Oprah Responds To NEWSWEEK's Cover Story

According to Entertainment Tonight, Oprah has responded to NEWSWEEK's cover story this week, "Crazy Talk: Oprah, Wacky Cures & You." Sayeth Oprah: For 23 years, my show has presented thousands of topics that reflect the human experience, including doctors' medical advice and personal health stories that have prompted conversations between our audience members and their health care providers. I trust the viewers, and I know that they are smart and discerning enough to seek out medical opinions...

Noah Cyrus, Situation Critical: Miley's Little Sis Is 9 Going On 29.

A few months ago, NEWSWEEK published an article called "Generation Diva," about the increased interest tween girls show for things like pedicures, facials, cosmetics and other beauty treatments previously considered grown-up luxuries. (One could argue that "diva" is a pejorative term that puts blame on young kids who don't know any better, kids who are obviously lacking some responsible parental supervision. Let's be clear: we think parents need to step up and start enforcing some...

Is It Racist To Criticize Oprah? Raina Kelley Responds

Not everyone responded positively to the NEWSWEEK cover story on Oprah's role in promoting questionable medical advice. Several commentors questioned if this article is another example of how, as reader Doris Grayson (graysond) writes, "the media can't accept a powerful, decent Black woman as a role model."  Another reader, pencilcase, thinks, "Oprah's being attacked because the thought of a poor overweight black looking black woman from the ghetto transforming herself into...

Stop Doing Sit-Ups: Why Crunches Don't Work

Everyone knows that the road to flat, tight abs is paved with crunches. Lots and lots and lots of excruciating crunches. Or is it?As it turns out, the exercises synonymous with strong, attractive abs may not be the best way to train your core—and may be doing damage to your back.  "We stopped teaching people to do crunches a long, long time ago," says Dr. Richard Guyer, president of the Texas Back Institute.  That's because the "full flex" movement—the actual "crunch" part of crunches –...

The Consult: Giant Fried Cheeseballs Are Bad For You, and Other News From Around The Web

The Nine Unhealthiest Foods ABC breaks it down, courtesy of Center for Science in the Public Interest. Cheesecake Factory's Fried Mac and Cheese, Chicken and Biscuits, and Philly Style Flat Iron Steak Olive Garden's Tour of Italy Chili's Big Mouth Bites Red Lobster's Ultimate Fondue Chili's Half Rack of Baby Back Ribs Uno Chicago Grill's Mega-Sized Deep Dish Sundae Applebee's Quesadilla Burger(ABCNews.com)Poor Kids Get No Breaks:  Even children who manage to outlive, flee, or move...

Did You Hear We Took on Oprah?

Yesterday, the latest issue of NEWSWEEK hit the stands, featuring Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert's smart, gutsy cover story on what one might call the Oprah Winfrey Medical Misinformation Complex, were one not so afraid of a lawsuit. Shorter version (though you should read the whole thing): Oprah, who has tremendous influence and credibility, promotes health "cures" that may be at best ineffective and at worst dangerous. Both media and medical bloggers took note of the story,...

The Consult: 50-percent video addition, and other news from around the web.

Sad News For Children With Autism An anti-depressant commonly used to treat the repetitive behaviors of children with autism is as effective as a placebo—but with worse side effects. Citalopram improved repetitive behaviors—like flapping—in 33 percent of autistic children in a trial. Sounds impressive, except that 34 percent of those taking the placebo also improved.  (LA Times)HPV Protection Gardasil, the vaccine which prevents against several strains of the Human papilloma virus, is...

Is the Recession Making Americans Fatter?

  Could the plummeting economy be contributing to expanding waistlines? Something is: new data released exclusively to NEWSWEEK from Gallup-Healthways shows that in the past year, the number of Americans considered obese has jumped by 1.7 percent—or almost 5.5 million people—and that the obese report a much lower quality of life than those who are at healthier weights. As part of their larger Well-Being Index, Gallup pollsters began surveying 1,000 Americans a day in an attempt to create...

The Consult: Farm-Fresh Fumes, and Other News From the Web.

How Green Is My Produce? Locally grown produce bought at the farmer's market may be delicious, nutritious, and good for the local economy, but it's probably not helping reduce the use of fossil fuels. Or so argues Brian Dunning over at Skeptic Blog "Locally grown produce is rarely efficient," he says. "Apply a little mathematics to the problem, and you'll find that the ugly alternative of giant suburban distribution centers accomplishes the same thing - fresh produce into stores on...

