weekly blog--one for the ages
More than two billion people regularly share information about their daily lives over social media, often revealing who they are, including their sentiments, personality, demographics, and population behavior. A new research study concludes that your Facebook posts could clue physicians in to your health. For example, the top quarter of patients who used religious language (such as “pray” and “God”) in their posts were 15 times more likely to have diabetes. The study covered 21 medical conditions.
For decades, experts have advised us to take 10,000 steps a day for better health. A new study suggests that you only have to do 7,500 to reduce the risk of dying prematurely. And it doesn't make a difference if you walk fast or slow.
Replacing red meat with other protein sources may help you live longer. A new study finds that an increase in red meat consumption of at least half a serving per day was linked with a 10% higher risk of early death.
Americans are hypochondriacs, yet we skip our checkups. We demand drugs we don’t need, and fail to take the ones we do. No wonder the U.S. leads the world in health spending. Most experts agree that American patients are frequently overtreated, especially with regard to expensive tests that aren’t strictly needed. American patients similarly don’t like to be told that unexplained symptoms aren’t ominous enough to merit tests.
In most of the world, what the doctor says still goes. In the US, patients don’t trust their doctors as far as they can throw them. According to one report, they spend an average of eight hours a week finding and sharing information online about their medical conditions and health-care experiences. Finally, the U.S. stands out as a place where death, even for the very aged, tends to be fought tooth and nail, and not cheaply.
About those robocalls. The schemes are constantly being refined. In Massachusetts, the most popular kind last year involved imposters, according to AARP. Typically, callers sought to hoodwink grandparents by posing as their grandchildren, and saying they were in trouble and needed money. Topping the state’s list of scams in 2017 were bogus debt collection bids, with fraudsters pretending to be government or business agents, badgering potential victims — online or over the phone — about unpaid bills, and warning of dire consequences.
“Scammers know that the most effective way to defraud someone is to hijack their amygdala, the emotional part of the brain,” said the director of AARP Massachusetts. “They don’t want you thinking, they want you reacting. When you’re dealing with the grandchildren, when you’re dealing with the IRS, people are going to have an emotional reaction.”
The battle began on June 6, 1944 when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history.
Yielding to the inalterable process of aging, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their late 80s and 90s. According to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 496,777 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II were still alive in 2018. About 348 veterans die each day. For those brave men, living and dead, including my father, who struggled here, we salute you and remain dedicated to the unfinished task of healing, repairing and transforming the world.