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Is it Really Independence Day ?

Is it Really Independence Day ?

It is Independence Day – July 4th, our nation’s birthday, born becoming independent of England. Today, the annual crop of lofty speaking articles is found on most news outlets and commentary websites. They stir the heart with pride at such a remarkable undertaking. Yet, 240 years on, how independent are we really?

It is a nice coincidence that just about this time, the FDA came out with a stern warning

Virtual Reality is Not Reality

Virtual Reality is Not Reality

The word ‘virtual’ means almost or close but not exactly. It is in that tiny gap of “almost” that a huge chasm of difference lies. It can be thought of this way – is it possible to describe a woman as ‘virtually pregnant’ or an Olympian athlete as the ‘virtual gold metal winner’? There are just some things in life that must be real and not virtual.

Elementary Watson

Elementary Watson

by Linda Johnston, MD

Scientists have now developed the technology to alter the human genome at such a fundamental level as to cause permanent, inheritable changes to the basic instructions that make us human. Both the recent articles in Wall Street Journal (1) and HotAir.com (2) discuss this newly acquired powerful ability and quite rightly advise caution and sober reflection. Yet, if the past is anything to go by, and it most certainly is, this advice will be certainly ignored as ‘we’ rush to breach the walls of what should be an inviolate inner sanctum.

The Jet Lag Blues

The Jet Lag Blues

Travel season is upon us and many are taking their summer holidays in far distant locations. For some, travel is not seasonal but year around. Whether for business or pleasure, during holidays or perennial, zooming across time zones creates the unpleasant experience of jet lag.

Frequent travelers often have created their own solutions to cope with jet lag. Before looking at and evaluating possible solutions, let’s define the problem. What exactly is jet lag?

The Gold Metal of Perfidy

You have a ticket. Your flight is reserved. You are one of a half million travelers expected to be in Rio for the Summer Olympics! Yet controversy has erupted about a possible health hazard. Actually there are two main potential health problems looming in Rio. The first is the Zika virus, called a “global emergency” in February by the World Health Organization (WHO). That makes it all the most surprising that the same WHO is now saying that there is “no public health justification for postponing or canceling” the Olympics in Rio. This is all in the face of the fact that Rio’s efforts to stop the virus-carrying mosquitoes has

Fields of Flags – Memorial Day Remembrance

After attending a splendid Memorial Day program at the Los Angeles Veterans Cemetery in 1995, I wrote the following article. Even all these years later, it still describes the heartfelt sentiments many of us have about those brave men and women who gave in full measure for the freedoms we enjoy, and often take for granted.

Fields of Flags

Acre upon acre of American flags flutter in the faint breeze: thousands of little flags flying at attention in neat and even rows. Each of eighty thousand flags is individually and carefully hand-placed at the headstone of a fallen soldier. The effect is a silent memorial to valiant efforts, sacrifice and patriotism. The price of freedom is graphically displayed by these fields of flags.

To Salt or Not to Salt: That is the Question

For decades, conventional wisdom and medical science have coincided in their warnings about eating too much salt. Whereas an adult’s average daily intake of salt is about 6-12 grams, recommendations urge us to limit our salt consumption to about 2-3 grams a day. Needless to say, knowing about the healthy levels of salt is not the same as eating healthy levels of salt. The fact is, we love our salty snacks, and those prepared foods literally gushing with salt and restaurant foods that please our palates because they are salty. Even those who think they are restraining their salt intake because they buy unsalted nuts or

Taking the “YOU” out of UV

Have you every wondered about why some sunglasses boast of being UV blocking? UV is short for Ultra Violet, part of the invisible range of “light” in sunlight. Since it is invisible, why does it need to be blocked by sunglasses? To answer that, let’s look at how the eye handles varying degrees of light brightness. It is difficult to see when the amount of ambient light is either too little or too bright. We all have experienced that. Going out into

Who gets to define “health”?

The FDA has announced that it will redefine the term “healthy.” In an effort to keep up with changing attitudes, research and ideas about health and nutrition, the government agency will review and revise their 1994 official definition of “healthy.”

This struck me as quite strange. As a physician for 35 years, I have understood health to be an unchanging, static, immutable concept. How can what it means to be healthy be altered, especially by the overgrown committee known as the FDA? We all now about committees: it is said that the camel is a horse designed by a committee.

THREE simple ways to improve your sleep

THREE simple ways to improve your sleep

Do you get less sleep than you want or need? Do you find yourself dragging yourself out of bed in the morning? Many people answer “yes” to at least one of these questions. One of the most common complaints I hear from patients is that they do not get as much sleep as they want and what they do get is often not restful or refreshing. In fact, I would go so far as to say there is as epidemic of sleep deprivation in this country.

Some sleep problems are caused by chronic illnesses or medications as well as stressful and emotional life circumstances. Each of these requires individualized attention to solve.