Beat it

Beat it

A Wounded Deer -- leaps highest

A Wounded Deer -- leaps highest --
I've heard the Hunter tell
--'Tis but the Ecstasy of death --
And then the Brake is still!
The Smitten Rock that gushes!
The trampled Steel that springs!
A Cheek is always redder
Just where the Hectic stings!
Mirth is the Mail of Anguish
In which it Cautious Arm,
Lest anybody spy the blood
And "you're hurt" exclaim!

Emily Dickenson

Picture taken off of 48th Street NW in the middle of DC

Dare to be different

At The Cannon's Mouth

Destruction of the Ram Albermarle by the Torpedo-Launch.
(October, 1864.)
Palely intent, he urged his keel
Full on the guns, and touched the spring;
Himself involved in the bolt he drove
Timed with the armed hull's shot that stove
His shallop--die or do!
Into the flood his life he threw,
Yet lives--unscathed--a breathing thing
To marvel at.
He has his fame;
But that mad dash at death, how name?
Had Earth no charm to stay the Boy
From the martyr-passion? Could he dare
Disdain the Paradise of opening joy
Which beckons the fresh heart every where?
Life has more lures than any girl
For youth and strength; puts forth a share
Of beauty, hinting of yet rarer store;
And ever with unfathomable eyes,
Which baffingly entice,
Still strangely does Adonis draw.
And life once over, who shall tell the rest?
Life is, of all we know, God's best.
What imps these eagles then, that they
Fling disrespect on life by that proud way
In which they soar above our lower clay.
Pretense of wonderment and doubt unblest:
In Cushing's eager deed was shown
A spirit which brave poets own--
That scorn of life which earns life's crown;
Earns, but not always wins; but he--
The star ascended in his nativity.
[The end]
Herman Melville's poem: At The Cannon's Mouth

Bart on vacation at the Rhode Island shore

Passing time painting stuff

Katrina's Sun-dial
Hours fly,
Flowers die
New days,
New ways,
Pass by.
Love stays.
Time isToo Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.
The end

I stop somewhere waiting for you.

I celebrate myself,
and sing myself,
And what I assume
you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me
as good belongs to you.
If you want me again
look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

‘Youth Speaks’ Against Diabetes

So long to the purely pious messages about eating right and exercising to ward off diabetes, Type II diabetes, that is.
A group of Bay Area youth have a new message for their peers about the disease, which afflicts poor people of color in disproportionately high numbers. Their rallying cry: It’s about justice, man.
The spoken-word poetry organization Youth Speaks has teamed up with U.C. San Francisco to train young poets on how living conditions common in poor neighborhoods — unsafe streets, few green spaces, a preponderance of fast-food joints — appear to propel people toward diabetes. (For more on this line of research, see the World Health Organization and this report [PDF] from the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative.)
Twenty poet-mentors have already been trained as part of the program, The Bigger Picture (website under construction). They worked with Oakland-native slam poet and videographer Jamie DeWolf to turn their poems into online videos, delivered in a lyrical and cinematic style that 21st century teens relate to. In the coming school year, they’ll visit 10 Bay Area high schools to perform their poems, educate students on diabetes, and coach them to write health-justice poetry themselves.
Ultimately, they hope to expand the program statewide and inspire an army of young activists to change their communities, demand healthy food in schools, and press local governments to help make their neighborhoods more conducive to good health.
“We’re putting the onus not just on the individual but also on the community, and that begins on the street, at home and at school,” poet-mentor José Vadi, 27, of Oakland told me. “It’s a new approach that can be seen as very political.”
The new tactic comes none too soon, says Dr. Dean Schillinger with the California Diabetes Program, run jointly between the state and UCSF. When we discussed that project’s mission, he minced no words about the severity of the diabetes epidemic.
“We’re at a tipping point with diabetes,” he said. He called “frightening” a study published in May in the journal Pediatrics which found that just between 2000 and 2008, rates of diabetes and prediabetes among U.S. youth ages 12 to 19 shot from 9 percent to 23 percent.
One in seven Californian adults has the disease, and the number is rising, reports the California Diabetes Program. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputations and kidney failure, and a major contributor to heart attacks and strokes. It doubles a person’s risk of death.
Individual health choices are still an important factor in the disease, say Schillinger and Vadi. But they don’t believe we’ll ever defeat diabetes if we focus on that aspect alone.
“We understand that diabetes is the result of a complex interplay between genetic risk, environment and behavior, and those three things are very tightly woven,” Schillinger said. “They’re not three independent pillars.”
Vadi, whose grandmother died of diabetes, feels the effects personally. Where he used to live, in downtown Oakland, his most practical food options within a mile and a half were a pricey natural-foods store and a McDonald’s, kitty-corner from each other. Day to day, he said he faced a choice between health and cost.

