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US consumers will soon be buying chicken processed in China

4th September 2013

But they won’t know it was processed in China. Just another example of the FDA not caring about the health and safety of Americans.

That’s a big problem. For more than a decade, China has earned a reputation as one of the world’s worst food-safety offenders. In just the last year, consumers have been confronted with a bird flu outbreak, news of sales of 46-year-old chicken feet and reports of poisonous fake mutton. These are not isolated incidents, but rather the most spectacular instances of a crisis that has become so severe that some consumers now smuggle quantities of infant milk formula from foreign countries into China so as to avoid buying potentially tainted Chinese dairy products…. As of December 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that it had received reports of 501 dog deaths (and thousands of dog sicknesses), many seemingly from chicken jerky treats manufactured in China…

Don’t think that the FDA doesn’t have its reasons. Someone is hoping that China will allow the US to start exporting beef and stuff to its billion plus citizens. That’ll be nice for the cattle owners in America, but a few of us will probably get poisoned to make it possible. Hope it’s worth it.

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Alin Alkass Offers Laser Technology to His Patients

14th June 2013

Laser technology has become an everyday part of life. From the price scanner at the checkout counter in the local supermarket to the device used by police to measure your driving speed, lasers are everywhere. Dentists like Dr. Alin Alkass have incorporated the use of laser technology into their dental practices to expand procedures and improve patients’ treatment experience.

How Does Laser Dentistry Work?

Lasers deliver energy as a form of light. This energy can be controlled by a dentist and used in place of surgical instruments or dental drills to cut through a hard surface such as a tooth or to perform surgical procedures on delicate soft tissue without pain or sutures and with minimal bleeding. Lasers can “cure” fillings to help create a stronger bond between the filling and the tooth. As a heat source, lasers enhance the effect of bleaching agents in teeth-whitening procedures performed in a dentist’s office.

Through many hours of specialized training, dentists became proficient at controlling the power output of the laser. By combining control of laser’s power output with the length of exposure of the tissue or tooth structure, dentists can focus treatment on a specific area to avoid damage to surrounding soft-tissue.

Using Lasers to Detect Tooth Decay

Much the same way that a police officer bounces the laser light off a moving car to measure its speed, a low-intensity laser light reflected off the surface of a tooth can help a dentist to accurately detect cavities and tooth decay. Dentists can then use hard-tissue lasers instead of traditional drills in the cavity-filling process. What’s more, lasers can kill bacteria frequently found in the cavity.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity

Laser treatment may also help patients who suffer from tooth sensitivity, which occurs when the root of a tooth is exposed. Tiny tubules located on the root allow hot, cold or sweet foods and liquids to travel to the tooth’s nerve. The laser is used to seal the tubules to prevent the sensitivity from continuing.

Other Laser Dentistry Procedures

When used in place of a scalpel, lasers limit damage to surrounding tissue; promote clotting to limit bleeding; sterilize the area to reduce the risk of infection; and minimize pain and discomfort. The array of laser instruments gives dentists the ability to treat conditions such as:

• Cold sores
• Sleep apnea
• Nerve regeneration
• Temporomandibular joint pain and inflammation
• Removal of benign tumors

Benefits of Laser Dentistry

Dentists understand that the new laser technology affords them the opportunity to offer patient-friendly dental care without the noise or discomfort patients frequently associate with a trip to the dentist. Now, Dr. Alin Alkass can offer treatments and procedures in his office that might not have been available without dental lasers.

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Deviated Septum surgery advice needed

31st May 2013

Reader question: Just got the news from my doc that I have sinus disease (apparently a lot of people have it) and that fixing my deviated septum will help it big time. I wanted to get it done anyways but now knowing I have to have it done has me a little nervous. As you guys have said before, its not so bad but the recovery can be a pain because of the packing.

Answer 1) Easy peasy. If your doc will use the gel instead of packing go for it. It was kind of gross for a day or two (some leaking) but no pain at all and no packing to take out. It helped me a lot but I’m still not perfect. I would definitely do it again as I am thousands times better than last year.

Answer 2) My stepfather battles horrible sinus infections and he had surgery a few years back and it helped big time. A few days of pain will change your life, look at it that way.