Levi Johnston Speaks Truth, Removes Top

In between his media tour and duties as a teenage father, Levi Johnston has apparently been hitting the gym.  Johnston is best known as baby daddy to Bristol Palin's son, Tripp, and author of such MySpace gems as "I'm a f---in' redneck" and "I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s--- and just f---in' chillin' I guess." (Kids, please remember that the Internet is forever. Pretend your mother is reading what you write at all times....

Guy Grooming: The Video Showdown

What's that you say? Pouring over autism research is not how you want to spend the last  few hours of the work week? Fine: less medical debate, more videos about male hair removal. In these troubled economic times, Gillette's working hard to sell more razors by encouraging more shaving—including that of the hair that dare not speak its name. As Andrew Sullivan points out, however, Gillette is late to the party: Phillips has been addressing this important social issue for years now....

Why Good Parents Believe Myths About Autism and Vaccines

Hot on the heels of Sarah Kliff's insanely entertaining article on why medical myths endure, health blogger Scott Hensley points us toward a new analysis behind one of the most divisive and persistent medical myths of the modern age: that childhood vaccines can lead to autism. (Send angry e-mails c/o NEWSWEEK.) The article is published in the online journal PLoS Biology. It should be noted that PLoS, an open-access—meaning free to read—peer-reviewed journal from the Public LIbrary of...

The Consult: Take Me Out To the Deathtrap, And Other News From Around the Web

Baseball's Dirty Secret: Jon Mooallem at Slate observes that the average baseball game sends up to 40 high-speed projectiles (foul balls and home runs) into the stands, which can lead to deadly consequences. He reviews a new book which aspires to serves as comprehensive chronicle of all deaths during baseball games since the 1862. The authors of Death At The Ballpark found 850 incidents; baseball fans have already alerted them to at least another 50. At what price Dollar Dog Night? ...

True Dirt: An Artist Looks at Food and Waste

Baltimore-based artist Hugh Pocock's new art exhibit, "My Food, My Poop," attempts to represent the complex relationship between the food we take in, the energy we expend, and the waste we create. This post was initially going to be filed as a "Without Comment" because, come on: poop=funny.  But the exhibit does hit on some pretty intriguing themes. According to the Baltimore Sun, for 63 days Pocock measured everything he put into his body and all the waste that came out. The exhibit...

Botox Goes (Even More) Plastic

UPDATE: Trying to figure out if this is a credit card or just a gift card, per the comments below.   Can't afford one of those anti-aging spermin facials? Eager to extend your credit limit while reducing your smile lines*? You're in luck: Botox has unveiled a credit card.The Botox Cosmetic Benefits Card is now being offered to existing patients at select offices for credit towards their next purchase treatment. One of my favorite women—a smart, independent, self-described...

The Consult: Another Reason Technology Might Kill You, and Other News from Around the Web

Technology Is Dangerous, Chapter Two Hundred: Another article about the unknown health effects of new technology, this time in Monday's New York Times (I missed it over the holiday  my mistake.) The article looks at all the potential adverse reactions that could be linked to too much texting. Suspects include: lack of sleep, stunted emotional development, thumb cramping. But before you banish your Blackberry to a drawer, note the fine print: "The rise in texting is too recent to have...

Without Comment: Sperm-based Facials May Reduce Signs of Aging

At The Human Condition, we like to provide commentary on the week's news and events as they relate to medicine, health, and life. Sometimes, however, there are news stories for which no comment is necessary. This is one such story. From NYMag.com: Spermine, a powerful anti-oxidant originally discovered in, yes, human sperm, is said to diminish wrinkles and smooth the skin. The substance is now being synthesized in laboratories and sold by a Norwegian company called (seriously)...

Good News: Credit Protection Passes. Bad News: Your Brain Doesn't Care

There's lots of blame to go around in this current credit crisis: predatory lenders, borrowers outreaching their grasp, lax government regulators. President Obama and Congress are trying to pass legislation that makes it safer for consumers—and hopefully more stable for the future economy—by putting more stringent restrictions on credit companies. However, all this benevolent legislation might not stand a chance against your brain. Or so says new research examined in the latest...

The Tragic Death of Exodus Tyson: Home Accidents Are Too Common

  At first glance, the sad news of Exodus Tyson's accidental hanging via treadmill sounds like a bizarre, tragic freak accident. While the severity of her story is extreme, it does highlight some of the dangers grown-up tech toys can pose to small children. More importantly, it underscores the sad fact that home can be one of the most dangerous places for kids. "Children are much more likely to be injured in the home than any other location," says Dawn Lee Garzon, an assistant professor...

