Lack of Sleep Health and Obesity

Everyone knows that eating too much and being a couch potato are the main factors in becoming overweight or obese.  But a number of studies are pointing to lack of sleep as a contributing factor. An alarming 65 percent of Americans are now either overweight (BMI of 25-30) or obese (30 or more).

A Harvard study showed that people who sleep less than 6 hours a night have a higher BMI than average, whereas those who sleep eight or more hours have the lowest BMI.  This applies to adults and children.

 The Nurses Health Study followed 60,000 nurses for 16 years.  None were obese at the beginning.   They were asked about their diets, sleep habits and weights as they went along.  Short sleepers (5 hours or less) had a 30 percent higher chance of putting on 30 pounds than those who slept 7 hours or more.

Forty percent of adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep, whereas, in the 1940s, only 11 percent came up short.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a public health concern. It is interesting that the obesity epidemic in the US has also occurred in recent decades, and the numbers are still rising.

What actually happens in the body that causes the weight gain from lack of sleep?  When asleep, the body produces hormones that help control hunger, regulate energy levels, and aid in glucose (blood sugar) processing.  Poor sleep disrupts the balance of these hormones, which are:

·       Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is secreted when the body is not functioning smoothly due to lack of sleep.  It is also connected to insulin which regulates the blood sugar and aids in fat storage.  Insulin is a factor in weight gain and diabetes.

·       Leptin is a hormone which signals the brain when a person has had enough food to eat, giving that full but not stuffed feeling. Lack of sleep can lower the level of leptin and cause the body to want more and more food.

·       Ghrelin is an appetite stimulant and higher levels, caused by poor sleep, can make a person hungrier.

When awake, the poor sleeper may not only be hungry but may want sweets for energy, develop food cravings and a desire for comfort foods, which tend to be high in carbohydrates and fat.

Other reasons contributing to weight gain for poor sleepers are:

·       Being awake more hours means that a person is around food more, especially if awake at night.  A study of nurses that work the night shift as part of a rotation showed a greater chance of becoming obese and developing diabetes.

·       People who lack sufficient sleep are often too tired to exercise.  They don’t participate in sports or other activities and rest in front of the TV for much of their time.

Simply sleeping more is not a cure for obesity.  Too many other factors are in play. But enough sleep will elevate mood, improve concentration and alertness and raise the quality of life.

Universal Health Care is a Right Not a Privilege



It is estimated that between 2005 and 2010, 12,000 Americans died because they did not have health insurance.  Other estimates are between 20,000 and 45,000 annually, and some say three deaths per hour.  And this in the richest country in the world.
The uninsured are 40% more likely to die, according to a Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance 2009 study.  Why?


  • ·        The uninsured are seen by health care providers about half as often as the insured

  • ·        Uninsured women will skip preventive mammograms and pap smears

  • ·        Diabetics may cut down or skip necessary medications

  • ·        The uninsured are more likely to be seen when their preventable illnesses have reached a very advanced stage.

  • ·        Health insurance costs are way out-of-reach for their income level.

  • ·        Many have a choice between paying for medications and eating.

Unfortunately, politics is huge part of the problem in the US.  When Obamacare became law, states had the option of expanding their Medicaid coverage  to more of the poor and nearly-poor.  However, 22 of the states, all run by Republicans, refused to do so.  This led to several million people remaining without coverage.  Hundreds of thousands will suffer needlessly and some will die.

An experiment by Oregon Health Insurance showed that low-income uninsured people will face a greater likelihood of depression, catastrophic medical costs and death.  They pay more for care because they have to pay the going rate. The uninsured in these states face loss of financial well-being,  access to care,  longevity, and mental and physical well-being.
.
This doesn’t happen in the other industrialized countries.  Why?  Because they all have universal health coverage.  Not only that, they spend much less on healthcare than we do, and the results are far better.  Some examples:


  • ·        The US life expectancy at birth is 43rd in the world, according to Central Intelligence Agency 2015 statistics.

  • ·        The maternal mortality rate is ranked 45th in the world (CIA, 2015).

  • ·        The infant mortality rate is 167th out of 224(CIA, 2015).  Cuba and Bosnia have a better rating than the US.

  • ·        The death rate is ranked 93rd out of 225 or 8.15 deaths per 1,000.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks the US health system 37th in the world. This, despite the fact that the US spends the most money on health care in the world.  In fact, we are almost double the second highest spender (UK).  US spending per person averages out to $9086, while the second place Switzerland citizen pays $6325.

The cost being so high is partially attributable to use of high tech equipment such as MRIs.  Another reason given is the fact that the prices for health care are set, and there is no collective buying power.  In the UK, for example, the government buys the services, and bargains with health providers for the best quality for the lowest prices.  This creates competition.  The US now has the highest prices for drugs and medical devices anywhere in the world, and other costs are as high as the provider chooses.  And it’s all still going up.

Thanks to Obamacare, the uninsured rate  dropped to 9.1% of people under 65, the lowest rate in 50 years.  That is still almost one tenth of the population and there is no moral reason justifying this situation.  Many politicians in the US love to be seen as devout church-goers, yet for politics they ignore the teaching of  their religion: caring for the less fortunate.  The United States has no excuse for not joining the rest of the world in concern for their citizens.

Net Neutrality Is About to End. What it is and Why it is So Important





Net Neutrality is about to end. 

Net neutrality, to put it simply, is the idea that all internet traffic should be treated the same.  This means that all users are treated equally and have equal access.  It is currently the guiding principle and permits communicating freely online and is representative of one of the First Amendment’s pillars: Freedom of Speech.  

