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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

WebMD.com ─ the Sordid Sell-Out │ More Good Chocolate News │ Seniors Benefit from Extremely Light Activity

After engaging in some forum activity last night at ThaiMarried.com, I was in bed just ahead of 11:45 p.m.

And my new day started around 8:15 a.m. when I checked the time and opted to get out of bed.

There was an extremely annoying point during the night ─ around 3:15 a.m., or maybe a little later ─ when I found myself awake for the first time since retiring, so I decided to use the bathroom and get a good drink of water.

But I could not ─ my infernally irritating youngest step-son Pote was farting around in there.

He and his older brother have a toilet and sink downstairs by their 'den' area, yet the two spend more time in the upstairs bathroom than they do in the kitchen making messes (they're always eating).

This business of late-night occupation of the upstairs bathroom by either of the brothers bugs me no end.

Pote is especially bad in that he often sits up all night long.

I wish he'd get a job ─ he graduated from high school, after all.

And the hot weather continues!

 

I sometimes use WebMD.com as a reference when I am posting about health-related topics.  Apparently people can join the website and thereby become members, but I am not interested in doing that.

And now I am distinctly glad I have never joined ─ notice this report from about five days ago that was released by the Health Sciences Institute (HSI):

Just what the doctor didn't order
It's the number one website for people with health questions.

It has millions of pages with information on every disease and health condition under the sun. And more than 80 million new visitors are finding their way to WebMD every month.

But an Ivy League researcher is warning that WebMD is not what it appears to be. And that it may not be the "leading source for trustworthy and timely health and medical" information we've all been led to believe.

In fact, from the moment you log onto the site, WebMD seems to be more interested in selling your most intimate health information to drug companies and credit bureaus than helping you find the answer you're looking for. So just one visit to the site... just one well-intentioned search... could have your privacy going up in smoke.

WebMD came along around the same time a lot of us were getting computers for the first time. And it promised a way for us to learn about symptoms, diseases and all sorts of health-related questions in the privacy of our own homes.

But that amazing online doctor has long since retired. And the business WebMD is in now and has nothing to do with your privacy.

"WebMD is basically calling up everybody in town and telling them... what you're looking at," warns Tim Libert, a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania who has extensively investigated the website.

Every time you search for information about a disease -- whether it's for yourself or someone else -- WebMD is sharing details about your search with 34 different companies, Libert found. Mega-corporations ranging from Google to Facebook may learn that you're looking for information on bladder control, cancer, or dozens of other conditions that should stay between you and your doctor.

What's most disturbing, though, is that WebMD is sharing your search information with Experian -- the credit bureau that now calls itself a "global information services group." Experian, of course, exists for one reason -- to collect as much personal information as it can about you, and to sell that data to the highest bidders.

Bidders who may be deciding your insurance rates, whether to loan you money for a car, and even whether to offer you a job. In fact, at a Congressional hearing a year and a half ago, one prominent senator called companies like Experian worse than NSA spying.

Because it has access to your financial information and now -- thanks to WebMD -- your health searches, "Experian can follow an individual from her first sneeze to her final unpaid hospital bill," Libert said

Of course, Experian isn't the only company WebMD has sold you out to. Visit the site and you'll be inundated with prescription drug ads -- and the company even admits that it's spying on which diseases you're interested in and trying to match you with the right ads (or drugs).

Recent subscribers to the WebMD email newsletter were bombarded with ads for Vyvanse, Shire Pharmaceuticals drug for "Binge Eating Disorder." They were even sent to a Binge Eating Disorder Health Center with thinly-veiled marketing pieces masquerading as objective articles.

Even our government has noticed the giant "for sale" sign WebMD practically has on its home page. Seven years ago, the FDA started pouring cash into the site as part of a "partnership" to plug federal health initiatives -- including the controversial flu vaccine.

And just two years ago, our government paid WebMD nearly $5 million to promote Obamacare.

At first glance, WebMD may appear to be an independent, objective source of health information. But experts like Libert are warning that it's become a lot like the billion-dollar drugmakers and credit bureaus it counts as customers.

It's hiding behind the credibility of its name and its history while essentially working as the marketing department for people after your most private information.
My impression is that a visitor using WebMD's search function may not even have to be a member of the website for them to do their spying.  Even though your identity may not be known by them, your location is still recorded.  Soon, you may notice that webpages you visit seem to have advertisements 'coincidentally' mirroring the field of your specific search interest.

Health Sciences Institute (HSI) ─ who are a member site of NewMarketHealth.com ─ had a far more pleasant report about four days ago.  This one concerned chocolate:
For a change, the news about one of our favorite foods is good. That is, assuming that chocolate is one of your favorite foods.