Dogs sniff out diabetes at Eli Lilly

Dogs are known as a man's best friend, but for diabetics they are proven life savers.

A joint partnership between the Indianapolis Canine Assistant Network and Eli Lilly is training dogs to detect low blood sugar attacks in diabetics.

One of those dogs, a 2-year-old black lab named Pete, can smell out a when a diabetic's blood sugar gets really low.

“A dog is 10,000 times more sensitive to smell than we are. They have (an) entire chamber of receptors in their nose just for smell," said Dr. Dana Hardin with Eli Lilly.

Pete and his handler, Dr. Dana Hardin, come to work together. Dr. Hardin is leading a study at Eli Lilly to figure out what's inside a dog's nose that detects low sugar in people with Type 1 Diabetes. She hopes what's learned from Pete will save lives across the county.

“We are hoping at ICAN to standardize how dogs are trained for hypoglycemia alerts so it can reproduced by other programs,” Dr. Hardin said.

Low blood sugar attacks can cause a person to suddenly pass out. It can mean a trip to the hospital -- even death. Dogs like Pete are trained to detect changes in a person's body chemistry to avoid big problems.

Dr. Hardin hopes that in a year's time, the mystery of how Pete's nose knows so much can be solved.

In the last 10 years, the Indiana Canine Assistant Network has trained 100 dogs for people with all sorts of disabilities.

The cost to train a dog with Pete's special abilities can exceed $25,000.

Weight Loss, Exercise Best Way to Lower Diabetes Risk

Vivian Fonseca, MD, says the findings are "interesting and provocative, but preliminary." He is the president of medicine and science of the American Diabetes Association. He says there are tried-and-true ways to help reduce risk for type 2 diabetes. These include:
Losing just 5% of your body weight
Walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Eating a healthy reduced-calorie diet
"These modest lifestyle changes are more than enough to reduce risk of diabetes by 60%," he says. "It is too early to say what role curcumin may have in diabetes prevention."
John Buse, MD, agrees. He is the chief of the division of endocrinology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "Weight loss works for sure," he says in an email. "Drugs do, too, but with more focused and therefore limited benefits, as well as the possibility of side effects."

Curcumin, the substance found in the spice turmeric that gives curry its color, may lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Curcumin, the substance found in the spice turmeric that gives curry its color, may lower risk of type 2 diabetes, a small new study suggests.
All of the people in the study had been diagnosed with prediabetes. But according to the findings, none of the participants who took capsules of curcumin for nine months developed type 2 diabetes. By contrast, 16.4% of those who received a placebo did develop type 2 diabetes during the study period.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is closely associated with obesity. Prediabetes refers to blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to be defined as having diabetes. This condition places a person at greater risk for type 2 diabetes.
People who took curcumin also lost weight and reduced waist circumference at nine months, while their counterparts in the placebo group did not.
Exactly how the substance may reduce risk of diabetes is not fully understood. Researchers speculate that weight loss reduces insulin resistance, a condition in which the body produces the hormone insulin but does not use it properly. Insulin's job is to help the body use glucose or blood sugar for energy.
Curcumin also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is thought to play a role in many diseases, including diabetes.
"Prediabetes patients should be focused on diet and exercise as the first step," says researcher Somlak Chuengsamarn, MD. He is an endocrinologist at Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand. "These practices have an obvious benefit in preventing type 2 diabetes in this group."
All 240 study participants were educated on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet and exercise, during the three months before the study began. None were taking any medications for diabetes. Participants took either six supplement capsules a day, each of which contained 250 milligrams of curcuminoids, or a placebo. The researchers report no serious side effects from the curcumin, but a few people did develop minor symptoms, including itching and constipation.
The findings appear in Diabetes Care.
Diabetes: Keeping Up With Your Active Life

Diabetic Women Experience Decreased Sexual Satisfaction

PROBLEM: We know that erectile dysfunction is common in men with diabetes -- so much so that it's often the first symptom leading to a diagnosis. But we have almost no knowledge about the disease's effect on women's sexual functioning and satisfaction. This study aimed to find out if diabetes is keeping women from enjoying their sex lives.

