Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Crutchfield Dermatology of Minneapolis claims copyright in everything you write, forever, to keep you from posting complaints on the net

05 Nov
An anonymous reader writes,
Crutchfield Dermatology, in the Minneapolis area, requires its patients to give them the copyright for everything they write on the Internet, in exchange for service. The provision is in an agreement called: "No Show and Cancellation Policy, Patient Satisfaction Agreement, Privacy Protection and Assignment of Copyright Policy." Basically, the company doesn't want its patients saying bad things about it on the Internet. So it demands:

"In consideration for your medical care and the additional patient protection, described above, by signing this document you or your legal ward agree to refrain from direct or indirect publication or airing of commentary about Crutchfield Dermatology and Dr. Crutchfield's practice, expertise or treatment except in the manner provided in the preceeding Patient Satisfaction Agreement Procedures. You recognize that Crutchfield Dermatology has made significant investments to develop Crutchfield Dermatology's practice and reputation for outstanding care, and that published comments on the internet or through mass correspondence may severely damage Crutchfield Dermatology's practice. By this agreement, you grant all copyright ownership in any and all published statements, comments, blog postings, and any other communication made by you outside of the Patient Satisfaction Agreement Procedures. You further agree that Cruthfield Dermatology is entitled to equitable relief to prevent the initiation or continuation of publishing or airing of such commentary regarding Crutchfield Dermatology's practice, expertise, or treatment."

Giving them copyright over things I write about them is bad enough; giving them copyright over everything I write turns me into an indentured servant. And, of course:

"Crutchfield Dermatology reserves the right to modify any policies without notice."

Crutchfield Dermatology


Muscles Remember Past Glory

16 Aug

Pumping up is easier for people who have been buff before, and now scientists think they know why — muscles retain a memory of their former fitness even as they wither from lack of use.

sciencenewsThat memory is stored as DNA-containing nuclei, which proliferate when a muscle is exercised. Contrary to previous thinking, those nuclei aren’t lost when muscles atrophy, researchers report online August 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The extra nuclei form a type of muscle memory that allows the muscle to bounce back quickly when retrained.

The findings suggest that exercise early in life could help fend off frailness in the elderly, and also raise questions about how long doping athletes should be banned from competition, says study leader Kristian Gundersen, a physiologist at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Muscle cells are huge, Gundersen says. And because the cells are so big, more than one nucleus is needed to supply the DNA templates for making large amounts of the proteins that give muscle its strength. Previous research has demonstrated that with exercise, muscle cells get even bigger by merging with stem cells called satellite cells, which are nestled between muscle fiber cells. Researchers had previously thought that when muscles atrophy, the extra nuclei are killed by a cell death program called apoptosis.

Memory holding nuclei on muscle fiber light up in green.

In the new study, Gundersen’s team simulated the effect of working out by making a muscle that helps lift the toes work harder in mice. As the muscle worked, the number of nuclei increased, starting on day six. Over the course of 21 days, the hard-working muscle increased the number of nuclei in each fiber cell by about 54 percent. Starting on day nine, the muscle cells also started to plump up, adding an extra 35 percent to their volume. Those results indicate that the nuclei come first and muscle mass is added later.

In another set of experiments, the researchers worked the mice’s muscles for two weeks and then severed nerves leading to the muscle so the tissue would atrophy. As the muscle atrophied, the cells deflated to about 40 percent of their bulked-up volume, but the number of nuclei in the cells did not change.

These results contradict previous studies that show lots of cell death in muscles during atrophy. Gunderson’s team examined individual cells in the wasting muscles and found that there is apoptosis going on, but that other cells are dying, not the muscle fibers or their extra nuclei. The extra nuclei stick around for at least three months — a long time for a mouse, which lives a couple of years on average, Gundersen says.

“I don’t know if it lasts forever,” he says, “but it seems to be a very long-lasting effect.” Since the extra nuclei don’t die, they could be poised to make muscle proteins again, providing a type of muscle memory, he says.

“That’s fascinating thinking, and there’s nice proof in this article to support it,” says Bengt Saltin, a muscle physiologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. “It’s really novel and helps to explain descriptive findings that muscles are quick to respond upon further training.”

The study is likely to provoke strong reaction from some researchers, says Lawrence Schwartz, a cell biologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“It does fly in the face of a lot of peer-reviewed, published data,” he says. But the selective death of just some of the nuclei in a muscle cell would require a special kind of apoptosis. “The conventional wisdom doesn’t make much sense from a cell and molecular perspective,” Schwartz says. Gunderson’s group has come up with an explanation that seems more plausible. “Their data just feels right.”

If the results hold up in people, sports agencies may want to reconsider how long they ban athletes suspended for taking steroids. Previous research has shown that testosterone boosts the number of nuclei in muscle cells beyond the amount produced by working out. “If you have nuclei that last forever, then you would also have an advantage that could last forever,” Gundersen says.

Well, maybe not exactly forever. As people age, their ability to build muscle mass declines. The new study suggests that pumping muscles full of nuclei early in life could help stave off muscle loss with age. “This could be an argument for mandatory physical training in schools,” Saltin says.

