Why Do We Eat? A Neurobiological Perspective. Part III

In the first post, I explained that all voluntary actions are driven by a central action selection system in the mesolimbic area (the reward system).  This is the part of you that makes the decision to act, or not to act.  This system determines your overall motivation to obtain food, based on a variety of internal and external factors, for example hunger, the effort required to obtain food, and the sensory qualities of food/drink.  These factors are recognized and processed by a number of specialized 'modules' in the brain, and forwarded to the reward system where the decision to eat, or not to eat, is made.  Researchers divide food intake into two categories: 1) eating from a true energy need by the body (homeostatic eating), e.g. hunger, and 2) eating for other reasons (non-homeostatic eating), e.g. eating for social reasons or because the food tastes really good.

In the second post of the series, we explored how the brain regulates food intake on a meal-to meal basis based on feedback from the digestive system, and how food properties can influence this process.  The integrated gut-brain system that accomplishes this can be called the satiety system.

In this post, we'll explore the energy homeostasis system, which regulates energy balance (energy in vs. energy out) and body fatness on a long term basis.

The Energy Homeostasis System

Read more »

Looking for an easy way to make a difference? Give blood!

APHA Executive Director Dr. Benjamin
is all smiles after giving blood!
If you want to help your community be prepared for emergencies, there are lots of things you can do.

Getting ready at home is the first step, but often people want to do more. (Check out our recent post about volunteer opportunities.) If you don’t have time to volunteer, a great way to help out is to donate blood.

January is National Blood Donor Month. Donating blood is a good way to help your community. Just one donation — a pint — of blood can save the lives of three people. Every year, about 4.5 million people will need blood transfusions, so every drop counts!

The American Red Cross  has information about where to find a blood drive near you. You can also find information about hosting a blood drive and check if you are eligible to donate.

2013 Modern Bedroom Design Ideas Designer By Marlaina Teich

Marlaina Teich is noted for her modern, sophisticated mix of texture, color and personality. Her aesthetic approach draws from a range of sources and incorporates her clients’ personal styles.

She delivers fresh designs that are both approachable and inspired. Marlaina Teich Designs is a full service residential and commercial interior design firm specializing in space planning, selection and specification of finishes and furniture, and project management.

MTD’s work has been published by various regional and national magazines.

The bold wall color enhances the room making the fireplace the main feature. Cladding the whole wall with mother of pearl gives height and a modern look to the space.

In this Manhattan studio apartment, the view is the focal point. The furniture is kept clean and simples so that it does not compete for attention. A few accents of colored furniture in the coffee table and dining chairs liven up the space and give a zesty flavor.

This room shows the possibility of placing a bed in front of two windows. Though it is not the ideal location using your draperies to frame the space make the bed look like it belongs. The mirror above draws the eye up and reflects the glow of the chandelier.

Why Do We Eat? A Neurobiological Perspective. Part II

In the last post, I explained that eating behavior is determined by a variety of factors, including hunger and a number of others that I'll gradually explore as we make our way through the series.  These factors are recognized by specialized brain 'modules' and forwarded to a central action selection system in the mesolimbic area (the reward system), which determines if they are collectively sufficient cause for action.  If so, they're forwarded to brain systems that directly drive the physical movements involved in seeking and consuming food (motor systems).

The term 'homeostasis' is important in biology.  Homeostasis is a process that attempts to keep a particular factor within a certain stable range.  The thermostat in your house is an example of a homeostatic system.  It reacts to upward or downward changes in a manner that keeps temperature in a comfortable range.  The human body also contains a thermostat that keeps internal temperature close to 98.6 F.  Many things are homeostatically regulated by the body, and one of them is energy status (how much energy the body has available for use).  Homeostasis of large-scale processes in the body is typically regulated by the brain.

We can divide the factors that determine feeding behavior into two categories, homeostatic and non-homeostatic.  Homeostatic eating is when food intake is driven by a true energy need, as perceived by the brain.  For the most part, this is eating in response to hunger.  Non-homeostatic eating is when food intake is driven by factors other than energy need, such as palatability, habitual meal time, and food cues (e.g. you just walked by a vending machine full of Flamin' Hot Cheetos).

We can divide energy homeostasis into two sub-categories: 1) the system that regulates short-term, meal-to-meal calorie intake, and 2) the system that regulates fat mass, the long-term energy reserve of the human body.  In this post, I'll give an overview of the process that regulates energy homeostasis on a short-term, meal-to-meal basis.

The Satiety System (Short-Term Energy Homeostasis)

The stomach of an adult human has a capacity of 2-4 liters.  In practice, people rarely eat that volume of food.  In fact, most of us feel completely stuffed long before we've reached full stomach capacity.  Why?

Read more »

New IKEA Bedroom Design Ideas : Catalog 2013

IKEA Modern Bedroom Decorating Design Ideas 2013 , Here is a collection of designs Bedroom from IKEA   2013 catalog , IKEA Bedroom is to look modern and stylish. Many people are using the IKEA  Bedroom design, because the design is simple, easy in maintenance and certainly do not need to pay that much. Some people say this Bedroom design is perfect and has its own characteristics compared with other designs.

