When I called my (only living paternal) aunt today, as is my Sunday custom, I told her that I had read and written so much in the last two days that I felt brain dead. There was more yet to read when I called her- but I will take a break from all this school madness to write for my beloved blog :)

Obesity Drug OUT: It seems that the name starts with an O, but you know what, it doesn't really matter what the name is. I am categorically and theoretically against this class of drugs. This week the FDA denied the application of the most recent pharmaceutical hopeful and I cheered. Almost without question we have seen that these drugs do more harm then good. The resultant weight loss in minuscule and the risk to health - i.e. heart attack and stroke - is great. Of course, some will argue that the obese person is already at increased risk for adverse health outcomes, but that is no reason to medicate them and hurry that heart attack along.

Physical Activity: I am very happy to say that I have been invited to present (speak) at the upcoming "The Heart of a WiseWoman" conference that is being held in Greensboro. It is a program of the NC Department of Public Health and its Cancer Control and Prevention Branch. The topic is the importance of physical activity especially in regards to heart health. I of course said, "YES!" It is November 20th so I have to work on that presentation forthwith!

Breast Cancer: I interviewed a breast cancer survivor on Friday who is also a health advocate. She is a member of a health disparities collaborative which recently completed a research study. That study sought to determine the differences, if any, between the care received in the treatment of breast cancer between races. The study only pertains to a small sample of women in a particular city with access to care at one medical center, however, differences were found. I am not sure if this was deduced from this particular study, titled CCARES or in previous studies, but my interviewee told me that black women are more likely to have estrogen receptor negative breast cancer (and advised to take medicine like tamoxifin anyways) and are less likely to be offered breast reconstruction. Nationally, more white women are diagnosed with breast cancer than women of color, but the mortality rates are higher in black women.

Seen at the Gym: A girl reading a book. No not on the cardio machines. She was reading while using the adductor machine, you know, the machine where you squeeze your knees together, with weights.

Metabolism: A friend who is an insurance coder, asked my opinion regarding the purchasing of a high caliber machine that can "purportedly" determine a persons caloric needs, which could be used in doctor's offices and of course, BILLEd to insurance. OMGosh - did I have an opinion - ha ha. And what is cool is that I am more and more often being consulted as the expert I wish to become :) So here were my thoughts - The first issue is the device itself. How was it tested and who is providing the data on its efficacy and sensitivity? For example, did they do studies on accuracy as compared to some gold standard test? Did they test same person variability - i.e. the same person blowing but blowing for different 'testers' and different 'testers' using the machine on the same person? I expect that the results, even if pretty accurate, because they will not be totally accurate, are only so at that given time. So many things will affect a persons burn rate. The point of course is to tell the patient how many calories they REALLY need in a day. This in theory, would motivate them to balance their in and out accordingly. My second comment to my friend was that I did not think it would motivate anyone or lead to the change the insurance company was seeking - i.e. weight loss. The final reason that I think that this would be a waste of money is that there are currently few tools available to the general public (i.e access and affordability) that could accurately tell them the number of calories they were consuming or burning. So even if the machine said, "you need 1500 calories a day or 2000 if you burn 500 in exercise", how would that person know they accomplished either. Of course, I hope to make it easier for people to know the intake part, but that infrastructure isn't out there now. The people who are knowledgeable about food and exercise and their own bodies, do not need a machine to tell them their needs and those that need a machine aren't really motivated to change in the first place - in my humble but educated opinion - the machine is a huge waste of money. It costs over 4000 dollars )