Fitness & Health

A town hall meeting to promote health reform

The White House convened a “town hall” meeting on June 11 to answer questions about how the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as healthcare reform, is helping seniors.

Breaking barriers

The ABC drama “Brothers & Sisters” revolves around a widow played by Sally Field and her five grown children, in whose lives she meddles incessantly. The series broke new ground last year when the 70-year-old character who plays Field’s brother was diagnosed with HIV. Saul, played by Ron Rifkin, is gay and came out of the closet only a few years back. In an episode last year, he gets a Facebook friend request from a partner from more than 20 years ago, discovering the man is an AIDS activist and has AIDS himself.

Get out and play

More grandparents than ever are either raising their grandkids or significantly contributing to their upbringing, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. In all, there are 62.8 million grandparents in the U.S., the most ever. They are projected to make up roughly 1 in 3 adults by 2020. Look for more details about this trend in an upcoming issue of the Beacon.

How ill are we really?

Having good mental health is probably as important as having good physical health, if not more so. But when our mental health is “not so good,” would most of us call ourselves ill, as in “mentally ill?” Suppose you find it difficult to sleep or lose your appetite for a couple of weeks because you’ve been diagnosed with a serious physical illness or suffered the loss of a loved one. Would you say you had a mental illness? Apparently, our government would, and does.

Maximizing a maxim

One of the aphorisms I’ve been partial to since childhood says a person should “live each day as if it were your last.” Though I’ve liked and remembered the maxim, I only recently found myself wondering what it really means. Perhaps getting older (and attending more funerals) has started to make the concept more thought provoking to me.

Of rats and men

Scientists have long experimented on mice and rats to test new drugs and treatments for human illnesses. I’ve always imagined that there must be many similarities between our species — at least on a cellular level or in organ systems — for that to make sense.

Shingles belong on the roof

It seemed at first as if a small insect were flapping its wings under the skin of my forehead. Over the next two days, that odd, feathery, tingling sensation transformed into a torrent of pain that extended from my scalp into my brain. Yet there wasn’t a single outward sign of whatever was going on inside. Still, before I could even finish describing the trajectory of my symptoms, my doctor diagnosed me. Shingles.

To be or not to be…

As we approach the New Year, our thoughts are generally forward-looking: We think about New Year’s resolutions, wonder what changes the coming year will bring, and think about what we have to look forward to. On the other hand, we also are likely to see the popular image of Old Father Time passing on the baton to the newborn New Year.

Up in smoke?

The current cover story in our Baltimore issue focuses on the issue of legalizing medical marijuana in Maryland. When we reported the story, legislators in the General Assembly were grappling with whether Maryland should become the 16th state (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize dispensing of marijuana for such serious medical conditions as cancer or glaucoma.