METHODOLOGY: 2,270 ethnically diverse women aged 40-80, both with and without diabetes (treated both with and without insulin), were asked to report their level of sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity and overall sexual satisfaction. They were asked to identify problems they might be experiencing with lubrication, arousal, orgasm, and pain. Sexual function also was looked at in relation to heart disease stroke, renal dysfunction, and peripheral neuropathy -- all complications of diabetes.

RESULTS: Diabetic women (most had type II diabetes), both on and off insulin, reported having and desiring sex just as frequently as the other participants. But while 19.3 percent of women without diabetes reported low levels of overall sexual satisfaction, the number was higher among women with diabetes: 34.9 percent of those who take insulin and 26 percent of those who do not were unsatisfied. In addition, those on insulin were 2.37 and 1.8 times more likely to report problems with lubrication and orgasm, respectively. Serious complications of diabetes were also associated with decreased sexual function.

CONCLUSION: Diabetes is indeed associated with lower sexual satisfaction for older women with diabetes, especially for those who are treated with insulin.

Eating styles are making diabetic cases complicated

At a special diabetic camp organised by Ludhiana Mediways Hospital, patients no doubt came with their problems related to sugar levels, but the interesting excuses to the eating habits were also being given.
Out of the total 245 patients about 18 were with Juvenile diabetes and the rest with type 2 diabetes.
Dr Gaurav Sachdeva, the physician attending the patients said,” Ludhiana has a typical style of living. Here the residents have their breakfast at around 11A.M which is no doubt heavy paranthas and the next meal comes at night at around 11 pm. Before that heavy snacks and whiskey is also a part of diet. With this type of diet of majority of the residents, diabetes is bound to happen. In between, they munch Pizza or burger in office hours.”
He said, “Even my regular patients also often come back with high sugar levels at times when they say that they could not control their tongue for their favourite items.And above all, the patients enjoy Poori Chole or Kulche Chole from their favourite point on Sundays. So it is really difficult to control sugar levels of such patients.” He added, “In today’s camp we not only prescribed medicine to the patients but also created awareness that diet contributes a major part.”
He laughs, “Most of the patients suffering from blood sugar who came today complained that they don’t have time to eat. But when asked about their diet plans, they spoke about 11 am and 11 pm diets in majority. So a late breakfast and late dinner are no doubt a bad life style which are enough to knock the door of life style disease like blood sugar.” He added, “Now patients in their late 20s are also coming in clinics with high sugar levels. Stress of fast moving lives is the major contributor in such patients.”

