Interesting items from my inbox and elsewhere …

Don’t laugh. That would be callous and rude.

Oh, the irony. Here are some quotes from an online article in the Dallas News:

The president of the Dallas-based American Heart Association is recovering after suffering a minor heart attack Monday morning at the organization’s scientific conference in California.

The president of the AHA not only suffers a heart attack, he has the comic timing to do it at an AHA scientific conference. That almost tops all the times Al Gore showed up to give a speech on global warming just as the host city experienced a record-cold day.

Anyway …

John Warner, a cardiologist, vice president and CEO of UT Southwestern University Hospitals, was in stable condition with his family by his side at a California hospital. Doctors inserted a stent to open an artery, the association said in a prepared statement.

Dr. Warner is 52 years old – i.e., seven years younger than yours truly. Out of curiosity, I looked up the average age for a first heart attack among American males. It’s 66. The president of the AHA had his 14 years younger than the average.

The American Heart Association explained it this way in a tweet:

Sending all our love and support to American Heart president Dr. Warner as he recovers from a mild heart attack. Heart disease can strike anyone, at any time. That’s why we keep fighting.

Yeah, that’s one explanation. Another explanation is that the AHA’s advice for avoiding heart disease just plain sucks. That’s how I’d put. Dr. William Davis (also a cardiologist) employed a more professional tone in a post on his Wheat Belly blog:

I am hoping that, now that this disease has touched you personally, your eyes will be opened to the corrupt and absurd policies of conventional coronary care and the American Heart Association. Your life, after all, may be at stake in coming years. Contrary to the self-serving Tweet from AHA staff to you, heart attack risk is 1) quantifiable, 2) trackable, 3) stoppable and reversible.

American Heart Association officials should read their own studies.

Perhaps Dr. Warner could have avoided a heart attack if he and other AHA officials checked their own data and studies before issuing dietary advice. The AHA has tunnel vision when it comes to cholesterol. They keep insisting that lowering LDL is the key to a healthy heart. But as I pointed out in a 2010 post, data available on their own web site says otherwise:

People with “high” LDL make up 32.6% of the population, but account for just 27.9% of the heart attacks … We’ve been told for decades that the higher your LDL, the more likely you are to clutch your chest in the middle of the night. But if the “high” LDL group experiences slightly less than their share of heart attacks, how can that possibly be true?!

And here’s the conclusion from a study recently published in one of the AHA’s own journals:

Stepwise higher concentrations of nonfasting triglycerides were associated with stepwise higher risk of heart failure; however, concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were not associated with risk of heart failure in the general population.

Higher LDL wasn’t associated with heart failure.  But higher triglycerides – which are produced by high-carb foods like the hearthealthywholegrains! the AHA recommends — were associated with heart failure.

Boy, I bet the AHA’s scientific council members nearly had a heart attack when they read that. No, wait …

NuVal is NoVal.

If Dr. David Katz weren’t such an arrogant jackass, I’d almost feel sorry for him. Talk about a rough couple of months. First the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine declared that the USDA’s dietary guidelines (which Dr. Katz insisted are “excellent and supported by the weight of the evidence”) aren’t based on good science.

And now there’s this, as recounted in a press release by the National Consumers League:

The National Consumers League (NCL) has welcomed news that a supermarket-based nutritional scoring system of food products called NuVal, which at its peak was used in 1,600 grocery stores nationwide, has been discontinued.

NuVal, as you may recall, was the brainchild of Dr. Katz. The nutrition scoring was so back-asswards, it gave sugar-laden soy milk a higher nutrition rating than a chicken breast, as I explained in a 2010 post.

Back to the NCL release:

“The NuVal rating system was fatally flawed, and its removal from grocery store shelves is a win for consumers,” said National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Its proprietary algorithmic formula – which was not made transparent to consumers or the scientific community – resulted in snack chips, soft drinks, and desserts being given as high or higher nutritional scores than some canned fruits and vegetables. We welcome the news that NuVal has been discontinued nationally.”

