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Tag Archives: Health

Why you need to touch your keys to believe they’re in your bag

As virtual reality headsets hit the market, they bring with them the echoes of Macbeth’s words: the world they immerse you in might look or even sound right, but can’t be touched or grasped. Seeing a dagger on the table before you, you might try to reach for it, but as your arm simply goes through the air, you are left with the ghostly feeling that things are not so real. Impalpable objects are not convincing, and integrating touch into new technologies is the next frontier. But why, to Macbeth and to us, does touch matter so much? What does it bring, that vision doesn’t?

Missing a whole family of sensations can be disturbing – yet the absence of tactile experiences seems to have more damaging consequences than the absence of other experiences, for instance olfactory ones.

https://aeon.co/ideas/why-you-need-to-touch-your-keys-to-believe-theyre-in-your-bag

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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Globalized Jitters

We were on our way from breakfast to the bodega when the stomach-scrambling panic started to kick in. My best friend and I had embarked on what was supposed to be a gonads-to-the-wall gonzo journalist reporting project, interviewing activists and radicals all over post-Trump California. We were camped out in Downtown L.A. in a ridiculous hotel room we’d rented cheap—a space she declared a “Kubrickian Porno Suite,” full of ergonomic lounge furniture spotted with suspicious stains. It was day one, and we had already made our first mistake. We had underestimated the strength of the breakfast coffee.

By the time we figured out just what was amiss, it was far too late. I had had two, and she had had three—it was free, after all—and thus it came to pass that mere hours into our comradely, clichéd, hell-raising road trip into the dark heart of the Trump resistance, I was hyperventilating myself into a spiral of neurosis over an unmemorable Facebook flamewar, and she was having a full-on panic attack.

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-globalized-jitters-penny

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Reportages

 

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Is Health Care a Right?

Is health care a right? The United States remains the only developed country in the world unable to come to agreement on an answer. Earlier this year, I was visiting Athens, Ohio, the town in the Appalachian foothills where I grew up. The battle over whether to repeal, replace, or repair the Affordable Care Act raged then, as it continues to rage now. So I began asking people whether they thought that health care was a right. The responses were always interesting.

A friend had put me in touch with a forty-seven-year-old woman I’ll call Maria Dutton. She lived with her husband, Joe, down a long gravel driveway that snaked into the woods off a rural road. “You may feel like you are in the movie ‘Deliverance,’ ” she said, but it wasn’t like that at all. They had a tidy, double-wide modular home with flowered wallpaper, family pictures on every surface, a vase of cut roses on a sideboard, and an absurdly friendly hound in the yard. Maria told me her story sitting at the kitchen table with Joe.

She had joined the Army out of high school and married her recruiter—Joe is eleven years older—but after a year she had to take a medical discharge. She had developed severe fatigue, double vision, joint and neck pains, and muscle weakness. At first, doctors thought that she had multiple sclerosis. When that was ruled out, they were at a loss. After Joe left the military, he found steady, secure work as an electrical technician at an industrial plant nearby. Maria did secretarial and office-manager jobs and had a daughter. But her condition worsened, and soon she became too ill to work.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/02/is-health-care-a-right

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in North America, Reportages

 

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How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America

Haskell County, Kansas, lies in the southwest corner of the state, near Oklahoma and Colorado. In 1918 sod houses were still common, barely distinguishable from the treeless, dry prairie they were dug out of. It had been cattle country—a now bankrupt ranch once handled 30,000 head—but Haskell farmers also raised hogs, which is one possible clue to the origin of the crisis that would terrorize the world that year. Another clue is that the county sits on a major migratory flyway for 17 bird species, including sand hill cranes and mallards. Scientists today understand that bird influenza viruses, like human influenza viruses, can also infect hogs, and when a bird virus and a human virus infect the same pig cell, their different genes can be shuffled and exchanged like playing cards, resulting in a new, perhaps especially lethal, virus.

We cannot say for certain that that happened in 1918 in Haskell County, but we do know that an influenza outbreak struck in January, an outbreak so severe that, although influenza was not then a “reportable” disease, a local physician named Loring Miner—a large and imposing man, gruff, a player in local politics, who became a doctor before the acceptance of the germ theory of disease but whose intellectual curiosity had kept him abreast of scientific developments—went to the trouble of alerting the U.S. Public Health Service. The report itself no longer exists, but it stands as the first recorded notice anywhere in the world of unusual influenza activity that year. The local newspaper, the Santa Fe Monitor, confirms that something odd was happening around that time: “Mrs. Eva Van Alstine is sick with pneumonia…Ralph Lindeman is still quite sick…Homer Moody has been reported quite sick…Pete Hesser’s three children have pneumonia …Mrs J.S. Cox is very weak yet…Ralph Mc-Connell has been quite sick this week…Mertin, the young son of Ernest Elliot, is sick with pneumonia,…Most everybody over the country is having lagrippe or pneumonia.”

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/journal-plague-year-180965222/

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2017 in North America, Reportages

 

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Glyphosate: une bonne lecon de democratie

Faut-il prolonger ou interdire l’usage du glyphosate, plus connu sous le nom de Roundup ? Depuis deux ans, les gouvernements européens tergiversent. Car, depuis mars 2015, l’herbicide le plus vendu dans le monde est aussi classifié « cancérogène probable » pour l’homme par le Centre international de recherche sur le cancer (CIRC). Cette agence des Nations unies est arrivée à cette conclusion sur la base du travail mené pendant un an par un groupe d’experts indépendants.

