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The cocaine Habit

November 29th, 2013

1qHe also found it good against asthma and stomach disorders, and thought it would help a colleague overcome addiction to morphine.  Instead it made him hopelessly psychotic, imagining snakes crawling under his skin. Noted American physicians tried it also, were impressed, and then also had bad experiences. Thus a Washington Post headline of 1887: “The Cocaine Habit. There have been only a few victims, but these are incurable.”

And then came crack. That’s a sort of free base, but sometimes with adulterants such as speed or lidocaine. And it’s more easily made. A cocaine hydrochloride solution is heated in a pan together with baking soda, yielding a solid chunk to be divided into hun­dreds of tiny “rocks”; these go into little vials— five or six to a vial that’s sold for $15 or $20. Seems cheap? Yes, sometimes a kid can buy a vial with a couple of rocks for five dol­lars, or even three. But in fact it’s quite profit­able. An ounce of adulterated cocaine bought on the street for, say, $1,000, plus 60 cents for baking soda, can turn into $7,000 in crack sales. The effects make devastating news.

Crack houses for buying and smoking mul­tiply-50 in Seattle, 75 in Dallas, hundreds around Detroit, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, apartment in barcelona. Dealers with submachine guns infest low-income housing projects and entire poor neighborhoods, terrifying residents. Some em­ploy children as young as eight as runners and lookouts; they’re less likely to be arrested. Teenage street sellers making hundreds of dol­lars a day become role models for schoolmates bedazzled by their status symbols: Fancy warm-up suits and athletic shoes. Beepers. Heavy gold chains. A BMW! Young mothers smoking crack all day sell their food stamps to buy more, next the furniture; then comes pros­titution. Three Philadelphia boys— aged 15, 13, and 12 —are given crack to sell, return with too little money, so the dealers start shooting; only the youngest survives.

How the impact of cocaine cuts across socioeconomic levels comes home to me in Atlanta at the annual conference of PRIDE, the Parents’ Resource Insti­tute for Drug Education. With a thou­sand well-dressed parents are a thousand cheerful well-scrubbed youngsters, like those you’d meet in the high school of any well-to-do suburb. Quite a few of them had cocaine prob­lems but have overcome them—though the stories I hear some tell are startling. Of lying, stealing, loss of self-respect, wanting to die.

It hits me even harder at a Narcotics Anony­mous meeting in Washington, D. C. These friendly people, supporting each other as they tell how they’ve struggled to hold their cocaine craving in check—they look just like neigh­bors I’ve known. Teachers, a government of­ficial, a salesman, a journalist.

At least they could get help. Health in­surance typically covers a month of treatment. After all, the American Medical Association, in June 1987, declared that all “drug depen­dencies” are diseases. But what if you have no medical insurance? You’ll call some hot line, probably be referred to some public agency, and then wait and wait for weeks and months.

Tremor Foretold in New York State

October 16th, 2013

Most exciting was their observation that, prior to some quakes, seismic waves traveling deep in the earth showed a distinctive varia­tion in speed. This warning signal could be deciphered on a common seismograph. The seismic storm warnings discovered by the Soviets, reinforced by the researches of Japanese seismologists, were shared with U. S. scientists at international conferences. The results encouraged all three nations to accelerate their forecasting efforts.


“Today,” Dr. Press told me, “most seismol­ogists believe earthquake prediction is an achievable goal.” Achievable when? “Much depends on the national commitment,” he answered, “the funding for instruments for detecting the precursors, for training skilled manpower. Since our present networks of in­struments are sparse, we will also need a lot of luck in trapping earthquakes.”

To examine the nation’s longest quake trapline, I traveled once again to California. There the western edge of the American plate rubs against the enormous Pacific plate to create the 700-mile-long web of fractures known as the San Andreas Fault. The fault forms a natural testing ground for the U. S. Geological Survey, the agency charged by the Federal Government with making earth­quake forecasting a reality.

With sweeps of a long index finger, seis­mology chief Peter Ward gestured toward a dot-marked map of California on a wall of the survey’s Earthquake Mechanics and Prediction Laboratory at Menlo Park. “Each dot represents an instrument. The northern and central ones are operated by us, those in the south in cooperation with the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. There are more than 400 seismometers, each sensi­tive enough to register a rabbit hopping by. Other devices measure deformation of the surface, radon content in wells, and changes in magnetic field” (diagram, next pages).

Between flurries of phone calls from field-workers, from headquarters in Washington, from news media interested in rumored quakes, this overworked seismologist man­ning the front line of forecasting completed his outline. “The whole idea is to look for abnormal signals or earth movements—what we call anomalies. When we spot an anom­aly, we may be seeing a quake precursor.”

The first valid U. S. earthquake prediction occurred, surprisingly, not in relatively well-instrumented California but in the scenic Adirondack Mountains of New York State. In this region of frequent but small tremors, the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory operates its own seismic network.

