~ Hecho En Turquia ~

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Machines That'll Make You Scream!

I loved to ride roller coasters: the “Scream Machine”, “Shockwave” [before being banned], “Superman”, “Chiller”, and even the infamous “Cyclone.” On a trip to Six Flags last year, I went on the “Scream Machine” again. Before, during, and after the ride, I was thinking about all of the repercussions a person could have if the ride went wrong. As part of being an adult, I tend to overanalyze stuff.

Could roller coasters have an adverse affect on your brain? There have been reported cases of brain injury caused by roller coasters but they are rare [most of them resulting from ignoring safety precautions].

Some roller coasters can reach speeds of 100 mph, and our “Kingda Ka” tops it all, reaching a speed of 128 mph. WOW! In order to better understand the effects of a roller coaster ride on a person, you need to understand physics, namely the "G-forces" involved [this is the force produced by the ride onto your body].

One G-force [“g”] is equal to the normal pull of gravity on your body, which is 9.8 m/s². As the ride accelerates, it applies more “g’s” onto the rider; this is why you feel weighty on the ride. While undergoing the first terrifyingly deep drop in “Kingda Ka,” riders undergo a force of 3-4 g’s [which is a lot considering that an average astronaut undergoes 3 g’s when blasting off into space]. Holy crap!

My intention is not to scare you. Over 300 million people go to amusement parks every year and very few sustain injuries. If you follow the safety procedures, you should be fine. If up for a thrill, check out the new rides at Six Flags!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Today, while talking on the phone with my cousin, he all of a sudden started hiccupping. This obviously made me laugh, but he was getting increasingly irritated by the second.

Thank goodness his attack lasted for only a few minutes. As for Charles Osborne, he was not so lucky. His hiccups spanned for 68 years, earning him a place in the Guinness World Records.

Why do people get hiccups?

My mother used to tell me that it was because someone overate. Hiccups are caused by an unusual tightening of your diaphragm [this is the muscle that helps you breathe]. When you inhale, the diaphragm pulls down; when you exhale, the diaphragm pushes back up. You get the hiccup sound when the glottis [your voice box] suddenly closes when you begin to inhale.

Hiccups are usually short, although some people do have hiccups that last for longer periods of time [days or even weeks]. No need to worry, if you become like Mr. Osborne, there are drugs and a surgical procedure available at your disposal. Nonetheless, for minor cases you can try a few home remedies you: could take quick sips of water, breathe into a paper bag, hold your breath, etc. My favorite is to scare the person. This has always worked on my cousin – unfortunately, I was not able to do it over the phone!

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Truth about Lymne Disease

What is Lyme disease [LD]? What happens to your body when infected? Many people associate LD with ticks and underestimate its consequences. If left untreated, this disease could become deadly.

LD was introduced in 1975 following an outbreak of arthritis in children living near Lyme, Connecticut. After careful study, scientists discovered that this disease was caused by bacteria [borrelia burgdorferi] transmitted to humans via tick bites.

When infected, LD attacks your skin, joints, nervous system, and in worst cases, organs. This is a deadly disease if left undiagnosed and untreated.

So, what are the signs of LD?

The “bull’s eye” rash is most commonly associated with LD. [white in the center, surrounded by red]. Nonetheless, many people tend to develop only a red rash or a bull’s eye pattern with redness in the center. If diagnosed in its early stages, LD can be treated with antibiotics.

Planning on a trip to the great outdoors?

Protect yourself against tick bites! Deer ticks are mostly found in dark shady places [moist ground near forests]. They cannot jump or fly; instead they crawl onto your skin and search for dark protected areas [back of your knee, armpit, neck, ears, etc]. Then they begin to pierce your skin until they find a blood supply.

Okay, you just noticed a tick on your body. Don’t panic! You can properly remove it!

Tweezers are best, but you could also use your fingers. Delicately snatch the tick by its mouthparts [that’s where it enters your skin] and slowly pull it out. Do not try to squeeze the tick's body! If you do, its head will remain inside your skin, in which case LD could still be transmitted!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Summer Heat + Car = DANGER!!!

I bet you have seen pets and even children waiting in cars while the caretaker goes about her business. If you decide to confront the detrimental actions of the parent, they take it personally – extremely personally.

As the weather grows warmer, dehydration presents a greater risk for the elderly and children [even our friendly pets]. Every year, we see headlines about children losing their lives because they are left in cars. As the temperature inside the car rises, your ability to regulate your own body temperature may become impaired. You may lose the ability to sweat and cool yourself. You are now suffering from heat stroke.

