C Force from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/c-force Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:07:10 -0800 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss C Force from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/c-force-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/c-force 406fe14cd48dacd3567ab1d7be16e6ec From Firestorms to the Flu, We Live in a World of Extremes for 01/19/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/01/18/from-firestorms-to-the-flu-we-live-in-a-world-of-extremes Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>One thing I expect we all can say about the past year is that, from hurricanes to droughts to wildfires, 2017 is a year defined by disaster.</p> <p>In 2017, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, at least 16 weather disasters occurred across the United States, accounting for financial losses exceeding $1 billion for each. These natural catastrophes make 2017 the most expensive year on record for disasters in the United States, according to a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report.</p> <p>Hurricane Harvey &#8212; a weather disaster my family experienced up close and personal &#8212; generated $125 billion in damage and is the year's most expensive disaster. More than 75 people died as a result of its massive flooding. We are still in the process of recovery. Much of the area underwater in late August is now being subjected to severe drought conditions. According to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly three-quarters of the state is experiencing drought or "abnormally dry" conditions. Houston had its 4th-driest November on record, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 19, 2018</p> 196c58209a9ace54d0f35b88d35d5f1c Lettuce Stop The Rise In Memory Loss for 01/12/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/01/18/lettuce-stop-the-rise-in-memory-loss Fri, 12 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>It is always encouraging to find that a lifestyle choice you are making is a correct one when it comes to protecting health. My family and I enjoy eating salads, and most recently have become especially fond of organic kale. Then along comes new research from Tufts University that assessed the dietary patterns of 1,000 seniors and found that eating plenty of leafy green vegetables every day could ward off dementia in later life.</p> <p>The study found that those who ate around one serving of leafy greens each day had brains that were the equivalent of 11 years younger than those who never (or rarely) ate the vegetables.</p> <p>Given all that we know about the benefits of diet and exercise, we should not be surprised that adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your diet is a simple way to foster positive brain health. The important takeaway from these findings is that what we are talking about is within your power &#8212; and budget &#8212; to do to slow cognitive decline that comes with aging, decline that could lead to dementia. <p>Updated: Fri Jan 12, 2018</p> 668d69e4351f60e629f926abf0f052e0 A Crowd Of Loneliness for 01/05/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/01/18/a-crowd-of-loneliness-80eb5 Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>I recently touched on our fundamental human requirement for interconnectedness as something we far too often fail to see as a basic need. What David Allan, CNN editorial director of Health and Wellness, refers to as the importance of "the decency we exchange with those around us." What happens when we lose touch with this essential need for interconnectedness? What happens when we find ourselves alone?</p> <p>Numerous studies have shown that loneliness makes our bodies feel under attack. When that happens, physical and psychological stress responses are triggered. Loneliness can increase blood pressure and cholesterol. Unrelenting loneliness can suppress immune system function as well as significantly increase a person's risk of cardiovascular disease. According to a Psychology Today report, it can even cause a person's skin temperature to drop. Scientists believe that, given all the drastic ways in which loneliness impacts our bodies, it represents as great a risk for our long-term health and longevity as smoking.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 05, 2018</p> 05f1f712d73208fc7a5fe7e9396e51d6 A Sobering Assessment As We Enter the New Year for 12/29/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/12/17/a-sobering-assessment-as-we-enter-the-new-year Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>As the toasts ring out for the New Year, let me add my best wishes to you for a long and happy life. When you consider this simple toast in view of life expectancy today, it is a declaration that should hold a lot of promise. Around a century ago, a person could expect to live about 47 years. Today, that number is closer to 80 years of life. </p> <p>At the turn of the last century, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death. With the development of vaccines, antibiotics and improvements to sanitation, the threat of infectious diseases are pretty far down the list of threats we face in our lifetime. The leading causes of death today are quite different. </p> <p>For more than a century, life expectancy has been on the upswing &#8212; until recently. For the first time in more than a half-century, life expectancy has fallen in this country during the last two consecutive years. Should that pattern continue, we would soon match a record three-year decline that occurred from 1916-1918, attributed to the worst flu pandemic in modern history.