Critical Health News

Importance of Sleep


One of the key weapons in the so-called “War on Terrorism” is what the George W. Bush administration officials called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. Featuring nebulous or mildly discomforting names like “waterboarding”, “the attention grab” and “long time standing”, that inspire confusing or perhaps mildly uncomfortable images, EITs are either lauded as wonderful tools for saving American lives or illegal government-sanctioned torture.

One of the most dramatic apparently is too severe to make the list of officially approved EITs. While no one officially owns up to it, according to at least one released prisoner, a British national, “one guard had told him that he was following orders by making as much noise as possible while detainees …tried to sleep”.

So what’s wrong with a little sleep deprivation? Can’t be that big a deal right? Wrong! Sleep deprivation is a big deal, a very big deal. Aside from the obvious grumpiness and irritability associated with a lack of shut eye, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for overall health and wellness.

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Importance of the Pancreas


One of the best movies I’ve ever seen was the Rob Marshall adaptation of the Broadway musical Chicago. Not only was the historical depiction of the Windy City in 1920’s fascinatingly presented but watching funnyman John C. Reilly put out an Oscar worthy, if not Oscar winning performance, and listening to him belt out a tune was a pleasant surprise as well.

My favorite song in the film was Reilly’s character Amos Hart’s rendition of “Mr. Cellophane” a plaintive plea for recognition from an oblivious love interest that many of us can find familiar. "Mr. Cellophane" tells the story of the trials of an under-appreciated and misunderstood man in love. And, who among us can say that they never felt unrequited love from a guy or girl we simply wanted to acknowledge our affections.

When I think of unrequited love, sometimes I think of our human body and its parts. Like Chicago’s Amos Hart, our heart, and spleen and thymus and thyroid among other structures faithfully love us but remain unrecognized and unappreciated. And no organ in the body is more unrecognized and unappreciated than the pancreas. While everyone knows about the heart and the brain and the stomach and the skin hardly anyone ever give this little 2 or 3 ounce organ its due.

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Ginseng Supplements Linked to Less Cancer Fatigue


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cancer patients and survivors who felt tired or sluggish reported feeling noticeably better after taking ginseng supplements for two months, in a new study.

"Nearly all patients with cancer can suffer from fatigue at some point; either at diagnosis, during treatment and even after treatment, and (fatigue) can linger for several years," said lead author Debra Barton, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

"The issue with cancer-related fatigue is that it can be a profound fatigue that is not relieved by sleep or rest and that it can significantly impact the ability of people to accomplish the things they are used to doing every day," Barton told Reuters Health by email.

Ginseng had shown promise for fatigue in earlier studies as well, researchers said.

Tired cancer patients and survivors often turn to that and other dietary supplements such as Coenzyme Q-10, L-Carnitine and guarana, but not all are supported by evidence.

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