Men who have elevated blood sugar are more interested in their health than previously believed but need basic information about how to control high blood sugar, avoiding diabetic complications and other components of controlling diabetes, according to results of a recent survey by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The survey was chronicled on the Dentistry For Diabetics blog.

Few Stick to Diets for Diabetes

Less than a third of men who have high diabetes sugar levels feel they know a lot about the disease, the survey shows. Nearly 12 million American men have been diagnosed with diabetes, which means that about eight million of them have inadequate information. Another potentially alarming finding is that only 25 percent say they stick to a diabetes control diet, which could contribute to difficulties with managing diabetes.

Survey results show that more than a third of men who have diabetes have had at least four symptoms of low testosterone levels, a common co-occurrence with high blood glucose in men. Yet, two-thirds of this high-risk group acknowledge that they know little or nothing about the condition and its implications for their health.

Men Want More Information on Diabetes

But the survey also indicates that men would be more compliant with type 2 diabetes treatment – if they knew how. Fully 60 percent of those surveyed said they could better manage their diabetes blood sugar levels if they had more information. Similarly, nearly two-thirds of men said they would also be able to use that information to communicate better with their health care team about things they could do to control type 2 diabetes.

Many observers see this as both good news and bad news. The good news, of course, is that men really want to pay attention to their health. The bad news is they apparently don’t instinctively know how and, like asking for directions, it’s not an intuitive guy thing. Ironically, health care providers such as physicians, dentists and certified diabetes educators are more than happy to provide extensive information to help people stay on track.

ADA Launches Diabetes Information Site for Men

Unfortunately, conversations between men and their health care providers often don’t seem to get very far off the ground when it comes to discussing treatments for diabetes. Hoping to jump-start a more substantive and productive dialog, the ADA premiered a men’s health Web site that provides insights on diabetes monitoring, diets for diabetes and a number of other issues related to controlling blood sugar.

The site groups its content into easily navigated categories covering major diabetes-related considerations:

  • Serious Health Implications
  • Sexual Health
  • Emotional Health
  • Diet and Exercise

Other useful resources on the site include sections on prevention, living with diabetes, weight loss and dealing with common concerns. The ADA plans to add a helpful FAQ section in the near future. The site also offers a men’s health handbook titled The Modern Man’s Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, a publication that can be downloaded in PDF format.

Being in pain is a situation that fibromyalgia sufferers find themselves in far too often. Dealing with the pain can be difficult, but there are ways to cope. It is important to remember that staying positive is helpful in combating the depression that often occurs with fibromyalgia.
Coping with Fibromyalgia Medication
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) antidepressants, benzodiazepines and other medications can be prescribed for treatment of fibromyalgia pain.
Analgesics are a fancy term for painkillers. These are used to treat muscle pain, and this includes the use of narcotic painkillers for some patients. However, narcotics are not prescribed for most patients because of the chance of substance abuse. Also, there is not definitive proof that narcotics are successful in combating the pain of fibromyalgia.


Normally, NSAIDs are used to treat inflammation and this purpose does not assist in the treatment of fibromyalgia pain. However, NSAIDs also relieve pain by inhibiting certain substances in the body, which does help.
Antidepressants are a common treatment for people who suffer from fibromyalgia. They are used with patients that have depression and with those that do not. Because of the way antidepressants work, they can help relieve pain by helping the body produce enough of the right substances and enhancing the effect of those substances.
Benzodiazepines help with fibromyalgia pain by relaxing muscles and helping patients to sleep better. These are normally not prescribed unless the patient has not responded to other medications.
Other drugs that are used to help cope with pain are muscle relaxants, sleep medications and headache medications. Sleep medications are related to helping treat pain, as good sleep is necessary for those with fibromyalgia to help prevent symptoms from flaring up.
Fibromyalgia Pain and Exercise

For many fibromyalgia patients, the idea of exercise is like contemplating torture. In the article “Fibromyalgia Fixes: Treatments Worth Trying”, from Arthritis Today, Dr. Kim Jones, Ph.D., is quoted saying “Deconditioned muscles are a potent pain generator in fibromyalgia. It’s not fair to tell people with fibromyalgia, ‘just exercise and you’ll feel better’…The trick is to exercise slowly enough that you can condition muscle without generating pain.” Dr. Jones also advises that the use of Spray and Stretch, which is a spray-on skin refrigerant, can make it easier for people with fibromyalgia to start an exercise program and make stretching less painful.
Exercise does not have to mean running a mile or lifting weights. If the patient can only do a few small exercises or walk for a minute or two, they should start there. As the muscles become more conditioned, the patient may feel up to doing more. At this point, they can walk a little farther or do a few more reps of the exercises. When it comes to fibromyalgia and exercise, starting small is necessary. There is no shame in what a patient may or may not be able to do. It is the spirit in which they do it that matters.
Coping with Fibromyalgia Pain at Home