Training program guides Oak Lawn resident back toward independence

Jim Juchcinski stopped at the front desk.
“You heading out, Mr. Juchcinski?” the security guard asked.
Outside, where there were no walls to hold on to? Where there were cracked sidewalks, cars swerving into parking lots, harried pedestrians rushing by?
Outside, with no arm to grasp, no teacher’s voice to follow, alone on a walk for the first time in two years?
“Yes,” he said. “I’m going to take a stroll.”
Close your eyes. Now take a step forward.
How far can you get before fear and disorientation grind you to a halt? Ten steps? Fifteen, before you open your eyes?
Juchcinski doesn’t have that option. The Oak Lawn man is among 29,000 adults in Illinois who are completely blind, and must walk — and cook, read, work and go about life — in the dark.
It is a learned process. And if you have seen someone with a long white cane walking alongside a sighted person, you may have spotted a lesson in progress.
Juchcinski never thought about blindness. If he had, he might not have ignored his diabetes for more than 20 years. Instead, the disease raged out of control, and diabetic retinopathy began stalking his vision.
Blood vessels in his eyes hemorrhaged faster than surgeries could stem the damage. On May 25, 2010, Juchcinski awoke from surgery to darkness.
He never saw again.
Juchcinski, 60, had worked for 35 years as a pipe insulator. He worked under contract at all of Commonwealth Edison’s nuclear power plants and several fossil power plants, often as general foreman or superintendent.
Now he needed his wife to pour his coffee.
His mood darkened; his world shrank. He went out rarely, and then only on the arm of his wife, Kathy. “At least every other day, I started my day with a cry,” he said.
Which gave him a lot in common with those who come to the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education, known universally as ICRE-Wood, to learn how to manage life without sight.
Everyone cries when they lose their sight, Derrick Phillips, the center’s superintendent, told students at the first meeting of the session Juchcinski would join.
Phillips is blind, and he had cried too, he told them. But one day at ICRE-Wood, a couple of other students led him out of the building and down the street — three blind men, walking on their own to a convenience store.
Phillips cried again — only this time, because he saw the possibilities.
ICRE-Wood is the only state-run vocational training program for blind adults in Illinois. People come from across the state, some staying in its dormitory rooms, for its 13-week intensive program in computer skills, Braille, cooking, cleaning and mobility — how to travel independently using a cane. It is a kind of boot camp for the blind.
“We deal with people in crisis, people who just lost their sight,” Phillips said.
They don’t come right away. It often takes months or even years for people to acknowledge that they are visually impaired enough to need help, or to learn that there is help available at ICRE-Wood or agencies like the Chicago Lighthouse or Second Sense (formerly the Guild for the Blind).
Two years after he lost his sight, Juchcinski sat in the office of Mae Michels, his orientation and mobility teacher, his solid frame squeezed into a chair.
His T-shirt, which he had had made, hinted at the joker behind the dark glasses: “Blind Man Walking,” it read.
Michels, a diminutive and sprightly 22-year veteran of teaching mobility to the blind, listened as Juchcinski told her his goal.
“I want to walk down the street,” he said. “I want to walk my dog.”
He wasn’t sure how he was going to do it. Just walking around his Oak Lawn condo, he bumped into walls so many times that he knocked down some of the framed art. He joked with Kathy that she didn’t have to worry about him dying of diabetes; he was going to die of a head injury.
But Michels nodded. She would teach him to walk down the street.

She would take him step by step, starting with walks down the hallways at ICRE-Wood. The crucial tool would be his cane, which he had been given but never really taught how to use.

“You really need to listen to the cane,” she told him.
The white cane acts as a hand, helping the user feel the difference between surfaces like tile floor, pavement and grass. It delivers audible clues, making a different sound when it hits a brick wall instead of a wood door.
He would also learn to use his senses of hearing, smell and touch. And his memory: He would have to count doorways and remember how many he needed to pass before reaching, say, the washroom.
Two weeks into the program, he stood at the front desk in the main lobby. His path to a walk outside began with learning how to find his way around the building.
Hesitantly, under Michels’ watchful eye, he walked along the edge of the desk toward the elevator, his cane finding the edge where the desk met the floor.
Scrape, tap. Scrape, tap. Scrape, tap.
He got stuck in the small cubby with the pay phone. He faced the wall for a few moments, tapping, before finding his way out.

He navigated the long halls by memory, counting doorways to locate classrooms, and by senses.
Every sound was a clue. The echo of Michels’ voice outside the wide stairwell upstairs. The change in his own voice as he got closer to a wall. The pounding music from the gym. The cane’s metallic echo against a baseboard radiator.
Even the air held information. Sighted people might never notice, but in the space where one hallway intersects another, there is a slight breeze.
Afterward, back in Michels’ office, Juchcinski was drained. “It’s like going back to high school,” he said. “It’s a lot to absorb.”
A few days later, he got lost in a storeroom. The door had been left open by mistake. For 25 minutes he tried to find his way out, bumping into desks and chairs, searching for the door. By the time a maintenance man came in and found him, he was sweating from nerves and fear.
He was so angry he wanted to quit. But he didn’t.
Six weeks before the session’s end, he ventured outside for the first time with Michels.
She taught him how to make his way through the front entrance, with its two automatic doors that had to be activated by standing on a carpet square. He practiced repeatedly, at one point nearly losing his balance on the raised lip between the foyer and the sidewalk.
“Whoa, that sure wakes you up,” he muttered.

