Month: June 2014

Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health


A study from Britain shows daily consumption of a small almond snack lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular functioning. Nuts are now widely recommended for healthy diets after being previously viewed as too rich in fat; we now know the fats in nuts are often protective and desirable, and one can lose body fat while on a diet high in nuts.

Science Daily covered this and interviewed the researchers:

Eating almonds can reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping blood vessels healthy, research has shown. Research found that they significantly increase the amount of antioxidants in the blood stream, reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow. These findings add weight to the theory that Mediterranean diets with lots of nuts have big health benefits.

A control group ate what they normally would, while another group consumed snacks of 50g of almonds a day for one month.

At the end of the study period, the group eating an almond-enriched diet had higher levels of antioxidants (alpha-tocopherol) in their blood stream, improved blood flow and lower blood pressure, potentially reducing their risk of heart disease.

Almonds are known to contain a range of beneficial substances such as vitamin E and healthy fats, fibre which increases the sense of fullness, and flavonoids which may have antioxidant properties. The team believes it is likely to be the combination of all these nutrients working together to create the overall health benefits rather than just one particular nutrient in isolation.

Professor Griffiths said: “Our study confirms that almonds are a superfood. Previous studies have shown that they keep your heart healthy, but our research proves that it isn’t too late to introduce them into your diet — adding even a handful (around 50g) every day for a short period can help. You could replace a daytime snack with a bag of almonds or add them to your regular meals like porridge or muesli to help reduce your risk of heart problems.”

For more on almonds:

“The Dark Side of Almond Use” – Really?

For more on diet and weight loss:

Getting to Less Than 10% Body Fat Like the Models – Ask Me How!
Starbucks, Jamba Juice Make You Fat
Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat. Government Guidelines Did!
‘Fed Up’ Asks, Are All Calories Equal?
Fructose: The True Villain?
More on “Fed Up”, Sugar Subsidies, and Obesity
Another Study on Diet Drinks
LeBron James Cut Carbs for Lean Look
Why We’re Fat: In-Depth Studies Under Way
Fish Oil Supplements Ward Off Dementia
More on Diet Drinks: Best Studies Show They Aid Weight Loss
Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Sugared Soft Drinks: Health Risk? (and What About Diet Soda?)
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Acidic Soft Drinks and Sodas: Demineralization Damages Teeth
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy
Bulletproof Coffee: Coffee, Oil, and Butter for Breakfast?

For more on good supplements and life-extending habits:

Low-Dose Aspirin Reduces Pancreatic Cancer
Daily Aspirin Regimen Reduces Cancer Rates
Fish Oil Supplements Ward Off Dementia
Lower Back Pain: Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) Useless
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Scams: Multi-Level Marketing, Herbalife
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Vitamin D: Anti-Dementia?

Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!

Children Owned by the State

Children Owned by the State

Reason points out an initiative in Scotland to appoint a government guardian for every child, written up in Spiked Online. This is in response to a concern I covered in a post a few days ago about children in our society being increasingly likely to be subject to abuse without anyone outside the abusers taking notice.

It’s an interesting idea: the government would appoint a single citizen (typically already part of the social services) to watch over each child as a check on the parents’ treatment of the child. There are some obvious privacy and practical concerns: does a family with five children have to deal with five different guardians? And does it give the guardian a right to investigate the family at will and interfere with the child’s upbringing by threatening to go to the authorities if the parents don’t behave as the guardian wishes?

On the whole, we are probably better served by the system as it is: outsiders may observe and report to authorities who will investigate if there is a concern. Reason goes on to detail some of the concerns about the Scottish plan:

This idea grows out of the conviction that [the author’s book and blog on “Free-Range Kids”] exists to extinguish: That all children are in danger at all times, and hence need constant oversight. Sometimes it’s the police arresting a dad for letting his kids play outside, sometimes it’s the police arresting a mom for letting her children walk to the pizza shop, and sometimes it’s even the local library reporting a mom who let her kids, 12 and 15, walk home without coats on a night the authorities deemed too cold.

True danger lies in the notion that the state should decide if you are parenting your kids correctly. The care of your own children is not up to you.

The law responds to a concern we all have, but not in a constructive way. It’s not clear that in this, government can have any greater role without creating worse harms. More likely to help is a cultural shift toward taking responsibility for children when you observe them being abused by their caregivers. And “abuse” shouldn’t be defined as letting children take reasonable risks in daily life, or we will have a generation of delicate flowers not strong enough for the real world.

Further coverage in The Guardian.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


For more on governmental overreach, the modern feminist, and SJWs:

Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
Ev Psych: Parental Preferences in Partners
Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading
Stereotype Inaccuracy: False Dichotomies
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Culture Wars: Peace Through Limited Government

Early Child Development: The High Cost of Abuse and Neglect

Brain Plasticity-Cost By Age

Brain Plasticity-Cost By Age

We know the first years of development are critical: children abused or neglected in the first two years tend to be permanently affected, from having insecure attachment types (avoidant or anxious) to greater rates of psychosis and criminal behavior. This story from WBUR-Boston discusses the damage done and the higher cost of therapy as the age of intervention goes up. While they’ve pulled the cost estimate out of the air, there is no doubt it’s large:

But brain change gets harder as time passes, says Nelson of Children’s Hospital. It’s critical to intervene early before brain damage takes place, he says, to provide support for parents and caregivers, treatment and family therapy and, if need be, to remove children from abusive homes. Interventions done later in life will likely be less successful in rerouting the brain wiring than interventions done earlier, when the brain is more plastic, he says.

