Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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Food Stamps, School Lunches and Poor Nutrition

Food Stamps, School Lunches and Poor Nutrition | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

During the health care summit last week, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) suggested that America needs to restructure some of the systemic culture that leads to poor health in the first place, and not just invest in costly treatment of people once they’re sick. In particular, he mentioned a pair of intriguing culprits….

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Nice Folks, Those Insurance People – BOOOOO CIGNA!

On Thursday, the family rallied supporters online and staged a protest at Cigna’s Glendale office with about 150 people, including many members of the local Armenian community and the California Nurses Assn., which had released statements supporting the family’s cause.

Later in the day, Cigna released a statement approving the transplant payment.

“Although it is outside the scope of the plan’s coverage, and despite the lack of medical evidence regarding the effectiveness of such treatment,” spokesman Wendell Potter wrote, “Cigna HealthCare has decided to make an exception in this rare and unusual case, and we will provide coverage should she proceed with the requested liver transplant. Our thoughts and payers are with Nataline and her family at this time.”

Nataline died about 6 p.m.

Family blames HMO for teen’s death – Los Angeles Times


Medical News:

Waxman Says FDA Plans to Ease Restrictions on Off-Label Marketing – Allow Drug Companies to Make End Run Around Rules

If approved, the FDA proposal “would allow drug and device companies to short-circuit FDA review and approval by sponsoring drug trials that are carefully constructed to deliver positive results and then using the results to influence prescribing patterns,” he said.

Cholesterol Tied to Death Risk from Ischemic Heart Disease but Not Stroke

For every 1 mmol/L decrease in cholesterol, ischemic heart disease mortality dropped by half among patients ages 40 to 49, by a third among those 50 to 69, and by a sixth among those 70 to 89, according to a review of observational studies in the Dec. 1 issue of The Lancet.

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American Obesity Epidemic May Have Topped Out

Obesity prevalence among African-American women was shockingly high — more than 50% for those ages 20 to 59 and topping 60% for those ages 60 and over compared with 32% of non-Hispanic white women and 37% of Mexican-American women. Obesity rates were lowest for non-Hispanic whites in most age and sex categories.

Among men, however, the prevalence of obesity did not differ significantly by race/ethnic groups.

Medical News: American Obesity Epidemic May Have Topped Out – in Primary Care, Weight Management Source: MedPage Today

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News From MedPage Today

Carbohydrate Link to Diabetes Further Refined in Black Women (CME/CE)

— Modifying carbohydrate intake, particularly by increasing
consumption of cereal fiber, might help reduce the risk of type 2
diabetes in black women, investigators here concluded. [more]

Low Testosterone Increases Risk of Death (CME/CE)

England — In otherwise healthy men, low testosterone is associated
with an increased risk of death from any cause as well as from
cardiovascular causes and cancer, researchers here said. [more]

Prostate Cancer Patients Often Get Contraindicated Therapy (CME/CE)

— More than a third of prostate cancer patients have some form of
pretreatment condition that contraindicates the therapy chosen by
clinicians, investigators here have concluded. [more]

Genital Herpes Has Mysteries for Physicians and Patients (CME/CE)

Alberta — Neither patients nor the physicians they consult seem to be
well informed about genital herpes, with diverging opinions about how
the infection is transmitted and treated, a survey here revealed. [more]

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America’s addiction to sports

New York – Last week, when a federal grand jury indicted baseball star Barry Bonds for perjury, it confirmed an ugly truth: America’s got a big drug problem.

I’m not talking about steroids, Mr. Bonds’ alleged performance-enhancer of choice. Instead, I’m talking about athletics themselves. Americans are addicted to competitive sports in ways that are profoundly unhealthy to our schools, our bodies, and ourselves. And until we confront that problem, head-on, steroids will continue to plague us.

America’s addiction to sports |

The DolFan in me wants to pooh-pooh this whole thing, but the 63-year-old who’s been watching the movement toward extremes for six decades knows better.  The philosopher wants to say it’s controlled violence, and that the energy could be put to better use for the good of mankind, but the anthropologist knows that it’s another example of the black/white, us or them, tribal need to watch the warriors perform that has bedeviled the human race for millennia, and that it discharges tensions that might come out in other ways.

What do you think?

