Category: Health

Read More

O Canada, What Say You?

What do two forts share in common? Kaci Hickox, the 33 year-old healthcare worker from Fort Worth, Texas, taking refuge in Fort Kent, Maine. Surely you know of the so-called Ebola nurse and the legal scuffle about quarantining her. As an Aroostook County native born about 70 kilometers (okay, I rounded up) southeast of FK and having traveled widely across the Lone Star State, I know something about the character of both regions. Think independent-mindedness times two, which equals “Don’t tell me what to do”.

The simple story: She volunteered in Sierra Leone, where the disease rages. She returned to the wrong state, New Jersey, which put her in isolation. She fled to one of the most rural and remote areas of the Northeast. Maine’s governor demanded voluntary quarantine. She defied it. A federal judge ruled against the Gov. News reporters who couldn’t find Fort Kent with a Google Map ruined the autumn tourist trade by filling up the only hotel. We all wait to see if she stays symptom free through November 10. Pass the popcorn. The suspense is thicker than a horror flick. 

Read More

Use Drones to Fight Ebola

The world is at war. Ebola is the enemy. Not Islamic State. Not Russia, Israel, Palestine, the United States, or any other nation or peoples you would like to insert here. No country—pardon the word choice—is immune to Ebola. The disease doesn’t care about cultural, political, racial, or religious differences that divide people. The disease indiscriminately attacks everyone.

Ebola should unite us—a global community rallying against a common enemy. But the disease can, already does, divide us. Fear, not infection, is Ebola’s great weapon of mass destruction. In parts of West Africa, farmers abandon crops for fear of infection; yesterday, I heard a BBC radio report claiming as many as 40 percent of farms in some countries. Fear. Fear of infection will divide us unless we unite first. 

Read More

This Is Me Then and Now

The photo left greatly embarrasses me, but I feel compelled to contrast it with the other. The heavyset me weighed 95 kilos (210 pounds), in September 2004. The other is from August 2014, when I weighed 70 kilos (152 pounds). I’ve lost another 2.5 kilos since my wife snapped the pic of me holding our cat, Neko. The change is dramatic.

Moving to California seven years ago on October 15 precipitated initial weight loss, which with increased activity occurred gradually to 82.6 kilos (182 pounds) early last year. The other 15 kilos (33 pounds) is result of massive dietary change, which is topic of my forthcoming book How I Beat Diabetes. Simply stated: I cut carbs and portions, switching to a diet high in protein, berries, nuts, and leafy veggies.

Read More

My Next Project: ‘How I Beat Diabetes’

I am working on a new ebook based on a personal, health crisis and will start taking preorders this week at Amazon: How I Beat Diabetes, qualifying repeatedly that Joe Wilcox is not a medical professional.

On July 13, 2013, my doctor called frantic about my glucose level. Day before, she drew blood for routine check on something else, and the lab ran the full panel. The number: 212 mg/dL Anything below 100 is safely normal. 

Read More

Are Night Owls Brighter, or Just Late-Night TV Watchers?

There are some things that really go oddly together, like sleep and intelligence. This week I saw several blog posts and tweets referring to Psychology Today article “Intelligence: The Evolution of Night Owls.” That people are talking about the article demonstrates the distressing power of the social Web. The article posted on Nov. 1, 2009, so it’s not exactly new. Matthew Hutson recounts—and without substantive details—a sleep and intelligence study.

Read More

Next Task for Health-Care Reform: Abolish Gene Patents

As a science geek, college biology major (decades ago) and pragmatist, I am appalled that any person or company is granted patents over genes. It’s simply unconscionable to grant ownership over laws of nature, which allowance defies centuries of sound legal prudence. If the Obama Administration and 111th Congress want to do some more meaningful health-care reform, abolishing gene patents would be the right place to start.

There is something so oddly together about where genes started and where they are today. In February 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson uncovered “the secret of life” when identifying the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, more widely known as DNA. Their pioneering work later led to the Human Genome Project, which when completed in 2003 identified “the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA,” according to official information.

Read More

Shouldn't Healthcare Reform Reward Accountability?

Barack Obama’s healthcare reform plan is a series of compromises that don’t go far enough, but certainly promise improvements. As I write, a vote in the US House of Representatives looms close, and there is much uncertainty that a healthcare reform bill can pass—or should.

A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece called so-called Obamacare “The worst bill ever.”

Read More

America's Health Insurance Cartels are the Problem

Two things that go oddly together: $20 and a quick physical. That’s what my daughter got yesterday so she could try out for the local high school volleyball team. The school recommended the doctor, who was fast, friendly, thorough and cheap. From watching the patients going in and out of the physician’s office, I observed that he provides a valuable service to San Diego’s uninsured.

The doctor’s visit got me to thinking, again, about what’s fundamentally wrong with America’s health-care system and why the Obama Administrations’ reform proposal can’t fix it. The problem and solution go oddly—and quite badly—together. Litigation, not legislation, is the solution.