because apparently there aren't enough common diseases for me to live in fear of...

here are 11 baffling medical conditions.

my personal favorite is cold uritcaria - you break out in welts and bumps when you are exposed to cold temperatures. i occasionally break out in hives for no apparent reason. the next time it happens i'll have to check that i haven't just been in a walk-in freezer or stuck my hand in cold running water. if this is my problem, i may need to knit more sweaters.


Creepy Canadian workplace safety ads

Canada terrifying its workers into workplace safety, with some dark humour along the way. Damn!


The Hysterical Pregnancy: Internet Panic

So last night I went out to eat and ordered steamed greens, topped with a mountain of sweet potatoes. Lots of colorful, vitamin-y food. I get home and start wondering "I wonder how much Folic acid kale has? I bet it's really healthy!" so I Google it. Pretty soon I am linking to all these sites about what (not) to eat during pregnancy. Then I stumble on this site, which theorizes that eating sweet potatoes may cause Vitamin A toxicity and lead to miscarriage.

In fact, according to this site, eating just one sweet potato can cause a TOXIC vitamin overload, your baby will DIE, it's all your fault and if only you had chosen Tater Tots instead of sweet potato fries you would be a truly fulfilled woman. http://prenatal-health.suite101.com/article.cfm/nutrition_for_the_first_trimester and:

Ok, you know what? Our women's studies professors were right. Pregnancy has been over-medicalized and scrutinized in order to take our reproductive power away from us and put it in the hands of the patriarchy. Not much has changed in the last 50 years, except that nowadays the patriarchy uses pink backdrops and hires a lot of female writers. Women's magazines and websites are whipping us into a panic about our relationships, pregnancy and parenthood … so much that we are unable to listen to our own bodies and make reasonable decisions without second-guessing ourselves. We've got to stop the hysteria!


The Marler Blog

If you're interested in outbreaks of food-borne illness and litigation--and WHO ISN'T?--I highly recommend the Marler Blog. Here's a description of the author, attorney William Marler:

Bill has focused his practice on representing individuals, mostly children, in litigation resulting from E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, hepatitis A, and other food-contamination cases, and has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak across the country. He has represented individuals against BJ's Wholesale Club, Chili's, Chi-Chi's, ConAgra, Dole, Excel, Golden Corral, KFC, Sheetz, Sizzler, Supervalu, and Wendy's, as well as other food companies and restaurants.

It's like a Who's Who list of restaurants NEVER to visit and food brands NEVER to buy. Thanks, Bill!

His blog is super-lively and there are scores of sub-blogs, like the Mad Cow blog; the Listeria blog; the Norovirus blog; and the Cyclospora blog.

Truly, I recommend:



Famished pack of dogs maul German tourist in Italy

I do not want to have my face or any other part of my body "disfigured" by a pack of mistreated animals while I am on vacation. Them poor dogs, too.


On Acute Subdural Hematomas

Acute subdural hematomas are a type of terrible traumatic brain injury. Any time that I've bumped my head in my life, the catastrophizer in me immediately believes that I have a subdural hematoma. This fear began when I hit my head on a can recycler at work a few years ago. Blood running down my face, I sought the advice of a a co-worker who had trained as a paramedic. "How does it look?" I asked anxiously as he rooted around my scalp.

"I think it's just a bump," he replied. "But if you start to have a headache or feel drowsy, you might want to head to the ER. I've seen even slight bumps turn out to be subdural hematomas, and the person's up and walking around and saying they're fine, and 12 hours later they're in a coma or dead."

And so it began. The worst part about a subdural hematoma is that it can have a fairly slow onset, so the person might seem fine initially after the injury. While acute hematomas are most common with severe injury or trauma, this isn't always the case, as my paramedic friend pointed out. Even a slight fall can damage the veins and cause a rupture. And finally, acute hematomas have a very high mortality rate. All of this equals my worst nightmare.