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Bangladesh Toll Climbs

DHAKA, Bangladesh, November 19, 2007 (ENS) – Cyclone Sidr has now killed more than 3,200 people and left millions of others homeless in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries. Bangladesh officials say they fear that possibly as many as 10,000 people may have perished in the storm.

Packing fierce winds of 190 kilometers per hour (118 mph) that gusted to 240 kph, Sidr slammed into the coast of Bangladesh early Friday. Classed as a category 4 cyclone, it is the deadliest storm to hit the nation in a decade.

Although the storm has now passed, the death toll is predicted to climb as the bodies of human beings and cattle are still being found floating in the sea and rivers.

Now’s our chance to live up to our national self-image, and make ourselves look good to the Muslim world as well.  Think we will?

Powerful Cyclone Claims 3,200 Lives in Bangladesh

2 Comments — Fun and Fulfilling

FreeRice has a custom database containing thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty. There are words appropriate for people just learning English and words that will challenge the most scholarly professors. In between are thousands of words for students, business people, homemakers, doctors, truck drivers, retired people… everyone!

FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the “outer fringe” of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.

There are 50 levels in all, but it is rare for people to get above level 48.

  • Click on the answer that best defines the word.
  • If you get it right, you get a harder word. If wrong, you get an easier word.
  • For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

Ten grains of rice may seem pretty cheesy, but FreeRice began on October 7th, 2007 and as of 14 November they had donated 1,897,053,670 grains.

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News from Environment News Service


WASHINGTON, DC, November 14, 2007 (ENS)North America’s carbon
budget is increasingly overwhelmed by human-caused emissions, according
to the first “State of the Carbon Cycle Report” for the continent,
released online this week by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.
The interagency government report finds North America’s emissions of
the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are greater than 25 percent of global


BANGKOK, Thailand, November 14, 2007 (ENS)The soaring price of
gold may be increasing mercury pollution locally and worldwide. Experts
also worry that the increased burning of coal, which naturally contains
mercury, is causing the toxic to be released into the air and spread
around the globe. These issues are the focus of the first meeting of a
new United Nations working group this week in Bangkok.


LONDON, UK, November 13, 2007 (ENS)British animal health
officials have today confirmed that avian influenza detected in turkeys
on a farm near Diss on the Norfolk-Suffolk border is the highly
pathogenic H5N1 strain of the virus. The facility house some 5,000
turkeys as well as around 400 geese and over 1,000 ducks. All birds on
the premises will be slaughtered.


SAN FRANCISCO, California, November 13, 2007 (ENS)The latest
overflight of San Francisco Bay and the nearby coastline shows very
little recoverable oil offshore and inshore from last Wednesday’s spill
of 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel, the U.S. Coast Guard said today.
Seven miles of containment boom has been deployed to confine and
collect oil in the water and six vessels are skimming and collecting
the oily mess.

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Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

The retail chain is been persuaded by the arguments of the New York-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice and a coalition of health and environmental organizations that mounted an anti-PVC campaign in October 2006, complete with a blowup plastic yellow duck that is displayed at protest actions in front of stores

Testing has detected toxic lead and phthalates and in a broad range of PVC consumer products, including toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics.

Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

There are even more cogent (although less compelling) arguments against PVC.


Buddhist Anger Management Techniques

Anger is one of the most common and destructive delusions, and it afflicts our mind almost every day. To solve the problem of anger we first need to recognize the anger within our mind, acknowledge how it harms both ourself and others, and appreciate the benefits of being patient in the face of difficulties. We then need to apply practical methods in our daily life to reduce our anger and finally to prevent it from arising at all.

Anger Management Techniques

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FEMA won’t let workers in trailers, but it’s OK for refugees to live there…

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is barring employees from entering thousands of stored travel trailers over concerns about hazardous fumes, while more than 48,000 other trailers continue to be used by hurricane victims in Louisiana and Mississippi.

FEMA is advising employees not to enter any of the roughly 70,000 trailers in storage areas across the country, but the directive does not apply to other trailers still in use, agency spokeswoman Mary Margaret Walker said Thursday. …

Last week, FEMA indefinitely postponed plans to test for formaldehyde
levels in the air inside occupied trailers, saying it needed more time
to prepare. FEMA has suspended the sale of used trailers and says it
won’t shelter victims of future disasters in them until safety worries
are resolved. …

The Associated Press: FEMA to Workers: Stay Out of Trailers