You can find ideas on how upgrade your existing  Bedroom , I hope you like it . Enjoy !

I Love The Echo of Jackboots in the Morning It Sounds Like America

I do like stories like this, it gives me something to point to when I get fuckwit visitors, leaving their fuckwit comments, extolling the Home of The Brave, Land of the Free, Greatest Nation on Earth nonsense.

Not to mention, One Nation Under Jackboots God.

Arkansas town enacts martial law

Officers with AR-15s will patrol Paragould, stopping everyone out walking for their IDs
By Natasha Lennard
Jan 29, 2013

Following a rise in violent crime in Paragould, an Arkansas town of around 26,000 residents, the mayor and police chief announced that starting this month police in SWAT gear carrying AR-15s would patrol the streets.

“If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, and check for your ID,” police chief Todd Stovall told a December town hall meeting. As if to render the implementation of a visible police state more palatable, Stovall assured residents that police stops would not be based on any profiling: “We’re going to do it to everybody,” he said.

Stovall also told residents he had not consulted an attorney before instituting the plan. HuffPo’s Radley Balko noted that Paragould is not the first town to bring in such measures:

Using SWAT teams for routine patrols isn’t uncommon. Fresno did this for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The city sent its Violent Crimes Suppression Unit into poorer neighborhoods and stopped, confronted, questioned, and searched nearly everyone they encountered. “It’s a war,” one SWAT officer told Christian Parenti in a a report for The Naiton (not available online). Another said, “If you’re 21, male, living in one of these neighborhoods, and you’re not in our computer, then there’s something definitely wrong.”

Balko picked up on interesting detail in Stovall’s comments. The police chief said, “This fear is what’s given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they’re scared, we can do this.” As Balko pointed out, although there was an uptick in violent crime in Paragould, “fear” of crime was used as the pretext to implement martial law — based on such troubling reasoning, there is never not fear in U.S. towns today and so there is never not a pretext to introduce patrolling SWAT teams. Salon

Just in. (and I must go and look for another pearl)
Police state gone wild: Couple facing 60 days in jail for rescuing injured baby deer
by Mike Adams
January 29, 2013

(NaturalNews) An Indiana couple saved a wounded baby deer and nursed it back to life, saving its life and giving it a home. They named it "Little Orphan Dani." When Indiana state officials got word of this courageous act of compassion, they ordered the deer euthanized. (Because government wants to kill everything you love.)

When the deer "escaped" right before it was schedule to be killed -- and yes, I think the couple probably set it free rather than have it killed -- the man and woman were charged with unlawful possession of a deer.

They now face $2,000 in fines and 60 days in jail.

This is yet another example of the government police state gone wild, and it's on top of seemingly countless other stories of similar police state insanity such as armed government raids on raw milk distributors.

Previous: Indiana Official Police State Just one of dozens under the Police tag.

2013 Colorful Rugs

If your bedroom needs a pick-me-up, a splash of color should do the trick. Get inspired by these beautiful, brightly hued bedrooms from Rate My Space and Designers' Portfolio.

By : Shannon Petrie

New Take on Traditional

The pattern on this rug by Company C is inspired by wrought iron gates. It's also available in persimmon which features brown, yellow, orange and rust. Both look beautiful paired with solid furnishings in coordinating colors. 


Bring the relaxed feel of a beach vacation to your home with Company C's Bermuda collection. This rug takes plaid to a new level with bright colors like kiwi, marigold and coral. Pair it with coordinating bedding for an overall tropical feel.

Not Your Grandmother's Floral

If you're not a fan of traditional florals, go bold with oversized graphic flowers in a mix of modern colors. Start with a rug like this by Surya, and your room's color palette is chosen for you.

A Symphony Underfoot

The Serenade Rug is a lovely mix of scrolls, florals and flourishes in green, blue, periwinkle and citron. This rug by Company C would be at home in a traditional or contemporary setting.

Instrument of Fine Design

The trumpet vine is the star of this rug in a mix of modern colors. Rug by Company C.

Circle Back

Surya teamed with Country Living magazine to create this rug and others in the collection. White, circular vines add an interesting shape to this colorful, eye-catching rug.

Go Coastal

You don't have to live in a beach home to sport this sea-inspired rug by Jaipur and Coastal Living magazine. "Schooled" would make a strong design statement in any home.

Color Rules for Small Spaces 2013 Ideas from HGTV

When it comes to coloring your apartment, it's definitely okay to go outside the lines.

By : Anne Krueger

True or false: An all white color palette will make an apartment look larger. False! This is a common misconception of small-space design, along with the idea that less furniture makes an apartment feel larger. Instead, carefully placed furnishings and carefully chosen color can create an inviting space with style way beyond its diminutive size.
The number one color rule for a small space? There are no rules  really. If you want your apartment to look like your favorite Pucci scarf, do your thing. The goal should always be to make your rented space personal and appeal to you. Having said that, the experts who deal with color and interior design all the time do know a thing or two. Here are their tips and tricks.

