Thursday, March 31, 2016

Test results

Is it OK if I brag just a teensy weensy bit? Dd9's test scores came in today, and she's apparently bright: 99th percentile in several areas, as well as her composite score. I don't think she's a genius; I've seen geniuses, and my children aren't. But she has a solid ability to reason that helps me be optimistic for her future. As with her older sister at this age, the listening comprehension score wasn't all that high, but members of this family tend to be very busy in their own heads and so not particularly good at listening.

The test scores reflected my daughter's abilities fairly accurately, and I think the ITBS is a good evaluation tool.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Driving all day

Yesterday I drove all day to get myself and my children home from a wedding. My morning sickness has been pretty easy to deal with, thanks to the nausea cure. I'm seven weeks along now. My sister, who has gone from "never again" to "maybe I'll have one more child if this really works" says she wants to see what I'm like at eight weeks. I guess that's when I'm supposed to be really sick.

However, I should not have eaten frozen-then-reheated pizza and chimichanga for dinner last night. Especially after eating pistachios to stay alert while driving for 10 hours. Yes, the junk food was easy to make, and I didn't want to say "no" to yummy food prepared by someone else. But do you know how long that stuff takes to digest? Add in the slow digestive tract of early pregnancy, and I nearly vomited last night. I wasn't nauseated, just gagging a lot.

Must. Respect. The. Slow. Stomach.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Correction on the NVP post below

I didn't discover how to get rid of all first trimester symptoms, just nausea. And apparently the remedy even works to knock out nausea caused by a gastrointestinal bug. My sister and her friend were able to get rid of nausea in connection with a stomach bug, although they still had other GI illness symptoms. I'll have to try the nausea cure on my kids during our spring break trip, which involves a lot of driving in the mountains. It is so gross when someone vomits during a car trip.

It makes sense that we wouldn't want to get rid of the slow digestion (gastroparesis) that goes along with early pregnancy. It's a result of all kinds of contracting tissue being prevented from contracting, and contraction of the uterus is exactly what we don't want when the placenta is being formed right across the uterine wall. Allowing the uterus to contract would make it hard to get the placenta properly attached, sort of like drilling pilings during an earthquake, I'd imagine.

So, I'm six weeks pregnant as of tomorrow. I need naps sometimes (I took the first one of this pregnancy today, actually), and I have to be careful not to eat too much or too little. But I'm not curled up in a nauseated ball of misery. I ate three corn dogs today (it was National Corn Dog Day). Basically, I'm trying to follow the eating guidelines they give for mild gastroparesis, and they help. Warm milk with malted milk powder is soothing to my backed-up tummy, too. (Yeah, I'm drinking milk during the first trimester. This is my favorite pregnancy yet. Pity I didn't figure this all out a long time ago....)

Now that my almost-MD brother is past Match Day, I'm going to bother him to help me get a letter to a journal out about this nausea cure. It's killing me that it is cheap and effective, yet I can't just post it here. No one will take it seriously if I don't get it published in an official journal, and you can't get something published in an official journal if you've already published it online.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Testing time

I just administered the ITBS test to two homeschooled third-graders today. They were quite intelligent children who worked speedily and finished the whole test easily by early afternoon even with breaks.

I'm never sure what to say to homeschoolers who voice complaints about the requirement to have their children tested or evaluated every other year here in Colorado. It's really not that big a deal. The tests cost $29 each plus postage to return them. And I like the information I receive about my children's strengths and weaknesses.

Perhaps it takes a naivete I no longer possess to hold the opinion that parents will always do what's best for their children. People--including parents and teachers--vary widely in their abilities and knowledge. And, like it's written under the shark picture in the sidebar, ignorance is no protection. Loving, diligent parents might be misteaching their children inadvertently. Testing and evaluation are there to to protect children, not to exert state control. When adequate education is occurring, the state leaves us alone; when adequate education is not occurring, surely we want that discovered and addressed. Children need a minimum level of protection from educational neglect. (Some of these arguments apply to the people who hate any form of testing in regular schools, by the way.)