There's new research out of Great Britain that proves eating chocolate may substantially reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

This latest study tracked 21,000 adults living in the vicinity of Norfolk, England over a dozen years. And what it found was that people who regularly ate chocolate were 11 percent less likely to have heart attacks or strokes, and 25 percent less apt to die from them than those who didn't.

But that wasn't all. The biggest chocolate eaters also averaged lower systolic blood pressure and inflammation, as well as lower rates of diabetes

The researchers even went further by doing a meta-analysis of nine other studies, and found consistent proof of heart-healthy benefits.

So much for the idea of "death by chocolate."

Now, when it comes to chocolate research, it can be a little hard to know what to believe. Last week I told you about a sham study from an investigative journalist claiming that a daily candy bar can jumpstart your weight loss.

And when the study was revealed as a hoax, it was all it took for the anti-chocolate crowd to break out their megaphones.

But when I bring you research about chocolate, I'm talking about the real stuff -- loaded with natural cocoa and not high fructose corn syrup and other junk. And when you get a steady supply of real, honest-to-goodness chocolate, the health benefits are amazing.

Years of research have proven that the phenolic compounds in cocoa can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels, as well as help reduce cognitive decline.

While this most recent study looked at all types of chocolate, you're most likely to get benefits from dark chocolate, with high cocoa (cacao) and no milk solids. If possible, opt for an organic or non-GMO variety -- if you see soy lecithin on the label, there's a good chance the chocolate is GMO.
They failed to mention the name of the study, but this is likely it ─ although only the abstract or summary is available to the general public without payment of a fee:  Habitual chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease among healthy men and women (doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2014-307050). 

The final item I want to include in this section is an encouraging report about physical activity from Dr. William Campbell Douglass II that he came out with about four days ago:

Skip the strenuous workout and go for a stroll instead
Here's an easy way to get all the "exercise" you need and a good belly laugh at the same time: Ditch the car and take a stroll to your nearest gym. You know, the one that's always trying to hoodwink folks into signing up with those "limited time offers" that never seem to end.

Don't go inside, just peek in the window and watch all the masochists torturing themselves on hamster wheels and running nowhere as quickly as they can (but remember, it's not polite to point while you laugh... even if it's tempting).

Then, walk back home.

Do that every day and I guarantee you'll be in better shape that nearly anyone in that gym, plus you'll have more money in your wallet since your "exercise" didn't cost you a penny.

Walking is the best and only exercise you really need, because new research confirms just what I've been telling you all along: The REAL key to health and fitness in old age is regular light activity.

And if you can fit in a 45-minute stroll every day, you could be in tip-top shape in no time.

In fact, light movement such as walking (not even jogging) is JUST AS EFFECTIVE for improving your health as moderate and even vigorous activity, according to the new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Manage 300 minutes of light activity per week, and you'll be 18 percent healthier than the sofa jockeys around you. Specifically, you'll have less pudge around your waistband, weigh less overall, have better control over your insulin and -- here's the most important part -- you'll be less likely to battle chronic disease.

The study proves, again, that fitness isn't about sweat and strain. It's about making sure you're not parked in a chair all day (and if you are, the studies also show a single furious treadmill session a day won't save your skin).

So put on your shoes, whether it's your walking shoes... golf shoes... bowling shoes... or dancing shoes. As long as those feet are moving, it all counts just the same.

Making every minute count,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.  
I agree with him about gyms ─ I've always felt that only sissies who can't do a damned thing on their own go to them.  Well, sissies and narcissists who need to share the visuals of themselves with the World.

However, I disagree that no one needs to excel physically by training and pushing themselves.  Some people thrive on it. 

Anyway, I found the study he was referring to, but it's another case of one that is unavailable to the general public without payment of a fee; thus, only the abstract or summary is here:  Evidence to Support Including Lifestyle Light-Intensity Recommendations in Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults ( doi: 10.4278/ajhp.130709-QUAN-354).

However, another report on the study is available at consumer.healthday.comEven Light Activity Can Boost Seniors' Health.


I decided to hold off on publishing this post until I had completed and published a post at my Lawless Spirit website:  Holistic Life Coach II.

I started it this morning, and thought that I would complete and publish it tomorrow.  However, I decided to forge on today and be done with it.

Did I rush the job?  Maybe.



Anyway, I am now faced with having to rush the end of my post here, so I will say naught more other than that it was indeed a hot day, and I managed to spend some time in the afternoon sunning in the backyard.

Tomorrow is a national holiday in Canada, so neither my brother Mark nor my eldest step-son Tho will be going to work.

I wish everyone a good-night!
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