Choose Sharp Colors

One of the best ways to expand a space is with very clear colors, says designer Mark McCauley, ASID, author of Interior Design for Idiots. "Choose a palette of sharper colors as opposed to duller ones. Sharp as in bright chintzes mixed with colorful plaids or really hot reds and electric blues, yellows and greens (with plenty of air between the pieces). Color combinations with negative space in between will enhance the space's clarity and openness."

Color Unexpected Accents

Bring splashes of color to a radiator, the inside of a bookshelf or a windowsill to bring excitement and depth to a room. If you're lucky enough to have a foyer or hall, paint that a dark color and ease into a lighter shades in the living room, which will make it feel more spacious by comparison.

Create a Focal Wall

While some designers frown on the idea of painting one wall a different or deeper color than the others, it can work wonders in a small space, says designer and actress Libby Langdon, a contributor to HGTV's Small Space, Big Style. "Don't be afraid of bold colors," she says. "Sometimes a darker color on one wall can make it recede, making the space look larger."

Connect Spaces With Shades of Color

Just as different wall colors can divide your apartment into different work areas, different shades of the same color can unite all the rooms, as can a pattern that's repeated. "In a small space, in particular, these little touches the pillow that matches the lampshade fabric, the style of the mirror that echoes a side table can all add up to a cohesive space," McCauley says.

Get Spicy in the Kitchen

Apartment kitchens are a great place to use color, says kitchen designer Jason Laudau of Amazing Spaces, LLC (www.amazingspacesllc.com) in New York. "Hang up the china you never use it saves space, adds color and glams up the kitchen," he says. "Or be very bold and paint the walls a trendy color. Red is hot!"

Go Bold in the Bathroom
Sure, something pastel in the peachy-pink palette will look great in the bathroom especially when you look in the mirror and see your rosy complexion. But for major affect, increase the bodacious scale. That's what designer Ron Marvin www.ronmarvin.com (www.ronmarvin.com) did in his New York City apartment bathroom that's painted a rich, chocolate brown.

Vamp It Up

Beautiful faux finishes and specialty techniques can add a lot of character to a small space, says designer Dawn Burns-Pratt, ASID. "Painting the ceiling a darker color and extending the same color down the wall about 14 inches, or using metallic stripes in that same space with a chair rail and lighter color below looks terrific and expands the appearance of the space," she says.

Add Color That Travels

The wonderful thing about color is that it's a really cheap way to decorate, and it can be added in non-paint ways, says designer Alice Fakier, this year's HGTV Design Star runner-up and host of Ask Alice on HGTV.com. "Apartment dwellers can get color on their walls by painting big canvases, hanging fabric or using wall decals," she says. And when you're ready for a larger space? You can take your color with you and go.

Stretch It With Stripes

Draw the eye up with a wall of colorful stripes, says Langdon. Or paint the ceiling a lighter color than the walls to make it seem airier.

Don't Forget Black

Whatever colors you choose for your small space, add one object that is black, says designer McCauley. "The black item  say, in a torchere lamp or a frame  will help ground the space and clarify the other colors. Try it, it works!"

Experiment With Color
Before you start slapping paint all over the blank canvas that is your apartment walls, consider these "baby-step" options.
 Experiment with 2 ounce samples. Many paint companies, including California Paints and Benjamin Moore offer them. That's enough paint to cover a 1’ by 2’ area, which should give you a good idea of what your chosen hue really looks like. Make sure to view it in natural and artificial light.

Why Do We Eat? A Neurobiological Perspective. Part I

As with all voluntary movements, eating food is an expression of activity in the brain.  The brain integrates various inputs from around the body, and outside the body, and decides whether or not to execute the goal-directed behaviors of food seeking and consumption.  Research has uncovered a lot about how this process works, and in this series I'll give a simplified overview of what scientists have learned about how, and why, the brain decides to eat.

The Gatekeeper of Voluntary Behaviors

Read more »

Comment Policy

The nature of the Internet is that comments sections are rowdy places.  But ultimately I do have control over my corner of the world, and I intend to exert it to maintain a higher level of information quality and decorum.  Here are my criteria for deciding whether or not a comment will be published:
  1. Value.  Comments should be well thought out, and points supported by research or at least solid logic.  Personal anecdotes are welcome as long as they aren't over-interpreted.  Thoughtful questions are also welcome, although I can't guarantee I'll answer them.  As always, anyone is free to disagree with me in a constructive manner, or simply offer a word of support.  
  2. Respect.  Comments should be respectful to me and other commenters, and composed in a concise manner.  It isn't difficult to disagree in a respectful way.
  3. On topic.  Comments should be at least somewhat relevant to the subject of the post.
  4. Full name.  Attaching your full name to a comment means taking responsibility for what you write.  I'll continue to publish anonymous comments if they add value, but I'll be more likely to publish if you include your full name in your screen name, your profile, or at the bottom of your comment.
  5. No ads.  I will not publish links to commercial sites that do not add value to the discussion, nor will I publish any other link I find objectionable.
Because I'll be moderating, I've decided to remove the captcha word authentication, which many people found difficult to use.  We'll see how that goes.  Since I have a lot on my plate, and Whole Health Source is a one-man show, I may not always moderate comments in a timely manner.  I apologize in advance for the inconvenience.  