On Wood Street, he took Michels’ arm. She described the route as they walked it, in detail, down to the texture of the grass in the parkway.
The week before his classes were to end, Juchcinski began a day in a funk. “I was having a bad morning,” he told Michels. “I said, ‘I’m frickin’ tired of being blind.’”
But the morning got better. With Michels at his side, Juchcinski walked the entire route that would be his solo — this time, heading north on Wood Street.
He gripped a new cane with an easy-rolling ball for a tip to “shoreline” the edge of the sidewalk, using it as his guide, as he walked to the parking lot up the block. A quick lesson in how to cross it — listen for cars, check for the slant in the sidewalk down to the street — and Juchcinski was ready to take his first walk on his own.
So ready, in fact, that he decided to add another first.
Not only would he walk outside by himself, but he also would keep walking past the route he had practiced and go all the way to the intersection with Taylor Street.
On a blazing hot morning in mid-July, the last day of his session, Juchcinski stood at ICRE-Wood’s front desk, three months of training behind him and his first solo walk ahead of him.
“I’m ready to rock ’n’ roll,” he said.
“Happy trails,” Michels said, smiling.
“Take your time,” the security guard called out.
“I have no choice,” Juchcinski said.
He went out the door. Down the edge of the sidewalk. Down the ramp. North on Wood Street.
Early morning commuters rushed past. The Pink Line rumbled. Sirens wailed.
And then, halfway to the parking lot along ICRE-Wood’s chain-link fence, tears slipped out from behind his dark glasses.
He was crying with pride. He was walking by himself — slowly, but with confidence. After sniffling a few times and murmuring, “I’ll man up,” he kept walking.
But he had lost concentration. He veered to the other side of the walk. When his cane touched grass, he knew something was wrong.
“I think I went too far to the left,” he murmured. He stepped into the grass and nearly lost his balance. He righted himself, crossed back over the sidewalk again and got to the embedded rubber domes marking the parking lot entrance.
He waited and listened. Then he started crossing the parking lot entrance. But he veered right, and walked into the lot. His cane touched a parked car. He turned around, but the cane got stuck in the wrought-iron fence.
Michels tells students to ask bystanders for help if they need it. Juchcinski did and within a moment was out of the parking lot.
It was time to cross uncharted territory.
He stepped forward on the unfamiliar sidewalk. Methodically, he swept the cane from the center of the sidewalk to where it met dirt at its right edge. Step after step, he followed that shoreline until his cane reached something that felt different — the raised domes marking the end of the sidewalk.
He was at the corner of Wood and Taylor streets, and he was grinning.
He kept grinning even after he collided with a fellow student while walking back. And after he stumbled into a tree and landscaping rocks next to the front door.
In 29 minutes, he had traveled 0.12 miles, and a long way toward independence.
Like 80 percent of students, Juchcinski will go on to a second 13-week session at ICRE-Wood. He is learning more than mobility; he has been pouring his own coffee for months. After graduation, he has another goal: to become a motivational speaker for people with diabetes, offering his blindness as a powerful warning.
He walked into the lobby, where Michels was waiting with a smile and congratulations.
Students are required to check back in at the front desk. Juchcinski stood in front of the security guard.
“I’m just coming back,” he said, “from a walk.”

New therapy to prevent retina damage in diabetes

Scientists have developed a new method that they claim can regulate blood vessel leakage in the eye, a condition caused by long-term diabetes.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Centre have identified a compound that could interrupt the chain of events that cause damage to the retina in diabetic retinopathy, paving the way to a novel therapy that targets two mechanisms at the root of the disease, inflammation and the weakening of the blood barrier that protects the retina.
  Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans.
In diabetic retinopathy, damage to the retina results, in part, from the activity of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that weakens the protective blood-retinal barrier.
Recent drugs targeting VEGF have exhibited good response for nearly half of the patients with diabetic retinopathy. But researchers believe that there is also an inflammatory component that may contribute to the disease process.
The study, published in the Biochemical Journal identifies a specific protein common to both pathways as an important target in regulating the disease process in which blood vessels become leaky.
"In diabetic retinopathy and a host of other retinal diseases, increases in VEGF and inflammatory factors some of the same factors that contribute to the response to an infection cause blood vessels in the eye to leak which, in turn, results in a buildup of fluid in the neural tissue of the retina," says David A Antonetti, Professor, department of ophthalmology and visual sciences and molecular and integrative physiology.
"This insidious form of modified inflammation can eventually lead to blindness," he said in a statement.The compound targets a typical protein kinase C (aPKC), required for VEGF to make blood vessels leak.
Moreover, Antonetti's laboratory has demonstrated that the compound is effective at blocking damage from tumor necrosis factor also elevated in diabetic retinopathy that comprises part of the inflammation.
Benefits of this compound could extend to therapies for uveitis, or changes to the brain blood vessels in the presence of brain tumors or stroke."We've identified an important target in regulating blood vessel leakage in the eye and we have a therapy that works in animal models," Antonetti said.