past midnight on December 31st when you suddenly emerged from a decades-long thick-skinned cocoon of self-destructive behavior, and miraculously transformed into a brand new person of action, rebirth, and eventual six-pack abs.
Okay, maybe not suddenly, but let’s say 12 to 15 hours after midnight when you finally came out of the bacchanalian stupor you’d plunged yourself into the night before.
But the point is you can now become that perfect human being you (and mainly your mother) always suspected was hiding beneath that sweatpants ensemble. Imagine what you can do now when you replace your mantra of instant gratification with one of self-control. Nicotine’s mastery over your soul will dissipate like a smoke-ring in the breeze. Inappropriate outbursts at dinner parties will be a thing of the past as you’re transformed into the designated driver instead of driving the host’s porcelain bus. Oatmeal will substitute for Twinkies for breakfast, and broccoli will become your new BFF.
The possibilities for improvement seem limitless, don’t they? It just takes a little effort.
You know, with obesity plaguing the US, this would be a perfect time to let go of the game controller, drag your ample hinderbutt off the couch, and get some of that exercise you’ve been promising to do since 1988. It doesn’t mean you have to join a high-priced health club, or spend hours contorted into a pretzel at a local yoga class. The easiest thing to do is just head outside for a good old fashion walk, a nice long stroll in the bracing winter air. It’s not going to cost you a cent to do it (unless you live here in Minnesota and the legislature decides to tax it to help pay for a brand new stadium for the Vikings).
What’s that you say? You’d like to lose those extra 65 lbs but you just can’t seem to get motivated? What? You think it sounds like a nice idea but it’s only 25° above zero? Yes, yes, I know. Getting all bundled up in long underwear, winter coat, and boots to face the elements is a real drag.
Well, poooooooooooor you. WAH, WAH, WAH, WAH, WAH! You are unbelievable. What a sniveling crybaby! Is that all you can do is whine? You think it’s too cold? You crave motivation?! Well, here’s some motivation for you: Starting next weekend, have your mommy drive you to the Science Museum of Minnesota and buy you a ticket for the Omni Theater so you can watch the magnificent Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, one of five large format films that are part of the museum’s annual OmniFest 2012.
Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure is an amazing - no! – an astounding story of man against nature. It details the struggles of the fearless and eternally optimistic Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men who set sail on the ship Endurance headed for Antarctica. I don’t want to give away the story but let’s just say after you see what these courageous guys endured over a period of seventeen months, I guarantee you’ll feel deeply ashamed for driving to work in your heated car and living inside four walls.
OmniFest 2012 runs from January 6 – February 17, 2012 at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omni Theater, and features five big-screen films: Amazing Caves, Amazon, Wolves, Search for the Great Sharks, and of course Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure. The films rotate throughout the day, so check the OmniFest 2012 website to make sure you have the correct times for the shows you want to see. Of course, if you were anything like Shackleton, you'd just show up after a 20 mile trek in the blinding snow and expect things to work out your way. Wimp!
If you ask any veterinarian or human general practitioner what is one of the most common reasons for a visit, the answer is sure to be some type of skin problem. Think about it. The skin is the largest organ in both the human and dog body, and it is designed to protect the body against all sorts of intruders, including germs or minor injuries.
Skin ailments also lead to a sense of frustration as there are hundreds of causes in both pets and humans. Something such as canine acne or human acne can be the result of an underlying disease, or something as simple as oils from the skin becoming trapped. The more visible the problem, the more likely we are to rush for medical care.
All of us, human and pet alike, have skin the is structured the same way. There is an outer layer, called the epidermis the next layer, called simply the dermis, and an under layer of fat and muscle which is called the punniculus. Together, the two top layers form the cutis, with the panniculus called for obvious reasons the subcutis.
Even thought the epidermis is charged with protecting us from disease, it is relatively thin. It is comprised of building blocks called keratinocytes. Knowing this you can now appreciate that when your skin is scraped or a wound is formed, it leaves the body open to those things that are normally blocked by the outer skin layer. These mechanisms are the same in pets and humans. This is probably why nature saw to it that this skin layer quickly repairs itself. If an area is constantly injured, the repair thickens to provide extra protection for the area.
