ritaxis: (hat)
This weekend I visited with my aunt who has macular degeneration. I was chatting with Frank this afternoon about it and decided to look up macular degeneration prevention (mainly to see what the zinc and selenium status is now, twenty-five or so years after my friend was first researching it). Both the Mayo Clinic and WebMD have the urgent suggestion to lose weight to prevent macular degeneration, which startled me as I had never seen any mention of a connection to obesity before. WebMD had cutge little citation numbers on its page, but what they linked to was a general, un-numbered list of sources, not generally related to prevention and of course none of them was a study on obesity and macular degeneration. So I was puzzled: was this pure prejudice, or based in some known medical fact somewhere?

I looked at the NIH Medline site and their recommendation was a bit different. They said a "high-fat diet" was a risk factor. That still seemed a bit distant to me. Frank wandered off  for a while, presumably investigating on his end (which is now Shepshed, UK, and not Prague), and returned, saying that diabetes causes macular degeneration, and obesity and high-fat diets are risk factors for diabetes, so presumably that's the connection (I am not sure he is correct about the high-fat diet: I believe that is obsolete knowledge, but I am not sure).

In the absence of some secret, obscure knowledge I have no access too, I'm going to just say it's dumb to tell people that they should "maintain a normal weight" when what you really mean is "avoid diabetes." Because, while many people will avoid diabetes by maintaining a "normal" weight, many people won't, because they'll maintain a normal weight by consuming fewer calories and still be bringing in an refined carbohydrates beyond what their particular metabolisms can deal with, or because their genetics sets them up for it. And many fat people will never develop diabetes.
ritaxis: (Default)
If you cut the celery root raw into little pieces and fry them with onions and a tiny amount of carrot and whatever herbs you like with potatoes, you can have a low-glycemic home fries that's really really yummy.

If you put whole celery roots into water and turn on the fire and forget them for maybe an hour or maybe more, and you come back and peel them and cut them into potato-salad sized pieces and then do whatever you would do with potato salad, well, there you go.

Cooked celery root is sweet and has a potatoy texture. Apparently the starches that are causing these characteristics are not quickly and thoroughly taken into the body and don't mess with your blood suger levels like potatoes do.

On the other hand, the study to evaluate the tightest control methods currently in favor for treatment of type 2 diabetes has been halted because too many people died using the regimen. The study is part of a larger multifactorial study: the ironic part is that the group doing the study originally had to defend the ethics of the study because it was witholding the best currently known treatments from patients. The reason the study got the go-ahead is that the premises of the treatment regimes had never been tested. They're also studying less strict blood sugar control, more and less strict blood pressure control, and more and less strict cholesterol control.

The high death rate among the tight-control group is not actually explainable right now, because nobody knows enough about any of the mechanisms involved. There's not a take-away lesson for doctors and patients, except that Type 2 diabetes is probably more different from Type 1 than we currently recognize. The rationale for tight control for Type 2 diabetes comes from two things: "normal" people have a certain range of blood sugar, and Type 1 diabetics are known to benefit from tight control.

Some people have been saying for a long time that the complex involving Type 2 diabetes is really, really different from the normal state: not even a disease process, but a different evolutionary strategy. Unfortunately, some of them also say that there's no pathology involved, and that's clearly not the case, when you look at mortality and morbidity.

I don't have a personal dilemma with respect to the new findings. My A1c is well below the target of the loose-control group: it's only a sliver over normal. And my treatment with respect to that is hardly a treatment: no additional drugs beyond what I'm already taking for tiresome list of well-controlled ragged-health aspects, more exercise, and a completely non-extreme diet modification (I keep saying, it's not a low-carbohydrate diet: it's not even, really, completely, a low-glycemic diet. It's a mostly low-glycemic diet with an emphasis on My Friend the Vegetable Basket). But it's interesting.

On another front entirely, I am such the bluestocking. I had the nice fellow take me out for a romantic Friday evening -- a presentation at the Capitola City Hall on global warming and local water supply. There were three speakers from UCSC. The first one discussed climate modeling, both global and regional, and conservative estimates of what we're in for with respect to climate change as well as the ones she considered more realistic (no polar ice caps in a hundred years or so). We got cards if we wanted to ask questions. The nice fellow asked if we would lose the redwoods. The answer was "we really could, depending . . ." The second speaker explained all about aquifers, watersheds, and ground water basins, ground water overdraft, recharge both natural and artificial, and sopme of the politics and economics involved with that -- I'd seen him on a community TV broadcast of a discussion of water rights in the Pajaro Valley (I bumped into it channel surfing. It was riveting. There were water rights lawyers there. They were all urging the Pajaro Valley principals not to go to litigation and court adjudication). The third one was talking about community responses, social justice issues, economics, local vs regional administration, etc.