Answer 3) I had a badly deviated septum that required them to cut out some bone. Even with a mistake that left a half inch of bone up my nose that set me back a week, it was easy. They’ll put some plastic splints up your nose and give you an odd bandage that attaches to your ears and is slung under your nose to catch the drainage. Make sure you stay ahead of the pain – I alternated Advil with percoset on a strict schedule. I don’t recall any pain or discomfort. The worst thing is that you’ll look like an idiot for a few days – my daughters still mock me almost a year later. The surgery had an enormous beneficial impact on my health. Go back to work when you stop bleeding which is usually two or three days. I got mine done on a Friday and was able to work from home the next day. If not for the surgeon’s error, I could have been back Monday or Tuesday. Good luck!

Answer 4) Aa septoplasty is a routine procedure. I have had it done twice actually after breaking my nose a year after the first surgery. Recovery is swift (3 days of minor discomfort), pain is minimal, and the ability to breathe and long term sinus relief is very much so worth it. I have suffered from bad allergies and frequent sinus infections since childhood. The procedure has made a world of difference.

Answer 5) I had my ethmoid bones trimmed and it did precisely nothing. I still get constant sinus infections despite using every preventative measure ever invented. I had it done at Johns Hopkins and I’m under the care of the head of their sinus dept and he essentially told me after two surgeries and months of treatment that “I’m not sure what it is, some people just don’t get relief from this”. So it’s not allergies, not my septum and apparently not anything else. I know of one other person who has gotten these procedures done and gotten no relief, but for the most part this surgery works as intended. I am apparently a very rare case which excites my doctor but pisses me off.

Answer 6) Just don’t watch youtube vidoes on this until after it’s done… I watched and was scared for my life. If you’ve already seen the videos, then you probably know what to expect. The packing and splint removal are disgusting.

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How painful are root canals?

5th April 2013

Reader question: Do root canals hurt real bad? My wife is having one tomorrow and is dreading it. My understanding is, they’re not as awful (and painful) as they used to be. Can anyone confirm?

Answer: Actually, yes. A normal root canal should be pretty OK. I have a friend who had two. He had one done about 6 years ago and after the numbing wore, it really hurt. I had one done a few weeks ago. And no pain at all. During or after. The technology has really changed with that procedure. With any luck, the only thing she’ll feel is the Novocaine (which is nothing) and the pressure of dentist twisting the picks into her tooth. No pain, just pressure.

The worst thing about root canals is just how freaking long they take. I tend to get claustrophobic so sitting in that chair for 2+ hours is the worst part. Having your mouth open and locked for an hour – its very uncomfortable. Recovery time is like a day – you can go to work – no issues.

And you don’t have to tell your wife this part, but they also attach what is essentially a mini tarp across your face and open mouth so it just exposes the tooth being worked on and nothing else. They do that to keep it sterile and to keep the instruments from falling into your mouth but it’s a pain in the ass.

Now for the good news: If she is having pain on that tooth, the relief will be instant.

And then: Make sure after the root canal you properly have the tooth restored with a post and crown.

Posted in Teeth & gums | Comments Off on How painful are root canals?

Pros and Cons of super sets, alternate sets, pyramiding up, pyramiding down

27th March 2013

Reader question: While working out today at my gym. A guy asked me why was I using such heavy weights while working out wit supersets (A superset is taking two movements, and doing consecutive sets without rest, alternating the movement. Like bench press for 5 reps, then immediately doing squats for 5 reps). After getting over the awkward feeling of having a man watch me while I work out I explained to the guy that I was supersetting heavy to bulk and fatigue my muscles. He understood but couldn’t understand why I would increase weight after each set rather than start off heavy and decrease weight.

I normally use his technique for flexibility and definition training or just normal circuit training exercises which I normally do after doing a cardio workout. I am curious how others do their super set workout routines or if people still perform super sets. I’ve seen my goals reached using both techniques but I am always interested in redefining my workout routine. Any feedback or advice


1. A superset is when you perform 2 exercises for the SAME muscle group without resting in between, ie a Bench press and then a dumbbell fly.

2. An ALTERNATE set is when you perform 2 exercises for opposing muscle groups without resting in between, ie a triceps pressdown and a biceps dumbbell curl.

3. Starting with your heaviest weight and working down is called ‘pyramiding down’, as opposed to the traditional pyramiding up. I’m not at all a fan of pyramiding down as its a great way to get injured going heavy without all the surrounding connective tissue being properly warmed as well as the essential neural aspect of completing the movement itself numerous times (repetitions).
I hope this is helpful.