See Also:

Images: 1) left to right: Nubret, Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, ca. 1975. Flickr/d_vdm. 2) J.C. Bruusgaard/University of Oslo


“Studies Recommend Surgery For You” (But The Studies Can’t Be Found) [Health]

08 Sep

Seth Robert's doctor discovered he had a tiny hernia and referred him to a general surgeon, who recommended surgery. Seth, a psychology professor at UC Berkely and author of The Shrangri-La Diet, asked why. "It could get worse," she said. "Why is it better to have surgery than not," asked Seth. "Surgery is dangerous, expensive, and time-consuming." The surgeon said clinical trials showed the benefits of this surgery. "Just use Google, you'll find them." Seth tried to find them. His mom, who does medical searching as her job, couldn't find any completed clinical trials.

When he told the surgeon that he couldn't find the studies, she said, "Well find some and copy them for you." Over a month later, the studies had never materialized. Perhaps they don't exist.

Maybe the doctor is just lazy or busy or misinformed or didn't feel like having Seth as a patient, or maybe she wanted to bill for unnecessary surgery. Either way, it's important to ask your doctor questions about the procedures and care they advise, and ask for evidence and more information to back up their recommendations, especially when you're unsure about their efficacy.

(Photo: aesop)

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The Best Tech Tools and Fitness Plans to Get in Shape [Fitness]

22 Jul

If there’s one thing geeks and non-geeks alike all share, it’s an aversion to exercise. No matter how much you’d like to slim your waistline and lose the belly, it’s difficult to find a workout routine that not only works, but one that fits your needs and is easy to stick to. Over the years we’ve covered several fitness plans along with free and cheap technology to help you get in shape and stick to a training plan, and I’ve used many of these tools to help run two marathons. Read on for a look at the most simple yet effective plans we've covered—along with the best tech tools to help you get and stay in shape. Photo by luiginter.

This isn’t a “How to lose 200 pounds in a year” article, but it could be. Despite the proliferation of diet plans and expensive exercise equipment, the key to fitness is and always will be healthy eating, portion control, and a solid exercise routine. (But, a solid exercise routine need not be hard or expensive.) Here are some of the tips and tools we’ve covered at Lifehacker over the years, many of which I use regularly.

From Couch to 5k to Marathon

If you’ve never done much running or exercise, getting started can be a bear. The key is baby steps, and the Couch to 5k running plan gets you ready to run your first 5k (that’s three miles) in just six weeks. (Original post)

chicago-marathon.pngIf you’re beyond the 5k, I’d recommend giving a marathon a try at least once (or, if that seems a touch ambitious, a half marathon). Twenty-six miles may seem insane, but if you can run a 5k, you can probably do a marathon. Running expert and writer Hal Higdon’s free marathon training guides are a perfect place to get started, and when the marathon actually comes around, check out how I hacked the Chicago marathon. Photo by Chicago Producers.

Zero to One Hundred Push-Ups in Six Weeks

push-up.pngWhether you like doing them or not, the push-up belongs in your fitness routine. Unfortunately the push-up has always been a difficult nut to crack, not least of which because of the embarrassment of hardly being able to finish a small set. Much like the Couch to 5k running plan, web site One Hundred Push Ups provides workout routines designed to take you from zero to one hundred push-ups in six weeks. The push-up works your whole body, which means whether you take the 100 push-up route or not, it’s worth integrating into your workout routine. (Original post)

Work Your Entire Body with a Sledgehammer

Probably the most embarrassing part of my workout routine (at least when I’m explaining it) involves shovelgloving, a daily, full-body workout that requires just 14 minutes and a sledgehammer wrapped in a sweatshirt. The brainchild of a guy who just wanted an exercise routine he could do from the comfort of his bedroom, shovelgloving is a surprisingly effective exercise routine for working your entire body. Shovelglove exercises are also fun to do, incorporating old-timey routines like the butter-churn, wood-chop, and (naturally) shovel. (Original post)

Map Your Workout

Whether you’re running, biking, hiking, or skipping, mapping your workout is an excellent way to track what you’ve done, workouts you’ve enjoyed, and even calories you’ve burned.

My go-to tool for this purpose has always been MapMyRun, a site with a huge set of features for setting up a training plan, mapping your runs, calculating the calories you’ve burned, and more. The site’s massive feature set has made it a little more intimidating for first-time users, but if all you want to do is quickly map out a run, just jump straight to the route creation tool. (Original post)

trailrunner.pngIf you’re not keen on the web-based route, the Mac-only TrailRunner is an incredible desktop application that tackles many of the same features with a quick and very attractive interface. TrailRunner even integrates with Nike+ iPod, Google Earth, and your GPS (though MapMyRun does GPS, too).

Pick the Right Running Shoes

running-shoes.pngIf you’ve decided to take a serious stab at running, the only significant, unavoidable expense is shoes. Sure you could just stick with your aging pair of gym shoes, but running is hard on your body, and a good pair of running shoes can go a long way toward preventing injury and keeping you comfortable while you run, which also means you’re more likely to stick with your workout. With that in mind, it’s important to know how to pick the right running shoe for your feet. (Original post) Photo by jordanfischer.