Announcing the Ideal Weight Program

I often receive requests from people asking for my overall perspective on fat loss and health.  I share my opinions here, but they're scattered throughout hundreds of posts, there's a lot I haven't had a chance to write about, and I rarely give practical recommendations.  However, I knew I'd eventually put everything together into a cohesive fat loss program-- it was only a matter of finding the right opportunity.

That opportunity presented itself in 2011 when I met Dan Pardi, a researcher whose work focuses on sleep and food intake, and the CEO of a company called Dan's Plan.  I was immediately impressed by Dan because he stood out as someone with a high level of expertise in sleep and physical activity, as well as someone who has successfully lost a substantial amount of fat and kept it off for several years.

Dan and his team had developed a set of unique and engaging tools for tracking weight, sleep, and physical activity to help people maintain daily mindfulness over the simple fundamentals of health.  These tools are 100 percent free and incredibly easy to use, particularly if you sync them with an electronic scale and step counter.  When synced with these devices, the Dan's Plan website automatically uploads and displays your weight, sleep, and physical activity score, as well as integrating them all into a single user-friendly Health Zone Score that lets you know your overall performance at a glance.  Even if you have no interest in fat loss, I highly recommend using the free tracking tools on the Dan's Plan site-- I do.

In early 2012, Dan approached me about creating a fat loss program for Dan's Plan that incorporates their unique tracking tools.  This struck me as an excellent opportunity to create a diet and lifestyle program that combines sound science with exciting new technology.  Dan and I both brought science to the table, and Dan also brought the perspective gained from working with others to help them lose fat, as well as his own successful fat loss experience.  Dan and I have been working hard on this project, and we're finally ready to launch.

I'm happy to announce the Ideal Weight Program, an effective new system for fat loss and maintenance.

What is the Ideal Weight Program?

The Ideal Weight Program is a unique system for fat loss and maintenance that draws from the latest science on diet, physical activity, sleep, and behavior modification, and pairs it with engaging tools that help you define your goals and meet them.  It keeps you consistently focused on the everyday factors that really matter for fat loss, and gives you the skills you need to make sustainable diet and lifestyle changes.  Based on your own goals and priorities, you can choose one of two diet strategies for the initial fat loss phase:
  • The Fat Loss and Sustainable Health (FLASH) diet, an intensive high-protein diet for rapid fat loss.
  • The Simple Food Diet, a more flexible diet based on whole, natural foods specifically selected for fat loss.  One important goal of this diet is to teach healthy cooking skills, using recipes and tips provided.
These diets are designed to naturally promote a lower calorie intake and fat loss, without requiring calorie counting.  The Ideal Weight Program also includes important physical activity and sleep components, and explains why these are so critical for fat loss and health.  Dan and I discussed some of the principles underlying the Ideal Weight Program on Chris Kresser's podcast recently.

Here's what you get when you sign up:
  • Detailed documents that walk you through the program
  • Weight, sleep, and physical activity tracking tools tailored for fat loss
  • Simple recipes and cooking tips that work with almost anything in your fridge
  • Videos that explain the key concepts behind fat loss and maintenance
  • An e-book explaining the scientific rationale behind the program
Signing up for the Ideal Weight Program gives you lifetime access to everything.  We've discounted the initial price, because we want to hear your feedback so that we can continue to improve the program over time.  If you follow the link below, first you'll be prompted to sign up for a basic Dan's Plan account, and once you have your account set up, you'll be able to purchase the Ideal Weight Program:

Ideal Weight Program

Financial disclosure: I will receive a portion of the revenue from the sale of the Ideal Weight Program.  I do not receive revenue from the sale of other products associated with Dan's Plan or the Ideal Weight Program (such as the Fitbit, cooking tools, and other programs).

Tips for helping kids eat healthy

 The Health Ministry's 2006/2007 New Zealand Health Survey found one in 12 children between two and 14 were obese, and one in five children were overweight.

But how do parents get their kids to eat healthy? Is it the parents' job or is it the responsibility of our society as a whole?

An extract from Dara-Lynn Weiss's book The Heavy: A Mother's Battle Against Her Seven-Year-Old Daughter's Obesity, published on Stuff.co.nz recently caused some serious debate on Weiss' approach to putting her daughter on a strict Weight Watchers-style diet.

What's your advice for getting your children to make healthy food choices? Do you get tough or should we just let kids be kids? Is it the cost of food that's making our obesity stats worse?

Click the green button to share your tips for getting young Kiwis to eat healthier.

We'll compile a list of top tips for parents from all our submissions. 

The World Fiddles While The Planet Burns: Fukushima

Update: Depleted Uranium, Diabetes, Cancer And You

A short video delivering an even shorter sharper shock. Do I think it's doom-mongering, not a bit?

A couple of short podcasts below that report on what, due to the criminal conspiracy between TEPCO and the Japanese Government, was inevitable, the massive rise in Thyroid cysts, particularly in the most vulnerable segment of the population, the young girls of Fukushima Prefecture.