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 29, 2017</p> 7a07acfcb23cc2a5663260ebf56c3d92 The Season To Stress for 12/22/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/12/17/the-season-to-stress Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>It should be the season to be jolly, yet sadly, too many folks are describing this time of year as more stressful than magical. Welcome to what is commonly known as the "holiday blues."</p> <p>A telephone survey conducted by the American Psychological Association recently demonstrated that &#8212; compared to other times of the year &#8212; out of 786 individuals polled, 44 percent of women and 31 percent of men felt more stress during the holidays. In addition, 51 percent of women and 42 percent of men said purchasing and giving gifts only added to their distress.</p> <p>Although the holidays continue to be a time of joy for many, we must also acknowledge that the holiday season can trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are many contributing factors to such feelings. Just the time change alone is said to cause as many as a third of people with a history of a major depressive disorder to experience a worsening of their symptoms. Depression is the world's most common mental ailment, affecting approximately 16 percent of adults at some point in their lives.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 22, 2017</p> 7b903cd0a09d920e8ea0e5bfa0446950 Health Advice Seems Ever-Changing for 12/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/12/17/health-advice-seems-ever-changing Fri, 15 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Why is it that nutrition is always so confusing and conflicting? Could it be that in today's world of nutrition, everybody is selling something?</p> <p>The nutrition industry is just that: an industry. As pointed out in a 2016 U.S. News report, people in this industry are trying to make money, just like everyone else. That holds true for credible, well-educated doctors, researchers, academic institutions, dietitians, trainers and other professionals. It certainly holds true for food manufacturers with their hard-to-define labels designed to boost sales and their ability to skirt health concerns.</p> <p>Aaron E. Carroll of the New York Times recently pointed out that medical scientists and academics must publish their research to advance. Medical organizations must release health recommendations to remain relevant. News organizations feel they must report on research and recommendations as they are released; the more provocative the content the better.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 15, 2017</p> e8481a8f34a416de183d1adf15a36bd0 Does Industry Suppress News You Need To Know? for 12/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/12/17/does-industry-suppress-news-you-need-to-know Fri, 08 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Now playing on a device or flat screen near you is a series of ads &#8212; 11 years in the making &#8212; alerting viewers that tobacco companies designed cigarettes to make them more addictive. In addition, that there is no such thing as a safer cigarette; that smoking kills 1,200 people a day and, among other facts, that secondhand smoke kills more than 38,000 Americans each year. The folks at major tobacco companies are bringing these messages to you. Not by choice or act of conscious, but under the orders of the federal courts.</p> <p>In 1999, the Justice Department filed a racketeering lawsuit against tobacco companies seeking to force them to make up for decades of deception. In 2006, a U.S. District Judge ruled that tobacco companies named in the action would have to pay for and place ads outlining the facts of this deception. <p>Updated: Fri Dec 08, 2017</p> 184c213ac8baba4fd7b765af1f8977c7 The Hurdles To Healthy Living for 12/01/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/11/17/the-hurdles-to-healthy-living Fri, 01 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>If you were to walk through the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York, you might happen upon something that seems completely out of place. Before you would be a thriving three-quarter-acre urban farm filled with kids picking a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables they have planted &#8212; and are now harvesting &#8212; under the watchful eye of an adult farmer. This oasis in the urban landscape is the work of the New York chapter of Slow Food USA, a nationwide network of volunteers that educates the community about the importance of reconnecting people to the food they eat through the eyes and experiences of their children. </p> <p>Later in the day, these kids will take their harvest to a cooking class and create dishes designed to make eating fresh food fun and tasty. They are encouraged to go home and start a small garden of their own. Projects like this urban farm and today's farm-to-table movement are encouraging. But the fact remains that supermarkets continue to overwhelmingly shape our understanding of food, making us less connected to and more apathetic toward the food we eat.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 01, 2017</p> 43f0c95895403e168d9fb0cc73e01d87 Senior Citizens at Great Risk of Having Drugs Over-Prescribed for 11/24/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/11/17/senior-citizens-at-great-risk-of-having-drugs-over-prescribed Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>As noted last week, the practice of prescribing opioids to treat pain is symbolic of what has been called one of the largest shifts in the culture of medicine to occur over the past three decades, a shift that appears unrelated to any significant change in disease burden or the burden of pain in the U.S. It is part of an onslaught of new approved, highly marketed pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs. Between 1991 to 2011, the volume of new opioid formulations (including OxyContin) and opioid prescriptions in the U.S. more than tripled. As a result, we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, as opioids continue to this day to be overprescribed.