White Middle-Aged Americans See Mortality Increase


Middle-aged, non-Hispanic white Americans saw a “marked increase” in mortality between 1999 and 2013, a reversal from a decades-long decline that can be largely explained by a spike in suicide, substance abuse and liver disease, new research shows…

The authors note that the period coincided with an era of increased use of prescription pain-killers and came at a time when white, middle-aged Americans increasingly reported being in pain and poor health in self-assessment surveys. They also say economics could have been a driver in the change…

The change in overall mortality was driven by those with a high-school degree or less, the study found, drawing from sources including data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Census Bureau. Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher saw death rates fall — though they too posted an increase in mortality from suicide and drug and alcohol poisonings…

“A serious concern is that those currently in midlife will age into Medicare in worse health than the currently elderly,” they write, and “addictions are hard to treat and pain is hard to control, so those currently in midlife may be a ‘lost generation’ whose future is less bright than those who preceded them.”

Dairy Crack


The Verdict Is In: Fatty, Processed Foods—Especially Cheese—Are as Addictive as Drugs

Cheese happens to be especially addictive because of an ingredient called casein, a protein found in all milk products. During digestion, casein releases opiates called casomorphins.


Ever felt like you couldn’t give up cheese? Ever think it might actually be a drug? The surprising news is that as far back as the 1980′s researchers have known that cheese contains trace amounts of morphine. In 1981, Eli Hazum and his colleagues at Wellcome Research Laboratories reported traces of the chemical morphine, a highly addictive opiate. It turns out that morphine is found in cow’s milk and human milk, purportedly to ensure offspring will bond very strongly with their mothers and get all the nutrients they need to grow.

Researchers also discovered the protein casein, which breaks into casomorphins when it is digested and also produces opiate effects. In cheese, casein is concentrated, and so is the level of casomorphins, so the pleasurable effect is greater. Neal Barnard, MD said, “Since cheese is processed to express out all the liquid, it’s an incredibly concentrated source of casomorphins—you might call it dairy crack.” …

Americans pay more


For example, Americans pay more for pharmaceuticals than do the citizens of any other developed nation. That’s partly because it’s perfectly legal in the U.S. (but not in most other nations) for the makers of branded drugs to pay the makers of generic drugs to delay introducing cheaper unbranded equivalents, after patents on the brands have expired…

We also pay more for Internet service than do the inhabitants of any other developed nation. The average cable bill in the United States rose 5 percent in 2012 (the latest year available), nearly triple the rate of inflation. Why? Because 80 percent of us have no choice of Internet service provider, which allows them to charge us more.

Internet service here costs 3 and-a-half times more than it does in France, for example, where the typical customer can choose between 7 providers…

Finally, why do you suppose health insurance is costing us more, and co-payments and deductibles are rising?

One reason is big insurers are consolidating into giants with the power to raise prices. They say these combinations make their companies more efficient, but they really just give them power to charge more.

Health insurers are hiking rates 20 to 40 percent next year, and their stock values are skyrocketing (the Standard & Poor’s 500 Managed Health Care Index recently hit its highest level in more than twenty years.) …


Four companies, including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., are being investigated by the Federal Communications Commission over the terms they set for business customers in a $20 billion market to carry high-speed data…

November is TMJ Awareness Month

I think awareness months work well when the effort is continuous, which is not the case for TMJ. It was over 35 years ago when a dentist first diagnosed me with TMJ — when only dentists knew about this condition. And today, there are still plenty of doctors who don’t know that this condition exists.

Me:  What do you know about TMJ?

Pain doctor:  Nothing.

Me:  How can you treat me if you don’t know anything about TMJ?

Pain doctor:  Because no one else will.

(Have I mentioned lately that doctors suck? Well, not every single doctor, but most of them.)


September 30, 1997

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I would like to call to my colleagues’ attention the designation of this coming November and all, future Novembers as Jaw Joints-TMJ Awareness Month. In Washington’s world of abbreviations and acronyms, TMJ is not one of the better known. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders are among the more painful, yet least well understood disorders affecting people today. While estimates of the number of people in this country affected by TMJ disorders run into the millions, these disorders are often mistaken for other ailments or presumed to be psychological in nature…