Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Coveting May Be Hardwired In Brain

(What if we would only covet anther’s qualities that would lead to community building??
Maybe this is what spirituality and religion is all about? seeking the good not only for ourselves,  but others..)

From the 29 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

Coveting, or wanting what others have, may be hardwired in the brain, according to new research from France. We see it in children at play, the toy the other child is enjoying is more desirable. We do it with fashion items, accessories, cars, “keeping up with the Joneses”, where the value assigned to an object increases when it is desired by others.

Now a team from INSERM in Paris has shown that this tendency is not just psychological, but due to specific brain mechanisms that are essential for what has long been known as “mimetic desire”, a characteristic first described by French philosopher René Girard in the 1960s when he began to write about desires and proposed that we borrow our desires from others, and this explains much of human behavior.

Co-author Mathias Pessiglione and colleagues write about their study of how they unravelled mimetic desires in the brain in the 23 May online issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The idea of mimetic desire is that we value objects not only in terms of their intrinsic qualities, such as how useful they are, what they do, and what they look like, but also in terms of how much they are desired by others. …

May 29, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Longer Old Age but Lower Quality Near the End?


(My 80 year old mother is doing well, but she voices concerns in this area from time to time.
These related end of life issues have motivated me to exercise more & volunteer at our local Area Office on Aging…
However, I think there is more we can do collectively, maybe a combination of government and community organizations, and just plain families cooperating more for their most vulnerable members…)

Longer Old Age but Lower Quality Near the End?

May 29, 2012

A few days ago I added a must read link to Michael Wolff’s New York Magazine article, A Life Worth Ending. It’s an eye-opening piece, detailing long drawn-out decline of his mother. Check it out — it really is a must read.

For our parents there are no easy end-of-life answers. Those of us with older moms and dads still living active and full lives are lucky, but one only has to sit in a Starbucks or linger near the water cooler at work to hear frightening and very sad stories. No one wants to die the long drawn-out way as a helpless invalid,

The single conclusion that I reach is less about my parents lives — we can’t turn the clock back — than it is about my own. At some time in my life, if I reach an advanced age, I need to make some clear and thoughtful decisions about how much medical care I will use … or not use.

Two Quotes from Wolff’s Article  to Make You Want to Read More                         

– By promoting longevity and technologically inhibiting death, we have created a new biological status held by an ever-growing part of the nation, a no-exit state that persists longer and longer, one that is nearly as remote from life as death, but which, unlike death, requires vast service, indentured servitude really, and resources.

– The traditional exits, of a sudden heart attack, of dying in one’s sleep, of unreasonably dropping dead in the street, of even a terminal illness, are now exotic ways of going. The longer you live the longer it will take to die. The better you have lived the worse you may die. The healthier you are—through careful diet, diligent exercise, and attentive medical scrutiny—the harder it is to die. Part of the advance in life expectancy is that we have technologically inhibited the ultimate event. We have fought natural causes to almost a draw.

May 29, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , | Leave a comment

United States and Mexico make efforts to strengthen US-Mexican bi-national health

Overall, very good news about one facet (of many I am sure) of Mexico coming into its own..
Hopeful that cooperative efforts as this can reduce mistrust (and often terrible fallouts) among nations.

In my humble opinion, global security is best addressed through cooperation to meet basic human needs as food, potable water, living wages, and access to decent health care. (Pardon, my Peace Corps experience is showing!).

From the HHS news release of May 22, 2012

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Mexico Secretary of Health Salomón Chertorivski today announced a series of new steps to strengthen health security cooperation between the two countries.  The health secretaries outlined these efforts during the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The United States and Mexico have had a long and close relationship in supporting and improving our ability to respond to public health events and emergencies of mutual interest when they arise,” Secretary Sebelius said.  “The trade links between our two countries, our common border, and the high degree of trade in food products speak to the need for close bilateral cooperation in health security for both of our nations.”

“It is important to strengthen the programs of regulation and surveillance of medical products and health services on behalf of public health.  International collaboration and the development of new strategies will create a more effective process that protects against health risks,” Secretary Chertorivski said.  “Mexico is committed to continue working to develop the best tools and procedures for the care and control necessary to maintain the best health possible for the population.”

The two health secretaries signed a declaration formally adopting a shared set of technical guidelines that both countries will follow to respond to public health events and emergencies of mutual interest when they arise.  The guidelines describe how the two nations will coordinate the exchange of information, and they complement the International Health Regulations, which call for neighboring countries to develop accords and work together on shared epidemiologic events and public health issues. …

Secretaries Sebelius and Chertorivksi also renewed an agreement between the United States and Mexico that strengthens existing scientific and public health activities related to the regulation of food safety, including products and feed for food-producing animals. This arrangement recommits the two countries to communicate on food safety and to identify areas for coordination and collaboration between several U.S. and Mexican agencies..

Finally, Secretary Sebelius presented Secretary Chertorivksi with a plaque welcoming the Mexican Secretariat of Health’s National Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference as a member of CDC’s Laboratory Response Network.  Mexico is the fourth country to join the LRN along with Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. This achievement is a result of Mexico’s upgraded capabilities to respond quickly to acts of biological threats, emerging infectious diseases, and other public health threats and emergencies.

May 29, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment


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