However, net neutrality is not a given.  It has had and continues to have a controversial story.  Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Comcast, Verizon and Time-Warner Cable, have indicated that they would like more control over the internet and have proposed that internet highways be divided into fast and slow lanes, which would have the effect of speeding up some content and slowing down others.  That way, they can charge fees and give fast access to some websites and slow down competitors, content and opinions that they don’t like.  This would destroy the open internet.

Net neutrality is necessary for small business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups.  They rely on the net to create and launch their businesses, find a market, advertise and distribute their merchandise.  All commerce should be free to enter the web on a level playing field.  It is needed for innovation, competition and job growth. It is debatable whether Facebook, Twitter and Google would have become what they are without net neutrality. No company, especially ISPs who are the gatekeepers of the internet, should interfere.

In 2010, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) presented  the “Open Internet Order” preventing ISPs from interfering with internet traffic.  The purpose was also to insure that all users be treated equally.  

However, in May, 2014, current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a plan that would allow “pay-to-play” plans for the ISPs, notably AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.  They would be able to collect fees for faster service.  This led to huge protests by millions of Americans.  Messages swamped the switchboard and computers of the FCC.  Wheeler dropped the idea. 
 
On February 4, 2015, Wheeler announced that net neutrality would be based on Title II of the Communications Act, reclassified the internet a “telecommunication service.”  It became formal on February 26 when it redefined broadband as a connection to the outside world which is faster than phones, faxes and dial-up.  Wheeler made it clear there was no plan to control the net.  “This is no more a plan to regulate the internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech.”

The ISPs responded angrily to the new classification, saying they will be hurt by the new rules and investments in services will decline.  They vowed to challenge the rules in court and in Congress.  

And as of Summer, 2015, the future of net neutrality remains unclear.  The Republicans quietly placed the issue in the annual Appropriation Bill, which, if passed, would prevent the FCC from using government funds to implement it until all legal challenges are settled.  

“A vote for this bill is a vote against consumers and small businesses, plain and simple.  Congress should reject this legislation as swiftly as it was unveiled,” says Josh Stager of New America’s Open Technology Institute, an advocacy group.

Net neutrality is now in severe danger. The FCC under the Trump administration is about to vote to end it and let the ISPs take over. Net neutrality may end in December, 2017.   Millions are opposed to this, including major websites like Google and Amazon. Americans should all stand up and protest.


Russia Using Trolls, Bots, Useful Idiots in the US are Dividing Us Up

http://www.snopes.com/2017/09/21/kremlin-trolls-bots-useful-idiots-russian-propaganda/http://www.snopes.com/2017/09/21/kremlin-trolls-bots-useful-idiots-russian-propaganda/

Universal health care is a right not a privilege



It is estimated that between 2005 and 2010, 12,000 Americans died because they did not have health insurance.  Other estimates are between 20,000 and 45,000 annually, and some say three deaths per hour.  And this in the richest country in the world.
The uninsured are 40% more likely to die, according to a Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance 2009 study.  Why?


  • ·  The uninsured are seen by health care providers about half as often as the insured

  • ·   Uninsured women will skip preventive mammograms and pap smears.
  •      Diabetics may cut down or skip necessary medications
  • ·  The uninsured are more likely to be seen when their preventable illnesses have reached a very advanced stage.

  • ·  Health insurance costs are way out-of-reach for their income level.

  • ·   Many have a choice between paying for medications and eating.

Unfortunately, politics is huge part of the problem in the US.  When Obamacare became law, states had the option of expanding their Medicaid coverage  to more of the poor and nearly-poor.  However, 22 of the states, all run by Republicans, refused to do so.  This led to several million people remaining without coverage.  Hundreds of thousands will suffer needlessly and some will die.

An experiment by Oregon Health Insurance showed that low-income uninsured people will face a greater likelihood of depression, catastrophic medical costs and death.  They pay more for care because they have to pay the going rate. The uninsured in these states face loss of financial well-being,  access to care,  longevity, and mental and physical well-being.

This doesn’t happen in the other industrialized countries.  Why?  Because they all have universal health coverage.  Not only that, they spend much less on healthcare than we do, and the results are far better.  Some examples:


  •   The US life expectancy at birth is 43rd in the world, according to Central Intelligence Agency 2015 statistics.

  •   The maternal mortality rate is ranked 45th in the world (CIA, 2015).

  •    The infant mortality rate is 167th out of 224(CIA, 2015).  Cuba and Bosnia have a better rating than the US.

  •   The death rate is ranked 93rd out of 225 or 8.15 deaths per 1,000.

  •  The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks the US health system 37th in the world. This, despite the fact that the US spends the most money on health care in the world.  In fact, we are almost double the second highest spender (UK).  US spending per person averages out to $9086, while the second place Switzerland citizen pays $6325.

The cost being so high is partially attributable to use of high tech equipment such as MRIs.  Another reason given is the fact that the prices for health care are set, and there is no collective buying power.  In the UK, for example, the government buys the services, and bargains with health providers for the best quality for the lowest prices.  This creates competition.  The US now has the highest prices for drugs and medical devices anywhere in the world, and other costs are as high as the provider chooses.  And it’s all still going up.

Thanks to Obamacare, the uninsured rate dropped to 9.1% of people under 65, the lowest rate in 50 years.  That is still almost one tenth of the population and there is no moral reason justifying this situation.  Many politicians in the US love to be seen as devout church-goers, yet for politics they ignore the teaching of  their religion: caring for the less fortunate.  The United States has no excuse for not joining the rest of the world in concern for their citizens.