Enjoy some culture, take some action
Parents of colic-riddled babies, take heart: the pros are on their way. Probiotics, that is! (I can’t believe I just wrote that.) (And yet I’m leaving it there. For you to witness the horror.) A new study suggests that the probiotic lactobacillus reuteri, a similar type to the active culture found in some yogurts, may ease colic. The study found that lactobacillus was more effective than simethicone, a gas-relieving agent.
But don’t start troweling Yoplait into your poor baby’s maw just yet. More studies have to be performed—different strains of lactobacillus should be tested, the participating mothers also maintained a low-allergen diet, which may have affected the results, blah blah details blah. Meanwhile, desperate parents can find colic advice here. (Although any parent of a baby who’s suffered through colic can tell you that most colic-relieving tactics are mere diversions meant to make you forget to commit suicide. And the list is missing some key strategies, like clutching your head and shrieking (thus drowning out baby’s cries), leaving baby on the porch for a nicer, more tolerant family to take her, or scheduling an exorcism.) Keep those probiotics studies coming, scientists.
Moving on: a recent survey showed that minority women are more likely to be unaware of the risks and symptoms of heart disease than non-minorities. This is a disturbing finding, given that black and Hispanic women are at higher risk for cardiovascular troubles. Nearly half of African American women and a third of white women suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease. In fact, heart disease is the number-one killer of women, killing more women each year than all
other types of cancers combined. This horrifying fact is lost on most women—and, even more alarmingly, most health practitioners. And that’s not all the bad news! For men, the death rate for heart disease has declined since 1979, but in the same time period, the death rate for women has increased. Oh! And because most studies on heart-disease medications and devices were performed on men, whether those same medications and devices will work as well on women is more or less a crapshoot. As a result, women tend to receive less aggressive treatment.
Want to see this change? Urge your congressperson to support the HEART for Women Act: legislation designed to increase public awareness of this very real threat to women’s health, and to address disparities in treatment. All you have to do is type in your info, and the good people at the American Heart Association will send out a nicely written letter for you. So go ahead– it’ll do your heart good. (Yeah, I wrote that, too. And I won’t apologize for it.)
Before you go there, read on, because Georgia’s children also need your help. The state’s healthcare program PeachCare, which covers children whose parents make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase their own insurance, has lost its federal funding. PeachCare currently provides medical coverage to 273,000 children throughout Georgia. The program depends on federal matching funds, and currently needs $131 million to fund the program through September.
On Monday, President Bush submitted to Congress a supplemental spending bill to continue funding the Iraq war. Within the budget, he chose not to include a bailout of this healthcare program as well as several others—a bailout that would have totaled $745 million in a $2.9 trillion budget that includes hefty boosts to defense spending. The budget, which calls for more than $620 billion to be spent on defense next year and more than $93 billion to be spent on the Iraq war during 2007, also eliminated $101.5 billion from Medicaid and Medicare programs. Hooray, Mr. President!
Feel like writing to some congresspeople? Sure you do. Visit Voices for Georgia’s Children. Do it… for the children. (I now officially have no shame.)
Next up! Have a baby in the first three years of your marriage, or face annulment. That’s the initiative filed recently by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance. The initiative states that heterosexual marriages must be “proven” by the creation of new life. In fact, to be able to marry in the first place, couples must be able to procreate.
Is this a joke? Yes. Well, sort of. Sort of yes. But it’s for a good cause. The WADOMA was actually created by proponents of same-sex marriage. Their goal is to challenge a recent Washington Supreme Court ruling in which the justices chose not to overturn the state’s Defense of Marriage Act. In their ruling, the justices stated that there was a “legitimate state interest” in defining marriage exclusively for the purpose of procreation and child-rearing. By filing an initiative that dissolves baby-free marriages, the WADOMA hopes to show the absurdity of the previous ruling. And by ruling against the initiative, the state Supreme Court will, in fact, be ruling against the basis for keeping the state’s Defense of Marriage Act. Clever, no? “At the very least,” argues Gregory Gadow, “it should be good fun to see the social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation be forced to choke on their own rhetoric.”
Would you like to help the equal-marriage fight in Washington State? Find out how you can help here (link no longer available). It’ll do you gay. No, wait. Do it… for the homosexuals who want to marry each other. Oh, Alice, you’ve hit it out of the ballpark again.