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text 2017-03-13 19:02
Nudge › Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein $1,99
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness - Richard H. Thaler,Cass R. Sunstein

Nudge is about choices—how we make them and how we can make better ones. Drawing on decades of research in the fields of behavioral science and economics, authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein offer a new perspective on preventing the countless mistakes we make—ill-advised personal investments, consumption of unhealthy foods, neglect of our natural resources—and show us how sensible “choice architecture” can successfully nudge people toward the best decisions. In the tradition of The Tipping Point and Freakonomics, Nudge is straightforward, informative, and entertaining—a must-read for anyone interested in our individual and collective well-being.

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review 2017-03-10 08:20
The Hidden Half of Nature by David R. Montgomery & Anne Bikle
The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health - David R. Montgomery,Anne Biklé

I first read this book in December 2015.  I like it so much that I purchased my own copy. 

 

This is a beautifully written book that blends clearly described, scientific discoveries with the compelling personal insight of a husband and wife author/biologist/geologist team.  The book explores the importance of microbes in the soil and in people.  The authors discuss both the history of various scientific discoveries and the functioning of these microbes, as well as how these microbes relate to gardening/farming, plant growth, the immune system, the gut, auto-immune diseases,  and general health of both humans and the environment.  I found this book to be both fascinating and educational, without being condescending or oversimplified.

 

Other Recommended Books:

 

~March of the Microbes:  Sighting the Unseen by John L. Ingraham

~The Wild Life of Our Bodies by Rob Dunn

~Why We Get Sick:  The New Science of Darwinian Medicine by Randolph M Nesse & George C. Williams

~Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-03-09 00:00
Herbs for Men's Health: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Energy, Potency, and Strength
Herbs for Men's Health: How to Make and ... Herbs for Men's Health: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Energy, Potency, and Strength - Rosemary Gladstar Review to come.
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text 2017-03-08 00:32
Careconnect Health Insurance Group Review: How Much Water Do You Really Need?

 

Google “how much water should I drink each day,” and you get upwards of six million hits -- half of them, probably, telling you to drink eight 8-ounce glasses every day and the other half telling you to ignore that advice. Here’s the good news: Most healthy people drink enough water and other liquids by simply responding to their thirst (which is the first sign of dehydration), says Nancy Copperman, RD, assistant vice president of public health and community partnerships for Northwell Health. Still, Copperman says, people do make a number of common mistakes when it comes to staying hydrated in the heat. Here are her rules for healthy summer drinking:

 

  1. Eight isn’t enough.

 

The eight-by-eight rule (eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily) may be easy to remember, but the current recommendations for daily fluid intake from the Institute of Medicine are actually even higher: about 13 cups a day for men and 9 cups a day for women. That may sound like a lot, but it becomes less daunting if you spread your liquid refreshment throughout the day -- definitely the best way to do it, says Copperman.

 

  1. Your needs change with the weather (and your altitude…and other factors).

 

Think of the IOM recommendation as a baseline, but know that you may need to drink extra if you’re exercising, or if you’re in a hot or humid environment. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also get additional fluids, as should anyone at a high altitude. “If you live on Long Island and you’re vacationing in the mountains, you should drink more than you normally would,” says Copperman.

 

  1. Tea and coffee count toward your total...

 

“We used to think that coffee and tea were dehydrating because caffeine is a diuretic,” says Copperman, “but studies have found it really doesn’t have a major effect.” So it’s fine to drink coffee and tea as part of your daily fluid intake. Just make sure you’re not only drinking caffeinated beverages throughout the day, because that can cause other health issues. And limit milk and sugar, which add calories.

 

  1. …but steer clear of soda.

 

Yes, soda is a tasty way to rehydrate – but it’s a major source of empty calories. What’s more, studies have shown that a habit of drinking soda or other sweetened beverages raises your risk of diabetes. If you’re engaging in strenuous activity for more than 30 minutes, a sports drink containing electrolytes and a modest amount of sugar can be helpful. In general, though, your best defense against dehydration is water.

 

  1. Tired of drinking? Try eating your water.

 

Watermelon is about 92% water, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine – and cucumber has it beat at 97% water. Even fruits and veggies that are less obviously water-logged, like cauliflower and spinach, can be good sources of H2O. So are liquid-based foods like soups, puddings, and popsicles. Want to get your fluid the trendy way? Coconuts are a hydration gem, says Copperman. She recommends plain coconut water (with no sugar added). Not only does it contain electrolytes like potassium, it has a naturally sweet taste. To your health!

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review 2017-03-03 10:53
Tragedies that should be remembered and never repeated
Warnings Unheeded - Massad Ayoob,Andy Brown

Thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy of his book that I review as part of Rosie’s Books Review Team.