Jusqu’à mercredi 25 octobre, pourtant, il n’était question, pour la Commission européenne et la plupart des Etats membres de l’UE, que de renouveler pour dix ans l’homologation du « best-seller » du groupe américain Monsanto. En d’autres termes : de prendre la décision de continuer à exposer leurs concitoyens, les agriculteurs en premier lieu, à un pesticide jugé probablement cancérogène par l’agence scientifique internationale de référence.

http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2017/10/26/glyphosate-une-bonne-lecon-de-democratie_5206240_3232.html

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in European Union

 

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‘Sleep should be prescribed’: what those late nights out could be costing you

Matthew Walker has learned to dread the question “What do you do?” At parties, it signals the end of his evening; thereafter, his new acquaintance will inevitably cling to him like ivy. On an aeroplane, it usually means that while everyone else watches movies or reads a thriller, he will find himself running an hours-long salon for the benefit of passengers and crew alike. “I’ve begun to lie,” he says. “Seriously. I just tell people I’m a dolphin trainer. It’s better for everyone.”

Walker is a sleep scientist. To be specific, he is the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, a research institute whose goal – possibly unachievable – is to understand everything about sleep’s impact on us, from birth to death, in sickness and health. No wonder, then, that people long for his counsel. As the line between work and leisure grows ever more blurred, rare is the person who doesn’t worry about their sleep. But even as we contemplate the shadows beneath our eyes, most of us don’t know the half of it – and perhaps this is the real reason he has stopped telling strangers how he makes his living. When Walker talks about sleep he can’t, in all conscience, limit himself to whispering comforting nothings about camomile tea and warm baths. It’s his conviction that we are in the midst of a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic”, the consequences of which are far graver than any of us could imagine. This situation, he believes, is only likely to change if government gets involved.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/24/why-lack-of-sleep-health-worst-enemy-matthew-walker-why-we-sleep

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Every day brings some new trauma’: keeping calm in an anxious world

In the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum and the US presidential election, it became common, on the losing side, to compare the experience to a death in the family. First came the punch to the gut, the thunderbolt of disbelief. Then came the days when you would find yourself going about your business as if nothing untoward had happened, only to recall, each time with a fresh wave of nausea, that it had.

In one major respect, however, this analogy has turned out to be wrong. By this point, following a “normal” bereavement, you might expect the process of recovery to be underway. The wound may never heal, but things reorder themselves around the injury and life moves on. To put it mildly, this is not how things seem to be unfolding on the leafy Greenwich Village block in New York where Paul Saks keeps his consulting room.

“The traumas come so quickly – every day brings something else – that now there’s a certain despair and numbness that has set in,” says Saks, a psychotherapist and psychiatrist whose patients are overwhelmingly liberal New Yorkers. One recent patient, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, was distressed by Donald Trump’s cosiness with neo-Nazis; a current client, who is gay, “jokes about waiting for the moment they come and round gay people up and take them off to the camp. But the way the patient says it, it’s not quite a joke.” Those without any specific, identifiable reason for worry or anger are hardly immune, though. In a way that strikes many therapists and counsellors as new, politics is now the panicky drumbeat behind clients’ concerns.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/04/every-day-trauma-keeping-calm-anxious-world-therapist-tips

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Trump’s Opioid Response

AARON MATÉ: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Maté. Two months after saying he would take action President Trump has declared the opioid overdose crisis a public health emergency.

DONALD TRUMP: Beyond the shocking death toll, the terrible measure of the opioid crisis includes the families ripped apart and for many communities, a generation of lost potential and opportunity. This epidemic is a national health emergency. We cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction.

AARON MATÉ: Trump’s decision falls short of what his own commission recommended in August. The commission said a national emergency should be called, which would have freed up new federal resources. Instead, Trump’s designation only authorizes the use of existing resources.

Over 59,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2016 and this year is on pace to top that record. Johann Hari is author of the best-selling book, Chasing the Scream, The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. Johann, welcome. I guess my first question is, if Trump is not allocating new resources for this crisis, then is he really doing anything at all?

https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/trumps-opioid-response/

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in North America

 

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How Science Is Unlocking the Secrets of Addiction

Patrick Perotti scoffed when his mother told him about a doctor who uses electromagnetic waves to treat drug addiction. “I thought he was a swindler,” Perotti says.Perotti, who is 38 and lives in Genoa, Italy, began snorting cocaine at 17, a rich kid who loved to party. His indulgence gradually turned into a daily habit and then an all-consuming compulsion. He fell in love, had a son, and opened a restaurant. Under the weight of his addiction, his family and business eventually collapsed.He did a three-month stint in rehab and relapsed 36 hours after he left. He spent eight months in another program, but the day he returned home, he saw his dealer and got high. “I began to use cocaine with rage,” he says. “I became paranoid, obsessed, crazy. I could not see any way to stop.”When his mother pressed him to call the doctor, Perotti gave in. He learned he would just have to sit in a chair like a dentist’s and let the doctor, Luigi Gallimberti, hold a device near the left side of his head, on the theory it would suppress his hunger for cocaine. “It was either the cliff or Dr. Gallimberti,” he recalls.

Source: How Science Is Unlocking the Secrets of Addiction

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in Reportages

 

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The juju curse that binds trafficked Nigerian women into sex slavery

Every night as dusk falls in Piazza Gastone in the Noce district of Palermo, a tall, imposing Ghanaian woman dressed in traditional west African robes stands before a small congregation sweating in rows of plastic chairs before her.The Pentecostal Church of Odasani has been converted from an old garage in a backstreet into a place of worship, albeit one unrecognised by any formal faith group. But what many of the congregation – largely young Nigerian women – have come for tonight is more than prayer; it is freedom.“Nigerian women come to me for help, they have bad spirits that have been put inside their bodies by people who want to make money from them,” says the self-proclaimed prophetess, as she prepares to start her service.

Source: The juju curse that binds trafficked Nigerian women into sex slavery | Global development | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2017 in Africa, European Union

 

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