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We're back!

My 47th birthday dinnerThe trip to Puerto Rico was wonderful. Great beaches (some with wheelchair access), bioluminescent bays , jungles, history and great people.

We're working on a family trip website, I'll post it when we're done.

January 31, 2004 in about me, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

FDA Big Factor Behind High Drug Costs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with its costly and time-consuming drug approval process, is a big reason Americans pay far more for medicine than consumers in the rest of the world, U.S. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman said on Tuesday.

More here.

January 30, 2004 in economy, follow the money..., politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Heading to Puerto Rico

We're off for a short 2 week vacation to Puerto Rico.

More here.

January 7, 2004 in about me | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bush’s Budget for 2005 Seeks to Rein In Domestic Costs

Facing a record budget deficit, Bush administration officials say they have drafted an election-year budget that will rein in the growth of domestic spending without alienating politically influential constituencies.

They said the president's proposed budget for the 2005 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, would control the rising cost of housing vouchers for the poor, require some veterans to pay more for health care, slow the growth in spending on biomedical research and merge or eliminate some job training and employment programs. The moves are intended to trim the programs without damaging any essential services, the administration said.

Even with the improving economic outlook, administration officials said, the federal budget deficit in the current fiscal year is likely to exceed last year's deficit of $374 billion, the largest on record.

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January 4, 2004 in politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

More Montel...

Must have a book coming out soon.

Why did he choose to let it all out? "Because we [MS sufferers] need to stop lying about ourselves. We lie about the pain we're in. A lot of the reason my relationship with my wife, Grace, came apart was because I tried my best to pretend I wasn't in pain. I didn't want to say I needed help.

"I also knew that before anyone writes about this, about me and my disease, I better do it myself. It also gives me the opportunity to get the message out there - it's not a shame to be ill. It's not a disgrace. No one in my family had anything like this, anything neurological before, and yet my daughter has epilepsy, also neurological. We need to stop lying-no matter what the cost."

And the cost can be high for a star with a disease - especially a potentially debilitating one. "But even to say this, to admit [how seriously ill] I am, puts me and my career in jeopardy," he said.

"Talk-show host, fine - the [company] has accepted me [with my disease], but other projects? 'Uh, uh. He's got MS, get someone else.' " It is Hollywood, after all.

"I have extreme neuralgia. If I'm standing outside and someone brushes up against me - how do I describe it?-it's like when you strike your crazy [funny] bone. Take that feeling and times it by 100. Wherever you touch me.

"I used to want people only to see me at my best - now I don't. [When I'm in extreme pain], I tell my friends please, don't touch me. Please. Thank you. I can be sitting in the movies with someone I really like, and the popcorn bag brushes against me and I'm in torture. So I excuse myself and go to the bathroom - anything to not scream. The worst part, however, is what I do to myself sometimes. I can sit here for 14 hours straight and drive myself crazy waiting for it to come on."

More here.

January 3, 2004 in pain, people | Permalink | Comments (0)

The brain as Internet

I used to own/manage an Internet company, one of the biggest connection problems in the mid 90's was crosstalk on old crappy phone lines. I often use that analogy to describe MS.

A novel model of human brain aging developed by a UCLA neuroscientist identifies midlife breakdown of myelin, a fatty insulation coating the brain's internal wiring, as a possible key to the onset of Alzheimer's disease later in life.

Detailed in the January edition of the peer-reviewed journal Neurobiology of Aging, the model presents opportunities to explore how lifestyle changes, hormone replacement therapy, higher education or treatment with common medications in middle age might help brains remain healthy longer.

"This model embraces the human brain as a high-speed Internet rather than a computer. The quality of the Internet's connections is the key to its speed, fidelity and overall capability," said Dr. George Bartzokis, the author and visiting professor of neurology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. He also is director of the UCLA Memory Disorders and Alzheimer's Disease Clinic and Clinical Core director of the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

"Close analysis of brain tissue and MRIs clearly shows that the brain's wiring develops until middle age and then begins to decline as the breakdown of myelin triggers a destructive domino affect. Our time at the peak is short indeed," Bartzokis said. "The challenge for science and medicine is to figure out how to extend the brain's peak performance so that our minds function as long as our bodies."

More here.

January 3, 2004 in myelin, research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Scientific Proof Carbohydrates Cause Disease 1/3/04

You guys can be the judge of this one.

Whole grains cause disease in both humans and animals. Whole grain breads and bagels are not the healthy food as people are lead to believe. All grains have a very high level of omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. Grains are a poor source of protein. Grains are the most allergenic of all foods. Multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are rare in populations where no grain products are consumed such as the Paleolithic (hunter-gatherer) diet.

More here.

January 3, 2004 in complementary and alternative medicine | Permalink | Comments (1)

Daughter has a hand in artist's labour of love

The work of disabled artist Charley Stimac is a labour of love - inspired by his love of labour.

Stimac has spent his life in blue-collar and industrial jobs, all the while chronicling the struggles of his co-workers through sketches and paintings.

Crippled the past 10 years by chronic multiple sclerosis, Stimac has had to borrow the hands of others to put the images in his mind to canvas.

More here.

January 3, 2004 in people | Permalink | Comments (0)

Montel's Suicide Attempts

Talk show host and motivational speaker Montel Williams says he nearly committed suicide after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. In his new book, "Climbing Higher," Williams says he wanted to die before the disease got worse. He loaded a .357 magnum and sat in his closet, spinning the barrel, hoping it would go off accidentally so his kids could collect on his insurance, according to an excerpt in the New York Post. He says he spent 45 minutes trying to get the gun to go off, to no avail.

More here.

January 3, 2004 in bummer, newly diagnosed, people, stress, stuff we don't like to talk about | Permalink | Comments (2)

Disabled painter doesn't let MS get in the way of his art

Priced anywhere from $100 to $1,000, the paintings of local artist Alex Tomic aren't expensive by contemporary standards. They take on considerably more value, though, considering the special effort it takes to produce them.

Tomic has multiple sclerosis, and there are days when he cannot lift his paint brush or otherwise control his body's movements.
"Sometimes my brush will just go flying across the room, as if someone else is in control of it," Tomic said.

Still, when the demon is at bay, and he's feeling inspired, the results can be impressive.

More here.

January 3, 2004 in people | Permalink | Comments (0)