Posts made in May, 2012

Wednesday Bubble: Bursting the Zzzzzzs

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in sleep disturbance | 9 comments

Got sleep? If you are like me, you’ve been trying to burst this elusive bubble for years now. That’s why I was so intrigued when I received a note from a research assistant from Stanford University, asking for help in recruiting participants for a study that they are conducting.

Researchers in the department of clinical psychology are attempting to tease out the association between menopause and sleep disturbances, as well as treatment preferences, in order to develop behavioral strategies to combat insomnia and hot flashes/night sweats. Sounds intriguing, right? Hence, they need your opinions and 15 minutes of your time, anonymously.

Hey, why not?!

The online survey, which can be found here, may eventually lead to more evidence-based non-drug therapies for menopausal symptoms. And you may have a role in helping burst the Zzzzs bubble!

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The cougar and the prom

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in aging, appearance | 11 comments

Years ago, I wrote a post about The Cougar Convention, an extravaganza of botoxed, boob-jobbed, eyebrow-shaped 40+ somethings (and their younger ‘Puma’ peers) who attend presentations,  celebrate the crowning of the first Miss Cougar America and mingle at a bass-booming cougar ball (read: prom). And so, when I caught an article in yesterday’s New York Times Style Section entitled “For Would-Be Cougars, the Prom is a Good Start,” I wanted to cry because somehow, the author fails to celebrate what is truly remarkable: young girls who feel self confident enough to make their own choices despite highschool and peer pressure.

The Times piece focuses on the ‘cougar in training,’ young girls who choose to ask boys as much as a few years their junior to the prom. “Call it young cougars, a game of confidence or just female empowerment, but the unthinkable during my high school years is now happening all around me and other mothers of my acquaintance. A growing number of our teenage girls are unabashedly showing their preference for younger boys, saying they are not only more respectful than their older counterparts, but generally nicer to date.” 

Later in the piece she writes that this trend continues longer than highschool…but if Kate Burkhardt, a junior at Dartmouth College, is correct, the cougar-in-training trend could continue as these high schoolers get older. She dated her high school boyfriend, one grade below her, through her freshman year of college. They finally broke up when he went to college.”

Has society finally rubberstamped the cougar narrative?

Therein lies my objection; why do we endorse the image of a desperate older women who will risk all to attract the attention of a ‘younger male prey?’ I don’t believe that there is anything wrong about dating younger (or older) men (or women). However, what is wrong is perpetuating the self degrading myth.

As I wrote several years ago, “These ladies (the women who attend the convention) may be in it for a good time and believe that they have every right to behave in this fashion. They do; it’s a free country. But think about it; as women, we are consistently complaining about how we are portrayed in the media and within society, especially as we age. If this is the case, why are we spending thousands of dollars to literally sculpt ourselves into charactertures of our better selves?

These’ cougars in training’? They may be giving their older ‘role models’ a run for their money one day, merely because they are doing it the right way and the way that our sisters fought to have it done: they are keeping it real and self-respectful, taking care of themselves and listening to their hearts.

So why do we need to make fun? They are doing everything right, aren’t they? And in some respects, they are demonstrating that self love is a helluvalot more attractive than inches of foundation, a lip plumper and a few nips and tucks.

Truly… before we start proclaiming that these girls are learning how to pimp their hides, shouldn’t be step back and applaud them?. There’s nothing wrong with dating a younger man (or woman). Why don’t we take a page from their playbooks and  keep the predator at bay where she belongs.

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“Severe depression? Apathy? Psychomotor retardation?” How about a bennie?

Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Every now and then, a post deserves a second viewing. This week, I’m bursting the bubble again on vintage advertising. Nothing like an upper for the mid-week blues, right?

“In the severe depressions of the menopause, marked by apathy and psychomotor retardation…”just use a bennie. You’ll be speeding through your day in no time! (And will probably lose that extra weight too!)

Really! What WERE they thinking?!

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Wednesday Bubble: Best Laid Plans

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I was planning on giving life to an old post today. I updated it and saved it, knowing full well that my professional  life outside of this blog required me to be showered, dressed and out the door at 4:45 am.

When I went to “publish” before walking out, I discovered that the site was down. And now that I am happily ensconced on Amtrak, I have learned that the site is up, but that the post has vanished.

Best. Laid. Plans?

Evidently not.

And so, I leave you on this Wednesday to ponder until I return to my desktop and find it.

The only Bubble I will be busting today is my own.

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Positive vibration, whole body vibration

Posted by on May 21, 2012 in bone health, osteoporosis | 0 comments

I have been intrigued by whole body vibration (WBV)  for a few years now. If you’ve caught earlier posts, you’ll recall that whole body vibration was developed in India and then passed onto the Greeks to improve overall functioning. More recently, it was used  by the Russians to rehabilitate astronauts who may have lost muscle and bone mass during space missions. Now, however, it’s embraced by many sports medicine clinics and fitness facilities and gaining widespread popularity as strategy for improving leg muscle strength (and by default, balance and mobility) among adults as they age.

Positive evidence continues to accumulate in favour of WBV and in fact, researchers have conducted an extensive review of existing studies to assess whether or not WBV training can decrease the risk of falls and fractures. This is important since women as young as 35 years start to lose bone density and strength and by the time they reach the age of 50, they have a 40% risk of suffering a fracture due to osteoporosis during the rest of their lifetime. Moreover, during the first five years after menopause, women can experience as much as a 30% loss of bone density.

A bit of detail….this specific analysis included 15 studies enrolling both men and women between the ages of 64 and 82. Half of them included women only. WBV was conducted between 1 and 5 times per week over a period of 6 weeks to 18 months, and vibration was delivered during the sessions from anywhere to 15 seconds to 3 min for up to 27 times. The techniques were either vertical vibration (in which one stands on the platform and the vibration is delivered upwards), or side-alternating (in which the vibration is delivered side to side; this strategy apparently mimics a see-saw and the natural human gait.


Overall, they found that WBV may help to improve basic balance ability (i.e. sitting and standing balance) and offer significant benefit in terms of overall functional ability, especially in frailer individuals. Less clear, however, is whether or not it is effective in ultimately preventing falls; in this case, one could argue that by improving balance, WBV lowers fall and fracture risk but it isn’t so clear cut. What may actually be the case is that WBV plus an exercise program can help to do both.

So clearly, the verdict is still out on the usefulness of WBV. What’s more? The exact regimen that offers the most benefit remains unknown. Still, it’s clear that some data suggest that as we age, there are strategies other than drugs that might help to keep us walking and balanced.

As always, there is no time like the present to get moving on exercise and bone health awareness. You may be in your mid-30s and believe that nothing is going to change, but the stats are stacked against you without some sort of self-intervention.

Positive vibration? You bet!








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