My guess is that the “proprietary algorithmic formula” was never made public because it consisted of Dr. Katz just making @#$% up as he went along … kind of like when he reviewed his own novel under a fake name and compared himself to Milton and Chaucer.

This is why Katz is hostile to the wisdom-of-crowds idea. He thinks we should stop sharing information and experiences in the “echo chamber” online and simply listen to (ahem) “experts” like him – and the president of The American Heart Association, of course.

Birthday Bash a Bust.

I turned 59 on Tuesday. I’d been looking forward to that birthday for months … not because 59 is a significant number, but because it was also the 20th anniversary of my first date with Chareva.

For those of you who haven’t heard the story, we met at an acting school in Chicago. I was 38, and she was 24 and just home from the Peace Corps. I was smitten, but figured the age difference was too great. I remember staring across the room at her during an improv class and thinking, “Damn. If only I were 10 years younger.”

She took a few Microsoft Office training classes at a Manpower office where I was a part-time trainer, and some female co-workers finally talked me into asking her out. They insisted she was as attracted to me as I was to her. A woman can tell, etc., etc. I finally got over my hesitations and asked her to dinner and a play on my 39th birthday. The rest is history.

Anyway, I’d planned on celebrating the anniversary with a big night out. Nice expensive meal, good bottle of wine and all that. The shoulder surgery put the kibosh on my plans. I can’t drink because of the painkillers, and I didn’t relish the idea of ordering a prime rib, then watching Chareva lean across the table to cut it into pieces for me. So we postponed the big night out to an unspecified future date.

Instead, she made a Fat Head pizza at home. Pretty good stuff, even if I am a bit embarrassed that people call it Fat Head pizza, since I had nothing to do with creating it. All I did was post the recipe.

For my birthday present to myself, I bought this:

I expect the surgeon will give me the green light to do leg presses at the gym soon. But full workouts are out of the question for several months. Same goes for heavy-duty farm work. If I don’t get enough exercise, I tend to start feeling lethargic, so I figured I can at least put in some long walks on the treadmill while I’m waiting the shoulder and bicep to fully heal.

As you may have noticed, the treadmill is strategically placed to allow for watching movies and football games while I walk.

In the meantime, I’ve graduated from the recliner to a makeshift desk. For the first 10 days or so after surgery, I was only comfortable leaning back in the recliner, so I worked with a laptop on my thighs. With the sling keeping my elbow pinned to my side, I can’t reach a keyboard on my desk – my chair doesn’t raise high enough.

But I have an IKEA table in my office than can be lowered quite a bit, so Chareva lowered it for me. At the current height, it looks like a table for a toddler. But it allows me to position a laptop pretty much on my lap, with an inch of tabletop separating my thighs and the keyboard. It ain’t much, but getting myself out of the recliner for my programming job feels like progress.

I just try to avoid looking out my office window at the lovely autumn weather and thinking how much I’d love to be out there splitting wood or playing some disc golf.

38 Responses to “From The News …”
  1. Dianne says:

    Happy birthday, Tom. And happy first-date anniversary, Tom and Chareva. You have the same age difference in your marriage as my husband and I. He was 40 when we married, and I was 26. The age difference wasn’t a problem until George developed Alzheimer’s dementia, which he did about the same time as he developed T2D, and I seriously believe the two were related and that if he hadn’t been such a high consumer of sugar we’d still be having a ball at ages 75 and 89. Since you are doing all the right things to avoid that fate, there’s a real good chance you’ll be doing just fine 30 years down the road. At least, that’s my birthday/anniversary prayer for you!

    BTW, that pizza looks wunnnderful.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband. I saw what Alzheimer’s did to my father, and plan to avoid it if at all possible.

