Category Archives: Health


Courtesy of The Economist.



So at work they call me the cabbage and chocolate girl… simply because the two research projects I happen to coordinate at the VA are code name CABG and Chocolate ha.

So cabbage, is really CABG, which is coronary artery bypass graft surgery (aka open heart surgery)

So what did I get to do Thursday morning? Watch a CABG, a quadruple CABG.

It was awesome.


They can usually just take an artery from the chest cavity and reroute it, but for this gentleman they also had to extract a leg vein for extra blood flow. I got to see the leg vein removal the most, but I did get to stand immediately over the open chest and beating hard to see the LIM artery being attached to revert around the coronary blood reduction.

Definitely the best surgery I have ever gotten to see. I was certainly shocked by how mellow the whole thing was. It was just over abundantly intriguing, and I was there for less than half of  the 7 hour surgery (:

K-E Diet

The K-E Diet is a new trend to sweep brides everywhere. Usually I can find ways to rationalize crash dieting, mostly to keep myself from yelling at everyone around me. But I have a serious problem with someone subjecting themselves to a feeding tube to lose weight. People are forced to wear feeding tubes for serious medical conditions, and now people are doing it willingly? Our culture is sick, I don’t know how we will ever recover from our image/material obsession and realize the important things in life.


Looks like I couldn’t have spoke much sooner – check CNN for a great article that seems to agree with my sentiments

Great Article on Surgery Costs

(See the link in the post below for the article)

Basically insurance companies are trying to make the price of surgeries readily available so patients can “shop around for surgery”

Note the graph… stunning differences of up to $5,000 just based on the hospital the procedure was carried out in. Not to mention, I doubt there is little difference in quality of health care…

Tipping the Bucket


My unanswered annoyance has been addressed.

My silent frustration is being acknowledged.

My frustratingly straight edge nature wasa bound to come to light at some point…

The Today show, my favorite morning new segment (yes I know how normal I sound right now) did a story on a topic I have been bitching about for quite a while now (though I’m sure few have heard the extent of my opinions)

Today Investigates covered the topic of Adderall.

 If you don’t know what Adderall is, you’ve been living under a rock.


If you do know adderall, then you either know about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or possibly have college aged students…

Let’s hope the former.

ADD – as the name implies, a disorder in which you cannot focus, it’s a hyperactivation reflected in changes in brain structure. In the 1990s diagnoses spiked when the disease became viewed as a much more natural condition.

In 2001, Shire Pharmacuticals released Adderall XR as a new form of the the once popular diet drug Obetrol. Many studies have demonstrated Adderall’s ability to allow children to focus on tasks and regain a normal level of activity…

Okay so in brief let’s look at what we have here. A drug, readily prescribed, with an amphetamine base, that helps people focus, and reduced appetite. Logically. Let’s just be logical here. Who do you think is going to “benefit” from this drug the most….

Athletes use steroids to gain a biological edge over the competition, college students use adderall to do the same. This analogy was quoted in the Today short, but it’s something that any college student could draw up.

I know two people that have never used adderall in their life.

Literally. I’m in a sorority of 100 girls, I was in a study abroad program of 55, I am in a service club of 30. And I know two people that have never done adderall in their lives.

There are so many reasons why this topic makes me upset…

1) Selfishly, the first thing that comes to mind is fairness. Not only am I competition against a breed of pre-med students that are perfectly comfortable having no social life, leaving the dorm only for food. But add performance enhancing drugs on top of that, and look what I’m up against. Look at what students that don’t want to take this drug have to do? This situation, that I would argue almost all college students are pushed into, does not make it easy to study drug free. Its ridiculous. I get so heated over this because grades are a big deal, doing well in college is a big deal. And people use this bullshit ADD drug made for elementary aged kids to study for 8 hours on end.

2) As I mentioned its an amphetamine. Cocaine is an amphetamine. methamphetamine. I think because this is a newer issue the level of awareness is quite low, and I don’t think a lot of kids know what they are getting into… Cocaine was once used as an anesthetic and prescribed to patients in the 19th century, studies have shown the irreversible damage it can cause to the brain and other organs. So because adderall is prescribed by doctors it’s automatically safe? heroine = morphine = used in hospitals for pain relief, doesn’t mean it’s not destructively addictive and harmful. My point is that I think studies need to be run, on the affects of adderall on the body and brain, and that people need to be made aware of these consequences. There are already many cases of people being addicted and developing secondary disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression

3) Possession of a controlled substance. Sale of a control substance. Felony. Felony. Really? Is it worth it? With increasing media attention law enforcement will tighten it’s regulations and impose stronger punishments on those breaking the law with adderall use or sale.

