Tuesday, January 19, 2010
After a very rough week, I'm finally NOT hungry today.
I don't know what's going on (as usual) but for the past week I've been ravenous and eating everything in sight. After a point, I just stopped tracking. Too humiliating. But the week before that, NOTHING. No hunger. Had trouble breaking a thousand calories. In fact, felt fine with 600-800.
The peaks and valleys of my appetite have been so damned extreme.
Finally, the urge to eat has left me... and pretty completely, I might add.
Is this another hormone related symptom I just have to live through?
Monday, January 18, 2010
Estrogen Use Before 65 Linked To Reduced Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease
Women who use hormone therapy before the age of 65 could cut their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or dementia. The study found women who used any form of estrogen hormone therapy before the age of 65 were nearly 50 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or dementia than women who did not use hormone therapy before age 65.
The study was part of the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study, which is a sub-study of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), one of the largest U.S. prevention studies of postmenopausal women. The study looked at prior hormone use in 7,153 healthy women ages 65-79 before they enrolled in the WHI Memory Study. Researchers followed the women's cognitive health over an average of five years.
In that time, 106 of the women developed Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Dementia is a general term referring to the progressive decline in a person's cognitive function. Dementia can affect memory, attention, language and problem solving abilities. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia.
Prior studies have shown that hormone therapy started during the WHI Memory Study increased a woman's chance of dementia. The reduced risk of dementia was seen only with prior hormone therapy, used before study enrollment. Reduced risk was not affected by other examined factors. "We found that it didn't matter how old the woman was when she started hormone therapy, how long or recently she took it or what kind of prior therapy she used," said study author Victor W. Henderson, MD, of Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
Women who began estrogen-only therapy after the age of 65 had roughly a 50-percent increased risk of developing dementia. The risk jumped to nearly double for women using estrogen-plus-progestin hormone therapy.
"Further studies are needed to support these findings and learn more about how hormone therapy affects the long-term cognitive health of women who begin use before age 65," said Henderson.
This research was presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28 -- May 5, 2007.
The National Institutes of Health and Wyeth funded the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Today I read this article on Spark.
Am I missing something? They found that 6% of the surveyed kids had tried it, and 82 kids had died from it over a 12 year period.
Is "common" accurate here?
The first time I ever heard of this I was an adult. I definitely wasn't aware of any of my schoolmates doing it.
How exactly does 6% make it COMMON? That just doesn't make any sense. It's like saying if one candidate gets 94% of the vote and the other gets 6%, it was a close race! Or "Divorce is common- six percent of marriages fail."
The article goes on to say that one in three kids- a significant number- "had heard of someone playing the choking game"... which doesn't at all coincide with the other figure. Where are all THOSE kids?
Anyone else scratching their head right now?
Monday, January 11, 2010
I wasn't around for the Furnace Final Solution- I had an appointment to keep in Florida. The day before the furnace conked out, I'd signed up for a workshop, knowing it was pretty cheap and I had a week off before school started again. Unfortunately, the day AFTER I paid the workshop enrollment fee is when the deep freeze settled in on our home.
Before I left town, we received the unsettling news that the main exhaust pipe would not come loose from the top of the furnace- a very credible statement considering the prolonged banging we'd been hearing in the basement. The technicians had managed to loosen and remove the two other connector pipes, and removed enormous blockages from both (also credible evidence: an overstuffed shop vac). It would have to be cut off. The bad news here is that there wasn't much of anything left to reattach a new pipe to- due to the age and condition of the furnace. Translation: we were buying a new furnace. The two technicians phoned their office with the prognosis, and The Boss was dispatched to discuss the options with us.
Secondly- when the chimney pipe was removed, a cursory examination of the chimney took place. This revealed that the ceramic lining of our chimney was cracked and missing in places. Translation: we would be needing chimney service, and we'd be needing it before the new furnace could be installed. Strike two.
The decision now was whether we wanted another oil furnace, or whether we wanted to switch over to a natural gas furnace. After a brief huddle, we let The Boss know we were leaning toward a system conversion, but my husband advised the technicians that he'd like to take a stab at busting the last vent pipe loose himself. Fine, said The Boss; we don't need to know tonight. However, in light of the information about our preferences, all three of the men began a room-by-room inventory of our radiators, measuring their dimensions and the number of fins on each. I felt slightly violated by the sudden and unexpected invasiveness of the procedure, but it was necessary (we were told) to produce an accurate cost estimate.
I sat on the living room sofa, feeling defeated and cold. When they were finished, the servicemen reconvened in the living room, and cautioned us not to let our pipes freeze. My husband and I looked at eachother. The servicemen offered to bleed the system for us before they left (we agreed).
I was gripped with melancholy resignation after they were gone, exacerbated by the groaning, trickling sounds of the water bleeding away from the pipes. The plaintive sounds echoed from every wall, like the Titanic sinking to her watery grave. My house had become a cold tomb for the ancient relic that had been the warm, beating heart of our home. Hearing it die was incredibly sad.
My husband spend more than two hours, first trying to WD-40 and bash loose that last pipe, then finally giving up and attempting to cut through it- but he was unsuccessful in either method. The high-pitched buzzing sounds of the Dremel biting into the pipe had our little dog tilting her head to one side and staring at the radiator, like Nipper the Victrola dog (for those old enough to remember).
Florida was not any warmer than here- but the workshop was worthwhile, and it was good seeing my Florida colleagues again. I wish I'd had more time- and better weather; but I'll be back before too long for another working vacation and another Cuban sandwich.
I've been on pins and needles waiting for grades to be posted from the fall semester. I worried that my frequent business trips, illness, and overall lack of focus would have a negative impact on my GPA. Instead of straight As, I was facing a very real possibility of earning two Bs and only one A (I was very certain of making an A in ONE class).
To my great delight, I earned three As.
We've got a brand new shiny gas furnace in our basement now- less than 1/4 the size of the behemoth that used to be there. Nice and warm again, but at a cost of close to eight thousand dollars.
It *should* save us money over the old system.
The spring semester starts today. And once again, I have increased my coarse load. Wish me luck!
Monday, January 04, 2010
Not a good time for the furnace to crap out. But then, the best time for something to break down is when you are NOT using it. Which, of course, is impossible. I'd have no way of knowing if my air conditioner was still working right now.
In truth, I started smelling (literally) trouble Saturday. Great. Just the BEST day of the week for a major appliance failure, right? I thought to myself that perhaps it smelled that way because we were out of fuel oil. I went downstairs into the basement, walked over to the oil tank, and slapped it. A hollow sounding echo came back. Well, how could that be? We'd just filled the tank... what, a month ago?
I asked my spouse to check the fuel gauge. He did, and determined that there was still half a tank. It didn't escape me that the furnace had been running HARD- I mean nonstop, for a couple of days... I knew this was atypical, but had no clue what that meant. Now, I know.
As I sit here, in my living room, shivering, laptop on the coffee table, typing out my woes, and listening to the unrelenting banging of the service technicians downstairs, I take comfort in the knowledge that my furnace has provided me reliable service since 1995 in spite of the fact that it has not been serviced since 1996. And at THAT time, the technician (an OLD man) shook his head in amazement, and quipped "I haven't seen one of those since the 1940s".
Maybe it's time....
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