Friday, April 28, 2017

Have you gone from phone obsession to addiction?

Larry Rosen, PhD, professor emeritus at Cal State Dominguez Hills,, is a technology addiction expert. For 30 yrs, he has studied the impact of technology on 50,000 children, teens, and adults worldwide.

He says--get this--the average person checks his or her phone 60 times a day--for a total of four hours!

Addiction becomes a serious problem when you need more, more, ever more--games, apps, social sites, vibrations, texts..

When you are not on the phone, are you thinking about being on?

Video gaming is already poised to become a formal addiction under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

What is the difference between obsession and addiction? Obsession is an anxiety-based issue--your brain and other organs are releasing chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol that make you feel anxious--the brain says do the activity, checking the phone, that gets rid of those chemicals.

Addiction is the need to do an activity to release pleasure chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin.

Some people feel pocket vibrations even when the phone is not in their pocket.

Such motivations can lead to loss of relationships, jobs, and grades.

Parents, he notes, are terrible role models on this subject--and often hand their children a phone in a restaurant or before bed.

There must be a better app for those occasions...LOL.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Up your nose

Loyola University pharmacists published a paper (Annals of Emergency Medicine) that said more ERs and ambulance crews are administering drugs by shooting a mist up patients' noses.

I have not personally experienced this.

Fast, easy, noninvasive--they say.

In short, an atomizer is attached to the syringe of medication and the medication mist covers the inside of the nose on the fast track to the brain.

No needles, no IV, no infections.

In the article they looked at five meds administered this way: tranquilizers, pain killers, drug overdose neutralizer, anesthesia, and child sedation.

But--of course-- there is also a downside. This is more expensive and the dose may not be large enough for adults. It also cannot be used if cocaine use has restricted blood vessels or the patient has other nose issues.

At least they had a sense of humor: The paper was titled, "When to Pick the Nose."

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

People pick produce based on smell and appearance

Is this news? I do remember Mel Brooks observing that he would eat a rotten nectarine over the best peach in the world because of the name "nectarine," but I don't think that is relevant to this.

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers says growers and grocers need to know people pick their fruits and veggies based on aroma and appearance--not, say, cost and trendiness or even vitamin content.

But--appearance does not always correlate to flavor or aroma.

Consumers like fruit to be sweet and juicy, but in a survey of 1,220 people, they thought the flavor was a matter of luck.

Au contraire!

Scientists work to find the genes that give fruits and veggies their finest taste and smell traits. Genes can also be manipulated to make the plants for insect resistant and to stay fresh longer.

--Of the six commodities in the survey, consumers bought strawberries the most, followed by tomatoes.

--30.9% thought appearance was most important--price was the Number One factor for 28%.

--Some consumers said they would pay up to 25 cents a pound more for better-tasting fruit. (Grocers say they won't.)

--Consumers do not like fruit with bruises.

Remember those garden tomatoes your grandmother used to serve? Can't find those babies in the store much anymore. We used to stand in the garden with a salt shaker and eat them like an apple. Even those hideous tomato worms with the horns on them did not deter us.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Forget the kids, seniors are phoning in the car

You hear a lot about young people with their quick reflexes tweeting and texting and otherwise being idiots in the car.

But a team of researchers at the Training, Research, and Education for Driving Safety program at University of California San Diego looked at the driving habits of California seniors.

Involved in the study were 397 anonymous adults 65 and older.

The older folks drive distracted less than the youngsters, but are still involved in dangerous behavior.

In the sample, the older people with cellphones 60% spoke on them while driving.

Usually involved was a "skewed sense of their multitasking ability," the researchers said.

Here are some fun facts--please read these while parked.

--Older drivers already suffer from medical conditions that impair safe driving--bad vision, frailty, bad thinking, slow reactions.

--Using the phone increases the risk of crashing by four times.

--Using the phone is like driving with a legal blood limit for intoxication.

--75% of seniors think they can use a hands-free device.

--27% drove kids under 11 last month and of those, 42% talked while on the road.

--3% of  the seniors had gotten a ticket for cellphone use, thought they did say the ticket changed their behavior.

How about changing it so you don't get a ticket--or something worse happens?

Monday, April 24, 2017

The signs of autism

Lisa Nalven, MD, director of developmental pediatrics at the Kireker Center for Child Development at Valley Hospital, says 1 in 68 kids are identified with a disorder somewhere on the autism spectrm.

Parents, she says, need to recognize the warning signs.

But--remember, interventions are available and recognizing the signs is constructive.

The most fundamental red flags are:

--No big smiles or warm, joyful expressions by 6 mos or thereafter

--No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, and facial expressions by 9 mos

--No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by a year

--No words by 16 months

--No two-word phrases (without repeating from the parent) by 2 yrs

--Any loss of speech or babbling at any age

Your pediatrician will watch for signs--but if you are concerned, face it, and ask.