Reality check: U.S student health statistics, K – 12, a link

Mental health and chronic illness rates in the grade school and high school population of public schools has increased significantly. It is causing a problem for budgeting special needs staff for education and for nursing support for the chronic illness issues.

Read more, one part of a planned series on the topic: https://www.focusforhealth.org/special-ed/

A few thoughts I and others have had on the topic of special needs issues in children and adults:

Illness is a limiting factor affecting too many people in the U.S. and elsewhere. The rate of autism in children has reached 2% of U.S. children and it is a condition that was not present in the medical history of psychiatric care prior to around 1930.  (DenialBlaxill) Malnutrition of several nutrients including iodine seem to be involved based on my reading (post) so the presence of the condition after 1930 may have to due with the Great Depression’s impact on nutrition.

The planet and its nations can’t afford an increasingly ill population. We are not just overweight (or chronically ill) because we eat too much and exercise too little, some do, but why are we eating too much is the better question to ask. A healthy person has a healthy appetite that guides to balanced amount of food without counting calories and a healthy person has a healthy interest in active play or work that exercises the body. Blaming doesn’t solve problems it just denies responsibility and prevents more helpful answers from being discovered. When health statistics change as rapidly as they have in the U.S. and an increasing number of other nations then it is not a question of individual choice but of environmental changes.

Ninety percent of women are hurting on a daily or monthly basis in a way that only three percent were hurting in the 1920s – what changed? Our diet – it contains significantly less iodine and more bromine than it did prior to the 1920s. Fluoride added to the water supply to protect children’s teeth may also be part of the problem and perchlorates from products we commonly use. If too little iodine is present than the body may store bromine, chloride or fluoride in places that iodine would normally be used. The condition is considered benign and not related to breast cancer risk – except for maybe 5-20% of the people with the problem, pubmed/25970956, which if 90% of women have the problem than the math is looking unpleasant for many women.

I used to be one of the 90% but then I took extra iodine and now I’m not one of the 90% – and that is less painful for me physically but I still feel emotional pain at the idea that 90% of women are suffering each month – unnecessarily in my opinion. The treatment was fairly easy with only a few side effects. Taking selenium, 200 mcg per day is also important which is not mentioned in the PubMed link. Iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism are related conditions which also are associated with an increased risk for autism (post) so 90% of women suffering from a condition that appears to be resolved by simply increasing a dose of iodine seems like a simple solution worth pursuing.

“The incidence of fibrocystic breast disease in American women
was 3 percent in the 1920s. Today, 90 percent of women have this
disorder…” Read more: http://www.jpands.org/vol11no4/millerd.pdf

or also in a post on this site: Why did the USDA remove Iodine from its Food Composition Database?

Toxins in the air, water and food supply have increased and nutrient content of many foods that are easily available have decreased. Denying that is denying a chance to improve before more species are also negatively affected. Blaming individual humans for making poor individual choices doesn’t explain why so many species are suffering loss of fertility and large drops in population.

The planet and its nations can’t afford an increasingly ill population. We are not just overweight (or chronically ill) because we eat too much and exercise too little, some do, but why is the better question. A healthy person has a healthy appetite that guides to balanced amount of food without counting calories and a healthy person has a healthy interest in active play or work that exercises the body.

Blaming doesn’t solve problems it just denies responsibility and prevents more helpful answers from being discovered.  A book I just picked up recently written by a pediatric endocrinologist is upsetting for me to read because blaming the patient for not following the doctor’s advice is a theme rather than considering the possibility that the advice itself might be wrong or incomplete. In my experience as a pediatric nutrition counselor I observed that children are the best at self-regulating their intake and generally did quite well at eating enough but not too much and generally had a reasonable height/weight ratio- except for the few who seemed to be overweight no matter how much their parent tried  to help them achieve a healthy weight for height.