The Consult: Are Sexy Sims Hurting Girls? And Other News From Around the Web

Do Virtual Girls Face Real Danger? Here's a shocker: girls with sexier avatars, or online representations, are more likely to get sexual come-ons while online. Girls who design their online personas to have skimpy wardrobes and curvy figures are also more likely to be preoccupied with sex, according to the journal Pediatrics. The study also speculates—without studying—that these girls are more likely to experiment with sexual activity at an earlier age. That's a bold claim to make...

Good Morning, Takeaway Listeners: Further Thoughts On Medical Neglect

Those of you who caught me on Public Radio International's The Takeaway earlier this morning may want to take a look at these articles, which discuss the issues surrounding Daniel Hauser and Alexander Draper more in-depth. (Those who missed me live can hear the segment by visiting The Takeaway's website: just click the first link).  Towards the end of the interview, host Faria Chideya asked whether those living in poverty were more likely to be singled out for scrutiny by the...

The Consult: A Wilco Tragedy, And Other News From Around the Web

The Less-Than-Magnificent Defeat Jay Bennett, a former member of the band Wilco, passed away in his sleep this weekend. Though much is still unknown about his death (including the primary cause), we do know this: Bennett, who had publicly struggled with drug addiction, was in need of a new hip and without the health insurance to pay for it. As a result, he was depressed, anxious, and bedridden. Gawker asks if any of these factors played into his untimely demise, and the site's commenters...

Memorial Day's Super-Cool Origins

 A discussion on the beach about the purpose of Memorial Day lead me to this bit of information, via Wikipedia:  ...the first memorial day {sic} was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park) in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died in captivity.The freed slaves disinterred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to be inhumed properly reposed with...

Draper Case: What Makes a Parent Negligent?

After courts questioned the way they cared for their sick kids, two mothers in different states ran away with their children. Why 'neglect' is such a complicated concept, and why loving a child isn't always enough.

By The Numbers: The Truth Behind Those Scary Diet-Soda Myths

What is it about diet soda that seems so naughty? Maybe it's because enjoying something without any calories leads people to feel like they're going to have to pay one way or another-if not with their waistline now, then with ambiguous bad health later (a tumor? osteoporosis?). Maybe it's because it takes an already unnatural beverage-there's no such thing as a soda tree-and fills it with even more foreign substances. Either way, people often have a complex, love-hate relationship with diet...

The Consult: The Pros and Cons of Long Life, and Other News From the Web.

The Benefits of Aging Besides a bigger bank account, better insurance, and crazy dinner specials if you go before 6, the elderly have another added perk: immunity to the "swine flu" (sorry: H1N1) virus. Researchers found that one third of people over sixty have antibodies that protect them from H1N1, which they hope will aid in developing a vaccine. (Washington Post)...And The Drawbacks "Dowager's Hump" may predict early death in elderly women. Can we address what a horrible term...

Before and After: Both Sides of Face Transplant Surgery

The morning links are coming up in a second, but I wanted to give this it's own post: The nation's second face transplant recipient went public yesterday.  James Maki, the first American man to receive the procedure, was disfigured four years ago in an electrical accident. The boston.com article about the transplant features a gallery with some pretty shocking photos—the accident left Maki without any nose to speak of, just a hole on his face.  It appears that the surgeons at...

The Consult: High Competition at the 2010 Olympic Games, And Other News From Around the Web

Olympic Buzz The Toronto Star asks if the torch designed for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver looks like a marijuana cigarette.  The Stranger's David Schmader thinks it more closely resembles "a pregnancy test that reveals you're having Satan's baby." It reminds me of either an orange-peeling tool that I have in my kitchen but never use, or a fancy new razor that singes off hair in lieu of using blades. Your thoughts?   (Slog) Fossil Finds Just what I need before...

The Consult: Swine Flu Statistics, Street-Legal Swim Suits, and Other News From the Web

Will Fast Suits Sink Swimmers? The international swimming federation has banned 146 types of high-performance racing suits from amateur competition: 10 suits were rejected outright, while 136, if modified within 30 days, will be reconsidered for approval. The suits improve buoyancy and reduce drag, leading to faster times - times that some officials think give competitors an unfair advantage. "There are some athletes that probably have fooled themselves that they are swimming faster, that it's...

When the "Best Interest" Isn't Good Enough: Daniel Hauser and Medical Ethics

Last week, life was complicated enough for poor Daniel Hauser.  He was a 13-year old kid with Hodginks Lymphoma, stuck at the center of a heated court case. At issue: could his parents refuse chemotherapy and radiation in favor of nutritional supplements? Now he's still all those things, plus a hostage—or a fugitive, depending on how much autonomy one gives a sick teenager. Either way, Daniel Hauser is dealing with a lot more stress then your average 13-year-old cancer patient should...

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