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News to Love

To start with, it's October 28th, so Happy National Chocolate Day!! I can't decide, should I follow my lunch with the 80% chocolate already open, or try the new 70% chocolate with the coconut (or almond butter OR lime and sea salt) center? In general, 70% and above is considered to be adequately dark to confer chocolate's health benefits without adding excessive sugar, but 70% tastes very sweet to me these days. Chocolate is also noteworthy for having various effects on the environment: choose fair trade and organic chocolate to protect agricultural workers and the rest of us.

You may have noticed I've been very silent, not posting much for the last month: it's been the Siskiyou Challenge, vacation in Hawaii, catching up with work, and good heavens what other excuses. But now I'm home for a couple days, cheering on my bilateral knee pain: after a diagnosis of arthritis (I probably should never have pounded that pavement as a runner), I had a special form of prolotherapy called PRP, meaning that Dr. Justin Adams took about 60 cc of my blood, spun it down to yield a 7 cc solution of plasma, rich with the platelets from the full 60 cc. He divided that 7 cc into 6 sites: both knees, patellar tendons, and fibular heads. After an hour of pretty significant pain (who knew you could have labor pains in your knees?) it has subsided, and now I know that the pain is the growth factors in platelets encouraging my knee cartilage to thicken and become healthy again, my tendon to repair itself, and my fibulae to stay where they belong! So that is my personal good news.

Meanwhile the world of health and medicine has accumulated its usual parade of intriguing news. Saturated fat may be good for you! Okay, you know this is not clinical news, per se, but it IS media news in that the media are picking this story out of the dead issues file and showcasing butter and cheese! A medical study described here found a link between antibiotic use and susceptibility to food allergies. It's well documented that severe food allergies (think children and peanuts) are significantly on the rise, along with antibiotic resistance and the use of antibiotics in conventional livestock. If you want to read the original study itself, you must subscribe to a specific journal, but a science-oriented summary is here. And one last pearl for you, if you ever find yourself defending your steak to an ardent vegetarian, tell them that you're doing it to save the human species. Vegetarians and vegans were found to have lower sperm counts and motility when compared with meat-eaters. The study was done in association with Loma Linda University, where vegetarians were expected to have optimal, not reduced, sperm effectiveness. The presumed agents of harm were increased estrogenic soy compounds and possibly deficient B12 intake and resulting levels.

Yes, there has been a lot more news, but let's go forward from here... for me that means lunch and some chocolate. How's your day going so far on this National Chocolate Day?

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