And it is this collusion between TEPCO and the Japanese Government in playing down the dangers faced by that same vulnerable group, the children, that has from day one, stuck in my craw.

There is much in the sidebar under the Japan tag, but if only to exercise the point, I'm sure, criminal japanese government in the search bar will render a few results. 

With thanks to the compiler, but on a first search I could find little, other than the Youtube account of, Rosy Heart

Terribly alarming what’s happening in Japan — Signs of radiation sickness reported in children after 3/11 — Lies are being fed to the people

Dr. Helen Caldicott: It’s terribly alarming what’s happening, and the ignorance of the population, and the lies that are being fed to the people.

I’ve just been in Japan for 10 days doing a speaking tour and I had audiences of 400 people and I’d give them the medical data and statistics about radiation and then it’d turn into a medical consultation. […]

Indeed many children were reported to have had nose bleeds which means their platelets are low which is a sign of radiation sickness.

And there have been a lot of viral illnesses as well. Of course your immune system is depleted by radiation.

There’s little being done to collect the medical data. short podcast

“Continually, radioactive elements are being flushed into the Pacific” — “The Fukushima accident will never end, they have no idea how to clean it up”

Dr. Helen Caldicott: The Fukushima accident will never end. They have no idea how to clean it up because there’s never been three nuclear meltdowns in history.

Continually, radioactive elements are being flushed into the Pacific Ocean.

. . . the accident never ends because the food will continue to be radioactive as the plants suck up the radioactive elements from the soil, concentrate it, and then people will eat it — and that will go on for generations and generations. So nuclear accidents never end. short podcast

There's not much that surprises me about TEPCO, but even for them, the last sentence in this grim bit of reading, really takes the biscuit.

Tepco plans to dump ‘cleaned’ Fukushima No. 1 water

Jan 25, 2013

Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to dump contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean after removing radioactive substances to reduce contamination to legally permissible levels.

Tepco said Thursday the measure is necessary because the utility fears it will eventually run out of capacity to store radioactive water that continues to accumulate at the plant due to water being injected to help cool the three reactors that experienced core meltdowns in March 2011.

Despite the plan, the utility acknowledged it needs the approval of local governments and other parties before it actually discharges the water into the ocean. “Nothing specific has been decided at this moment,” one Tepco official said.

Water that has been used to cool the damaged reactors is recycled and used as coolant after radioactive levels in it have been lowered in a water-processing facility. But the total amount of contaminated water is increasing because the existing water flow allows an influx of about 400 tons of groundwater a day.

Tepco is increasing the number of storage tanks to deal with the situation, but warns they will eventually reach full capacity.

As a key step in the water release, Tepco will operate a new facility that can remove about different 60 types of radioactive substances, more than the existing water processing facility that has mainly worked to reduce the concentration of cesium. But as the new facility is not capable of removing radioactive tritium, an official said Tepco will consider diluting the processed water before releasing it to the sea. The Japan Times

Probably the most informative site around for all things nuclear is that of Maggie and Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education. http://www.fairewinds.com/video

I normally, on post like this, recommend another site, that of Alexander Higgins. Tragically however, it appears that the fellow has lost everything. Alexander Higgins House, Blog Destroyed by Sandy Flooding.

Much sympathy, I couldn't begin to imagine a disaster of such scale.

Comment Published in Nature

I recently read an opinion piece by Gary Taubes in the scientific journal Nature, titled "Treat Obesity as Physiology, not Physics", in which he promoted NuSI and repeated the statement that obesity research is a "house of cards" because it focuses on calories in/out, at the expense of studying the "hormonal regulatory disorders" underlying obesity (1).  I wrote a letter to the editor in response to Taubes's commentary, which has been published in Nature (2).

I'm used to seeing these kinds of claims in the popular press at this point, but to see it published in a scientific journal is galling (even if it's in the opinion section).  This is the equivalent of a person who has never held an ax telling a group of lumberjacks they need to focus on cutting trees.  It's part of a disturbing trend of popular writers in the low-carb and Paleo world attacking researchers, and even entire fields of research, they have little understanding of.  Of course this only applies to a minority of the community, but this argumentation style smells of desperation and reflects poorly on the community as a whole.

Read more »

Lyme disease data

The Maine Tracking Network now includes Lyme disease data.

As the third most commonly reported infectious disease in Maine, Lyme disease poses a significant health risk to people in all parts of Maine. The availability of Lyme disease data on the Maine Tracking Network will raise awareness of the disease and help promote primary prevention of the disease and recognition of the signs of early-stage Lyme disease.

The Maine Tracking Network is a web-based data portal that lets users explore some of Maine's public health data and create customized reports, by geographic area, time period, age group, etc., using analysis and visualization tools.

Maine Tracking Network now has data for 10 public health topics, including asthma, childhood lead poisoning, heart attack, carbon monoxide poisoning, and birth outcomes. Lyme disease data were made available on the network after many months of work and collaboration between members of Maine CDC’s Divisions of Environmental Health, Public Health Systems, and Infectious Disease.