Then we went up the street to the Bella Roma and had expensive lamb dinners and I almost succeeded in not eating pasta.

I've heard from the young doctor, but that has to wait because I've gotten nothing done today but making the pile of clean laundry taller.
ritaxis: (Default)
operatic: thanks to personhead lpetrazickis I have got Opera to look better. It wasn't just a matter of "how pretty will this be?" but "can I stand to read my webmail?" It doesn't seem to do Popcap, but maybe that's just as well. Fortunately, the widgets (esp. games) that clever people have made for Opera are only mildly amusing, not addictive.
TMI for the diabetic thing )
Science News reports that osteocalcin, a much-studied but little-understood protein produced by the bone-building osteoblast cells, appears to correlate strongly with type 2 diabetes. As in, mice engineered to have extra osteocalcin avoid obesity and insulin problems even when they're fed too much, and mice engineered to lack osteocalcin became obese, had less insulin in their blood, and their cells were resistant to insulin. Mice with more osteocalcin have more, and more productive, insulin-producing cells. They're proposing that feeding people osteocalcin might help the metabolic syndrome.

Meanwhile, polycarbonate plastics -- Nalgene, anyone? -- leach a substance known as bisphenolA(BPA) into the food and water contained in them, and this stuff reprograms the genes of infant mice. This time they didn't expose the mice to many times more than people are expected to get. Instead, the exposure was brief and the level of BPA in the mice's organs was lower than the levels measured in adults right now. This is after soft plastics have already been found to leach nastiness into food, especially when heated in the microwave. Heat your food on ceramic plates, covered with ceramic or glass bowls, okay?

So, my suggestion: whatever the day care people say, send your children's food in steel and glass. (hmm. I'm thinking about how to replace all that plastic)

Oh, and you know teflon? I've never trusted it, ever, because when you look at old teflon pans there's always scratches and holes in the surface, and where did that teflon go? Into your food. So, here it is: the teflon is, in fact, breaking down in your body into things that will cause problems.
ritaxis: (Default)
The good news first: the doctor's scale calibrates with mine: liver and kidney functions are good: HDL is good: LDL is good: blood pressure is good.

Bad news: triglyucerides and total lipids are pretty bad. Worse news (and not wholly unexpected, which is why I've been tryingto lower carbohydrates): I've got borderline diabetes measurements. Just over the edge, so we're going with higher dose of the statin, and diet adjustments.

I did this before, when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes. The difference then was that I could use blood sugar measurements to gjuide my eating -- not eat until the number was low enough, and check the number later for information on how it was going. I did an excellent job of controlling it that way. I can't use that now because my blood sugar will not vary enough to be any use as a guide. I just have to follow a regime. I can't check how it's doing for three months at the minimum. The doctor was going to give me a six-month recheck but he said I could choose, and since it's hard for me to maintain my concentration on this kind of thing I think I'll go for the sooner measurement.

He also said that I could probably drink a tiny glass of wine every night and get to a point where I could drink it without getting all drunk and stuff. He thought it was likely the interaction of the buproprion and the gabapentin that made me so vulnerable. And he didn't even bat an eye when I described getting drunk by sitting around in a wine bar. I'm not sure I'm up to dealing with the initial phases of getting drunk all the time.

Also he thought the lightheadedness might easily be from drug interactions but as long as it's mild and I don't actually fall down it's up to me to decide whether I want to tolerate it or tweak my medicines or dosages.

Considering what happens with my various aches and pains when I don't get my prescriptions filled in time, I think maybe I'll live with it.

On another front: no writing today (yet), but I have been reworking the last chapter in my mind, figuring out which details are important to me and how they can be used. The smell of burned paper is important, even though my guy does not burn his sketchbooks. I think maybe he cuts out the most incriminating picture and burns it -- what would he think was most incriminating? Something that indicates a longing for the long haul, actually, probably, since his position is that he's accepted that he's the perpetually unsuitable lover, and is therefore not going to inflict himself on any more people. (the hidden agenda there is that he doesn't want to get dumped anymore, the coward) Of course, if he really accepted this, he wouldn't be avoiding relationships, because he would think that there were people who could only find their suitable mate by having gone through an unsuitable match with him. He toys with this, but I haven't developed that idea sufficiently: I think that's tweakable in the second draft. It's one of the things that leads my other guy to think he might be insane: since my guy is doing the whole avoidance thing and suddenly offers himself as a "temporary, unsuitable lover, destined to be dumped when my other guy realizes what exactly is unsuitable about my guy this time."

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