August 11, 2008

Barbeques and Carcinogens

Filed under: By Tamra Rosenfeld — Administrator @ 9:56 pm

  Tamra Rosenfeld

The way you barbeque may release harmful cancer causing agents (carcinogens) into your food.  These carcinogens are released when smoke is created when fat drips onto a heat source.  These carcinogens cover our food when the smoke rises. Another carcinogen is created when meat is overcooked or charred.  Here are some tips to reduce carcinogens when you barbeque:

•           Cook meat at a lower temperature to prevent charring.

           Marinating meat allows it to tenderize, adds flavor, and reduces the cancer causing elements.

           Make kabobs to reduce cooking time and to cook meats more evenly.  

•           Precook meat prior to barbequing and finish on the grill for flavor and grill lines.

•           Cover the grate with punctured aluminum foil to prevent flames from touching the food and drippings.

•           Trim fat from meats, cook chicken with the skin and then remove the skin prior to eating.

•           Grill plenty of vegetables – grilling vegetables does not release cancer causing compounds.  You can even grill fruit too!

August 8, 2008


Filed under: By Paul Jason — Administrator @ 6:20 pm
  Paul Jason  

Chapter 14: “Get Out and Stay Out”
By the fourth day after the surgery, Saturday, April 8, 2000,  I could get on and off the hospital bed myself, but with great difficulty and pain.  My left leg was swollen to a girth one and a half times the size of my right leg, from the inner mid-thigh down to the ankle.  My breathing was shallow, and my wired chest was very unstable.
You may remember that I said in an earlier chapter that the thoracic surgeon told me that, barring unforeseen complications, I would be discharged from the hospital four and one-half days after the surgery. Well, on that fourth day one of my physical therapists came to visit me. She said that her mission was to be sure that I could walk, and that I knew how to negotiate steps.  She explained that since my left leg was temporarily incapacitated, I would have to go up and down steps one at a time, leading always with my stronger right leg.  So, for example, if I were to go down a flight of stairs, I was to descend from step to step by lowering my right foot to the step first, and then bringing my left foot down.  Conversely, to mount a flight of stairs   I was to ascend to each level by stepping first with my right foot, and then bringing my left foot to that level. Sounds easy enough (a child can do it), until you take into consideration the feeble breathing, general weakness and aching chest factors.

I believe that it was sometime during that fourth day that a PA (Physician’s Assistant) appeared in my room and announced that he was there to remove the tubes that were still protruding from my body.  I had tried to ignore them during the past couple of days, while the inevitability of their removal buried itself within the recesses of my mind. Moreover, they were camouflaged amongst the millions of little surgical strips that covered my wounds.

To the best of my recollection, I still had two tubes right below my breastbone which had served to drain the fluid that collects around the heart after this surgery, and a third tube located just below and to the left of my breastbone, in the rib cage area, to drain any fluid which collects in the chest cavity.  What these tubes drained into I cannot tell you.  In fact, that’s the very point: there are so many things hanging from your body during those first days; so many debilitating things going on with your body and mind; so many thoughts and pains darting back and forth,  that simple, probing questions that curious minds usually entertain, such as where those drains empty, are blotted out from conscious thought.   

Up to that moment it never occurred to me that anyone other than my surgeon would be removing from my body anything that had been inserted during surgery.  But that PA was on a mission and anything I had to say on the matter was of no concern to him.  Not knowing whether I should brace myself, I asked him if this was going to hurt; “Not much” he replied. Easy for him to say.  I was laying on my bed. With aplomb, he grabbed hold of one of those tubes and started to pull. I couldn’t look.  From the sensation it felt like he withdrew two feet of tubing, although I’m sure it was much, much shorter. Then he went on to the second tube, and then the third.  I couldn’t believe what was coming out of me.  He dressed the wounds and left. The whole procedure probably lasted five minutes.

Well, it was becoming apparent that they really were determined to discharge me on the next day.  I couldn’t believe it.  Could I really function outside the confines of this hospital so soon?  Given the state of my mobility, I questioned how I would be able to get home and into the house.  My “significant other” was making arrangements to come to the hospital with a friend and to drive me home.  How would I get to the car?  How would I get into it?  How would I get out of it?

Sunday morning, April 9, 2002,  it started to snow.  That’s right, snow. A little late in the year for snow in New York City, but you can look it up.  I limped out to the hallway window (remember, the dividing curtain in the center of the hospital room was never drawn back,  so I could never see the room window) and watched the flakes coming down… slowly at first, and then more frequently.  By 11:00 a.m., snow was beginning to accumulate on the ground.