These data can be accessed at: http://go.usa.gov/4Zgw For direct access to the Maine Tracking Network: https://tracking.publichealth.maine.gov

2013 Get Ready Scholarship opens Feb. 4!

Are you a high school, college or graduate student interested in emergency preparedness? Have we got a scholarship for you!

APHA’s Get Ready campaign is happy to announce that it is once again running its scholarship competition. Now in its fifth year, the essay contest will be open to high school seniors as well as full-time undergraduate and graduate college students.

Our essay questions this year focus on preparedness in schools, states and within the health work force. We start accepting entries on Monday, Feb. 4, but you can take a look at the essay topics now by visiting our scholarship page.

The scholarship contest will close on March 25, or when we receive 300 essays for each category. We receive hundreds of essays every year, which means that you should plan to write your essay early to be sure you get in.

The two best essays from each category will each win a $500 scholarship.

For complete rules, check the Get Ready Scholarship rules page.

To see a list of previous winners, and read parts of their essays, check out our Get Ready Scholarship past winners page.

We hope you’re ready to write, because we’re excited to read your creative essays!

Dogs Eating Carbs

Five years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a veterinarian friend about dog food.  We were talking about diabetes in one of the dogs she was treating, and I remarked "that's what happens when you feed a carnivore carbohydrate".  She gave me a funny look.  At the time, I was seeing the world through the low-carb lens, and I remember thinking how bizarre it was that she didn't yield to my impeccable logic.  As they say, live and learn.

The journal Nature published a fascinating paper on the evolution of the domestic dog today (1).  Researchers compared the genome of wolves and domestic dogs to see what genetic changes accompanied domestication.

Read more »


The updated guidelines on lung cancer screening released by the American Cancer Society (ACS) conclude that there is sufficient evidence for screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in certain high-risk individuals.
The guidelines were published online January 11 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. They are an update of interim guidelines issued in 2010, and are based on a systematic review published last year (JAMA. 2012; 307:2418-2429).
The ACS supports screening for lung cancer for people 55 to 74 years with a history of smoking (at least a 30-pack-year history), in those who currently smoke, and in those who quit smoking in the previous 15 years. The ACS also supports an individual's decision not to be screened, even if they fall in this high-risk category.
The LCDT screen is performed annually, and the ACS emphasizes that people should be encouraged to join an organized screening program with expertise in lung cancer and multidisciplinary teams "wherever possible."
"The adoption of lung cancer screening could save many lives," Richard Wender, MD, from Thomas Jefferson University Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and colleagues state in the guidelines, citing evidence from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST).
"At this time, there is sufficient evidence to support screening provided that the patient has undergone a thorough discussion of the benefits, limitations, and risks, and can be screened in a setting with experience in lung cancer screening," they add.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network was the first to recommend annual screening with LCDT for certain populations (in 2011); the American Lung Association followed in 2012.
The American College of Radiology has announced that it is preparing its own set of guidelines to ensure that CT lung cancer screening is performed using "proper personnel, equipment, protocols, and follow-up."
Issues of Concern
Despite the official guidelines and enthusiasm from some medical centers, there has been reticencefrom some lung cancer experts, who are concerned that many details need to be resolved before national screening programs are implemented.
The ACS acknowledges some of these concerns in its guidelines, and notes that high-quality lung cancer screening in the United States "poses many challenges." Whether or not the benefit from screening observed in the NLST will be seen in community-based screening for lung cancer "could be influenced by many factors, and the answer awaits the results of further observations and research," Dr. Wender and colleagues write.
On the positive side, screening could detect lung cancer at an earlier stage and therefore save lives; on the negative side are limitations and potential harms, including the "relatively high" level of false-positive findings and the resultant anxiety and need for additional invasive tests (such as lung biopsy). In the NSTL, 96.4% of the postive screening results in the LDCT group and 94.5% in the radiography (control) group were false-positive results.
In addition, there is "a legitimate concern" that some smokers will view the chance to undergo screening as an excuse to continue smoking, Dr. Wender and colleagues note. They emphasize that "vigorous smoking cessation efforts must accompany LDCT screening for adults who are current smokers."
Another issue concerns payment. Currently, very few government or private insurance programs provide coverage for the initial LDCT for lung cancer screening.
Advice to Clinicians
The ACS guidelines outline specific recommendations for clinicians.
They advise that clinicians review the smoking history of all patients 55 to 74 years of age to identify those who are in relatively good health but who have a history of smoking (at least 30-pack-year) and currently smoke or have quit smoking in the previous 15 years.
Having identified these individuals, clinicians who have access to high-volume, high-quality lung cancer screening and treatment centers should initiate a discussion about lung cancer screening. This should include a discussion about potential benefits and harms, limitations, and for current smokers should include counseling on smoking cessation.
The guidelines emphasize that clinicians should not discuss lung cancer screening with individuals who do not meet the above requirements.
"Wherever possible, individuals who choose to undergo lung screening should enter an organized screening program at an institution with expertise in LCDT screening, with access to a multidisciplinary team skilled in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of abnormal lung lesions, " the guidelines advise.
They recommend that "if an organized, experienced screening program is not accessible, but the patient strongly wishes to be screened, they should be referred to a center that performs a reasonably high volume of lung CT scans, diagnostic tests, and lung cancer surgeries."
"If such a setting is not available, and the patient is not willing or able to travel to such a setting, the risks of cancer screening may be substantially higher than the observed risks associated with screening in the NSTL, and screening is not recommended," according to the guidelines.

