Insomnia solvable, flu resistant, cancer avoidable
Health RoundUp -- The Good News and Not So Good
Both as individuals and as society we can take action to stay healthy. We trim, blend, and append three 2009 articles from: (1) US News & World Report, Mar 2, on insomnia by Michelle Andrews; (2) Reuters, Mar 2, on flu drugs by Maggie Fox; and (3) WebMD Health News, Feb 26, on cancer by Miranda Hitti.
by Miranda Hitti, by Maggie Fox, and by Michelle Andrews
Can't Sleep? Why Insomnia Shouldn't Be Ignored
The National Sleep Foundation found that nearly a third of Americans are losing sleep because they're worried about the state of the economy and its implications for their personal finances.
People who consistently get too little sleep may be at risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or psychiatric problems, particularly in women.
On average, 2 out of 3 people experience significant improvement in their sleep after either taking a sleep medication or being treated with cognitive behavior therapy, a form of talk therapy. While sleeping pills work only as long as you continue to take them, behavioral change, on the other hand, can last a lifetime.
JJS: A deeper solution could come from economic justice: eradicating one’s money worries, creating opportunities for one to do what they love for recompense, and allowing time off for diversion and rounding out oneself. To transform the economy, government must do more than track disease but also defend everyone’s rights.
Resistance to flu drug widespread in US - study
The most common strain of flu circulating in America now resists the main drug used to treat it, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Virtually all cases -- over 98% of all flu samples from the H1N1 strain -- were resistant to Roche AG's Tamiflu pill. Last flu season, only 19% of H1N1 viruses tested were Tamiflu-resistant.
Four patients infected with the resistant strain have died, including two children. This season, nine children have died from influenza, most apparently healthy before they got infected. Influenza kills 36,000 people in the US in an average year.
The quick spread of Tamiflu-resistant flu surprised doctors. The organism will continue to evolve, doctors said.
GlaxoSmithKline, which makes the rival flu drug Relenza, said there was no indication influenza viruses were resistant to its drug, used less commonly than Tamiflu.
Flu already resists two older drugs, rimantadine and amantadine. There is no indication the two other flues now circulating, H3N2 and influenza B, resist Tamiflu. The CDC recommends using a cocktail of flu drugs.
JJS: Such relentless proliferation reminds me of the story of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Instead of spreading the use of drugs, which spurs viruses to evolve ever more virulent forms, perhaps we should consider strengthening the immune system. Reducing the amount of pollution we emit into the ecosystem could help do that. And cutting pollution leads us to a new economy that’s fair and efficient for all.
1 in 3 Common Cancers May Be Preventable
About a third of common adult cancers may be preventable in the US -- and that doesn't count cancers that could be prevented by not smoking.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and its sister organization, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), estimate that in the US, eating a nutritious diet, being physically active, and keeping body fat under control may prevent:
38% of breast cancers
45% of colorectal cancers
36% of lung cancers
39% of pancreatic cancers
47% of stomach cancers
69% of esophageal cancers
63% of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, or larynx
70% of endometrial cancers
24% of kidney cancers
21% of gallbladder cancers
15% of liver cancers
11% of prostate cancers
The WCRF/AICR report recommendations include:
New neighborhoods should be designed to encourage walking and cycling.
Food and drink industries should price healthy fare competitively with other products and stop promoting sugary drinks and unhealthy foods to kids.
Media should promote cancer prevention and flag misleading cancer claims.
JJS: The reason to have government is to defend our rights. Getting away with making misleading claims about anything is wrong and liars should be punished. With enforcement, government should also use geonomics -- raise and spend public revenue sensibly.
Presently, government subsidizes agri-business, which makes junk food artificially cheap (and farmland dear). Instead of subsidizing any business, government could pay dividends to residents, similar to Alaska’s oil shares. That’d give people more money to spend on healthy food and let unhealthy food rise to its true, higher, cost.
Also, government taxes our efforts but not so much our socially-generated values, such as the value of land, which makes sprawl artificially cheap. Instead of letting speculators and owners keep the value we as a society generate, government could shift taxes off buildings, sales, and wages, onto locations, natural resources, and pollution. That’d motivate owners and developers to not waste land but build compact cities made to order for pedestrians and cyclists and a healthy lifestyle.
Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
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