Pre-exhaustion is a common technique used within supersets. You can do them in either order but if you choose to pre-exhaust remember your #’s (reps and amt of wt) will NOT be as high as on a regular 3 sets to failure type exercise. Trying to match them is another good way to get injured. There are also giant sets, where you set up a circuit of 3 or even 4 exercises for one body part etc. Many variables to play with in a workout routine. Time between exercises is another. Btw, again the injury bug: Im not a fan of hvy wt low rep for super or alternate sets. It goes against the purpose of oxygenating the muscle (getting that pump etc). These techniques should be broken out and periodized in cycles throughout out the course of the year. Best gains will come that way.

Posted in exercise | Comments Off on Pros and Cons of super sets, alternate sets, pyramiding up, pyramiding down

Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion: how are they different?

20th March 2013

Micro means small, derm is skin (think dermis), and abrasion is scraping (like sand paper is abrasive).

Dermabrasion, which is recommended for fair skin and not dark skin, was developed to improve acne scars, pox marks, and scars from accidents or disease. It has to be done in the doctor’s office, and you need painkillers and maybe some Xanex or something to help you relax. Then the doctor takes a high speed wheel or brush (this is the abrasive part) and uses it to remove layers of skin. This is a fairly aggressive procedure: possible side effects include uneven changes in skin color, formation of a scar, infection, tempoary (rarely permanent) darkening of the skin caused by sun exposure following the procedure.

Microdermabrasion, which works on all skin types and colors, is more subtle. It doesn’t work on deeper problems such as scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, or deep acne scars. Rather, it’s an exfoliation and skin rejuvenation technique designed to help you achieve softer and brighter skin. You’ll use a microdermabrasion machine to spray tiny crystals onto the skin to gently remove the outer layer of your skin. Because it’s much less aggressive than dermabrasion, you don’t need numbing medicine.

With microdermabrasion, you can even do some maintenance work on your own – between professional treatments that is, with microdermabrasion kits . Here, the patient uses a micro-needle roller (sounds like it hurts but it really does not) to penetrate the epidermis in order to stimulate collagen and elastin growth. You can get better skin tone, clarity and texture with this at home technique.

It’s even possible to leave the crystals out of the crystal microdermabrasion. Crystal free machine tips are disposable — doctors do not need to scrub, soak and sterilize so they get to the next patient that much faster. No need to dispose of crystals or worry about bacteria. It’s not only for doctors, though. Less dead tissue in the air is good news for everyone involved. And specifically for patients, the main side effect would be crystals in your eyes. Easy enough to wear eye protection but even better if there are no crystals to worry about.

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Train calves, abs, back twice a week, everything else once?

8th October 2012

This article is clearly for bodybuilders but you have to think it would apply to any athlete who trains hard, especially if they isolate muscles with say a barbell or dumbbell curl for the biceps. It basically says allow 5-7 days for muscle recovery.

Whenever you do train your back, here are some cool variations of the back raise.

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$100 there but $40,000 here – what does it mean?

6th September 2012

Marcie Edmonds wen to the Chandler Regional Medical Center emergency room after getting bitten by a scorpion. She was there for three hours and her bill was more than $83,000. That includes two doses of anti-venom at nearly $40,000 per dose. The same anti-venom is $100 per dose in Mexico.

Makes you wonder what is wrong with American hospitals.

At least she had insurance. They’ll pay for 57,000 US dollars worth leaving the scorpion bite victim to come up with another 25k or so.

Question: why is the anti-venom $39,000.00 more in the US than it is in Mexico?

And the victim says they gave her the shots without ever telling her the cost. That’s pretty messed up. Does the hospital have an obligation to save her life without ruining her financially? Was there a cheaper alternative that didn’t involve a 39,000 dollar markup (make that 2 $39,000 markups for the two doses of antivenom)?

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What should I buy at Trader Joes?

1st May 2012

Reader question for Trader Joes customers…

Starting to get up there in years, so I want to change my diet up. I noticed this place and did a bit of research. I will be heading there tomorrow and wondered if anybody had any suggestions on what to pick up.

Looking forward to eating healthier, let me know! Thanks

My answer

First of all, you don’t need to buy from Trader Joes if you want to eat healthy. To eat healthier means to eat more fresh veggies and fruits. Cut down on fats and sweets. (And exercise but that’s not exactly related to the question here). You don’t need Trader Joes or even Whole Foods.