Staying safe in big crowds: Seven quick tips

Maybe you’re going to the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., this week, or perhaps you were lucky enough to score tickets to the Super Bowl in February.

Big events can be a lot of fun and a cause for celebration — but large crowds can also be scary if things go wrong. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  1. Know what you’re in for. How many people are expected at the event? Will you have to go through security? Can you bring food and water with you? Will you need to take medication at the event? Planning for these issues ahead of time will help everything run smoothly during the event.
  2. Check the weather. If you’re going to be outside in the cold, prepare with warm clothes, paying special attention to your hands and feet. Or for events in hot weather, remember sunblock, dress lightly and don’t forget to drink a lot of water!
  3. Take a look around you. Once you get to the event, check out your surroundings. Take note of emergency exits, restrooms and the location of a medical tent or first aid station. If an emergency happens, head calmly to the nearest exit.
  4. Pick a place to meet. If you’re with a group of people, pick a time and a place to meet, and be as specific as possible. Don’t rely on cellphones — if your battery dies or cellphone towers are overwhelmed, you’ll be glad you had a plan!
  5. Protect yourself. Big crowds can also mean a bigger chance of getting sick. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you go to the event. Bring hand sanitizer if possible and wash your hands after touching surfaces such as door handles and railings. And if you are coughing or have a fever, do everyone else a favor and stay home. 
  6. Let someone know if you feel sick. If you start to feel dizzy, overheated or nauseous, ask for help immediately. Be sure to let people know if you have medical conditions or allergies. A friend or event official can make sure you get medical attention as soon as possible.
  7. Be patient. With big crowds, you may have long waiting periods for security, bathrooms, food and even entering and exiting the event. Have patience with event staff and other people — they don’t like waiting in long lines, either!

Check out our fact sheet about event safety (PDF) for more advice.

And remember: Have fun, stay safe!

Color Meanings By Mark McCauley from HGTV

Mark McCauley, ASID is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and is a Registered Interior Designer.

He is the author of four books on interior design, former Editor-in-Chief of Fine Furniture International Magazine, nationally syndicated columnist, and has appeared and currently writes for HGTV.

Mr. McCauley has spoken in public throughout the United States, to both his peers in the industry and the general public. He has appeared on both local and national television and radio, and has been an invited guest speaker at the High Point International Furniture Show in High Point, NC on several occasions. Mr. McCauley also served as Senior Interior Designer for Marshall Field's, Chicago.

Color Meanings
Learn how color affects your mood and how to maximize its impact in your home.


Associated with life itself, the color green represents newness (and naivete) and birth. As with the trees of the forest, green is photosynthesis, the act of turning light into life. Green also has a whimsical, fun nature and is seen as talkative and stimulating to conversation.


Orange is warming and uplifting, as in the softer energy found in the last rays of sunset. It relates to our entire lifecycle as the color of fall, symbolic of the end of life. Orange, as clay, has a primitive side as well, reminding us of our antediluvian forefathers.


We're surrounded by blue! We live on this big blue marble consisting of sea and sky. When associated with liquid, blue represents the soft lapping of waves or the running of a clear mountain stream. As the air we breathe, blue is fresh and vital, reminding us of the clarity of a sunlit day under azure skies.


White is "up in the air," as in marching clouds. It has associations of an upward "heavenly" motion and is pure as the driven snow, innocent in its ultimate nature. White represents cleanliness and the absence of pain and is as inviting as a pure white cotton sheet on which to lay our troubles and our bodies.


Black is the "forever" color forever night, forever faithful, forever formal. It's a color that can inspire fear through its association with nothingness and earth but can also feel calming due to its solid, orderly and definite appeal. Nothing washy here.


Purple brings to mind royalty and ancient civilization. It's the color of the Muse, of soothsayers and prophets. It is clairvoyant and psychic, headstrong and powerful. Yet it is also the color of sorrow and passion intertwined, as in the Christian sense, with death and resurrection.


Yellow is associated with "higher powers," of things greater than we mere humans. For the Egyptians, the sun god Ra ruled; for the ancient Greeks, Apollo's chariot blazed across the skies. Yellow is the sun, as any child can tell you; it relates to intellectualism, random thought and innocent happiness.


Red reigns! The color that calls on powerful emotions, either love or hate, red is the arbiter of our deepest feelings. It's the dynamic motion of flame and the color of the blood that courses through our veins. It's all of the things that mean so much to life itself. Full of ego and "inner" flames, red is the life force.


There is an old world reverence and true depth of emotion about the color gold. With gold, we inherently think of wealth, luxury and desire, yet it also relates to satisfaction and intimacy. Gold is the wedding ring, the ties that bind; it's lifelong love. It is the finest we have to offer and often represents our highest achievements.