Your body temperature is controlled by an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which can alter heat balance by affecting blood vessels in the skin that cause sweating. To cool the body, the hypothalamus sends messages to make blood vessels near the surface of the skin larger. This helps heat escape from the body via the evaporation of sweat.

How do you treat the victim?

First, call 911. In the meantime, bring them to a shady area. Remove clothing and pour cool water all over the body [a hose would be ideal]. Then, begin fanning the victim, this will promote sweating and evaporation. Finally, place ice packs under the armpits and groin area.

How do you prevent this?
  • Most importantly, please act smart!
  • YOU could keep an eye on your children when they are playing. To prevent them from climbing into unlocked cars, keep all car doors locked!
  • Do not leave your child or pet in the car. Is your convenience more important than the health and life of your child? There should also be parking lot patrollers checking in on cars and implementing heavy fines on violators.

How about technology? If a bell could keep ringing as a reminder to buckle up, it could do the same when it senses the presence of a child still in the car.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Wanna bungeeeeee???

I, like many other people, would never bungee jump. I view these thrill seekers as people who are bored with their lives. Also, there is no absolute guarantee – something could always go wrong, the most obvious being a broken bungee cord.

The most common injury associated with this sport is blurred vision, especially immediately after jumping. Further medical examination has concluded that the blood vessels that bring blood to the retina have been broken. Want to risk your eyesight? Well, the blurred vision may eventually clear up, but it may take as long as several months for a complete recovery. You may also have some spinal cord injuries, either by compressing your spinal cord or snapping your head in reaction to the plunge. This could lead to paralyses. Finally, peripheral nerve damage could develop in a person who frequently bungee jumps. Nerves could became compressed or stretched, causing reduced motor function and loss of sensation in that area.

After considering all of these risks, it is up to you to make the final decision. If you decide to take that jump, make sure your weight is accurate.

Ladies, this is no time to be shy about your weight - overweighing yourself by a few pounds is beneficial. Also, make sure a “test jump” is done before you plunge; just to know that everything is in working order.

Now, you’re strapped, buckled, and ready to go … Bonne chance!

Friday, May 05, 2006


If unlucky, you have probably been in a car accident or two. It seems so common these days.
Some people intentionally cause them, while others become injured and inconvenienced victims.

Unfortunately, yesterday, I was the passenger in a car collision. The driver intelligently reversed her car without checking the rear mirror. If she had, she would have seen us just a few feet behind her. The speed with which she reversed was complemented by the fact that she was busy telling her life story on her cell. After rear-ending, she finally put her phone down. Thank God!

What did I do? In proper sequence: curse out loud, close my eyes, and shield myself with both my arms.

Instead of delving into specifics, many people who are involved in accidents do not start feeling the aches and pains until the day after. That’s what happened to me. I guess I had whiplash. Also, the constant pain in the back of my neck made me realize that I am going to bruise up.

When seated in a car, you neck is upright before the collision. Upon impact, the car seat pushes your upper body forward while your head still remains upright. This maneuver compresses your cervical spine and causes an S-shaped curve, and then your neck reacts. Your head awkwardly snaps forward [following the push of your torso] and thanks to the law of physics, snaps backwards in a greater speed.

I felt like a crash-test dummy that is now suffering from headaches.

N.B. It really gets under my skin [and will now bruise my skin] when I see people talking on cell phones when driving. When calling my friends, I always ask whether they or someone else is behind the wheel. They know I will not talk to them unless they wear a head piece. When will there be enforcement

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pain-in-the …

Back pain is no longer exclusive to adults, many children are complaining as well. I remember the textbooks I had to lug back and forth since elementary school. My mother would look with such amazement: one textbook = one subject = five pounds! Thank goodness my mother would pick me up by car.

Now, I see children rolling around luggage back and forth. It seemed odd at first, but given the piles of textbooks, it is smart to pack, zip, and roll them away.

The most common type of back pain is lower back pain. Some causes include poor posture [remember your mother saying: “sit up straight, or you’ll develop a hunch!”], problems with spinal alignment, poor muscle strength, and heavy backpacks.

You probably noticed that as soon as you strap one on, you tend to lean forward in an effort to balance yourself. The constant weight then deforms the natural curvature of your spine and rounds out your shoulders. Sound attractive?

I was not very fond of backpacks. As soon as the messenger bags came out, I started sporting them. Well, if you carry a heavy load over one shoulder, your muscles begin to strain in an effort to make up for the uneven weight. You then tend to lean towards the opposite side, making your spine and ribs lean in the same direction. This can cause uncomfortable muscle spasms and can pull on your neck muscles. Now, you’ve developed a headache!

So, if you plan on carrying around heavy books, invest in a backpack on wheels!