  2. Orvan Taurus says:

    I’ve mentioned how “mis-heard” it as ‘The New Mal-nutrional’ label before. There is more to that. When asked about it, I would point out how amazingly silly it was. I had to show people, or they would not believe it. While fresh and frozen veg. is better than canned, canned veg. is still better than a lot of things. And yet NuVal seemed to heavily weight by sugar (some sense there) and salt (not so much there) and precious little else, if anything. the result was that canned veg. had rating under 50 (out of 100) and an artificially sweetened ice cream treat (no salt! no real added sugar!) had a rating of 100.

    The store never said WHY they abandoned NuVal… even the folks who made and placed the tags that had, and then did not have, the number were surprised to find out how big a fraud it all was.

  3. Phillis Hammond says:

    Sadly, the only people more stubborn than Dr. Warner and the people at the ACA on doubling down on their error even in the face of contrary facts are the people (doctors and patients alike) that they've convinced that all the junk they've told them is absolutely correct. It's almost impossible to talk to people that I know who have either active heart disease or who've had heart attacks who misguidedly believe that "hearthealthywholegrains", low fat, no salt and a boatload of statins will save their lives and make them healthy once more cuz "their doctor told them so and why should they not trust so eminent a person?!!" They don't even want to hear much to the contrary because in their minds their doctor is a miracle worker (thank you television) and they don't have to think hard. Just give them a pill and let them get on with their lives.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Yup, people are conditioned to believe that questioning a doctor on diet is like questioning a nuclear physicist on physics. If only they knew how little education doctors get on diet in medical school.

  4. Firebird7478 says:

    Even though you’re laid up (somewhat) you’re in much better shape than the doc at the AMA. Is it wrong to laugh?

  5. Kathy in OK says:

    PROGRESS INDEED! Good to have some new pictures – the old man in the recliner was getting stale :-). Know any artists? “the old man in the recliner” sounds like the title of a painting.

    So sorry to hear you had to postpone the celebration. That’s a truly special occasion. I’m glad you posted the story. I always wondered how you met Chareva – you seem to come from quite different backgrounds.

    “didn’t relish the idea of ordering a prime rib, then watching Chareva lean across the table to cut it into pieces for me” – also good to know the Percoset hasn’t altered your sense of humor.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I think the sense of humor is encoded in the DNA. My dad was still cracking jokes even as the Alzheimer’s set in.

      • Dianne says:

        I think you’re right — it’s in the DNA. My husband was always very funny, and even after his Alzheimer’s got so bad he had to go to a nursing home, he was cracking jokes and making outrageous puns, along with fetching everybody drinks (juice) and trying to keep everybody entertained. The staff called him “The Cruise Director.” Alas, the humor is gone now and he sometimes has trouble forming a coherent sentence, but as our niece once predicted, it was the last thing to go. As an example of his humor, the Christmas before he went to the nursing home (in April) we bought a very realistic artificial Christmas tree and a long box with a slightly raised lid, a bit like a plastic coffin, to keep it in. After Christmas George helped me put the tree in the box, and once we got it settled he looked down at it and said in a sonorous voice, “It looks so natural.”

  6. Linda says:

    Happy Birthday and first date anniversary! It is fun to hear the story of how you and Chareva met! I’m sorry you had to put off the prime rib, but that Fat Head Pizza certainly looked good! That may be on my menu this weekend since I have fairly heavy duty cooking to do for Thanksgiving. I haven’t made that pizza in a long time.

    I’m so glad to see you’ve graduated from the recliner! I remember those recliner days after my surgery last year. It gets old after a while!

    Dianne, I you’re totally right about T2D & Alzheimer’s being absolutely linked to sugar intake. I have someone I’ve been counseling with all the research I’ve done over the past two years. She started out terribly obese with a sweet tooth as large as a box car. Also Type II diabetic and was in stage III kidney failure. I gave her Tom’s
    ‘ book “Fat Head Kids” for starters, and she came back saying she wished she’d had it twenty years ago. I have moved her through other books of Jimmy Moore’s, Dr. Fung’s, etc. and now she is totally angry at her doctors, and the nutritionist who gave her such false info on diet and health. She has now lost nearly forty pounds, has reduced her kidney failure to Stage I and her A1C is now down two points.Her doctor was pleased with her progress when she went back to him, but said to keep meeting with the nutritionist!! As Tom would say, that’s a “bang your head on the desk” moment!