Today, when I read the news about the actress Natasha Richardson, it brought my hematoma fears front and center. The story as it's unfolding is: she was skiing on a beginner's slope, she fell, it didn't seem very serious and she seemed fine for an hour or so until she began to complain of a headache. Now, she's in critical condition.

While I'm not sure we're talking acute subdural hematoma, I'm guessing. And of course I'm wishing her well.


Stocks are Up, Prions Still Misfolded

There was a news report just released that iron contributes to prion-disease-associated neurotoxicity. I have no doubt this insight will be discussed at length at the forthcoming PRION 2009 conference. Who wants to go with me? It's in Greece this year and it costs this inscrutable amount which I'm willing to pay: 380,00 €



North Korean Rocket Launch?

A space rocket launch, or a missile experiment? This is a repetition of an old story, but it is also a new story each time. Of course, the US and ROK had to conduct the biggest ever mock-war joint military operation just a few inches off the coast of North Korea with all kinds of man-of-wars and state-of-the-art mass killing machines, while N.K is playing with the space rocket/missile threat. As the super conservative, super neoliberal South Korean government makes North Korea increasingly hostile to everyone and everything, tension is building up; and even South Koreans who are normally quite accumstomed to this kind of "face off" are getting antsy. The media constantly talk about how N.K.'s new & advanced rockets may be able to fly across the Pacific and reach the US west coast. As if, really.



Thank You, President Obama

For finally doing something about food safety!

Read about it on my new favorite blog:



Beware of Public Restroom Soap

From The Associated Press:

Mar 13th, 2009 | MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Alabama Department of Transportation is keeping the Interstate 10 welcome center in Baldwin County closed until it gets test results on a suspicious substance found in a soap dispenser. Department spokesman Tony Harris said Friday the department is waiting on tests as a precaution.

The center was closed Monday because of an unusual odor in the men's restroom and because the liquid soap in a dispenser in that bathroom had an unusual color.

The center's attendants saw doctors as a precaution, but Harris said no problems were found.

The center averages 840 vehicles stopping each day.

Lucky for me, I don't travel to Alabama, and while I do wash my hands after using the bathroom, I don't use that nasty, nuclear pink restroom soap. I try not to touch anything with my bare hands. I probably use a dozen of those scratchy paper towels per trip - one to open the stall door, one to turn on the faucet, one to get more paper towels, etc. I feel bad that I'm wasting so much paper, but I guess my personal hygiene and protection ranks above my love for the planet.

I knew it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

I'm Disappointed in Switzerland

I've been considering relocating to an "uncooperative tax haven" but now that Switzerland's caved, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Austria and Luxembourg have all thrown in the towel as well.

Looks like it'll have to be Monaco:



Solid security

For starters, here is a strange little number that someone sent me. It's funny that something from so long ago that is supposed to be happy and gay seems now so imbued with foreboding (the haunting screech of the horn section) and outright creepiness.


On to emergency preparedness. I am wondering who this colouring activity is being given to:

"If an emergency happens in your community, it may take emergency workers
some time to reach you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and
your family for a minimum of 72 hours."

I feel dumb going to buy 3 days of water at Sobey's. I think if I had kids, I'd feel different. But maybe it doesn't make me a survivalist to think about these things. Look at how prepared Canadians are: http://safecanada.ca/link_e.asp?category=4&topic=186.

Panic Attack: Think Global, Act Local

Who told me to relaunch the blog? Dr. Home Air, that's who. He's the expert behind my $5 home radon test. And what is radon? According to the EPA, radon is:

'a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can't see radon. And you can't smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home.'
Colorless, odorless, and responsible for thousands of deaths from lung cancer each year. Now you're speaking my language!

With the world economy in freefall, 2009 is proving to be the most panic-inducing year yet. So what can you do about it? For starters, test for radon. It may not prevent the collapse of world markets, but at least you'll know where you stand at home: