Archive for November, 2010
Some things just suck empirically, and breast implants are one of them. Despite the fact that these glorified JELLO molds have been around since 1964, breast implants continue to be frustratingly fake looking and persistently leaky too boot. But did you know that these artificial orbs can also interfere with mammograms?
Breast implants can obscure mammogram images, which decreases the ability of mammograms to reveal breast cancer in women with implants. This is because the X-rays used for mammographic imaging of the breasts cannot penetrate silicone or saline implants well enough to image the overlying or underlying breast tissue. Therefore, some breast tissue (approximately 25%) cannot be seen during a standard mammogram, because the image is obscured by the implant.
Moreover, post-implant conditions such as capsular contracture- when scar tissue around the implant tightens and causes the breast to become hard and misshapen- can make it very difficult or even impossible for a mammogram to be performed. Moreover, some women avoid getting mammograms because they are afraid of rupture, and the latest research indicates that this is actually a reasonable concern.
Still, studies show that mammograms are still an effective way to screen for breast cancer in women with breast implants. The silicone-set are advised to follow the same American Cancer Society (ACS) program of recommended mammograms as women without breast implants. However, women with breast implants are advised to undergo four additional views, as well as the four standard images taken during diagnostic mammography, in order to visualize as much breast tissue as possible.
In these additional x-ray pictures, called Eklund views or implant displacement (ID) views, the implant is pushed back against the chest wall and the breast is pulled forward over it. This allows better imaging of the forward most part of each breast.
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Las Vegas, which bills itself as “The Entertainment Capital of the World,” is famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, it is the 28th most populous city in the United States with an estimated 2009 population of 1,902,834 for the Las Vegas metropolitan area. However, you only need scratch the surface of this glittering metropolis to unearth far more troubling statistics about the “city of sin.”
In Vegas, the odds of dying by suicide are strikingly high — twice as high as in the rest of the country. And the neon city is a risk for residents and visitors alike, according to a study in the current issue of the journal “Social Science and Medicine”. Indeed, researchers found that residents of Las Vegas had a 50 percent higher risk of suicide than folks living elsewhere in the country. When it comes to visitor suicides, statistics are comparably grim. In most cities nationwide, 1 in l00 ”visitor deaths” on average is recorded as a suicide. However, in Las Vegas, 1 in 25 visitor deaths on average is a suicide, four times the national average.
Researchers have suggested a number of possible environmental factors for this mysterious phenomenon. Compulsive and pathological gamblers have many concomitant problem behaviors, including alcoholism and drug addiction, which often contributes to suicidal behavior. Moreover, the fast-growth, boomtown nature of Vegas is at odds with community cohesiveness. With a high proportion of transients, massive population growth and demographic change, a larger proportion of the city’s denizens may find themselves socially isolated and lacking in an enduring social support network.
Still others have suggested that tortured types, who are more likely to suffer from suicidal tendencies, disproportionally choose to either settle in or visit Las Vegas. I guess self-destructive is as self-destructive does….
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Which is better: “The Godfather” or “The Godfather II”? It is nearly impossible to say which is the greater masterpiece. However, one thing is certain; not even the most diehard devil’s advocate would argue for the relative merits of the third installment of the trilogy. Almost universally panned by critics when it was released in 1990, The “Godfather III” was a pale imitation of its far more distinguished predecessors. Most damningly, director Francis Ford Coppola was accused of nepotism, for his disastrous decision to cast his daughter, Sofia Coppola, in the prominent supporting role of “Mary Corleone”.
Julia Roberts was originally cast for the role, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Madonna subsequently expressed interest, but Coppola felt she was too old for the role. Rebecca Schaeffer was set to audition, but she was murdered. Winona Ryder subsequently accepted the part, only to drop out of the film at the last minute (supposedly due to illness, though other reports state that she was committed to “Edward Scissorhands”). Sofia was swiftly cast in the role of “Mary” following Ryder’s departure. Rumors regarding her acting chops — or lack thereof — began to swirl before she even shot a scene. Paramount begged Coppola to cast a known star, but he persisted, telling everyone that Sofia was the “actual embodiment” of “Mary Corleone.” Sadly for the untrained Sofia, her performance in the film exceeded even the lowest critical expectations. Critics had a field day savaging her (remarkably) monotonous and wooden performance, finding it “hopelessly amateurish” and unintentionally comical. Even her aquiline profile became fodder for ridicule, and in March 1991, the “Razzie Award” gave her the dubious distinction of “Worst Supporting Actress” as well as “Worst New Star.” OUCH!
Sofia initially retreated from Hollywood, entering the fine arts program at the California Institute of the Arts. There she began to nurture her interests in photography as well as costuming and experimented with video shorts. As their first post-graduate effort, she and some friends created the TV series High Octane, an offbeat news magazine on cable’s Comedy Central network. The show was discontinued in 1994 after just four episodes, and Coppola continued to work on her brother’s projects, primarily music videos. In 1999, Sofia shocked the socks off the critics with the release of her first feature film, “The Virgin Suicides”. It was actually REALLY GOOD! Like, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD! Her sophomore effort, “Lost in Translation” (2003), starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, became a critical smash hit and an impressive commercial success to boot. Her third effort, “Marie Antoinette,” while not quite the critical darling that “Translation” had been, definitely had its’ fair share of enthusiastic supporters. I think it is safe to say that Sofia Coppola will not be receiving any “Razzie” awards for her work on the other end of the camera…
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Along with doing homework and going to church, there are few things that children hate more than getting shots at the doctor’s office. So I was understandably skeptical when I heard about the growing popularity of pediatric acupuncture to treat common childhood ailments, such as ear infections, allergies and digestive problems. As a kid, I would have sooner lived solely on cafeteria food and befriended the monster under my bed than submit myself to an hour of getting poked by multiple mini-needles.
However, several styles of Japanese acupuncture use non-inserted needling, making for an entirely non-invasive procedure and completely removing the “ouch” factor. In non-inserted needling the needle is brought to the skin, but never penetrates it, and various other acupuncture tools are used to tap or stroke along the meridians. Notable examples of these styles are Tōyōhari and the pediatric acupuncture style called Shōnishin.
Shōnishin is a specialized form of acupuncture for infants and children that became renowned in the 1700s in the Osaka region of Japan, and which is still popular with parents to this day. Shonishin techniques involve rhythmic stroking, rubbing, tapping, and pressing the skin to give different kinds of gentle stimulation. Practitioners contend that these techniques harmonize and fortify the child’s vital energy, and strengthen the child’s constitution.
The specifics of the treatment (frequency, dosage, strength) depend on the practitioner, the age, and condition of the child, among other factors. Shonishin practitioners believe that “less is better” when administering acupuncture to children, so the treatments are usually very brief: a typical treatment generally lasts only one to five minutes….
If only going to the dentist could be so pleasant…
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Adolf Hitler’s distinctive Toothbrush mustache is one of the most recognizable symbols of the 20th century- an inch of hair that has come to embody all that is evil in human nature. This moustache is most famous for having been worn by German dictator Adolf Hitler, although it was already well recognized as part of the movie star Charlie Chaplin’s iconic Little Tramp costume (Chaplin did not wear the moustache in daily life). Many people even today find the moustache too reminiscent of Hitler to ever consider wearing it in public.
But why did Hitler choose this particular style of moustache? Theories abound. The moustache became popular during the 1920s as a response by working-class men to the flamboyant, flowing Kaiser-style moustaches of the upper classes. Yet, according to new research into Adolf Hitler’s early life, the distinctive, toothbrush shape that adorned his scowling face was not his first choice.
A recently unearthed essay, written by another WWI soldier who served alongside Hitler in the First World War trenches, asserted that Hitler trimmed his Prussian-style moustache because he was ordered to do so: the wide, somewhat bushy Prussian-style moustache that Hitler had been wearing simply didn’t fit under a gas mask.
Had that order never been issued, the tyrant who brought most of Europe to its knees would be remembered as a man with a…. handlebar moustache?!?
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According to TV Guide, “The Cosby Show” was TV’s biggest hit in the 1980s, and is credited with almost single-handedly reviving the sitcom genre and NBC’s ratings fortunes. Comedian Bill Cosby played the lead, but he couldn’t have done it without his costars: Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Lisa Bonet and…those sweaters. During the show’s 8-year run, Bill Cosby was never seen without one of his LOUDLY multicolored Australian Coogi sweaters, which fondly became known as the “Cosby Sweater.” I always assumed that he must have housed all of them in an unseen walk-in closet, seeing that he seemed to own a different epilepsy-inducing patterned sweater for each day of the year.
When “The Cosby Show” ended it’s run in 1992, it seemed like the “Cosby Sweater” had suffered extinction by proxy. The once powerful sweater style lost its leader, and the fashion tide had turned away from the hypercolor 1980s in favor of “grunge” and The Gap. Within a year, muted knits had vanquished the lovably boxy and color clashing “Cosby” to the back of the closet.
The “Cosby” remained dormant for over a decade, mildewing in boxes in basements and hanging like rotten fruit from the racks of America’s thrift stores. And then…… The “Ugly Sweater Party” happened.
The origin of the first ugly sweater party remains the subject of heated debate, but the most convincing explanation credits/blames nostalgia-loving hipsters with starting the trend in the mid-aughts. Suffice to say, this annual celebration of winter fashion gone terribly wrong spread to college campuses and eventually infected the already infirm office Christmas party. Since then, the sale of used “Cosby’s” at thrift stores has exploded in the months leading to December. In fact, many Goodwill and Salvation Army stores report that they have been completely unable to keep up with the demand for tan appropriately hideous sweater.
The resurrection of the “Cosby Sweater” is an inspiration for us all. It is proof positive that even the ugly and undeserving can get a second act in American life.
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“For me, a panic attack is almost a violent experience. I feel disconnected from reality. I feel like I’m losing control in a very extreme way. My heart pounds really hard, I feel like I can’t get my breath, and there’s an overwhelming feeling that things are crashing in on me.”
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear (“panic attacks”) accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress. The disorder may also include “anticipatory attacks” defined by the DSM as significant behavioral changes, lasting at least a month in duration, characterized by unrelenting fear about the implications and/or possibility about having other attacks.
Panic disorder affects an estimated 6 million American adults and is twice as common in women as men. Panic disorder sufferers usually have a series of intense episodes of extreme anxiety during panic attacks. These attacks typically last about ten minutes, but can be as short-lived as 1–5 minutes and last as long as twenty minutes or until medical intervention.
Intriguingly, a growing body of research suggests that panic attacks result not from fear and anxiety, but from breathing abnormalities. According to this theory, people who suffer repeated panic attacks have a hypersensitive “suffocation alarm system” that triggers the shortness of breath and acute anxiety that are the hallmarks of a panic attack. Although no suffocation alarm system has, as yet, been located in the brain, the theory accounts for several other findings about panic attacks. Many panic disorder patients have chronically low levels of carbon dioxide in their blood, caused by slight hyperventilation.
If this theory is eventually confirmed, it will be yet another blow to the old-school body/mind split that has dominated Western thinking since Descartes.
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