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Health and Fitness | High Sierra Backpacker

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Health and Fitness

Health and Fitness information for long distance backpackers. Physical and psychological effects of hiking and nature.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lyme disease predicted to rise in United States as climate warms


20% Higher in 30 Years

Lyme disease predicted to rise in United States as climate warms,
Carnegie Mellon University, October 31, 2018.


“...its incidence has risen sharply in the last decade. Since its progression depends on environmental factors, increases in daily temperatures, a manifestation of climate change, might be contributing to a rise in the number of ticks as well as a greater availability of hosts.”

Already Exploding
“The number of reported cases of Lyme disease in the United States rose from 10,000 in 1991 to about 28,000 annually in the past five years.”

Tick Distribution Mirrors Temp & Humidity
“...ticks spend most of their life cycle outside the host in an environment where temperature and humidity directly affect their development, activity, survival, and host-seeking behavior. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses the number of cases of Lyme disease as an indicator of climate change.”


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Long Term Mortality Stats Analyzed


Mortality Stats Analyzed

Young men more likely to die in summer, older people in winter despite local climate,
eLife, October 30, 2018.


“...an analysis spanning nearly four decades...”

“In this study, we set out to comprehensively characterise the patterns of death over different time periods and geographical areas to understand when and where death rates are at their highest and lowest.”

“…data on 85,854,176 deaths in the US between 1980 and 2016...”

“...several distinct seasonal patterns in relation to age and gender:”
> Deaths from overall mortality (any cause of death) in men aged 45 years and older and women aged 35 years and older peaked in December, January or February, and were lowest in June to August

> Deaths from heart and lung diseases were highest in January and February and lowest in July and August regardless of age

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Study: reduced screen time for young highly recommended for well-being



Screen Time, Children, and Cell-Phonyism

New study: reduced screen time for young highly recommended for well-being,
San Diego State University, October 29, 2018.


“...time spent on gaming, smartphones and watching television is linked to heightened levels and diagnoses of anxiety or depression in children as young as age 2.”

The Idiot Screen
"...after only one hour of screen time daily, children and teens may begin to have less curiosity, lower self-control, less emotional stability and a greater inability to finish tasks."

"The National Institute of Health estimates that youth commonly spend an average of five to seven hours (per day!) on screens during leisure time."

2X Freeky-Creepy
“...adolescents who spend more than seven hours a day on screens were twice as likely as those spending one hour to have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression - a significant finding.”

Screen-Kid Effects

Less “Well”
"Moderate use of screens, at four hours each day, was also associated with lower psychological well-being than use of one hour a day.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

California Democrats Must Stop Putting Oil Industry Over Water?


Democrats Poisoning our Land, Water, and People for Political Bribes & Power

California (Dem Appointed…) Water Officials Must Stop Putting Oil Industry Over Water,
Water Deeply, October 25, 2018.


Democratic” Bribery in Action
"State regulators have allowed the oil industry to dump waste fluid in unlined pits for decades. Even amid proof that this practice has polluted groundwater, officials continue to grant the industry a pass on cleanup requirements.”

Bribery Always Wins…
"Too often, protecting California’s precious groundwater clashes with the interests of the oil industry. Due to its outsized political influence, oil frequently wins out."

“...in the Central Valley, where many oilfield operators are dumping their toxic oil-waste fluid into open, unlined pits.”

Dangers? Really!
"...risk contaminating the underlying groundwater with chemicals that make us sick. In fact, in 2015 an independent scientific panel recommended that California phase out the use of these disposal pits, citing their danger to groundwater."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

A Shitty HEALTH & FITNESS Situation: Microplastics Are Everywhere!


Microplastics Everywhere!

Microplastics Are Turning Up Everywhere, Even In Human Excrement,
NPR, October 22, 2018.


Most people are full of shit (especially NPR), and now we know their shit is full of plastic… It makes sense, if you think about it…

Thin, but Wide Sample
“...researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria, looked at stool samples from eight individuals in eight different countries: Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the U.K. and Austria. Every stool sample tested positive for up to nine different plastic types, with an average of 20 particles of plastic per 10 grams of stool.”

“...all eight stool samples contained polypropylene and polyethylene-terephthalate particles, which are major components of plastic bottle caps and plastic bottles.”

The Test
“...each person ate their regular diet and kept a food diary in the week leading up to their stool sampling. All participants were exposed to plastics by consuming foods that had been wrapped in plastic as well as beverages in plastic bottles. None of the participants were vegetarians, and six of them consumed wild fish.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Rural Kids Experiencing Digital Destruction?