“If you have a plastic circuit then you might be able to overcome early adversity when placed in a better environment because the brain is still plastic enough to change,” he says.

The cost of delaying is huge — not only in human terms, but also financially. According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, “the total lifetime cost of child maltreatment is $124 billion each year.”

In western countries, child welfare authorities attempt intervention when physical abuse is reported. This is a poor substitute for extended family and village life which, in times past, served as a backup to parents in rescuing children from poor parenting. The rootless and urban now live more anonymously, and children are more likely suffer from bad parenting without anyone noticing anything amiss until the hell-child is released into society, which in some neighborhoods means joining a gang of other children similarly impaired. If “everyone” (government agencies) is responsible, no one is responsible

Outside of Big Brother baby monitoring telescreens in every home, what can be done? We know it helps to have two parents, which improves attention levels and makes it more likely one is secure and good at parenting. We know intact families are better than broken ones, and we know parents who were badly brought up themselves are less likely to be good parents to their children. On top of that, parents who care for their children are more likely to wait for economic circumstances which allow them to be raised with adequate resources, while less responsible people don’t look ahead and have children despite their lack of ability to support them.

I don’t have an answer for this. It’s not imaginable that “society” can monitor parenting at this level without becoming 1984-level intrusive. It’s not likely a social movement will return stable nuclear families, Mormon-like, to the norm. It’s impossibly expensive to apply therapy and intervention to every child affected when it becomes obvious there is a problem, in school years or after.

But this question should be one of the big ones that we look at. Societies with high proportions of dysfunctional citizens are eventually displaced by a more organized group. The Romans probably wondered why they could not hold back the barbarian hordes despite their high level of sophistication and wealth….

More on education and child development :

Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
Early Child Development: The High Cost of Abuse and Neglect
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
Free Range Kids vs Paranoid Child Welfare Authorities
“Crying It Out” – Parental Malpractice!
Brazilian For-Profit Universities Bring Quality With Quantity
The Affordable, Effective University: Indiana and Mitch Daniels
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
“Attachment Parenting” – Good Idea Taken Too Far?
Real Self-Esteem: Trophies for Everyone?
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Steven Pinker on Harvard and Meritocracy
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities

Low-Dose Aspirin Reduces Pancreatic Cancer


Low-dose aspirin therapy — the daily 75 mg aspirin which was commonly recommended to reduce heart disease some years ago, but since found less useful for that purpose unless disease is already present — has been found to greatly reduce the rare but almost always fatal pancreatic cancer, which killed at least two of my friends (so far.)

A study out of Yale (Samantha A. Streicher, Herbert Yu, Lingeng Lu, Mark S. Kidd, and Harvey A. Risch. Case–Control Study of Aspirin Use and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, June 2014 DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-1284) reports convincing evidence of the protective effect:

Men and women who took low-dose aspirin regularly had 48 percent reduction in their risk for developing pancreatic cancer. Protection against pancreatic cancer ranged from 39 percent reduction in risk for those who took low-dose aspirin for six years or less, to 60 percent reduction in risk for those who took low-dose aspirin for more than 10 years.

“Older studies of aspirin use have been clouded by the use of [regular- or high-dose] aspirin for pain relief from conditions that themselves might be related to the risk for pancreatic cancer. Only recently have people been using low-dose aspirin for long enough times [to prevent cardiovascular disease] that the use might bear on risk of pancreatic cancer development,” explained Risch.

“There seems to be enough evidence that people who are considering aspirin use to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease can feel positive that their use might also lower their risk for pancreatic cancer, and quite certainly wouldn’t raise it,” Risch added.

Study subjects were recruited from the 30 general hospitals in Connecticut between 2005 and 2009. There were 362 pancreatic cancer cases and 690 controls. Study subjects were interviewed in person to determine when they started using aspirin, the number of years they used aspirin, the type of aspirin they used (low versus regular dose), and when they stopped using aspirin, among other things. Confounding factors, including body mass index, smoking history, and history of diabetes, were taken into account.

Of the study participants, 57 percent were men, about 92 percent were non-Hispanic white, about 49 percent were former or current smokers, and 19 percent had been diagnosed with diabetes within the three years prior to this study.

A dose of 75 to 325 mg of aspirin per day was considered as low-dose aspirin (usually taken for heart-disease prevention), and a dose higher than that, generally taken every four to six hours, was considered as regular-dose aspirin taken for pain or anti-inflammation purposes.

Of the participants, 96 percent of low-dose aspirin users and 92 percent of regular-dose aspirin users reported daily aspirin use.

The earlier a person started regularly taking low-dose aspirin, the greater the pancreatic cancer risk reduction, ranging from 48 percent reduction in those who started three years before the study, to 60 percent in those who started taking it 20 years before the study. On the other hand, discontinuation of aspirin use within two years prior to the study was associated with a threefold increased risk for pancreatic cancer compared with continuing use.

As usual, this study proves an association but not causality: it may be that those people who followed a low-dose aspirin regimen had other health habits that were protective. But absent a true controlled study of long-term use, this will have to do.

Low-dose aspirin (75 mg/day) also is associated with reductions in bowel cancers and probably other cancers, while side-effects may include increased bleeding. But it appears on the whole beneficial for older people generally, especially if they have early-stage heart disease.

Getting to Less Than 10% Body Fat Like the Models – Ask Me How!
Daily Aspirin Regimen Reduces Cancer Rates
Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health
Fish Oil Supplements Ward Off Dementia
Lower Back Pain: Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) Useless
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Scams: Multi-Level Marketing, Herbalife
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Vitamin D: Anti-Dementia?
Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy