Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Smart meters.

I was chatting to someone the other day and they were worrying about Smart meters. These are utility meters that can communicate their readings via the mobile phone network to the utility companies to allow them to read your gas & electric meters without sending a meter reader or getting you to do it & submit the readings on their web site.

They'd been surfing the internet and had found sites warning about cancer & other health problems caused by the RF radiation from Smart meters. These sites are creating fear, uncertainty & doubt in order to sell solutions to problems that don't exist. Oh dear!

Warning! Radio Frequency (RF) engineering stuff:-

See the graph below?

The horizontal axis is incorrectly labelled. Distance (d) is in metres (m), not kilometres (km).

I was an RF design engineer for 29 years & measured 30MHz to 108MHz attenuation at a separation of 1 metre for various antenna matching unit designs. It was around 10dB to 15dB. See my CV.

The vertical axis is path attenuation (loss) in decibels (dB).

Decibels 101: Power loss in dB = 10 * LOG10(power loss as a fraction).

A power loss of 90% i.e. down to one tenth = 10dB. One hundredth = 20dB. One thousandth = 30dB. One millionth = 60dB. One million millionth = 120dB. One half = 3dB. One quarter = 6dB. One eighth = 9dB.

Smart meters transmit at frequencies from 900MHz (Vodafone & O2) to 1.8GHz  & 1.9GHz (Orange & T-mobile etc). People don't seem to mind having mobile phones (~2W peak RF power output when a call is in progress) glued to their ears for long periods of time.

If you stand 4 metres away (at the end of someone's garden path, say) from a Smart meter fitted to their house & operating at 900MHz, there's a path loss of 29dB. The RF energy reaching you is 1/800th of that emitted by the meter. Also, the meter doesn't produce RF energy all of the time. The duty cycle is 1% to 5% i.e. RF energy is only produced for 1/100th to 1/20th of the time.

In conclusion, even if you stand with your nose touching the window of a Smart meter (which would be silly), you get less RF radiation (RF radiation is Transverse Electromagnetic Radiation a.k.a. radio waves and not ionising radiation a.k.a. what radioactive materials emit) than what you get from your mobile phone.

Are you feeling reassured?

Vitamin D! Read all about it!

A Facebook friend just wrote on my wall:-

"Been quite a lot written about Vitamin D in the Daily Papers. Looks like you are right."

I took a peek on Google News and saw these:-

Vitamin D better than Diet Drugs for mantaining a healthy weight

Vitamin D Stimulates Amyloid Clearance in Alzheimer's

Vitamin D may lower stroke risk

Scots mums-to-be deficient in “sunshine vitamin”

Recent Vitamin D advice isn't all that sunny

Vitamin D deficiency boosts risk of type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetes people

Get Your Vitamin D Fix

Vitamin D May Decrease Risk for Crohn's Disease

Vitamin D Boosts Lifespan

Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk of mortality in institutionalized elderly patients
Vit D deficiency causes grave diseases

Vitamin D May Boost Fluticasone's Allergic Rhinitis Effect

The People's Pharmacy: Get vitamin D without a sunburn

Vitamin D supplements may help you live longer: Study

Vitamin D deficiency causes grave diseases

Sunburnt country faces Vitamin D deficiency

Top up on sunshine and vitamin D, says charity

Staying out of the sun can wreck your health: How one in four Britons is worryingly low in vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D can be harmful to your health

Vitamin D from the sun for arthritis

It's gone 4am here, so I'm off to bed now. G'night!

Monday, 26 March 2012

At first I was afraid, I was petrified...

My titles are becoming increasingly blatantly song-orientated. No YouTube video, this time.

I just read Hans Wu's latest post Alzheimer's and Dementia and had a few thoughts.

1) In the early stages of mental decline, there is still self-awareness and the process is frightening. Constant reassurance is the best thing for somebody in this state. As self-awareness fades, one becomes happy. An example of this is HAL-9000 as his memory modules were being unplugged in the film "2001 a space odyssey". My mum is in this state, thank goodness.

I entered this state temporarily during an Insulin Shock Test on my pituitary gland, when my serum glucose fell to 1.5mmol/L (27mg/dL) under medical supervision. I was blissfully unaware of my confusion. Too much alcohol in the blood also causes loss of self-awareness. I entered this state last week while socialising with a friend. After half a bottle of White Zinfandel, I was blissfully unaware of my merriness!

2) When I see "arterial stiffness", I think "inappropriate calcification" and "Vitamin K2".

3) Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIAs a.k.a. mini-strokes) cause loss of blood flow to parts of the brain, resulting in amnesia. There may be some permanent brain damage, depending on how long the TIAs last. TIAs can be caused by spasms in arteries within the brain. Ditto migraines.

When I see "spasm", I think "magnesium".

Friday, 9 March 2012

Get in! Parts 2 & 3.

In Get in!, I described how I persuaded mum's GP to let mum have Vitamin D3 5,000iu/day.


Today, I persuaded mum's GP to let mum have Epsom Salts 2.5g/day (provided by me) dissolved in fruit juice and Seven Seas Fish Oil 10ml/day (provided by me). There's only one possible reaction:-

P.S. The doctor didn't even ask for supporting evidence. He just said "Yeah, other relatives do that. No problem. He just wanted to check for contraindications, which is fine by me. I have plans to ask him to allow mum to have one more supplement that may help her bones & brain. Any ideas as to what that might be, O.K.?

P.P.S. Another lady that's been at the care home since day one died Wednesday night/Thursday morning. She died from terminal cancer, but she had been physically crippled by Parkinson's Disease. R.I.P.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

How stuff works, Part 2.

I'm the kind of person that likes to analyse everything to death (and make lists).

1) Here's what I wrote on Synthesis: Low-Carb and Food Reward/Palatability, and Why Calories Count:-
"I’m going to stick my neck out here and state that fat, sedentary people do better on low-carb diets because:-

Fat, sedentary people have severe muscular insulin resistance.
This results in chronic hyperinsulinaemia and acute hyperinsulinaemia on eating carbs (which causes lethargy & increased sedentariness).
Chronic hyperinsulinaemia impairs the Phase I insulin response.
This impairs the stability of the blood glucose control system, resulting in large fluctuations in blood glucose level on eating carbs.
A rapidly-falling blood glucose level causes severe hunger pangs (I’ve experienced this under medical supervision).
Severe hunger pangs cause overeating, resulting in increased fatness.

Low-carb diets reduce the large fluctuations in blood glucose level. Once normal blood glucose control has been restored by bodyfat loss & exercise, low-carb diet is no longer required."

I added a hot-link that wasn't in the original comment. Thanks to Sam Knox for linking to that study.

Lethargy & increased sedentariness result in very few calories burned (BMR/RMR + TEF). Eliminating (lethargy & increased sedentariness) greatly increases calories burned without conscious effort (BMR/RMR + TEF + TEA + NEAT/SPA). This is why people on low-carb diets can eat more and still lose weight. The Energy Balance Equation still applies.

2) I've noticed that people conflate Food Tastiness with Food Reward. Here's my opinion:-

Excessive reward = Moreish. What your food tastes like is only vaguely relevant. Avoid eating moreish foods, unless you're a body-builder who's trying to bulk.

Here's what I wrote on Food Reward: “There’s Always Room For Dessert”:-
"I believe that obesity is physiological AND neurological (the proportions varying from person to person).

For example, one chocolate doesn’t disturb my blood glucose & insulin, but I still crave another. And another. Ad nauseam."

Physiological cravings take hours to kick-in.
Neurological cravings take seconds to kick-in.

Emily Deans wrote:-
"Multiple times I’ve used naltrexone (an opiate blocker) to stop binge eating. The cravings go away. It only takes a few weeks. It’s a nice way to undo addiction/reward without starving someone… not FDA approved."

That's pretty damning evidence for the existence of Food Reward. How can naltrexone block something that doesn't exist?

Finally Monsieur, a waffer-thin mint.

Monday, 5 March 2012

When nerds attack!

Things can get pretty steamy. As I mentioned in Both Sides Now: Nerds!, we can be a little obsessive.

Basically, everybody who blogs about Diet & Nutrition is a nerd to some degree. If you're that obsessive about your diet that you've achieved success with it, you must be nerdly inclined. So here's a list (nerds love to make lists) of some nerdy bloggers. This is meant to be a bit of fun, so don't go all nerdy on me and shoot the messenger!

In no particular order, but ladies first:-

1) CarbSane: I like Evelyn because of her no-BS style.

2) Denise Minger: Denise cracks me up with some of the stuff she comes out with. She has an infectious giggle when she's lecturing. She also has the cojones to take on giants like T. Colon Campbell (oops!).

3) Kurt Harris MD: This chap really knows his stuff. I majorly pissed Kurt off last year by nerdily sticking-up for Aldi's "Solesta" EVOO (it only has 6.6% pufas, Kurt!).

4) Richard Nikoley: This chap also really knows his stuff (except for one topic ;-D). I majorly pissed Richard off recently while discussing politics with him. We have totally different views. I goaded him into calling me a "miserable, dishonest, lying f*ck of a wasted f*ck." We seem to be getting on better, now. I mentioned politics once, but I think I got away with it!

5) praguestepchild : An ex-engineer, so an O.K. bloke. I goaded Sean into calling me a "hysterical c*nt". My bad!

6) Lyle McDonald: What Lyle doesn't know about Diet & Nutrition fits on a postage stamp. I've probably pissed him off as well!

7) LeonRover: Not a blogger, but he's proved invaluable in correcting me with expressions such as "Stone the flaming crows" and "No way, José".

Anyway, enough of all this silliness. It's time to visit mum.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Warning signs to look out for when a heart attack is coming.

R.I.P. Davy Jones. I sang "Daydream Believer" at karaoke two nights running as a tribute.

The article Davy Jones Dead: Warning Signs to Look Out for When a Heart Attack is Coming caught my attention.

"At 66, Davy Jones appears to be living a healthy life. He was a vegetarian. He goes on a regular morning run. He was not just a horse owner but also a rider. Davy Jones seems to be generally fit and healthy to succumb to a deadly heart attack."

He's like H. Jay Dinshah, who also died of a heart attack at the age of 66. I strongly advise vegetarians & vegans to watch "Dr Greger: 2003 - Optimum Vegetarian Nutrition - Omega 3 and B12"