Rural Kids Experiencing Digital Destruction?

Do It for the Kids?

Modern conflict: Screen time vs. nature,
North Carolina State University, October 22, 2018.


Rural Kids
"Even rural kids today spend more time in front of screens and less time outdoors, according to a new study of middle-school students in South Carolina."

"...asked about 550 rural students to report the amount of time they spend in nature (outdoor time) and the amount of time they spend using electronic media (screen time) over an average week. They found that screen time eclipsed outdoor time for most students, and that these gaps increased significantly in older youth."

Lost Natural World
“This is a problem because connection to nature plays a positive role in young people’s physical health and psychological development.”

Urban Nightmare
“Issues related to safety and access create barriers to outdoor recreation for diverse urban youth,...but this study shows that time in nature may be slipping even among rural students.”


Bottom Line

Alex Wierbinski's picture

BEER-O-POCOLYPSE? Barley Biting the Global Warming Dust?



Barley Biting the Global Warming Dust


Global warming will have us crying in what's left of our beer,
University of California - Irvine, October 15, 2018.


“On top of rising sea levels, stronger hurricanes and worsening wildfires, scientists project that human-caused climate change will result in one of the most dire consequences imaginable: a disruption in the global beer supply.”

“...concurrent droughts and heat waves, exacerbated by anthropogenic global warming, will lead to sharp declines in crop yields of barley, beer's main ingredient.”

"Our study showed that even modest warming will lead to increases in drought and excessive heat events in barley-growing areas."

(Results from the new (associated study) study reveal potential average yield losses ranging from 3% to 17%, depending on the severity of the conditions.)

No Beer for You
"Our results show that in the most severe climate events, the supply of beer could decline by about 16 percent in years when droughts and heat waves strike," he said. "That's comparable to all beer consumption in the U.S. Future climate and pricing conditions could put beer out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018: Man Banned from Space by Radiation?


Man Banned from Space by Radiation?

Animal study suggests deep space travel may significantly damage GI function in astronauts,
Georgetown University Medical Center, October 1, 2018.


Cosmic Radiation
“Simulations with animal models meant to mirror galactic cosmic radiation exposure to astronauts are raising red flags...”

Serious Stomach Probs
“...deep space bombardment by galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) could significantly damage gastrointestinal (GI) tissue leading to long-term functional alterations. The study also raises concern about high risk of tumor development in the stomach and colon.”

Other Risks
“...previous work has highlighted potential impairment to brain tissue as well as accelerated aging on long space trips due to the effect of energetic heavy ions, which don't affect Earthlings due to the protective global magnetosphere.”

Current Situation
"With the current shielding technology, it is difficult to protect astronauts from the adverse effects of heavy ion radiation. Although there may be a way to use medicines to counter these effects, no such agent has been developed yet."

Alex Wierbinski's picture



How DEET Works

Scientists investigate how DEET confuses countless critters,
Rockefeller University, September 26, 2018.


“...shown that DEET acts not by repelling bugs, but rather by confusing them, messing with neurons that help the animals smell their surroundings. Moreover, the effects of DEET are not limited to insects: spiders, ticks, and many other pests also act strangely in the chemical's presence.”

“...DEET may be less of an insect repellent and more of an invertebrate confusant.”

“First developed in the 1940s, DEET can be found in most bug sprays used today. Research has shown that, in flies and mosquitoes, the chemical works by interacting with odor receptors that are unique to insects. This research, however, cannot explain how DEET exerts its effect on non-insect species.”

“The Vosshall lab previously demonstrated that DEET keeps mosquitoes away by interacting with odor receptors in a way that confuses the animals' sense of smell. ”

"The one common theme in all of these organisms is that DEET is doing something to affect odor perception--it's like sensory system sabotage.”


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Valley Fever Surging in Our Drying Climate

HEALTH & FITNESS: Crossing the Valley!

Valley Fever Surging in Our Drying Climate

With climate change, Valley fever spreads in California—and this year could be the worst yet,
CalMatters, September 25, 2018.


Rising Numbers
“...reported Valley fever cases set a record in California in 2016, with more than 6,000 infections. That number jumped to 8,103 in 2017, an increase of more than a third—growth many experts link to climate change. This year could be the worst yet.”

Record Year
“...through August this year more than 5,000 cases were reported in California, putting the state on pace for a new record.”

Growing Infections
“We’re seeing double and triple the cases. It’s a catastrophic change, and it’s getting worse.”