(Did you already guess that I'm not a social libertarian?)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Eureka! Good-bye morning sickness (NVP)!

I believe I have found the reason for and the cure for morning sickness. I have no reason to question its safety or efficacy. I've been testing it on myself (five weeks pregnant!), and it stops the morning sickness cold. It's also very inexpensive and accessible. Now I believe those women who say they were never sick when they were pregnant.

I have a brother who is nearly done with his MD. I'm hoping to convince him to assist me in co-authoring a letter to the editor to get this out via the respectable scientific journal system. But if for some reason, I can't find someone to publish it, I promise to put the cure out on the internet everywhere I possibly can. Too many women have suffered for too long.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Foods and Dementia

Who wants dementia? I think nearly everyone would rather have their mental faculties mostly intact than muddle about in an impaired state. The prospect of the golden years seems less wonderful if you won't be able to find your shoes or remember your children's names once you attain them.

As a result, the news outlets are quick to tell us about the new superfoods that are linked with lower risk of cognitive decline. Because we really want to know!

What are the frequently-mentioned foods at present that are purported to be good for our brain health?
- Leafy green vegetables
- Apples
- Colorful fruits and vegetables overall
- Nuts (even peanuts)
- Salmon and other cold-water fish
- Berries and dark-skinned fruits
- Coffee & tea
- A low-to-moderate amount of red wine
- Chocolate
- Virgin olive and coconut oils
- Many spices, including chile peppers, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon
- And, of course, though it's not diet advice, exercise regularly and don't smoke.

Pretty basic, except for the tea, coffee, and red wine. What are they doing on that list, asks the typical Latter-day Saint. We're supposed to avoid them under the LDS Word of Wisdom, a revelation given to Joseph Smith on how to keep ourselves healthy. Even a couple glasses of wine can impair a smaller driver, and all sorts of personal problems result from alcohol abuse; moreover, frequent alcohol consumption is clearly correlated with an increased risk of dementia while abstaining from alcohol does not carry a significant greater risk of dementia over the long run. Coffee and tea are fairly obvious for Mormons, in that the constant sipping of beverages with a lot of caffeine can deaden us to quiet inspiration, and habituation to substances just seems like a bad idea in general. Why would drinks that we're supposed to avoid have important health benefits correlated with them?

My opinion is that there are other ways to get those benefits, and we just need to wait for the scientific research to get to the point where it can tell us for certain how to do so. After all, it took a long while for scientists to conclude that tobacco really was causing an increase in lung cancer.

I was quite interested to come across a theory out of Italy recently. Surely, as the home of the Mediterranean diet, they'd be likely to come up first with an explanation as to why their food keeps them so healthy! The gist of it is that DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty, cold-water fish) and salicylic acid (acetyl salicylic acid is aspirin) work together to protect the brain cells and synapses. Salicylic acid, or salicylates, are high in almost every specific food and drink* listed above. Many of these foods are also known for containing polyphenols, but that's been a hard category of substances to nail down as to concrete health benefits. Willow bark--which contains a precursor to aspirin--has been in use for treating aches and fever since the time of ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, so we've been learning about its benefits and drawbacks for a long time. What if, instead of taking baby aspirin, we should just be eating and drinking a high salicylate diet (well, except for those that are sensitive to it)? In that case, I can drink fruit juices like apple cider and orange juice and sip herbal teas, and I'll still drink plenty of salicylates. If I add in some fish, then I'm protecting my brain!

Time will tell what science finds out. In the meantime, I'm more than comfortable following the Word of Wisdom. It has a lot of good counsel about what to eat and drink (it's not just a list of prohibitions), the specifics of which are finding wide support from nutritional science.

* Sorry, chocolate, you're not on the salicylate list. But you definitely help with cognitive function, at least short-term.