Parents have lost custody or risked losing custody of their children when too large or too small and I’ve written about both issues. Undiagnosed congenital (from birth) hypothyroidism can be a cause of a child being tiny, too slim seeming except their bone structure is also slim so proportionally they tiny child can look healthy for their tiny weight. Force feeding wouldn’t help that child. Other children can be overweight even on limited calories, possibly due to an undiagnosed hypothyroid problem that occurred later than birth. Putting either the tiny child or the overweight child in foster homes would not solve an undiagnosed endocrinology problem. (post about the overweight child, Foster Care case) (post regarding tiny child and Foster Care case)

Holding parents accountable for something that is neglect or abuse is important but blaming them for underlying health problems that aren’t being diagnosed in many many people is wrong and there is no reason to expect that a Foster Care family would be able to make the child gain or lose weight if the underlying reason is an actual health problem.

To continue, after having finished the book, there is some value in it but there are also errors and opinion presented as fact. A dangerous idea is presented, likely meant as a joke but there is no qualifier given that it was a joke and not meant as advice and that the idea shouldn’t be followed. (p125 includes a maybe slip a mood altering substance in someone’s drink idea – no don’t do that ever, even if it is a legal substance and meant to boost the mood, it is illegal. https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/6158/is-it-an-offence-to-spike-someones-drink

References ideally should be included for all information presented as facts in a book with educational goals. The section on nutrition is simplified to the point of dangerous misinformation and sugar is stressed as the primary problem with our processed food diet. It is a problem but not the only one.

Drinking any calorie containing beverage as a thirst quencher is a problem that I observed and counseled parents about for helping children who were heading upward on the weight to height ratio. Within three months usually, when the next appointment would be typically scheduled, the parents often had such success that they had forgotten that there had been a concern. Children are good at regulating food intake however the intake of liquids is not regulated in the same way as solid food. Our brains expect water for thirst because that is what nature provides. Once a baby is weaned from mother’s milk there is not typically any other calorie beverage in the natural world. As cavemen and women we did not milk wild animals or squeeze juice from fruits. We ate the fruits and wild animals as whole foods which are recognized by the brain as filling due to fiber or fats. Carbohydrates alone do not have the appetite satisfying effect on the brain that fiber and fats provide.

Regarding pediatric or adult endocrinology and the increase in metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes – sugar can increase insulin resistance but so can an absence of magnesium. Sugary processed foods often are not only deficient in fiber but they are also deficient in magnesium and B vitamins which are needed to process the sugar into usable energy.

More about magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance is available here: Association of Serum Magnesium Deficiency with Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,  (G3.122)

And I discuss it in more detail on a different website: https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/if-magnesium-deficiency-is-cause-of-a-diabetic-pain-why-give-opioids/

Magnesium deficiency may also be an underlying problem with migraine headaches and other chronic pain and muscle spasm type conditions. Calcium causes muscle contraction and magnesium allows the muscles to relax again.

To repeat an important point: When health statistics change as rapidly as they have in the U.S. and an increasing number of other nations then it is not a question of individual choice but of environmental changes.

Toxins in the air, water and food supply have increased and nutrient content of many foods that are easily available have decreased. Denying that is denying a chance to improve before more species are also negatively affected. Blaming individual humans for making poor individual choices doesn’t explain why so many species are also suffering loss of fertility and large drops in population.

Evidence based medicine is helpful as guidance but it is just a starting point for individualizing care further for each patient’s needs and if it is based on inaccurate or incomplete research then it may provide inaccurate guidance, but it is a starting point at least.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Pleasure, happiness and a book to avoid

An old song that became part of pop culture as the opening lines of a television show suggests that love and marriage have to do with baby carriages. As a rhyming song lyric it does work well and it was the definition I grew up with – love and marriage was about picking the best person to be your children’s other parent – and be sure to have the marriage first and baby carriage second, that was important in my family even though the wedding itself wasn’t. Recently a book about addiction suggested that in our commercial world marriage seemed to be about large weddings, which some popular reality television shows about weddings have reinforced. Some brides can be very difficult and some weddings can be very large and expensive.