“...about 150,000 undiagnosed cases a year.”

Silent Killer
“The most dangerous manifestation is meningitis...and by the time they go to the hospital it’s too late, and I think a lot of people die from it without ever being diagnosed.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

New Tick Safety Strategies Required for Euro Lyme


New Tick Safety Strategies Required for Euro Lyme

Lyme disease: A study on the speed of transmission by infected ticks,
Institut Pasteur, September 21, 2018.


"...evidence of rapid bacterial transmission following a bite, with infection occurring within 24 hours of an adult tick bite and sometimes even sooner for nymph bites. This is a timely reminder of the importance of removing ticks as soon as possible after being bitten to prevent infection."

"Ticks have three lifecycle stages that can bite humans – larva, nymph and adult –, but bacteria are usually transmitted through bites from nymphs, which are higher in density and often go unnoticed because of their small size."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Cheesy Archeology: Two Blocks of Research, Who’s Got the Oldest Cheese?


Cheesy Archeology: Two Blocks of Research

Who’s Got the Oldest Cheese?

1> Earliest Bad Cheese Found, 3300 Years Old

2> Evidence of 7,200-year-old Cheese





1> Earliest Bad Cheese Found, 3300 Years Old

Earliest 3,300 Year Old Block of Cheese Contaminated with Earliest Brucellosis

World's oldest cheese found in Egyptian tomb,
American Chemical Society, August 15, 2018.

"...thought to be the most ancient solid cheese ever found..."

"The tomb of Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis in Egypt during the 13th century BC, was initially unearthed in 1885. After being lost under drifting sands, it was rediscovered in 2010, and archeologists found broken jars at the site a few years later. One jar contained a solidified whitish mass, as well as canvas fabric that might have covered the jar or been used to preserve its contents."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

The Two Sides of the Motivation & Survival Coin


Two Sides of the Coin: Motivation Vs. Laziness in the Pursuit of Survival

Why the brain struggles to get off the sofa,
Université de Genève, September 18, 2018.


“About 30% of adults and 80% of teenagers today do not meet the minimum levels of daily physical activity for staying healthy...”

“Previous studies have already demonstrated that there is a gap between the intention to play sport and actually playing it among individuals with a leaning towards a sedentary lifestyle.”

“...what happens in the brain to prevent intention being followed by action?”

“...studied the neuronal activity of people faced with making the choice between physical activity and doing nothing.”

“...studied the neuronal activity of 29 people, all of whom wanted to be active in their daily lives without necessarily being so.”

“They noted that the brain requires far greater resources to escape a general attraction to minimising effort. A struggle then breaks out between the desire to do nothing and the physical activity.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Aspirin Use Without Specific Medical Need Questioned


Aspirin Use Without Specific Medical Need Questioned

Aspirin found not to prolong healthy aging,
Rush University Medical Center, September 17, 2018.


Aspirin has NO Benefit
"The large clinical trial, which began in 2010, aimed to determine the risks and benefits of daily low-dose aspirin in healthy older adults without previous cardiovascular events, dementia or physical disability, and who were free of medical conditions requiring aspirin use. The results showed that aspirin did not extend healthy independent living (life free of dementia or persistent physical disability)."

No Reason? No Aspirin

“The results will have a significant impact on guidelines about aspirin use for prevention and in daily clinical conversations between clinicians and their older, healthy patients regarding whether aspirin should or should not be used for achieving disability-free longevity."

"This study shows why it is so important to conduct this type of research, so that we can gain a fuller picture of aspirin’s benefits and risks among healthy older persons.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

13,000 Year Old Beer Production, before Agriculture


13,000 Year Old Beer Production

Oldest Beer on Earth, before Agriculture

A prehistoric thirst for craft beer,
Elsevier, September 12, 2018.

“...archeologists analyzed three stone mortars from a 13,000-year old Natufian burial cave site in Israel. Their analysis confirmed that these mortars were used for brewing of wheat/barley, as well as for food storage.”

"Alcohol making and food storage were among the major technological innovations that eventually led to the development of civilizations in the world...”

"We exposed a Natufian burial area with about 30 individuals; a wealth of small finds such as flint tools, animal bones and ground stone implements, and about 100 stone mortars and cupmarks.“

“They used bedrock mortars for pounding and cooking plant-foods, and for brewing wheat/barley-based beer, likely served in ritual feasts 13,000 years ago.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Amazing Macrophage Porn Videos


Amazing Micro Video Images of Amazing Celluar Life
University of Queensland Macrophage Porn Video
Macrophage Porn Credit U of Q

Powerful images reveal how immune cells patrol to keep us healthy,
University of Queensland, August 28, 2018.