Even when the patient has a medication regimen and exercise program, symptoms still flare up. This may mean taking more breaks or resting more. It could mean doing different activities. The Mayo Clinic suggests that the patient make a list in advance of what the plan is for when these flare-ups happen.
The plan should include distractions that work for the patient against the pain. This could be watching movies, reading, playing video games, talking with friends or anything else that the patient finds enjoyable. It is also important that the plan include a variety of activities as some things will work better for different episodes and something that may have worked in the past may not be effective for the current episode.
The Mayo Clinic also suggests that the patient make a list of people available to help them. This could be a next door neighbor who is willing to help make dinner, or a family member who could run the errands. It could be the teenager down the street who will cut the grass. It is important that people with fibromyalgia understand that they are not a burden; the people who are willing to help do so because they care and want to help one feel better in what ways that they can.
Having a plan will help the patient to feel that they have more control on bad days. It will also help the patient to know that there is something that can be done and that they are not alone. A positive attitude is a must-have for anyone who has a chronic condition. Having the right medications, the right exercise plan, and a plan for bad days can help patients with fibromyalgia to have more control over their symptoms. This will help to relieve the negative feelings many patients have, and help prevent stress from making symptoms worse.

When playing lawn bowls, two closely-related factors are paramount, namely line and length. Most bowlers would agree that getting the length right is the more difficult task.

 

Which Weight to Bowl?

How much force you place behind your shot determines how far down the green your bowl will go. For a short jack, you need less weight than for a longer jack, assuming that your aim is to “draw”, by which is meant to get your bowl to the same (or thereabouts) position on the green as the jack (or some other target).

Giving more weight to the shot means that the bias of the bowl will start to take effect further down the green as the bowl slows down. When it start

s slowly from your hand, the bias will take effect almost immediately, which is why you always need to give plenty of “green” when bowling to a short jack.

Playing A Firing Shot

This sounds violent, and often is! The object of firing is (usually) to hit opponents’ bowls with sufficient force to move them far enough away from the jack that they can no longer count in the score. It is therefore a tactic used as a last resort to break the opposition’s stranglehold on an end, generally when they hold several shots, all of which need to be removed.

Firing is a skill that many skips think they possess but do not! In most games played by amateur bowlers, the firing success rate is remarkably low, although that does not stop some skips from hurling their woods down the green with such force that they either thud against the back of the ditch like rifle shots or send bowls off in all directions, including neighbouring rinks. There is also a serious risk to the ankles of anyone standing (literally) in the firing line!

The trick of firing is to be in control, and to be confident that you can send a bowl in a straight line with force. For most players, the action of using weight disturbs the line, and bowls go off in the wrong direction. One problem is that firing is not something that most bowlers practice, and if you are only going to fire a few times during a match, the chances of getting it right on those few occasions are therefore lessened.

Controlled Weight

It is often necessary to move a bowl, or the jack, and to do this the bowl being sent must have enough force to do the job when it reaches the target. However, the need may be to move a short bowl a few feet closer to the jack, or to push the jack towards other bowls that are lying further back. For this to happen, controlled weight is required.

Sending a bowl with controlled weight is one of the more difficult shots to play, because the weight must be neither too great nor too little, and the bias of the bowl must also be taken into account. Although the shot is not a draw, it is not a firing shot either, so there will be at least some bend to allow for.

Another consideration must always be what happens if the shot misses its target? Could a bad situation be made worse because a weighted shot was chosen?

Reading the Green

Whatever type of shot is to be played, with the possible exception of the outright fire, the condition of the green will have a considerable effect on the weight that needs to be applied.

Some greens are naturally faster than others, meaning that, for the same degree of effort, a bowl will run further on a faster green than a slower one. However, factors such as the length of grass on a green will affect the speed, as will the dryness or dampness of the surface. If the green has been poorly maintained there may be bare patches where the speed is faster than in other places.