The average marriage that ends in divorce in the U.S. lasts an average of eight years. Children who see their parents divorce are more likely as adults to have a marriage of their own end in divorce so it is something difficult for the whole family. Longer getting to know you courtships may help couples have a better idea of what they are getting into but then who knows how many would never try? (U.S. divorce statistics)(healthy signs & questions to consider for a good relationship)

In my own upbringing it was always made clear to me by my father, who I love dearly but who doesn’t always say things in a kind and gentle manner, that with multiple daughters we were  all to elope – no money would be spent on large weddings. It was meant as a joke but clothes were never important in my family especially clothes to wear only once. In my family nature’s birthday suit was considered beautiful, love the skin you’re in, and any clothing on top of that was just window dressing for society. Elopement was an okay idea with me, and my sisters survived as well – small weddings were our thing, no difficult brides demanding special treatment. My point if there is one is that definitions are different for different people and one person’s impression even if it is in a book may not be correct or may not be correct for everyone.

Today is Veteran’s Day and I honor veterans including my father for their contribution to helping our nation’s safety. Budgeting for elopements versus large weddings seems worth a discussion based on the national budget however. When a bill called a tax reform bill is trimming care for citizens at the expense of health and children’s futures simply to provide more tax savings for a small percentage of the population that seems like a party that is excluding the majority for the sake of a fancy plate wedding that seats only a few. Blaming others doesn’t solve problems and we can’t  just blame President Trump or the Trump administration for the House passing a massive military bill that provides more than was even requested.  http://theantimedia.org/house-approves-700-billion-ndaa/

We can hold him accountable for his Tweeting though:. /twitter.com/

This post is not really about weddings or Veteran’s Day. It is about addiction and endocrinology and the need in my opinion to not blame patients or parents for underlying health problems in themselves or their children, more on that is included later in this post, and to not ever suggest to a sober addict that the addict’s definition of sobriety or description of it is wrong. Words mean different things for different people. Writing a book with a theme is nice but blaming addicts for not fitting neatly into the jargon of the theme in wrong in my opinion. The author includes in his blame game a popular television show and host for our national alcohol problem – or at least condoning drinking during the morning hours, with the move of the evening happy hour to late morning, reference included so difficult to charge slander. (pp 188-189, book) However he blames LSD use and the 60s  flower power generation on a rock and roll musician without including a reference which would be difficult because the story he writes about is inaccurate – a slander lawsuit could possibly be filed for that (chapter 8, book).

I read this book to save anyone else the effort:  book that needs to be rewritten.

If interested in neuroscience and behavioral psychology, nevermind the jokes, because who cares, the references are cited thoroughly and accurately I would recommend reading Sapolsky’s Behavehttps://www.amazon.com/Behave-Biology-Humans-Best-Worst/dp/1594205078

Sugar is blamed for most of chronic illness and the section on nutrition doesn’t even include carbohydrates as an essential food group. Too much starch and sugar is not good but the brain minimally needs at least roughly 100 grams of carbohydrate per day and it can’t use fat for energy. Protein from muscle mass will be broken down into a form that the brain can use for energy.

After having finished the book, there is some value in it but there are also errors and opinion presented as fact. A dangerous idea is presented, likely meant as a joke but there is no qualifier given that it was a joke and not meant as advice and that the idea shouldn’t be followed. (p125,book includes a maybe slip a mood altering substance in someone’s drink idea – no don’t do that ever, even if it is a legal substance and meant to boost the mood, it is illegal. https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/6158/is-it-an-offence-to-spike-someones-drink

References ideally should be included for all information presented as facts in a book with educational goals. The section on nutrition is simplified to the point of dangerous misinformation and sugar is stressed as the primary problem with our processed food diet. It is a problem but not the only one. Sugar is blamed for most of chronic illness and the section on nutrition doesn’t even include carbohydrates as an essential food group. Too much starch and sugar is not good but the brain minimally needs at least roughly 100 grams of carbohydrate per day and it can’t use fat for energy. Protein from muscle mass will be broken down into a form that the brain can use for energy.

Drinking any calorie containing beverage as a thirst quencher is a problem that I observed and counseled parents about for helping children who were heading upward on the weight to height ratio. Within three months usually, when the next appointment would be typically scheduled, the parents often had such success that they had forgotten that there had been a concern. Children are good at regulating food intake however the intake of liquids is not regulated in the same way as solid food. Our brains expect water for thirst because that is what nature provides. Once a baby is weaned from mother’s milk there is not typically any other calorie beverage in the natural world. As cavemen and women we did not milk wild animals or squeeze juice from fruits. We ate the fruits and wild animals as whole foods which are recognized by the brain as filling due to fiber or fats. Carbohydrates alone do not have the appetite satisfying effect on the brain that fiber and fats provide.