Depending upon its strength, pink can make us feel young and joyfully alive or gentle and calm. It's innocent and playful and is often associated with the feminine side of our natures. Pink also represents garishness and a devil may care attitude in its hotter intensities.


Gray can feel warm or cool or no temperature at all. It represents "the rock," therefore solidity and support. Gray is nondescript, just gray and nameless. Gray is trying to fit in but not bring attention to itself. The color of the wallflower, gray is also the color of wisdom and longevity.


This high-powered blue isn't as restful as its near neighbors on the color wheel. Turquoise is vibrant and spirited enough (as in the sense of American Southwest colorations) to represent a kinesthetic, athletic tension, while reminding us of the opulence of the Tokapi Palace and ancient intrigues and mysticism.


The great balancing act of neutral beige allows the other colors to come out and play. Beige is the arbitrator, joining disparate ideas together and forming new unions. It is the color of noncolor, the sameness of the desert lulling us into sleep through its unchallenging nature.


Brown is the Protector, the "Earth Mother" to us all. Security and contentment are found in brown. It's the cozy color, enveloping us in strength and allowing for rest and recovery. Brown shelters us from the storms of life.

How to use the National Day of Service to help your community get ready

Saturday, Jan. 19, is the fourth annual National Day of Service, a day for Americans to give back to their communities by volunteering for any cause that matters to them. The National Day of Service was created in 2009 to honor the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

If you haven’t decided how you’re going to serve your community, enter your ZIP code on the National Day of Service website to find events near you. Emergency preparedness-related events can be found under the “health” and “community resilience” categories.

If you don’t find a volunteer event near you, consider donating your time to an organization that is working to keep your community ready or to help it recover after an emergency.

The American Red Cross depends on volunteers to do a lot of its emergency relief work — 96 percent of its work is done by volunteers, in fact! Volunteers do everything from helping neighbors after a fire or natural disaster to working at blood drives. Check out our blog post about volunteering during a disaster to get an idea of what it’s like. For more information about volunteering for the Red Cross, visit the organization’s website.

If you want to help your community prepare for emergencies, consider joining a local Community Emergency Response Team. Volunteers receive training in basic emergency response skills, such as fire safety and search and rescue missions. To find a local chapter, enter your ZIP code on the Community Emergency Response Team website.

The Medical Reserve Corps is another way to get involved in your community. The corps has volunteer roles for nurses, doctors and other public health professionals, but also looks for people with different skills, such as communications and logistics. Corps volunteers meet regularly to practice emergency response drills and can be called to respond when a health or other emergency occurs nearby. Learn more about volunteering and look for a chapter near you via the Medical Reserve Corps website.

"Kill Anything That Moves" American War Crimes in Vietnan - Democracy Now

I was my original intention to carry this post on in the same vein as this recent Democracy Now offering, specifically, the circumstances surrounding the rise of the Kmher Rouge in Cambodia. The principal cause being, as I'm sure many of you are aware, the illegal bombing (back to the Stone Age) of Cambodia by Nixon and Kissinger.

But having watched two documentaries on the subject, sourced from the only place you can if you want the truth of the matter, John Pilger.com, I do have to say, I found it all so terribly dismal and not a subject that I felt I could readily offer up to a reader.

But what I have done as an alternate over this last couple of days, is to watch a series of 1983 Pilger interviews all under the generic title of The Outsiders. Of the nine interviews on offer, I watched eight, the subject matter of one of them not appealing to me by any means, and of the eight I offer up four, and present them in no particular viewing order.

I hope you enjoy.

But firstly.
"Kill Anything That Moves": New Book Exposes Hidden Crimes of the War Kerry, Hagel Fought in Vietnam

Two of the leading figures nominated to head President Obama’s second-term foreign policy establishment have their political roots in the Vietnam War. If confirmed, Chuck Hagel will become the first Vietnam War veteran to head the Pentagon, while John Kerry will helm the State Department after becoming one of the most prominent veterans to oppose the Vietnam War upon his return from duty. Although Vietnam is far behind them, Kerry and Hagel will now have to contend with the longest-running war in U.S. history: Afghanistan. We’re joined by Nick Turse, managing editor of TomDispatch.com and author of the new book, "Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam." The title is taken from an order given to the U.S. forces who slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese civilians in the notorious My Lai massacre of 1968. Drawing on interviews in Vietnam and a trove of previously unknown U.S. government documents — including internal military investigations of alleged war crimes in Vietnam — Turse argues that U.S. atrocities in Vietnam were not just isolated incidents, but "the inevitable outcome of deliberate policies, dictated at the highest levels of the military." transcript

The Outsiders: Jessica Mitford 26 minutes, as all

983. John Pilger interviews author, journalist and political campaigner Jessica Mitford

The Outsiders: Wilfred Burchett

1983. John Pilger interviews Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett

The Outsiders: Martha Gellhorn

The Outsiders: Martha Gellhorn from John Pilger on Vimeo.

1983. John Pilger interviews Martha Gellhorn, the American novelist, travel writer and journalist considered to be one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century

The Outsiders: Costa-Gavras

1983. John Pilger interviews political film-maker Costa-Gavras