"...exquisite, real-time detail how immune cells survey their surroundings to detect threats to our health. The imaging also provides insights into how aggressive cancer cells sustain their growth."

"...discovered new structures they termed ‘tent-pole ruffles’ on the surface of immune cells called macrophages; the ruffles help the cells gulp the surrounding fluid for sampling."

"...Macrophages (Greek for 'big eaters') are a type of white blood cell, whose job it is to detect and engulf any material that may be a potential danger..."

"They survey all tissues of the body by taking in large gulps of surrounding fluid to identify anything they don't recognise as healthy, triggering immune responses when necessary to ward off infection."

"...a cutting-edge laser microscope called a lattice light sheet, which captures huge 3D images with great precision..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Rise and Fall of Diet Mythologies: Dairy not as Bad as Thought


Rise and Fall of Diet Mythologies

Dairy not as Bad as Thought

Current advice to limit dairy intake should be reconsidered,
European Society of Cardiology, August 28, 2018.


"...consumption of dairy products has long been thought to increase the risk of death, particularly from coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease, and cancer, because of dairy's relatively high levels of saturated fat. Yet evidence for any such link, especially among US adults, is inconsistent. With the exception of milk, which appears to increase the risk of CHD, dairy products have been found to protect against both total mortality and mortality from cerebrovascular causes."

Good News for Dairy
"...dairy products have been found to protect against both total mortality and mortality from cerebrovascular causes, according to research presented today..."

"A meta-analysis of 29 cohort studies published in 2017 found no association between the consumption of dairy products and either cardiovascular disease (CVD) or all-cause mortality."

Bad News for Milk
"Yet a large 20-year prospective study of Swedish adults...found that higher consumption of milk was associated with a doubling of mortality risk, including from CVD, in the cohort of women."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Clay Wound Treatment in the Age of Antibiotic Resistance


Clay Wound Treatment in the Age of Antibiotic Resistance

Clay to Fight Bacteria in Wounds: An old practice may be a new solution,
Mayo Clinic, August 21, 2018.


“...the concept of using mud as medicine goes back to earliest times.”
Blue Clay from Oregon
Image Courtesy Arizona State University


Blue Clay from Oregon
“...found that at least one type of clay may help fight disease-causing bacteria in wounds, including some treatment-resistant bacteria.”

Biofilm Effective
“We showed that this reduced iron-bearing clay can kill some strains of bacteria under the laboratory conditions used, including bacteria grown as biofilms, which can be particularly challenging to treat”

“Biofilms occur when bacteria attach to surfaces and develop a film or protective coating making them relatively resistant to antibiotics. They appear in two-thirds of the infections seen by physicians.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

HEALTH & FITNESS: Salt is not Bad for You


Salt is Not Bad for You

Pass the salt: Study finds average consumption safe for heart health,
McMaster University, August 9, 2018.


"New research shows that for the vast majority of individuals, sodium consumption does not increase health risks except for those who eat more than five grams a day, the equivalent of 2.5 teaspoons of salt."

"Any health risk of sodium intake is virtually eliminated if people improve their diet quality by adding fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, potatoes, and other potassium rich foods."

Big Study
"...followed 94,000 people, aged 35 to 70, for an average of eight years in communities from 18 countries around the world and found there an associated risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes only where the average intake is greater than five grams of sodium a day."

Only China
"China is the only country in their study where 80 per cent of communities have a sodium intake of more than five grams a day."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

CLIMATE WARMING NEWS: Heat Dangers Rising, Will Drive Thousands to ER


Heat Dangers Rising, Many Will Suffer

New study predicts warming climate will drive thousands to ER for heat illness,
AGU Blog, August 7, 2018


Expensive Dangers Ahead
"...a new study predicts that in the coming decades the United States’ heat problem will grow more dangerous and expensive."

Today's Emission Trajectory
"...suggests a warming climate will drive thousands more people into emergency rooms across the country and could cost tens of millions more dollars in treatment by 2050."

Reduced Emission Trajectory
"...U.S. emergency rooms could see 28,000 more hyperthermia visits annually by 2050, which could cost roughly as much as $52 million. Extended to 2090, the annual number of visits for hyperthermia could increase by up to 65,000, costing up to $118 million."

Health Threats of Warming Temps
 How our warming climate affects health.
"This table lists the various causes and ways in which climate change affects human health." Chart credit: U.S. Global Change Research Program.

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