When infection does try and take hold, a type of cell called a langerhan cell calls in reinforcements from the white blood cells to kill off any bacteria fungus or viral infection. Skin reactions often occur when these cells work too well, and begin to react to every day things in the environment such as plants, shampoo, fabric etc. This immune response results in an allergy to these items, cause some type of skin reaction.
Last, is the issue of sunburn. The mechanism for this is called the photoprotective barrier. In nature, dogs and cats developed coats to limit the amount of sun exposure, particularly since they lived outdoors in the wild. In humans we've adapted though sunscreens, hats, clothing and by staying out of the sun. Our pets can get sunburned just like humans, with the same amount of risk.
Skin tumors in humans and pets are the result of basal cells, the layer of cells between the dermis and epidermis receiving too much sun exposure. This causes these cells to rapidly divide, resulting in a neoplasm or dog skin tumor.
One major difference between humans and our dogs are the hair follicles, as you could have guessed. Interestingly, while humans have one hair per follicle per pore opening, dogs and cats have multiple hairs. These hairs also act to spread pheromones, which help to drive sexual attraction. The hair is also a window into the underlying health of the pet or person, with hair loss in dogs often indicating some type of endocrine related disease (hormonal disease).
Our skin is unique because it is so visible. It is also difficult to diagnose because of the many causes of dog skin and human skin disease. It's also a unique organ in that dog owners and humans alike demand that it be maintained in perfect condition, a high bar for any natural organ. What's wonderful, is that our understanding of skin structure in humans, and treatment approaches, directly applies to with way we address skin problems in dogs and cats.
Dog Skin Conditions, Dog Health Guide
Courtesy trayThis is wonderful news! Not for you, obviously, but it is for me. You see, I don't drink diet soda, and I love to shame people for their diet choices, so this news is just perfect for me:
Shame on you. Shame on you for drinking diet soda, shame on you for believing so foolishly that it would be part of a healthy diet plan, and shame on you for even trying to control your weight.
Why don't you just drink cool spring water, seasoned with a sprig of mint and a squeeze of lemon, like I do? That's nature's soda. Or are you too good for nature? No, you're not. Nature is too good for you. You know how I know? Because you drink diet soda, you shameful little shame shame.
It was good to get that out of the way. Didn't it feel nice? For me, I mean? It did.
As far as the research goes, it's one of those things where, despite the black and white, "Diet soda makes you fat" headlines (which I pretty much used here), the actual link between consuming pop with artificial sweeteners and human weight gain is pretty unclear. Researchers followed 474 subjects for ten years, and found that the people who consumed diet soda gained significantly more belly fat than those who did not drink diet soda. (The drinkers' waistlines grew about five times more than the non-drinkers' waistlines did.)
10 years seems like a decent length for the study, although I'm not sure if 474 is a very large number of participants. The main thing, however, is that this study doesn't show any actual mechanism behind the extra weight gain of diet soda drinkers. While there could be something in the artificial sweeteners themselves that encourages weight gain, it's also likely that the link is based more in behavior/psychology. Diet soda-drinkers could be substituting extra calories from other sources, because they avoided them in the soda. Or maybe they exercise less. Or perhaps they crave other sweet things, because of the sweetness of the soda.
As far as I can tell, too, the study compared diet soda drinkers to people who don't drink diet soda, not to people who drink soda sweetened with sugar or corn syrup, so it's not necessarily stating that diet sodas are a less healthy alternative to regular pop.
It could be that there's a causal link (that is to say, that artificial sweeteners are directly responsible for weight gain, as opposed to simply being associated with other behavior that causes weight gain). Artificial sweeteners do seem to have physiological effects on us, altering insulin secretion, gut pH, and appetite, and mice exposed to the artificial sweetener aspartame for three months were found to have higher blood sugar levels. But that doesn't mean that the diet sodas are for sure responsible for the weight gain in this study's participants. So, for now, take the research seriously to the extent that helps you be more conscious about the things you eat and drink I guess.
That's not the important thing, though. The important thing, of course, is that the study provides you with something to worry and feel bad about, and me with something to dangle over your head as I encourage those feelings in you.