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  • Staying Well In Winter

    Simon and Garfunkel [and later, The Bangles] had it right. Winter light is hazy - it's more diffuse. The sun is lower in the sky and the sun's rays reach the Earth at an angle, losing much of their power. And of course, there's less sunlight during each 24-hour day of winter than during the rest of the

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  • Your Personal Corporation

    You are the CEO of your own personal enterprise. In addition to whatever business you might be running or might be in, your personal corporation consists of the value you generate during your time on Earth. Some persons such as government officials make choices and take actions that obviously affect

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  • What Do Lab Tests Really Mean?

    You're at the doctor's office because you think something might be wrong. Rationally, you know tests are probably necessary, but getting the tests done sometimes provokes a lot of anxiety in all of us. We want to know the results, but are very concerned about the outcome."You need blood work" your doctor

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  • Turn Your Medicine Chest into a First-Aid Cabinet

    Many people have medicine chests in their bathroom, small shelving units filled with bottles of pills, capsules, and tablets. Others, instead, have first-aid and personal grooming cabinets in their bathrooms, containing rows of bandages, tubes of antiseptic, rubbing alcohol, and adhesive tape, as well

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  • Straight Talk About Health Care

    In 2009 there's been lots of conversation about health care, both at the federal and state levels.1-3 Not all the talk has been friendly. Those favoring broad reforms describe serious problems in the health care "system". Those opposing change have spread rumors about impending "socialized medicine".

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  • Spring Fever

    Spring is near. In New York City, yellow, white, and purple crocuses have raised their cup-shaped flowers above the ground for all to see. In California, western buttercups, ground pink, and bush lupine have begun to bloom. Humans, too, are awakening to the glory of a new Spring.For most species, Winter

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  • Riding the Brakes

    We're all familiar with the highway driving experience of being behind a person who is continually braking for no apparent reason. This is especially problematic if you're in the left-hand lane. You're zipping along at the posted speed limit and suddenly the brake lights of the car in front go on. You

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  • Peeling the Onion

    In the language of statistics, health is a continuous variable. A person's health can be expressed as an infinity of values ranging from abundant well-being to terminal states approaching death. If health were a discrete quantity you could assign a number to it. You could say that someone had 95% health

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  • Paying the Mortgage

    Whether we rent or own our home, all of us pay some form of monthly living expenses. Even if we have paid down a mortgage and own our home outright, we still pay monthly utility bills in order to keep our homes functional and livable. We also pay property taxes as part of our participation in various

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  • Out of the Past

    In "Out of the Past", one of the greatest film noir ever made, Robert Mitchum's past inevitably catches up with him and dire consequences ensue for all involved. Are we, in terms of health and disease, also in danger of having our past - that is, our genetic inheritance - track us down and interfere

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  • Making Sense of Guidelines for Care

    Not too long ago, the Eighth Joint National Committee (originally commissioned by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) released a new set of evidence-based guidelines for evaluation and treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). The guidelines committee, comprised of 17 academics, spent

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  • Informed People Make Healthy Choices

    Being an informed patient is an empowering concept.1 In the modern healthcare marketplace, the doctor-patient relationship has become a two-way street. It's no longer a situation in which the doctor tells the patient what to do. Today, patients can be full partners in managing their care and well-being.2

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  • How Do You Rate?

    In the field of statistics, a five-point rating scale is commonly used to evaluate all sorts of personal responses, feelings, and assessments. This frequently used tool is known as the Likert scale, and most people have completed such a rating device on numerous occasions, most typically in consumer

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  • Flocking Behavior

    The scientific concept of complexity is only a few decades old, but like many powerful ways of looking at the world it has spread rapidly throughout the public consciousness. Anyone who has watched even a couple of episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" would have heard multiple references to chaos theory,

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  • Checkmate

    In chess, checkmate occurs when a player’s king is under attack and has no safe place to go. The king is threatened and every possible escape route is blocked. Such an existential condition, an allegorical “no exit,” is known as checkmate. In life, a person may be similarly threatened by a serious

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  • A Trifecta You Don't Want To Cash In

    High serum glucose. High cholesterol. High blood pressure. This is a trifecta you definitely don't want to have. This combination of laboratory findings is known as metabolic syndrome, a new medical term that has been in existence for less than ten years. It's well-known that there is an epidemic of

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