Upcoming presentations

Wednesday May 8th 1:00 p.m. at the Point Loma library. Immunizations for adults. Vaccines aren’t just for children. Recent developments in this area can help seniors to avoid crippling, even deadly, diseases. But are they risky?

Thursday May 9th at 6:00 p.m. at the Fallbrook library. What have we done to food? GMOs, Yellow and Red dyes, HFCS, trans fats are only part of the story. The food industry is nothing like it was when your grandparents were growing up. Are we really at risk? Can we do anything about it?

Thursday May 16th at 6:00 p.m. at the La Mesa library. Health benefits of wine and chocolate. This has been the all-time favorite of my 75 PowerPoint presentations. I wonder why!

Wednesday May 22nd at 1:00 p.m. at the San Marcos library. All about salt. History, health and hype. You’ll never look at your salt shaker the same way again.

Tuesday May 28th at 12:30 p.m. at the Carlsbad Cole Library at Carlsbad Blvd and Hwy 5. Avoid the annoyances of aging, a discussion of those pesky things that take the fun out of growing older.  And yes, most of them can be avoided.


In the news

Osteoarthritis is common among seniors but even relatively small amounts of exercise can slow down its progress, even just one hour a week. In a group of more than 1500 persons who already had some lower extremity symptoms of arthritis, those who consistently did some brisk walking for at least one hour a week were eight times less likely to have a mobility disability in four years. That’s good news for people who really don’t like to exercise and might give them incentive to become even more active.

This study, reported in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, confirms several earlier studies. Ten minutes a day is a good start but the real benefits of regular, moderately intense exercise, lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, come with about one hour per day, done at least four days per week.

Folks who have a full-time job and a family might find that much exercise hard to schedule but it doesn’t have to be done all at once. And in the next issue of Carvings I’ll discuss stealth exercise.


 “Never do anything for the first time.”

That advice was given to me decades ago by my brother, a U.S. Marine and law enforcement officer. Of course, everything we do has had a “first time” but he was referring to scenarios that he would encounter in his military and civilian careers, for which he would continually practice in real time as well as in his mind. We have applied this principle in our CPR training program, not just the repetitive and physically demanding chest compressions and rescue breathing but especially in the deployment of the AED, which requires some degree of eye-hand coordination.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell (you might remember him as the best-selling author of The Tipping Point) describes what happens in an emergency situation. He gives several examples of the severe impairment of our physiologic reactions – visual and auditory misperception, alterations in our perception of elapsed time, loss of fine muscle coordination, impaired recollection, to name a few. He describes the problems encountered by persons attempting to make a 9-1-1 call, such as not being able to remember those numbers, fumbling with the keypad, not pressing the green transmit button on the cell phone screen, panic while attempting to describe the situation to the dispatcher, etc.

As those of you who have been in our CPR class already know, even in our make-believe scenarios, students often fail to send someone to call 9-1-1 when they recognize unresponsiveness. (Remember our grammar lesson? “No response call 9-1-1!” – dropping the first period.) Some students immediately begin chest compressions without checking to see if the victim is breathing. In manipulating the AED, in almost every class at least one student tries to apply an electrode to the chest while it is still stuck to the yellow plastic separator. These are not intellectual deficits, they are common reactions to a first-time stressful situation. Think of how much worse things could get in a real emergency!

As Gladwell so clearly points out in his book, responders can learn to avoid those performance deficiencies by training and practice – and practice, and practice.

We strongly recommend to our CPR students that they review emergency scenarios regularly – specifically, that they do so on a weekly basis, and that they get recertified every two years.  Several our our graduates have told me that they responded automatically to a collapse or other emergency as a result of their training, because it wasn’t “the first time.”

Thanks to brother Tom and Malcolm Gladwell.







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