Posts made in August, 2009

The roundup: August news and tidbits

Posted by on Aug 31, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


[Credit: Special thanks to artist Darryl Willison of Please visit his site and support his work!]

One of my dad’s favorite sayings (in response to the question, “what’s going on,”) is “there’s a lot going on.” And in August, there was!

For your perusal, the highlights:

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Battle of the bulge

Posted by on Aug 28, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


You know that donut that’s forming around your midsection? The one that doesn’t seem to budge even though you’ve boosted your exercise regimen and take a restrained approach to eating whenever possible? The one that some experts say has nothing to do with hormones and others say it does?

New data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, which I’ve referenced previously in many posts, suggest that testosterone might be the culprit here. In this particular analysis, researchers examined the potential relationship between testosterone and visceral (belly) fat in 359 middle-aged women who were in various stages of the menopause. Visceral fat was measured via CT scans, and blood was drawn to assess sex hormone (i.e. estrogen and testosterone) levels.

Study findings, which were published in the online edition of Obesity,  showed  that levels of active testosterone were the strongest predictors of the development of the middle-aged bulge, even more so than estrogen. What’s more, this association remained even after the researchers made adjustments for total body fat, age, race and other risk factors.

Besides appearance, abdominal fat is linked with an increased risk for the metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors that in concert, promote coronary heart disease. What’s more, circulating levels of testosterone may increase one’s risk for developing the metabolic syndrome.

It’s challenging. We’re told to exercise more, restrain our eating, limit alcohol intake and yet, there’s still no magic bullet to kill the middle -age bulge, especially since the battle may ultimately lie with hormonal balance. But don’t lose hope; I suspect that before many of us are through the worst of it, researchers may finally identify a viable, effective strategy.

In the meantime, don’t give up. I’m not sure that all is lost. At least, I hope not!

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Wednesday Bubble: Cool like dat

Posted by on Aug 26, 2009 in hot flash, nightsweats | 3 comments

Hey Ladies! Wondering how to rid yourself of those hot flashes forever? Just a drink of ‘GEM Keep it Cool’, and voila, your hot flashes will disappear! Heck, Marie Osmond swears by it.

Evidently, ‘Keep it Cool’ works on irritability and night sweats as well.

A glance at the nutrition panel shows that ‘Keep it Cool’ contains black cohosh as well as a proprietary blend of adaptogen herbs. ( Adaptogens are agents that theoretically, boost the body’s ability to fight off physical, chemical, or biological stressors by raising its resistance level.) GEM also makes drinks that relieve stress, boost mental acuity, promote bone strength and prevent aging.

If only it were that easy. Cool like dat….not!

One drink a day.

What do you think? This bubble’s bursting so wide that I can hardly stand it.

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What’s your chill factor?

Posted by on Aug 24, 2009 in hot flash, nightsweats | 1 comment


Brrrr…it’s getting cold in here. No, it’s hot, no, it’s cold. Sound familiar? Maybe the ChiliPad™ is for you. This new technology, brought to you from ChiliTechnology, is like a sleep number for the menopausal set.

The ChiliPad cools and heats the entire surface of the bed to a desired temperature to promote a more restful sleep without bothersome hot flashes or night sweats. Got a partner? The dual remote control allows him/her to stay warm while you chill yourself to the bone.

A few months ago I wrote about the Bedfan, a tongue-in-cheek, futuristic wish list item for hot flashes. Who knew that someone had actually taken it one step further to create an entire chill experience for your nighttime pleasure?

My question, however, is this: if you are chill all night long, what happens when the flash stops and you need some warmth? Short of snuggling up to your partner, do you instead, spend the entire night messing with the wireless remote? Hmm, doesn’t sound very restful, does it?

So… what’s your chill factor?

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Beer boosts bones

Posted by on Aug 21, 2009 in bone health | 2 comments


Beer boosts bones. Say that three times fast.

Seriously, the weekend is fast approaching and it’s a beer sort of day; well sort of. A newly-published study is touting the news that bone density is better in beer drinkers than in non-beer drinkers. On the otherhand, drinking more than two alcohol drinks a day can be harmful to bone. Confused yet?

Researchers say that at appropriate doses, alcohol stimulates calcitonin, a hormone that inhibits the breakdown of bone cells and stimulate bone formation. As women age, they experience a deficit in calcitonin, which is one reason why osteoporosis is so prevalent after menopause. Key components in alcohol that promotes calcitonin and also inhibit postmenopausal bone loss are flavones, which are a type of flavanoid primarily found in certain cereals and herbs. Evidently, beer contains flavones.

In this particular study, which was published in the journal Nutrition, researchers measured bone density of the bones in their fingers, and evaluated weight, age and alcohol use in 1697 women. Women who participated in the study were on average, 48 years old; 710 were premenopausal, 176 were perimenopausal and 811 were postmenopausal. All participants were classified as moderate drinkers (1/2 cup to 10 ounces of alcohol per week), light drinkers (less than 1/2 cup alcohol per week) or non-drinkers, and were also classified according to whether they were beer or wine drinkers.

Study findings showed that women who were characterized as moderate beers drinkers had superior bone density compared to non-drinkers and wine drinkers, regardless of menopausal status and independent of age.

The researchers point out that it is likely that certain components of hops, namely the female flowers, have high estrogen-like properties. Moreover, they say that two isoflavones — daidzein and genistein — have been shown to have bone-protective properties and are present in beer. Beer is also a major dietary source of silicon, which studies show plays a major role in bone formation.

So, what to make of this study? Should you run out and buy a six-pack? Forgo that glass of wine for a cold one? The researchers say that they are not recommending that peri- and postmenopausal women start drinking beer to decrease their risk of osteoporosis. Still, one or two beers can’t hurt, right?

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