Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Fatal Attraction: Cosmetics and Chemicals

This item came to me this morning by Jenica Rhee (Twitter – @jenicarhee), who has emailed me links in the past few months to infographics she created (How Bikes can Save Us and Soda’s Evil Twin).
A quick glance at the references shows a great selection of resources from reputable organizations.

It is heartening to see a cosmetology school take a strong stand on regulating chemicals in cosmetics.

Chemicals in Cosmetics and on Your Face

Click here to see the graphic!

Scientists are talking about it; angry people are talking about it. The United States Food and Drug Administration is the government regulator of things like vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs, but when it comes to cosmetics (the topical stuff you put on your body like lotions, deodorant, and make-up) there seems to be a disconnect. The FDA only regulates the labeling of cosmetics, but the public safety of the chemicals in those products is assessed by the  ”Cosmetic Ingredient Review” — which is funded by the industry. Go figure.

The graphic outlines various studies that have cropped up over time regarding potential connections between hazardous chemicals and contamination of Americans, whose cosmetic regulatory polices lag far behind places like Europe and Canada. Take a look at some of the stuff that’s hiding in your daily routine — you might never shampoo your hair ever again.

  • Scientists are talking about it; angry people are talking about it. The United States Food and Drug Administration is the government regulator of things like vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs, but when it comes to cosmetics (the topical stuff you put on your body like lotions, deodorant, and make-up) there seems to be a disconnect. The FDA only regulates the labeling of cosmetics, but the public safety of the chemicals in those products is assessed by the  ”Cosmetic Ingredient Review” — which is funded by the industry. Go figure.The graphic outlines various studies that have cropped up over time regarding potential connections between hazardous chemicals and contamination of Americans, whose cosmetic regulatory polices lag far behind places like Europe and Canada. Take a look at some of the stuff that’s hiding in your daily routine — you might never shampoo your hair ever again.

From the link at  Chemicals in Cosmetics and on Your Face

Scientists are talking about it; angry people are talking about it. The United States Food and Drug Administration is the government regulator of things like vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs, but when it comes to cosmetics (the topical stuff you put on your body like lotions, deodorant, and make-up) there seems to be a disconnect. The FDA only regulates the labeling of cosmetics, but the public safety of the chemicals in those products is assessed by the  ”Cosmetic Ingredient Review” — which is funded by the industry. Go figure.

The graphic outlines various studies that have cropped up over time regarding potential connections between hazardous chemicals and contamination of Americans, whose cosmetic regulatory polices lag far behind places like Europe and Canada. Take a look at some of the stuff that’s hiding in your daily routine — you might never shampoo your hair ever again.

Warning! Ads and popups at inspiredm.com, still…the listings of infographics is a good find…so use your judgement before clicking on the link below

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

It really is the journey rather than destination (the neuroscience of happiness)

hmm….maybe this is why I am almost always happier gathering material and resources for articles, reports, papers, etc rather than the actual writing…

From the 28 January Salon article by Lucy McKeon

They say money can’t buy happiness. But can a better understanding of your brain? As recent breakthroughs in cognitive science break new ground in the study of consciousness — and its relationship to the physical body — the mysteries of the mind are rapidly becoming less mysterious. But does this mean we’ll soon be able to locate a formula for good cheer?

Shimon Edelman, a cognitive expert and professor of psychology at Cornell University, offers some insight in “The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life.” In his new book, Edelman walks the reader through the brain’s basic computational skills – its ability to compute information, perform statistical analysis and weigh value judgments in daily life – as a way to explain our relationship with happiness. Our capacity to retain memories and develop foresight allows us to plan for the future, says Edelman, by using a mental “personal space-time machine” that jumps between past, present and future. It’s through this process of motivation, perception, thinking, followed by motor movement, that we’re able not only to survive, but to feel happy. From Bayes’ theorem of probability to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Edelman offers a range of references and allegories to explain why a changing, growing self, constantly shaped by new experiences, is happier than the satisfaction any end goal can give us. It turns out the rewards we get for learning and understanding the workings of the world really make it the journey, not the destination, that matters most…..

I think one scientifically, psychologically validated reason for not making the most of one’s happiness is investing in the wrong kind of acquisitions. If you have some money to spend and you spend it on buying goods that’s not nearly as effective in making you happy in the long run as buying experiences…….

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

The Future Of Food: Algae, Insects and Lab-Grown Meat?

From the 3 February 2012 post at Art of the STEM – Science Art Culture Cohabitate

How can we feed the 2.5 billion more people – an extra China and India – likely to be alive in 2050? The UN says we will have to nearly double our food production and governments say we should adopt new technologies and avoid waste, but however you cut it, there are already one billion chronically hungry people, there’s little more virgin land to open up, climate change will only make farming harder to grow food in most places, the oceans are overfished, and much of the world faces growing water shortages.

Fifty years ago, when the world’s population was around half what it is now, the answer to looming famines was “the green revolution” – a massive increase in the use of hybrid seeds and chemical fertilisers. It worked, but at a great ecological price. We grow nearly twice as much food as we did just a generation ago, but we use three times as much water from rivers and underground supplies.

Food, farm and water technologists will have to find new ways to grow more crops in places that until now were hard or impossible to farm. It may need a total rethink over how we use land and water. So enter a new generation of radical farmers, novel foods and bright ideas…….

 

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Economic Realism and Resilience

From the 3 February 2012 blog post at Science is Everyone’s Story: An Urban Environmental Blog

……

f our instincts can lead us toward physical safety, maybe they can also lead us toward happiness and survival. Selective perceptioncan help us succeed; if we wake up in the morning determined to seek out positive outcomes and be flexible in that process, that decision may lead us toward better choices.

Being Resilient in an Altered Economy

The recession and the fast pace of technological change can be very stressful for workers seeking to adapt to the altered economy. In my field, working with social media and multimedia requires perpetual self-education.

But in this environment of rapid change, we can still work from core values. Rather than making outside economic forces responsible for our happiness, we can choose how we respond to the recession.

Wikipedia’s entry on resilience says:

The American Psychological Association suggests “10 Ways to Build Resilience”, which are:

(1) maintaining good relationships with close family members, friends and others;

(2) to avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems;

(3) to accept circumstances that cannot be changed;

(4) to develop realistic goals and move towards them;

(5) to take decisive actions in adverse situations;

(6) to look for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss;

(7) developing self-confidence;

(8) to keep a long-term perspective and consider the stressful event in a broader context;

(9) to maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualizing what is wished;

(10) to take care of one’s mind and body, exercising regularly, paying attention to one’s own needs and feelings and engaging in relaxing activities that one enjoys. Learning from the past and maintaining flexibility and balance in life are also cited.

That’s where I disagree with Ehrenreich’s conclusion. In adverse environmental and economic situations, we can still take responsibility for improving our lives, given the tools we have at hand. We don’t have to wait for larger social movements to solve our problems. On a local and personal scale, we can help the people around us be resilient.

 

On a personal note, I have found my religion to be a good foundation for resilience building. It isn’t perfect by any means, but aspects as seeing a bigger picture and being with people rooted similarly (but with different gifts and insights) are inspiring.
I do hope all who read this have found ways to ground themselves and grow through being in community or communities which foster thriving.

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

   

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