“They’ll never release me on a day like today,” I thought to myself.  “How can they expect me to go outside, as unsteady and unstable as I am, and travel home? What happens if the car gets stuck in the snow?  I’m not physically capable of maneuvering myself out of any  situation.”  These thoughts raced through my mind.
My significant other had the same thoughts, and she called me to express them.  Should she drive the long distance to the hospital in this weather?  Should I be exposed to such harsh weather so soon after such critical surgery?

I hobbled to the Nurse’s Station and made inquiry regarding my impending discharge. “Oh, yes” I was advised, “you are scheduled to leave the hospital as soon as your cardiologist arrives to examine you.”  My cardiologist?  Well, thank God . . . I can’t imagine that he’ll let me out in this weather.

How wrong I was. In fact, it was not my cardiologist, but one of his partners, who appeared that day.  I expressed my concern as he was examining me.  He declared me fit for discharge, downplayed my fears, and told me to go home.  He wrote prescriptions to be filled at an outside pharmacy that day, wished me well, and left.  Boy, I wished I was as optimistic as he was.

I guess the moral to the story, if there is any, is that modern American medicine is controlled by the insurance companies, HMOs, managed care services, etc., and that, short of a catastrophe, my post-operative days in the hospital were pre-ordained and carved in stone.

The “Discharge Plan/Instructions” sheet that was delivered to me by an RN indicated that my blood pressure was currently 102/60, my body temperature was 99.4 degrees F. and my pulse was 84.  All of my medications, their dosages and frequency of ingestion were listed there.  It also advised me to call for medical assistance if I experienced chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, redness or discharge on my incision sites, fever, “etc.”  In case of an emergency, call 911.  An emergency?  How the hell would I know what an emergency is.  To me, this is an emergency!!!

Tired, weak and faced with the inevitable conclusion that the insurance company bean counters would dictate my exit from this medical facility, I phoned my significant other, told her what had happened, and asked her to please come and get me.

To be continued…

August 5, 2008

Shake Up Your Routine With Whole Body Vibration Training.

Filed under: By Michael Caceci — Administrator @ 3:53 pm

   Michael Caceci

 Part I.

It may not be conclusive yet, but there is growing scientific evidence to support the efficacy of whole body vibration (WBV) training. A study conducted by the Exercise Physiology and Bio mechanics Laboratory of Leuven, Belgium found that WBV training was as effective as standard resistance training in improving strength and speed in older women. These improvements came without concomitant increases in cardiovascular risk factors. So, for people with physical limitations that make standard resistance training impractical, WBV training offers a healthy alternative to prevent the sarcopenia associated with aging. Preventing the age related loss of muscle mass known as sarcopenia is important, because the loss of muscle tissue could lead to a loss in the ability to support yourself as well as maintain your stability. This loss in support and stability could predispose people to falls. This loss of muscle tissue is also associated with a decline in metabolism. While WBV training may or may not increase your metabolic rate, it could help you maintain the muscle you have. Maintaining the muscle tissue you have would prevent any decrease in metabolism due to its loss.  But to think that WBV training is useful just for the geriatric population would be a mistake, because just about anybody could benefit by adding this modality to their training. Also, WBV training may be useful in improving flexibility and body composition too, but there will be more on this in subsequent blogs. For now, let me start with an explanation of just how WBV training works.

WBV training stimulates muscle spindles. Muscle spindles are special sensory organs that lie between regular muscle fibers. Muscle spindles consist of approximately 4-20 specialized fibers known as intrafusal fibers. Regular muscle fibers are known as extrafusal fibers. A connective tissue sheath surrounds the muscle spindles and attaches to the endomysium of the muscle fibers. Intrafusal fibers are controlled by gamma motor neurons. In comparison, extrafusal fibers are controlled by alpha motor neurons. The central region of the muscle spindle cannot contract, because it contains little or no actin or myosin. The muscle spindle can only stretch, but since it is attached to the extrafusal fibers anytime they stretch the muscle spindle is stretched too. Special nerve endings in the muscle spindle send information to the spinal cord when they are stretched, which informs the central nervous system (CNS) of the muscle’s length. If the CNS detects that the stretch is too much, it sends an impulse to the muscle to contract.

Anyone who has been to their doctor’s office for a physical has seen muscle spindles in action. It is known as a reflex test. When the doctor taps you on the knee he is stretching your patella tendon. The muscle spindles sense this overstretching and send the information to your CNS. The CNS processes this information and then sends an impulse back to the muscle forcing it to contract. We all know what happens when we are tapped on the knee. The quadriceps muscles contract forcing extension of the distal leg. As you can see, stimulating muscle spindles can cause your muscles to contract. If your muscles are contracting they are working. Now you can understand the reason for optimism in WBV training. As I mentioned earlier WBV training can be useful for more than just strength training, but there will be more on this in ensuing blogs. 


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