    I sometimes think all these docs and nutritionists need to die to make a difference!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Science progresses one funeral at a time.

      I would say most nutritionists are a menace, but in fact they’re quite good for the medical industry. They create repeat customers.

  7. Nadine says:

    Heart failure is a totally different condition from heart attack even though it might sound similar.

    I’m glad you issued a warning not to laugh as I would have definitely.

  8. emmerman says:

    Congrats on your birthday and anniversary. Hope you celebrate at least 40 more. Don’t worry about the age difference. I’m the same age as my wife and she says sometimes she thinks she is married to a teenager.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      When we got married at age 27 for her and 41 for me, it still seemed a like big difference. At 45 and 59, not so much. Shoulder injury aside, I’ve kept myself strong and active, so she doesn’t exactly feel as if she’s married to an old man.

      • Bonnie says:

        I can one-up you on something! There’s an 18-year gap between me & husband & we’ve been married 30 years. I was 33 when we married & felt so blessed to be able to have 2 children at my “advanced” age. But how I wish we had learned about low carb long ago – it would have been helpful for his heart problem & my diabetes.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          We all wish we had a time machine and go back and start a good diet in childhood.

          And buy Microsoft, Apple and Amazon stocks in their infancy.

  9. TJ Huber says:

    I am sorry! I am not a nice person. I laughed out loud, and still smile when I think about it.
    Keep on being careful with your shoulder. Did you get your steering wheel knob?
    Good luck Tom!

  10. Greg M says:

    Best wishes on your recovery Tom. Here’s hoping the pain stays manageable and your spirits remain high!

    In other news, did you know that a high-fat, low-carb diet can actually be healthy? I know – crazy right!? Apparently this is news:

  11. Dianne says:

    Tom, can you really walk on that treadmill without holding on with both hands? I never could — trying to hang on with just one hand threw me off balance, and was likely to throw me off the treadmill as well. As for no hands, no way. But then, I’m a lot older than you, and was never in as good shape.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I don’t have any problem keeping my balance while holding on with one hand. I walked for an hour on Saturday with no problem. I tried again on Sunday but had to stop at 40 minutes because the shoulder began throbbing. Perhaps the result of a rise in body temperature.

  12. Ulfric Douglas says:

    Not enough comments Tom.
    Is it one-handed typing cramping your style?
    Now, tell me something important ;
    What diet/supplements are you concentrating on to eliminate your extra-bone-growth problem?
    (If none, WTF??)

  13. chris c says:

    What’s the betting his heart attack is blamed on “still eating too much (saturated) fat” and a too low dose of statins?

    In Other News, since their “Presidential Advisory” on the harms of saturated fat and the instant lethality of coconut oil, followed shortly by the revelation that Bayer Cropscience were donating the money according to soybean seed sales, a whole bunch more research into the dangers of Omega 6 and especially Soy Oil has come to light. this is the most recent one I read


    I suspect the algorithm behind Nuval is

    1/ have they sent a check?

    2/ is it animals?

    Sorry to hear you missed your anniversary – but next year will be even more special, you’ll be 60 and it will be your 21st anniversary, so start saving now and double down.

    Oh and I noticed from your previous post that your cat was only set to 10. You need to turn it up to 11 for full effect.

    Best of luck with your continuing recovery.

  14. Catherine says:

    A very happy birthday, Tom! My husband is 13 years older than me, and actually lied to me about his age because he was scared I’d be put off! He didn’t realise, though, that I’d already worked out that he must be at least ten years older – bless him!

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