Regarding pediatric or adult endocrinology and the increase in metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes – sugar can increase insulin resistance but so can an absence of magnesium. Sugary processed foods often are not only deficient in fiber but they are also deficient in magnesium and B vitamins which are needed to process the sugar into usable energy.

More about magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance is available here: Association of Serum Magnesium Deficiency with Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,  (G3.122)

Diabetics given opiates for pain have been found to not have the same response as non-diabetics, their pain is not relieved – unless magnesium is also given. More importantly to me at least, their pain was relieved simply by giving magnesium alone – why give the opiates then, why not just treat the magnesium deficiency? Read more:  Magnesium ions and opioid agonists in vincristine-induced neuropathy, (G3.101)

I wrote a bit more about the pediatric nutrition issues related to the book in a longer post, so I’m copying the part about pediatric nutrition and endocrinology here as well:

The planet and its nations can’t afford an increasingly ill population. We are not just overweight (or chronically ill) because we eat too much and exercise too little, some do, but why is the better question. A healthy person has a healthy appetite that guides to balanced amount of food without counting calories and a healthy person has a healthy interest in active play or work that exercises the body.

Blaming doesn’t solve problems it just denies responsibility and prevents more helpful answers from being discovered.  A book I just picked up recently written by a pediatric endocrinologist is upsetting for me to read because blaming the patient for not following the doctor’s advice is a theme rather than considering the possibility that the advice itself might be wrong or incomplete. In my experience as a pediatric nutrition counselor I observed that children are the best at self-regulating their intake and generally did quite well at eating enough but not too much and generally had a reasonable height/weight ratio- except for the few who seemed to be overweight no matter how much their parent tried  to help them achieve a healthy weight for height.

Parents have lost custody or risked losing custody of their children when too large or too small and I’ve written about both issues. Undiagnosed congenital (from birth) hypothyroidism can be a cause of a child being tiny, too slim seeming except their bone structure is also slim so proportionally they tiny child can look healthy for their tiny weight. Force feeding wouldn’t help that child. Other children can be overweight even on limited calories, possibly due to an undiagnosed hypothyroid problem that occurred later than birth. Putting either the tiny child or the overweight child in foster homes would not solve an undiagnosed endocrinology problem. (post about the overweight child, Foster Care case) (post regarding tiny child and Foster Care case)

Holding parents accountable for something that is neglect or abuse is important but blaming them for underlying health problems that aren’t being diagnosed in many many people is wrong and there is no reason to expect that a Foster Care family would be able to make the child gain or lose weight if the underlying reason is an actual health problem.

To repeat an important point: When health statistics change as rapidly as they have in the U.S. and an increasing number of other nations then it is not a question of individual choice but of environmental changes.

Returning to the questionable practice of suggesting to a sober addict that their definition of sobriety is wrong (p 282, book) – a sober addict’s definition of sobriety is always adequate if they are maintaining sobriety.

The definition of words is fluid and addiction and who might be considered an addict may also be fluid. The person who is planning to get married just in order to have a large wedding might be considered an addict to weddings and the nation with a military industrial budget greater than half the national budget might be considered addicted to the weapons industry – possibly.

If a number of addicts to more traditional addictions of substances legal or illegal describe their experience while under the influence as happiness and their experience sober as pleasure it seems worth considering what they might mean. The dictionary definition uses the two words as synonyms – meaning some what the same thing. Happiness is further defined as contentment and pleasure could be considered at the verb “to please” not just as an emotional descriptor, the feeling of pleasure.

Opiates are being overused in our current society and are deadly when a powerful street version is used in place of the controlled pharmaceutical version. Our body’s natural painkiller includes internally produced opiate-like substances and the feeling might be described as happiness, or bliss, or absolute dreamlike contentment – but then the body runs out and there is an absent feeling of loss of contentment. The person might be overpowered by an urge to seek more. I experienced a small amount of that feeling a long time ago when I was prescribed painkiller tablets after having some dental work. I wasn’t really warned that the tablets were dangerous but they did leave me wanting more for a few days after I ran out, so I am slightly familiar with the dreamy bliss of opiate based pain killers and I have avoided them ever since.

