Thursday, April 25, 2013

Multi-tasking bad for brain and makes for less effective employees

I've had a hypothesis for years after reading a similar article to this one (see link) a few years back.  The hypothesis is that many adults who either are diagnosed or self diagnose themselves with Attention Deficit Disorder don't have a disorder - they simply have to multi-task too much in their jobs or they don't have to, but they do.  Think about how much better you perform and how many fewer errors you make when you are  have the time, focus, and lack of distractions and competing demands to work on one important project.  Baseball players aren't expected to hit and field at the same time, basketball players don't have to play offense and defense at the same time, etc.   Multi-tasking continues to be shown to be harmful to the human brain and there is a known correlation between how much workers multi-task and how ineffective and error-prone they are when performing their work.

See this article

Monday, April 8, 2013

Red Meat and Carnitine - creating TMAO - culprit in heart disease?

Thanks to both my Dad and my writing instructor David Morgan for sending me today's New York Times article entitled "Culprit in Heart Disease Goes Beyond Meat's Fat." 

In the article, Gina Kolata details a study led by Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic.  The researchers were testing a new hypothesis that the real culprit in meat that contributes to heart disease is a chemical (carnitine) "burped" out by bacteria in the intestines after people eat red meat that then is converted in by the liver into another chemical called TMAO that gets into the blood and increases the risk of heart disease. 

Interestingly, the researchers found that after eating red meat - the meat eaters in the study had a burst of TMAO in their blood but participating Vegans DID NOT.  Additional studies by the researchers further showed the nexus between TMAO and heart disease and that meat eaters have higher levels of TMAO in their blood than vegetarians and vegans.

The study is important because it indicates that the association between red meat consumption and heart disease is likely not just related to the levels of saturated fat and cholesterol in red meat but these chemicals and the physiological processes described above that convert one into another.  While also found in foods like fish, chicken, and even dairy products - red meat contains the largest quantities of carnitine.   

What surprised the researchers the most was that TMAO levels DID NOT surge after the participating VEGANS ate the red meat.   Virtually NO TMAO appeared in the vegans' blood after consuming the red meat. 

It's Not Rocket Science -- even the lead researcher Dr. Hazen has modified his own dietary habits such that he no longer eats 12 ounces of red meat several times a week.  Now he eats red meat only once every two weeks and has no more than 4 to 6 ounces at a time.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Compelling Information/Videos of former smoker Terrie (CDC) - message=DON'T SMOKE

I saw this CDC commercial tonight that, let me tell you, is so impactful about this lady's story that I felt compelled to just introduce it and include the link.  If this doesn't convince smokers NOT TO SMOKE, I doubt anything would or will.

CDC's Tips from Former Smokers (Terrie)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stress and Weight/Ways to Reduce Stress

When it comes to weight loss - for the most part, It's Not Rocket Science.  Expend more calories than you consume.  It's not always that easy though.  A thyroid condition may significantly affect your metabolism, for instance.  Another factor may be the fact that you are stressed out and ineffectively managing stress.  There is a stress hormone, Cortisol, that can effect your weight.  If your body is constantly in a state of stress or you go through a period of ongoing stress, the continually elevated cortisol 1.) contributes to craving for high caloric and fatty and sugary foods, 2.) makes your body more resistant to insulin which then contributes to fat storage,  and 3.) contributes to fat being relocated from other areas of your body to your abdominal area.  There is also an enzyme called 11-beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase-1 or HSD that exists all throughout your body and converts an inactivive form of corisol (cortisone) back into cortisol (contributing to the higher abdominal fat buildup). 

There is really only one suggestion to try to keep your cortisol levels under control - figure out ways to keep your body from staying in a state of constant stress. 