</p> <p>To reverse this trend will not be easy. The idea of dropping unnecessary medications in general, or "deprescribing," began appearing in the medical literature about a decade ago. The concept seems to only now be starting to take hold as evidence intensifies about the dangers of taking multiple, perhaps unnecessary, medications. Taking five or more drugs concurrently, also known as "polypharmacy," is now a common practice.</p> <p>Geriatricians and researchers have warned for years about the potential hazards of polypharmacy and what the New York Times has referred to as "the ever-mounting pile of pills" that are being pitched to the American public. According to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, global spending on medicines will reach $1.2 trillion in 2017. Combining medications has reached disturbingly high levels among older adults.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 24, 2017</p> 8ca1ca581f9b33bcc4dfe9689ad4bda3 Opioid Epidemic Points To Bigger Problem Of Poor Regulation for 11/17/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/11/17/opioid-epidemic-points-to-bigger-problem-of-poor-regulation Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p></p><p>I recently reported on the president's declaration of the America's opioid crisis as an official public health emergency. At the time, I noted that the president was awaiting final recommendations from his commission before deciding on a plan of action for combating this growing epidemic. With input from researchers, medical professionals, recovery experts and families directly affected by opioid addiction, the commission has delivered its recommendations. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 17, 2017</p> d534fc145942e9d4997af9e0795a4eb5 Why We Are Suing Pharmaceutical Companies for 11/10/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/11/17/why-we-are-suing-pharmaceutical-companies Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Modern medicine clearly cannot cure everyone. The medical community fails a great many patients. It certainly failed my wife Gena and, as I have written, that failure very nearly killed her.</p> <p>Five years ago, Gena was given multiple routine MRIs to check on an arthritic condition. To generate a better image, a contrast dye is often injected into the area of the imaging. The chemical agent most commonly used is a heavy metal called gadolinium. These tests yielded little about arthritis, but did result in gadolinium poisoning. In theory, gadolinium should be expelled from the body through the kidneys. When gadolinium breaks into its free form before being expelled from the body, as was Gena's case, a patient can suffer adverse reactions.</p> <p>Her MRIs ultimately led to Gadolinium Deposition Disease. Gadolinium Deposition Disease has only recently become a diagnosed medical condition. Five years ago we did not know the cause of her suffering and declining health. For years, her condition remained undefined or misdiagnosed. Gena was hospitalized numerous times suffering multiple, debilitating bouts of pain and burning throughout her body. Her long-term injuries include cognitive deficits, body pain and burning, kidney damage, loss of energy and mobility, as well as difficulty breathing due to rib damage. Now, almost five-years post-gadolinium poisoning, she continues to require regular stem cell therapies and other treatments to heal her central nervous system. It has cost us more than $2 million dollars out-of-pocket for treatments to try to rid gadolinium from her body. While Gena's condition has improved, there is no known cure for Gadolinium Deposition Disease.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 10, 2017</p> 82bae6e837257e2aadc66af1b85ffd80 Curbing The Opioid Epidemic for 11/03/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/11/17/curbing-the-opioid-epidemic Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>As mentioned last week, the obesity epidemic affects us all, from the individual to society. According to research by the World Obesity Federation, in 2014 the U.S. paid $325 billion per year to treat cancers, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and other health issues linked to being severely overweight or obese. Unless significant action is taken to address the epidemic, this figure is expected to reach $555 billion by 2025. The study concludes that, between 2017 and 2025, the total expenditure for health care in America for obesity-related illness could reach as high as $4.2 trillion.</p> <p>As we have learned recently, it is not the only epidemic we need to get ahead of as a society.</p> <p>In a speech on October 26, the president declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. Though different than declaring a national state of emergency in terms of scale and resources, declaring the opioid problem a national emergency expands the availability of federal funding. It also frees up public health workers to address the issue and directs all federal agencies to use their authority to cut the numbers of opioid deaths in this country. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 03, 2017</p> 0a8bf813f770b3a1686f3b6e22aed0cc High Price We'll All Pay For Obesity for 10/27/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/10/17/high-price-well-all-pay-for-obesity Fri, 27 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Perhaps the biggest disappointment about the latest news on obesity rates in this country, is that they are continuing to rise at all, even slightly. It was fully expected by health officials that the numbers would begin trending downward. After all, when the government and public health community made it a national priority to reduce smoking years ago, the commitment generated results. Today only an estimated 15 percent of Americans smoke, down from a high of 42 percent in the 1960s.