The addicts who described feeling happy while drugged and feeling pleasure sober might be trying to express the difference between an artificial short term bliss that leaves an unsatisfactory feeling afterwards with the more gratifying experience of sober pleasure – taking pleasure in pleasing oneself or others naturally. Helping others can be a significant form of pleasure, pleasing oneself by pleasing others can be gratifying in a lasting way that a short term felling of contented happiness may not. In our modern world we can have addictions to video games or to shopping or other non-drug related experiences, even social media Likes and reshares may have an addictive quality for some users. Feeling grateful and helping others in a social group may provide long lasting pleasure and short term contentment. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-angst/201701/achieving-happiness-helping-others

Definitions are important to help oneself understand one’s own behavior and for trying to communicate with others.

Cannabinoids are also chemicals that are produced naturally in our bodies but there is many more types of them than opiates and the functions the many types play are much more versatile than simply relieving pain. The primary one found in our body during times of health is known by the initials 2-AG and it is not euphoria inducing. The pain killing and euphoria producing one that is similar to the euphoria inducing cannabinoid found in cannabis known by the initials THC is called anandamide, a word that includes a foreign term for the word bliss. Anandamide is not found in large quantities in the body during times of health. It increases in quantity shortly before death and may help us “go gently into that good night” to reverse the meaning of a famous poem. when starvation is severe the body goes into a contented state, a desperate urge to seek food or water is no longer present – this might be when the anandamide levels increase naturally. Attempts by the pharmaceutical industry to synthesize cannabinoids for medical purposes have focused on THC when it might be the non-euphoria producing 2-AG that is more medically helpful for people who are alive.

Definitions are important and not mixing science and moral religious values is also important. Addiction can involve poor choices but it may also involve underlying differences in genetics or metabolism that leave some people needing more excitement to stimulate an increase in neurotransmitters because their body is overly efficient at breaking down the supply of neurotransmitters. It would be more helpful to tell that person that exercising vigorously each day is important for their mental health rather than telling them they are morally wrong for wanting excitement. Some bodies do better with the calm of simple stretching exercises while others need vigorous tiring workouts.

Veteran’s health care choices were recently limited for treatment of PTSD. The use of medical marijuana can be very helpful and safe for the condition while pharmaceuticals that are frequently subscribed instead have been associated with suicide and homicide. Second opinions and a personal right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. It may be time to review that document at the federal level. It has been approved for veterans with PTSD as a treatment choice in New York State. http://auburnpub.com/blogs/eye_on_ny/on-veterans-day-cuomo-oks-medical-marijuana-for-ptsd/article_1166f91c-c708-11e7-9093-079ffabc38d1.html

The strain of medical marijuana can be important for health benefits. THC alone can increase anxiety and is balanced by calming effects from non-euphoric cannabinoids in strains that contain a variety of cannabinoids. Some food substances also contain non-euphoric cannabinoids or the precursor nutrients which include phospholipids. Currently my own PTSD symptoms are being helped by daily large salads which I describe in this post: Is it Addiction or Starvation?

The difference between 2-AG and THC is discussed in the post: What do we have in common with pine trees and ticks?

It is good to find out one’s own definition of pleasure and happiness rather than always trusting other’s definitions. People are similar but we are also different. Some may feel safer with half the country’s budget dedicated to war while other’s might feel safer with adequate prenatal care and a system that supports families with children so that the children are growing up in secure environments that help them become pro-social trusting adults.

Returning to the baby carriage – life worked out in the right order to please my parents and in time for them all to meet. My babies arrived after the small wedding and early enough to get to know their grandparents before they passed on to whatever may happen next. Marrying young may have difficulties however there are also advantages – children have a lot of energy. Would I do things differently if I could start over again? Not when I look at a picture of my babies. Tips for helping an older child adapt to a new baby: New Baby Sibling

Happy Veteran’s Day. May peace reign supreme today and everyday.

~~~~~

 

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.