The speed can change during the course of a match, caused by the sun or wind having a drying effect after a shower, or a sudden shower having the opposite effect. As the players walk up and down the green they will tend to flatten the grass and add speed to the green. However, where the players have not walked, and where most bowls have not run, the green may offer a slower speed.

All these factors, and the changing circumstances of a game of bowls, add many complications to the task of sending the perfect bowl. This is why bowls is such a fascinating game; learning how to play is not difficult, but getting it right every time most certainly is!

Obesity is a complex problem with biological, social, and psychological causes. The control of food intake (how much you eat and how much it takes for you to feel full) and food metabolism (how you convert food to energy) appears to be regulated, at least in part, by a system of hormones produced by cells of the nervous system. The interaction between these “neurohormones” is currently the subject of intense study and compounds that affect these hormones are the focus of a billion dollar diet drug industry.

It might not surprise you that the actions of hormones produced in the brain contribute to obesity, but another link to obesity may surprise you, since the source isn’t human. It’s a virus called adenovirus-36 or “Ad-36.” Ad-36 is a member of a family of about 50 DNA viruses that are associated with some very familiar illnesses ranging from the common cold to pink eye.

As early as 1997, Dr. Nihil V. Dhurandhar reported that 10 of 52 obese subjects he screened while at the University of Bombay had antibodies against a type of bird adenovirus, SMAM-1. Dhurandhar and colleagues in the U.S. later investigated human adenovirus strains. They found that approximately 30% of the obese people in their study had been infected with the Ad-36 virus compared to 11% of non-obese people.

To see if the virus has a causal connection to obesity, researchers have taken the virus and experimentally infected monkeys with it. The result? The infected monkeys gained significant weight. Surprisingly, serum cholesterol was lowered in these animals.

While these studies suggest a link between the Ad-36 virus and obesity, questions remain – like how does the virus contribute to obesity? In a recent study, scientists at Louisiana State University took samples of tissue from individuals who had liposuction and removed adult stem cells from the samples. Stem cells are cells that have the potential to turn into more specialized cells. When infected by the Ad-36 virus, greater than 50% of the cells turned into fat cells, while only a small number of non-infected cells turned into fat cells. The virus-infected fat cells were also bigger than typical fat cells, seemingly capable of storing more fat.

 

Because the causes of obesity are complex, no one treatment method may be a cure-all. However, interesting avenues of research identified by the Louisiana State study include the possibility of creating vaccines or drugs that target particular genes of the adenoviruses linked to obesity. Understanding the reason why some people infected with Ad-36 aren’t obese and why Ad-36 infection is associated with lower cholesterol may be just as interesting.

‘Touch our idols and the gilt comes off on our hands.’ So wrote Gustave Flaubert. In this mega-memoir (800 pages long), Marlene Dietrich’s daughter Maria Riva melts down her mother’s iconic status and pours the hot metal into a more grotesque mould.

Once Riva has finished her work Dietrich looks more like one of the frightening sculptures she complained about on the set of Joseph von Sternberg’s The Scarlet Empress. While the world may celebrate this sublime screen goddess, it appears the daughter is left managing a human monster of terrifying will.

The book is not a hatchet job, despite its mercilessly exposing the aristocratic and self-deluding Dietrich. So dominating and unrelenting is Dietrich’s will you wonder in the end what it will take to finish her off. A stake through the heart?

The Great von Sternberg Years

The book can be divided into two parts. The first half concentrates on Dietrich from 1901 to the last of the Joseph von Sternberg movies. The recalled detail is amazing, and frequently beggars belief. How did a young girl remember so much of her mother’s talk, page after page of it? Yet the way it is put down it is entirely convincing.

Marlene Dietrich is also written in a stunning baroque style, like a mix between Proust and Dostoyevsky. The reader is mesmerised at the beautiful descriptions. Dietrich’s make-up, dresses, furs, culinary skills, extensive film critiques, are all described with Riva’s brilliant literary ability.

Was Dietrich Complicit in Her Own Daughter’s Molestation?

Then half way through the biography a fissure occurs. In a somewhat oblique passage, Riva describes being raped by one of her mother’s female lovers. Later in the book Riva conjectures that her mother left her in a vulnerable position, with a predatory lesbian, in the hope that Riva would turn lesbian herself, and that Dietrich would thus never have to compete against a man for her daughter’s affections. Dietrich could have her daughter all to herself. This of course all sounds very far fetched to the lay reader, but Dietrich is just so plain nutty anything is possible.