Pump Up the Jams

workout-music.pngWhether it’s an iPod, Walkman, or even radio, take full advantage of the distracting and motivating power of music when you’re working out. Fill up your MP3 player with a playlist full of great workout music. They shouldn’t all be over-the-top motivators like Gonna Fly Now or Born to Run—those are really just for the times you need them. Try different songs and pick out what kind of music works best for you, and reserve your motivators for the times you really need an extra boost. If you take the Nike+ iPod route, you can actually set a song as your big motivator that you can instantly skip to when you need it. If you don't have Nike+, the same idea applies: Make it easily accessible so you can get that instant pick-me-up when you need it. If you're looking for suggestions, check out our readers’ favorite workout music. If you’ve taken to burning more calories with interval running, set up your very own interval running playlist in iTunes. Photo by Geff Rossi.

Nike+ iPod

nike+-ipod.pngI've been using the Nike+ iPod since January and am loving it. It's easy to use when you're already running with your iPod anyway, and it makes tracking and graphing my progress over time dead simple. All of that extra information—like that I've run about 320 miles so far this year—is surprisingly motivational. At only $30 for a Nike+ iPod sport kit, it’s not terribly expensive (provided you’ve already got a supported iPod), and you don’t actually have to buy Nike shoes to use it. I dug a hole in the insoles of my running shoes and stuck the Nike+ dongle inside, but if you don’t want to mutilate your shoes the Nike+ iPod shoe mod may be just the ticket.

Track Your Fitness on Your Computer

traineo.pngOur very own Kevin has covered several ways to track your fitness progress with free tools. My favorite, which he mentions in his feature, is web site Traineo. Traineo is there to help you stick with your plan and motivate you to achieve your exercise and fitness goals. (Original post)

There are gobs of tools available designed to tackle a lot of the same goals mentioned above, so if you’ve got a favorite that I didn’t point out, let’s hear more about it in the comments. For a couple of fitness remainders we’ve covered in the past, you may also want to take a look at how to get in shape with the Wii Sports weight loss program and how to get six pack abs.

Adam Pash is a senior editor for Lifehacker who may—counterintuitively—be overweight if not for technology. His special feature Hack Attack appears every Tuesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Hack Attack RSS feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

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Your Shoes Are Killing Your Feet

23 Apr

Your shoes are destroying your feet. More specifically, they’re messing up the perfectly-balanced, coordinated bipedal gait that our species evolved over millions of years.

That’s the argument touted by a lengthy article in New York magazine this week, You Walk Wrong. Its starting point is a number of podiatric studies showing that going barefoot is better for your feet than wearing shoes: unshod Zulus have healthier feet than shoe-wearing Europeans, and prehistoric humans appear to have had the healthiest feet of all. And if you must wear shoes, it turns out that the less shoe you wear, the better, because expensive running shoes are no better than cheap ones, and wearing expensive running shoes actually increases your odds of getting injured by 123%.

But first, New York wants you to know all about Galahad Clark, the scion of a British shoe-manufacturing family, who got into the un-shoe business after hanging out with the Wu-Tang Clan, Rem Koolhaas, and a young tennis-playing industrial designer named Tim Brennan.  Eventually Clark came up with the Vivo Barefoot, a $160 un-shoe that is as close to going barefoot as you can get while still providing some protection against the dog shit, hypodermic needles and broken glass that clog the streets of New York (and San Francisco, for that matter).

The authors of the "shod vs. unshod" study (.pdf), Bernard Zipfel and Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, argue that going barefoot is the optimal condition for humans. It makes a certain intuitive sense, because the human foot evolved over millennia in the absence of shoes, during which time humans walked just fine, thank you very much. Modern shoes significantly change the way the foot works: Their stiffness prevents the foot from flexing as it normally would, and their big, cushioned heels absorb so much shock that they actually encourage you to drive your heel into the ground much more firmly than you would if you were barefoot.

A barefoot walking or running gait is much gentler and smoother, in which your foot placement is flatter (rather than heel-first) and the arches of your feet deflect more to absorb the load. And it turns out that this might be better for your knees as well as your feet, because even though those thick soles are absorbing the immediate shock to your foot, your steps while wearing shoes still transmit more shock to your knees than your barefoot steps do.

In light of this, it should come as no surprise that there are many advocates of the barefoot lifestyle and barefoot running on the internet, and there’s even a barefoot marathon-running Christian minister.

There are a couple of problems with the "let's just kick off our shoes" line: People have been wearing shoes for 30,000 years, and prehistoric humans tended to get killed off by disease, starvation or predators at a much younger age, meaning they had a lot less time to wreck their feet through ordinary use. And there are a lot of places where you really don’t want to go barefoot, or even really wear a thin un-shoe: Like in the snow, or at work, or when trying to hail a cab.

Still, I’m predisposed to like the anti-shoe argument, because I enjoy going barefoot, and, heck, it’s Spring. What about you?

Image: What shoes can do your feet. Source: University of the Witwatersrand

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