</p> <p>We have been prodding people in one way or another for decades to change their behaviors when it comes to eating and exercise &#8212; with little results to show from it. As pointed out in a special report in the publication Harvard Public Health, just substituting whole grains for refined grains can lead to a loss of nearly 100 calories a day. Not only that, but whole grains speed up metabolism, cutting the number of calories that the body hangs on to. This single adjustment to diet will also change the digestibility of other foods on the plate. Substituting brown rice for white rice, or barley for pita bread, can produce a health benefit the equivalent of a brisk 30-minute walk.</p> <p>While theories abound about the benefits of exercise, it is safe to say that avoiding sedentary behavior or prolonged bouts of sedentary behavior is good for you. It is generally an accepted fact that the harmful effects of excess weight are offset by exercise. We know, for example, studies show that exercise seems to cancel out the negative effects of weight when it comes to heart disease. <p>Updated: Fri Oct 27, 2017</p> ba56838570ad57309b6857e5ef5ca263 Obesity Reaches Highest Level Ever for 10/20/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/10/17/obesity-reaches-highest-level-ever Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I have often written about obesity. As I report on unfolding news of the struggle to solve this ongoing health crisis, I try to balance this coverage out with other health issues, news and concerns. After all, it seemed we are on the right path in addressing some of the root problems of the obesity epidemic. Sales of fast food and sugary drinks are declining. In 2016, for the first time, Americans were consuming more bottled water than soda. Industry is finally scaling back on junk food ads to children, as well as ratcheting back on the sugar levels of products peddled to kids. Children's school lunches are healthier than ever, we are told.</p> <p>Then comes this wakeup call - according to research findings recently released by the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 40 percent of adults and 19 percent of young people in this country are currently obese. This represents the highest rate the country has ever seen and there appears to be no indication that this spiking statistic will be slowing down any time soon.</p> <p>According to the new study, there has been a 30 percent increase in adult obesity and 33 percent increase in youth obesity between data from 1999-2000 to 2015-16. When you measure this against a 2010 government-focused efforts to improve the health of Americans and reduce obesity (a program known as "Healthy People 2020"), the results add up to a depressing failure.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 20, 2017</p> f8c32a4407876cc3fa3a8c92a80a9007 Health Issues of Rural America for 10/13/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/10/17/health-issues-of-rural-america Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In the initial weeks following Hurricane Irma, people in the most rural parts of Florida worried they would be overlooked and forgotten. Many in the least populated counties swept up in the massive relief efforts had never received services from state and federal government agencies before. According to Kevin Smith, an area commander for the Salvation Army in Florida, they didn't pop up on anybody's radar and rescuers didn't know how significant their needs were until they reached them.</p> <p>According to the Center for Disease Control and prevention, nearly 46 million Americans, 15 percent of the U.S. population, currently live in rural areas in this country. That their needs are different from urban areas may not be news to you, nor the fact that people in remote areas often feel overlooked and forgotten. What you might be shocked to find is that there currently exists a striking gap in health between rural and urban Americans. A rural-urban disparity in life expectancy and mortality is increasing at an alarming rate.</p> <p>As pointed out in a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, residents of rural areas in the United States tend to be older and sicker than city folks. They have higher rates of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity. They have higher rates of poverty, less access to healthcare and are less likely to have health insurance. They are also more likely to die from the leading causes of death in this country than urbanites. <p>Updated: Fri Oct 13, 2017</p> 5d7f2ec8e705bba9e769664c00b4fcb2 Turning To The Power Of The Mind In Treating Pain for 10/06/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/10/17/turning-to-the-power-of-the-mind-in-treating-pain Fri, 06 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Last week I touched on the need for modern science to look beyond standard research and standard therapy in finding approaches that will not only successfully treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but also create a pathway to a life of greater serenity than before its onset.</p> <p>As pointed out by author Matthew Green, it remains uncertain how psychological trauma damages structures in the brain bringing on PTSD. What is clear is that the brain's defenses are much easier to switch on than they are to switch off &#8212; even long after the trauma has passed. </p> <p>One thing that the neuroscience of trauma has done is make an invisible injury both visible and real. It has also sparked a closer look at nondrug treatments for all manner of recurrent pain.