I am a psychiatrist and have worked in forensic psychiatry (looking after patients with a history of dangerous behaviour and, on occasions, criminal records) and therefore when I was approached by this writer about the book, my interest was twofold. Although I’m not currently working as a psychiatrist, I wanted to read the book to see what lessons there were to be learned, especially from the incident of mass shooting, as it was particularly relevant to the issues of mental health assessment and treatment. I was also interested, as a reader, a writer and a member of the public, in how the author would write about the incidents in a manner that would engage the readership. More than anything, I was interested in reading about his personal experience.

As a reader (not that I’m sure I can take my psychiatrist hat off that easily), the book intertwines both incidents, that coincided in the same setting, Fairchild Air Force Base, within a week period. We are given information about previous concerns about the flying acrobatics of Holland, whose antics had worried a number of people at the time, although in his case we don’t get to know much about the person (the information is more about those who reported concerns and the way those were ignored or minimised), and, in much more detail, about the past history and behaviours of Mellberg, that read as a catalogue of unheeded warnings and missed opportunities.

Concerns about Mellberg follow him from school, where he was a loner, suffered bullying, never made friends and showed some odd behaviour and continue when he joins the Air Force. He becomes paranoid, starts harassing his roommate and despite concerns and assessments, he is simply moved from one place to the next, and the mental health assessments are either intentionally ignored or missed. Later on, when somebody decides to take action, there is no evidence of follow-up or organised system to check what happens when somebody is discharged for mental health reasons (some changes ensue, thanks mostly to the efforts of Sue Brigham [the wife of Dr Brigham, one of Mellberg’s victims], after the fact) and readers can feel how the tension builds up to the point where it’s only a matter of time until a serious incident happens.

Brown, the author, shares his background and his career progression to that point, his interest in policing and security from a young age, and he happens to coincide in time and space with Mellberg, being the first to respond to the calls for assistance when Mellberg starts shooting, first the people he blames for his discharge from the air force, and later, anybody who crosses his path. Although we know what’s going to happen, and, in a way, Brown has always been preparing for something like this, the reality is no less shocking.

Brown’s description of events, what the victims did, and what he did is exemplary, and it shows his experience in crime scene investigation. We can clearly reconstruct what happened minute by minute (almost second by second). As the description is interspersed with witness statements and personal detail I didn’t find it excessive, although that might depend on what readers are used to (I know from personal experience of writing reports that accuracy and details are prime, but that’s not what readers of fiction are used to, for example). The book also includes photographs of the scenes of both incidents, diagrams of the sites, etc.

As I said above, although the reader gets the same sense of impending doom when reading about the dangerous and reckless flight manoeuvres Holland does, we don’t get to know much about Holland as a man, only about his experience flying. The issue of warnings not being acted upon is highlighted, but we don’t know if anything else might have been behind Holland’s behaviour, and we’re therefore less personally invested in the case. I must also confess to having little understanding of acrobatics and individual planes capabilities, so I found some of the details about that incident more difficult to follow and perhaps unnecessary for the general reader (the message is clear even if we don’t know exactly how the gs a fuselage can bear might be determined).

Brown’s own reaction to the shooting and his difficulties getting his PTSD acknowledged and treated form the latter part of the book, and they come to illustrate a side of these tragedies that is hardly ever commented upon or discussed in detail, as if sweeping things under a carpet and not talking about them would make them disappear. (As he notes, people don’t know how to react: they either joke about the incident or avoid talking about it completely). He honestly shares his struggle, how long it took him to understand what was happening to him, the less than helpful behaviours he engaged in, and his self-doubt and guilt feelings, not helped by the reluctance of the Air Force to share the information he requests. He had the added difficulty of being removed from service every time he tried to get help, something that he, understandingly, saw as a punishment. He eventually decided to leave active service to try and find peace of mind, but it was a lengthy and difficult process, that might vary from individual to individual. It is always helpful, though, to know that one is not alone and it is not just a matter of getting over it, and that’s why personal accounts are so important.

Brown offers conclusions and lessons on how to keep safe. Although I don’t necessarily agree with some of the comments (the right to bear arms and use them for self-defense is a very controversial subject and I currently live in a country where not even the police carry them regularly), I agree with the importance of being aware of the risks, with the need to be more sensitive to the mental health needs of the population, with the importance of providing follow-up and support to those who experience mental disorders and also the need to see human beings in a holistic way, rather than only treating their bodies and ignoring their minds.

This is an important book that should be read by people who work in law enforcement (either in the military or in a civil environment), provide security to organisations, and of course by psychologist and psychiatrists alike. It is not a book to read for entertainment, and it is definitely not a light read, but I would also recommend it to people who research the subject and/or are interested in real crime and PTSD. I wonder if a shorter version of the book, dealing specifically with the PTSD experience of the author might be useful to other survivors of trauma who might find the rest of the book too difficult to read.

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