1.  Don't sweat the Small Stuff - You really need to prioritize things and let other things go if they are stressing you out so much that your health is being negatively impacted.
2.  Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
3.  Breathe and laugh -  sounds like common sense but alot of folks forget.
4.  Realize that you can't do it all and don't be afraid to ask for help - you are no good to anyone if you're no longer around.
5.  Don't be so hard on yourself.
6.  Try things like meditation, yoga, and massage therapy.
7.  Have balance in your life.
8.  Know how to unwind/wind down/relax - it could be as easy as a hot bath or a glass of wine at night.
9.  Exercise - it helps lower cortisol levels.
10.  Eat a healthy diet.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Diabetes Alert Day (Today Tuesday March 26th)

What better day to make and follow some It's Not Rocket Science Resolutions than the American Diabetes Association's 25th annual Diabetes Alert Day - today Tuesday March 26th.  Today, the American Diabetes Association challenges everyone to take the Diabetes Risk Test at  It contains algorithms that will enable you to assess your risk for Type II Diabetes.  You can also participate in the test at or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.  If you don't get to it today, it will still be there tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and so on.

Twenty-six million people have diabetes and 7 million of those don't even realize they have it. Studies show that Type II diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of bodyweight through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day for 5 days a week) and healthy eating. 

So, 1.) take the Diabetes Risk Test to know your risk and 2.) take care of yourself.  Have a great day. Remember, It's Not Rocket Science.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Brand new research on salt and sugary drinks (from Harvard)

Harvard scientists this week released research findings from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study that included 303 medical institutions from 50 countries around the world.  Some of their significant findings included:

  • Eating too much salt lead to the deaths of 2.3 million people across the world in just 1 year.  Although the U.S. Government recommends a maximum of 2300 milligrams a day and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1500 milligrams a day to avoid risk for heart disease and stroke, the researchers said that 1000 milligrams per day or less is optimal.  As noted in one of our chapters in It's Not Rocket Science: 52 Resolutions - the body needs FAR less salt than even that.  American Heart Association Surveys show that Americans average about 3,400 milligrams a day.
  • 60% of cardiovascular deaths linked to salt intake occurred in men and 40% in women.
  • Heart attacks were the cause of death in 40% of the sodium related deaths, stroke another 40% and other types of heart disease made up the rest.
  • About 40% of the deaths occurred in those under 69 years of age.
  • The United States' research showed 429 deaths per one million U.S. adults linked to eating too much salt - about 1 in 10 U.S. deaths.
Sugary Drinks

  • Drinking sugary drinks was linked to 180,000 obesity related deaths worldwide in 2010 including the deaths of about 25,000 Americans.
  • Overall, 1 in 100 deaths of obese people globally can be blamed on too many sweetened beverages.
  • Of the 2010 deaths linked to sugar sweetened soft drinks, fruit juices, or sports beverages - 132,000 deaths were from diabetes, 44,000 from cardiovascular disease, and 6,000 from Cancer
Kim and I have chapters in It's Not Rocket Science:  52 Resolutions on both of these topics.  For more, go to - buy the book and see Chapters 12, 14, and even 49.

On another note related to information in the public domain this week that we addressed in the book, April's Prevention Magazine features an article called "Meet Your Future" about telomeres - the topic of our book's chapter 29.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New information about Alzheimer's and a great resource (Power Foods book)

A lot of new information about Alzheimer's Disease is out today -

  • It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th leading cause of death of people over 65 (and the only one of the leading killers to have no identified good treatment)
  • 1 in 3 Seniors dies with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia
  • Deaths from Alzheimer's Disease increased 68% between 2000 and 2010 (85,000 people died from it in 2011)
  • More than 5 million people have it (5.2)
  • 13.8 million people is a projected number of people who could have it by 2050 (1 in 85 people)
  • People who have Alzheimer's have a greatly increased risk of dying from it within 10 years (only 30 percent of 70 year olders who don't have it die before their 80th birthday but 61% of them are expected to die before 80 if they do have it  or some form of dementia) 
  • The health care costs of those with Alzheimer's was $200 billion last year and is expected to rise to $203 billion this year and $1.2 trillion by 2050
Sources:  Alzheimer's Association
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alzheimer's is the fastest growing health threat in the United States according to a another study by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Fortunately, there is a GREAT new book out by Dr. Neal Barnard ( called Power Foods For the Brain that contains all the most important research and studies and delivers a program to boost brain health, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, stroke and other less serious brain malfunctions.  Barnard, the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, lays out a 3 step plan to protect your mind and strengthen your memory.