As a consequence of this early molestation, Riva turned into an alcoholic. Shockingly, she at one point tells one of her mother’s lovers that ‘of course I don’t love her’. (Shades of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, where Plath’s heroine says the same of her mother.)

The Decline and Fall of Dietrich

Whereas the first half of the biography revels in the great creative partnership between Dietrich and von Sternberg, the second half shows the decline and fall of Dietrich. There are some pages where you hide behind your hands, too afraid to look.

If all that Riva writes of her mother is true, then Riva should be given the military’s highest award for bravery. It would require staggering reserves of patience just to endure one of Dietrich’s dreaded phone calls.

An example of Dietrich at her most trying: for years Riva had been needling her mother to agree to a heart operation to fix up a poor circulation problem. Riva got a doctor to warn Dietrich that she either have the operation, or face the possibility of having her legs amputated. At last Dietrich agreed to the operation. Twenty-four hours later, emerging from the haze of drugs, she starts abusing the hospital staff!

 

This is an unusual and complex biography. Riva obviously reveres Dietrich’s artistic accomplishments, the great image that Dietrich turned herself into. Riva tells us that so sharp and penetrating were her aesthetic criticisms that she should have been a director herself (remember the famous Hitchcock quip, that Dietrich was a great cameraman, a great lighting man etc.?)

And yet, clearly Marlene Dietrich was a monster, an aristocratic German rife with petty prejudices and vanities.

Any fan of Dietrich must surely read this biography. As mentioned earlier, the detail is utterly fabulous. The lengthy, Proustian paragraphs of Marlene talking, arguing, criticising, describing, holding forth on any number of topics, are riveting and convincing portraits of this extraordinary and appalling woman.

Heart disease affects nearly 30% of the U.S. population. A major contributor to heart disease is high cholesterol, occurring in nearly 100 million Americans. In addition to cholesterol-lowering drugs, treatment includes decreasing total intake of fats, saturated fats and cholesterol. However, several clinical trials show that a diet low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fats may be more effective than reducing total fat intake.

Nut consumption has been looked down upon by the healthcare industry due to the caloric and fat content. Growing epidemiological evidence is slowly changing this negative image. Nuts are rich in the following:

  • plant proteins
  • phytosterols
  • unsaturated fats
  • fiber
  • minerals (copper, magnesium, potassium)
  • vitamins (folic acid, niacin, vitamin E and B6)

FDA Recommends Eating Nuts to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a health claim stating that eating 1.5 oz/day of specific nuts may reduce heart disease risk. The specific nuts identified include:

 

  • almonds
  • hazelnuts
  • pecans
  • pistachios
  • walnuts
  • peanuts

A large body of evidence has demonstrated the protective effects of eating nuts. One study found that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts six days a week significantly reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol, decreasing risk of heart disease by approximately 18.6%. Another study showed pistachios can significantly increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol while decreasing total cholesterol and LDL. Pistachios contain ß-sitosterol, which is a phytosterol known to decrease cholesterol. Additionally, pistachios contain a large amount of arginine, which seems to relax blood vessels by increasing nitric oxide (NO) levels.

Nuts Help Reduce Heart Disease Risk in Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is known to drastically increase heart disease risk. One study focused on heart disease risk in women with type 2 diabetes who consumed nuts. The study looked at thousands of women between the years of 1980 and 2002. The results showed that eating at least five servings a week of nuts and peanut butter significantly lowered heart disease risk and heart attacks by up to 44% among women with type 2 diabetes. Of course, weight gain is always a concern, especially in diabetes. Fortunately, research has shown that eating nuts has no significant effect on weight.

Recently, a review of 25 studies focusing on the effects of nuts in cholesterol levels was completed. Total cholesterol and LDL were reduced, with no effect on HDL. Additionally, nuts decreased triglycerides in people with hypertriglyceridemia. However, the cholesterol-lowering effects were greater in people who started the study with higher LDL levels and those with a lower body mass index (BMI). Typically, intestinal absorption of cholesterol is reduced in obesity. Plant sterols in nuts work by reducing intestinal cholesterol absorption, dampening the cholesterol-lowering effects of nuts in obesity.

Nuts are slowly being recognized as a protective factor in heart disease. While studies tend to be small, mounting evidence suggest nuts may be advantageous when added onto traditional cholesterol therapies. Always speak with a doctor and pharmacist prior to starting or stopping any dietary or drug regimen.