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 06, 2017</p> add280aef0bcf40c976a1f8f3e0c9e25 The Storm Has Passed for 09/29/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/09/17/the-storm-has-passed Fri, 29 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Last week I talked about how once an extreme weather event passes, people in the affected areas are not out of harm's way. Emerging health hazards often follow these events. According to Dr. Asim Shah, chief of the division of community psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, approximately 10 percent of people who live through a natural disaster such hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria will experience symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) within six months of the hurricane's passing. Many who suffer will never seek help. </p> <p>In a CBS News report, Dr. Shay also notes that children present a unique challenge in these situations, because PTSD symptoms manifests differently in kids than in adults. PTSD also does not develop immediately. Its symptoms usually take a month to set in. This places many of those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the middle of a critical period.</p> <p>As we now know all too well based on the experiences of our military veterans, PTSD is a condition that can lead to a wide spectrum of devastating symptoms, from bouts of overpowering anxiety, to mind-consuming despair, to emotional numbness and distancing from loved ones, to night terrors and uncontrollable rage.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 29, 2017</p> c443945b4d3985f7b2abcf6c36f34b6a Health And Safety Remain A Concern Long After Hurricanes Pass for 09/22/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/09/17/health-and-safety-remain-a-concern-long-after-hurricanes-pass Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Following flooding in cities from Jacksonville, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina, the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Irma continue to mount. Millions throughout the southwest remain without power. Though recovery efforts have just begun, the hard hit Florida Keys is beginning to reopen to residents. They are being told that, until further notice, they will have to be completely self-sufficient.</p> <p>Officials agonized over the decision to reopen the Keys. They ultimately sided with the desperate need of residents to assess damage to the area and their property over the harsh living conditions those who choose to return will face, as well as health and safety issues. Such decisions are but one challenging judgment call made that goes beyond the area's detailed hurricane plan.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 22, 2017</p> 0ad40214fd9dd57a7f5a29c6a1726fdb Finding A True Sense Of Community In The Wake Of Hurricanes for 09/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/09/17/finding-a-true-sense-of-community-in-the-wake-of-hurricanes Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Along with my wife, Gena, our hearts and prayers go out to Floridians and all those suffering from the devastating impact and aftermath of Hurricane Irma. At last report, more than a quarter of Florida's population have still been ordered to evacuate their homes. With Texans just beginning to deal with the recovery for Hurricane Harvey, it breaks our hearts to watch our Florida friends &#8212; as well as those in their neighboring states &#8212; go through similar suffering.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose, the fifth hurricane of the 2017 season, is said to be gaining strength in the Atlantic as graphics and terrifying images of destruction and the human toll of Irma's aftermath continue to rain down on us. They are a constant, seen up close and personal, through media. And with each image and update, our sense of fear and foreboding continues to mount. Irma is just the latest in a series of worries and concerns confronting us, from wildfires raging out west to Mexico's biggest earthquake in a century. Add to this backdrop of natural disasters, the rumbling in the media of the threat of nuclear war.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 15, 2017</p> 2de87d15da88a767a17a6ef3dd2ce9da Facts On Inflammation And Final Thoughts On Hurricane Harvey for 09/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/c-force/09/17/facts-on-inflammation-and-final-thoughts-on-hurricane-harvey Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>What do broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, grapes, cherries, avocados and olives, as well as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies, all have in common? They are foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties. It is important to keep these foods in mind the next time you visit the grocery store. As many of you might already know, inflammation is considered a major contributor to the onset of numerous health conditions. It is now one of the hottest buzzwords in medical science, pointed to as a culprit in causing or aggravating conditions ranging from autism to Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>Consuming high amounts of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup is believed to be particularly bad for you. It can lead to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity. Consuming refined carbohydrates, certain packaged foods, and processed meat can produce inflammatory effects on the body. Many non-dietary factors can also promote inflammation such as an inactive lifestyle. In short, an unhealthy lifestyle can be a fast track to chronic inflammation.</p> <p>The point I am trying to make is that there are a number of choices to make directly within your power that can reduce the threat of chronic inflammation. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet and active lifestyle, for example, has proven effective in doing so and in improving a person's overall health.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 08, 2017</p>