What Trader Joes is not is a health food store. Check the Labels – lots of Trader Joes prepare foods are very high in sodium which you want to avoid if you’re looking to eat healthy. You have to be really careful about their fresh produce and meats – their quality controls are not always the best and you might be bringing home spoiled goods if you’re not careful.

Also, I would not say they’re known for organic foods. And, by the way, the ‘organic’ label is quickly becoming meaningless as cookies, chips and sodas are all now labeled organic. The standard for what constitutes organic varies. Anyway, a Whole Foods type thing would have a higher percentage of organic stuff.

There’s plenty at Trader Joes you need to avoid, just like at most supermarkets. Industrial food is pure poison- so, know the source of your food- and you may want be find it locally- like buying from farmers and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms.

What to REALLY stay clear of: The big killers are processed sugar in all forms. They do cause all kinds of health problems- lots of evidence to support heart problems diabetes and cancer. These problems love inhaling artificial laced sugar stuff. Lots of molecular level tests and studies have proven this. It used to be we received a normal amount of sugar from fruits. Now, all are foods are laced with it- and the population gets mega amounts. And, it is not always called sugar. Get your sugar from fruit in normal amounts- dump everything else.

It is amazing when I walk through a grocery store in the US – I can’t buy most of the stuff in it. It is mostly crap. It is either laced with sugar, or laced with salt. If needed, go with the low sugar. (And, no substitute sugar in all its weird forms)

My approach is to limit the bad by doing whole grains, (processed slower and easier into insulin) lots of veggies, and stay away from most carbs.- pasta and bread etc…. Limit the dairy too. You may go for unsweetened nut milk…. Also, check the cans/labels, even in the health food store, for sugar <= 1%, fats, etc.... (It is not going to taste the same, but you will feel a lot stronger and better) The sweet tooth culture is hard to break and it is addicting. Also, buy meats without the hormones, antibiotics and make sure they are grass fed. Lots of farmers/health food stores sell this now. If you want to go more radical, you can substitute some of the losses with: Millet/Chia bread, Avocado, sprouts, (they are a great source of nutrition), organic beans, cold pressed olive oil, Tahini, salads, sunflower seed and oil, almonds, pumpkin seed and oil, apple cider vinegar, non sweetened almond nut milk etc..... This food group starts resembling a Mediterranean diet. I tend to call the more radical parts of this type of plan rabbit food. But, if you introduce it through veggie juices and into your meals gradually - it is great for you. Of course, the more you introduce, the more creative you need to be with your cooking – and food shopping. And the fewer restaurants you can actually eat at. But, there are lots of ways of making it taste good. In any event if you want to have more organic food I highly recommend either joining an organic CSA or visiting a local Health and Nutrition Canter with a good produce and meats section. You will find that it takes a lot of experimentation to find foods that you are comfortable with and that will make your diet healthier. However there are some good things about Trader Joes. Their frozen fish and frozen veggies are really good. Most of their meats are anti-biotics free. They have good no sodium trail mix. Their wine section has some great deals. They tend to be less expensive so you can afford higher quality food. I suggest you just take your time, wander and look. The people in the store are really helpful and knowledgeable. But they won’t be as knowledgeable as you are, now that you’ve read this post.

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Protein and weight gain – when and how

20th April 2012

It’s been a while since I talked about my struggle to gain weight. Actually, it’s been about 3.5 years – so long that I’m not even trying to gain weight anymore because I took up boxing. Now gaining weight means bigger guys trying to punch me in the nose.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to abandon my readers who might be looking for protein supplements they’ll need for gaining weight. If you follow the article’s advice and drink your protein when you wake up, before and after working out, and before going to bed, well you’ll be getting plenty of protein. That’s probably 100 grams of protein right there and you should be eating real food too.

In another old, but slightly less old, post, I talk about cardio and when to add protein. Basically you want carbs and protein 90 minutes prior to exercise, then you lift, then you do cardio, then you want more carbs and protein. The second one, especially, consider a shake – you want those nutrients fast. The first one too, consider a shake – you don’t want heartburn in the gym but that’s what I get if I eat big 90 minutes before I lift.

Finally, if you want to gain weight, snack. If you want to gain muscle weight snack on protein. Hard boiled eggs are great protein but not much for carbs. So if you really want to gain weight, you’re looking at protein bars. Do watch out for bars that are high in sugar but some, like Detour low sugar bars, taste alright and give you carbohydrates and protein without the sugar.

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