I worry about my best friends! The people I love that could seriously be putting their health in jeopardy. I know how helpful the drug can be. But I’ve also seen the depression, mood swings, erratic behavior and addictiveness in people close to me. I know this seems extreme but I feel strongly about this issue because I value health, I value fairness, I value my friends. People need to stop relying on substances to get them through everyday life. Especially young people. I know too many alcoholics  and drug users that love to party and love the appetite suppressant. This just goes with other issues I have raised about values among college students. I am and will always be a liberal but I strongly feel we need to get back to our roots when it comes to everyday values.

I really hope future sociology studies will be run to prove the prevalence of adderall in colleges, and biology studies to prove the affects of abuse of this drug.

Staying Informed — Sexualization

I guess this kind of links up with a previous post. I was on CNN today lurking through the opinion section and found Don’t Dress Girls Like Tramps. While I agree, I thought it was kind of an abrasive title. So I went to check it out. And I read the evidence to validate this guy Granderson’s claims.

The Sexualization of Young Girls.

Granderson makes it simple. Imposing the narrow ideas of beauty upon girls at a young age is linked with the three most common mental health problems of young girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression.

When I talked about eating disorders a few posts ago, I blamed the media for its strong influence on college aged students. Its easier for me to address factors that would affect college students than young girls (I relate slightly better to a 20 year old over a 10 year old). Granderson, interestingly enough, lays the blame for sexualization and its related disorders primarily upon parents.

He makes a valid case. How many 10 year olds are shopping alone, with their own money, and then will proceed to buy an Abercrombie push up bra?

I can read studies like this and understand why. Why problems exist, what is causing these issues. But it’s harder for me to find a place to move forward, asking how can we change this?

Obviously you cannot control what information your child gets from their friends or classmates. But parents can definitely take a stand in the household, where media is more readily available. Furthermore, parents do not need to be buying their children material or clothing that promotes age inappropriate ideals.

But even saying “age inappropriate” is like justifying these ideals for young adults and up. And I disagree. Like I said before, the present narrowness of beauty shouldn’t persist for any generation. I just think that childhood is a critical period for learning and acquiring morals and ideals, and that there must be a greater push to protect girls and boys from sexualization at a young age.

If you have time read the study . Its startling. The fact that our government is issuing a grant for studies of sexualization should affirm its realness in our society. I don’t want to grow up in a world where the majority of girls have eating disorders or mental distress trying to satisfy a nearly unreachable ideal. I don’t want my kids to grow up in such a world. I’m not an extremist in my views, I just think our society as a whole needs to take a serious look at these issues and decide if this is something that should persist or be vehemently addressed.

Ehhh Hmmm

Okay lets be honest with ourselves here. With Spain and all that jamon, not to mention countless recipes from Joy the Baker to please my seemedly starved roommates:

I have gained a few pounds.

And thus a course of action must be taken, although I am taking quite a different route than my peers . I’m sad to report that if you click the link, you will note that 15% of women between the ages of 17-24 have an eating disorder.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t witness this every day.

Not in my house because I have amazing roommates that have been blessed with unconquerable fitness, but my last roommates, one of my best friends, and a surprising amount of boys have had or still are dealing with an eating disorder… Yes, begin in Greek life exposes you to materialism at its finest, and all the splendid disorders that comes with it.

But how can we change this?

I don’t want to be pessimistic, but I truly don’t know if it’s possible. The media, cannot carry the burden of total blame, but still, photoshop has made impossibly skinny the very visible norm. And if the camera really adds 10 lbs, then I’m surprised half of celebrities haven’t wasted away. Even if you can resist falling for the new standard, it doesn’t mean that everyone around you has done the same. Honestly, it is hard to watch 120 lb sorority girls keep it to one orange a day, or fit frat boys refuse to eat Taco Bell because they are dieting for their Spring Formal.

But despite all this, I refuse to not eat. For one, it’s not quite healthy, unless you call high blood pressure and cholesterol levels at age 20 normal… Second, I have developed quite a fondness for good food. Ever since coming back from Spain, wheat bread and chicken breasts just aren’t the talk of the town anymore (like they ever were ha). And finally, I’d like to think that it might be okay to not be minute (aka tiny, not the minute like 1/60th of an hour). Maybe as long as I’m eating healthy, that’s what really matters. I’d like to hope I wont get judged too severely for having what I see as a fairly normal body type. But, then again I’m in college. Then again I’m in a sorority.

Let’s be optimistic (:

So dance I shall. Yes my game plan is dancing. Not ballroom, not salsa (my original plan), but breaking it down with some good ol’ beats, in my room, alone, for like, as long as I can without falling down dead. It is, not surprisingly, much more fun then the 5 mile runs I occasionally decide to take. And I can just wig out like a mad woman and no one can see me! Sometimes makes me wish I had done dance rather than sports in high school…. but not really because too many good times in 15 passenger water polo vans that I will never forget ha.

Okay fine back to studying like a good little premed.