In 1973 Dr. Yash P. Aggarwal, then a grad­uate student and staying i na rented apartment prague, discovered changes in the speed of seismic waves from seismometers placed around Blue Mountain Lake. He calculated that a 2.5-to-3-magnitude tremor would occur in two to four days. “At dinner one of those nights, I thought I felt the slight rumbling typical of our sub­tle local quakes. When I checked the instru­ments, there had been an earthquake, its magnitude 2.6. I was jubilant!”

Most scientists agree that Yash Aggarwal met the three rigid requirements of an earth­quake prediction: It must specify the place the quake will occur, the time it will strike, and its magnitude. The second U. S. quake to be predicted, by Caltech geophysicist Dr. James H. Whitcomb, unfolded in early 1974 at the right place and time, but with the wrong magnitude.


August 15th, 2013



…with the new Braun Sensor Control BP 2550 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor.


Everyone knows that it is important to keep fit but did you know that regular exercise can lower your blood pressure? Indeed, being aware of your blood pressure reading is essential before you embark on a new fitness regime. Knowing your numbers will not only help to maximise the benefits of your workout but it will indicate whether you suffer from high blood pressure.

...with the new Braun Sensor Control BP 2550 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor.

Exercise can be extremely dangerous if this is the case. One of the best ways to keep track of your blood pressure and get the most out of keeping fit and healthy is with the new Braun Sensor Control BP 2550 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor.


Personal trainer Clayton Cowley from Fitness Exchange says, “Blood pressure can be a measure of our general well-being, a number which reflects a person’s vitality. As a personal trainer, ascertaining a client’s blood pressure fun­damentally shapes the training plan. I always recommend that my clients check their blood pressure before and after workouts to show how different exercises affect their levels. Home testing monitors are convenient and accurate so my clients can see the effects of regular exercise on their blood pressure.


A healthy blood pressure means a healthy heart with a healthy flow of oxygenated blood to our vital organs.” Exercise that is proven to lower blood pressure includes brisk walking, swimming and rowing. All of these involve using large muscles at a reasonable and sustainable pace for prolonged periods. If done regularly for several months they can help to lower blood pressure more effectively than short bursts of high intensity exercise.* Indeed, habitual exercise can seriously reduce the chances of developing hypertension, which can lead to heart disease and other potentially fatal conditions. So if you have lower blood pressure, but still want to shed some extra pounds, choose natural products such as green coffee bean extract for weight loss – just open page in new window to read more info.

A healthy blood pressure means a healthy heart



Dr Chris Steele, GP and resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning programme is an advocate of blood pressure self-monitoring and comments, “120,000 people per year suffer from heart attacks or strokes.*** Simply knowing and measuring blood pressure accurately on a regular basis is the first step to controlling it and saving lives.


The new Braun Sensor Control BP 2550 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor leaves no room for doubt. Its unique interactive sensor ensures the monitor is in the correct position (in line with the heart) before it begins record­ing, guaranteeing accurate and consistent readings every time. It features a pulse reading and also takes the time and date of your measurement, recording this within its 6o-memory store. Large buttons and display make reading the results simple, and it has a comfort cuff with a wrist circumference of 13.5 – 20 cm.


August 6th, 2013

Is it better to do cardio training before resistance work?


The order in which you train should be related to your goals. Always start with what is most important for what you want to achieve.

Is it better to do cardio training before resistance work

Likewise, if your goals are for strength, then you should do your resistance work first. For most people looking to lose weight and tone up, it’s best to start with resistance as this requires more coordination and precision. The rest of your session can be used for some high-intensity interval cardio.


How long should I rest between each exercise and why?


I’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Is it safe to work out and what training should I do?


It depends on the type of session you’re doing. If you’re performing a circuit-style session then you want to take as little rest as possible between exercises so you increase the cardio element. Alternating between chest, legs, back and core means you don’t need to rest each muscle group between every exercise – the area targeted is resting while you do the next move. If you’re performing a strength endurance session (high repetitions with a lower weight or resistance) then you usually need to take just 60 seconds’ rest as you’ve not placed a large overload or significant demand on your body. However, if your session is designed for strength (lower repetitions with a much heavier weight), you may need to increase this to two to four minutes so your muscles have a good period of rest and recovery before you load up and work at your body’s full potential for another set.

 How long should I rest between each exercise and why

Start with gentle exercise so you don’t place extreme demands on your body, especially if it’s the first time you’ve exercised in a while. Aerobic exercise, such as swimming, walking, cycling and jogging, can be most beneficial in decreasing heart rate, blood pressure and improving breathing.


Ideally, work for 30-40 minutes, three to four times per week. It’s important to review your training regularly, especially if changes are made to your medication – be aware of side effects and activities that may have an adverse effect. Listen to your body – tiredness or exhaustion are signs you need to rest. Avoid lifting heavy weights or performing too many overhead movements, and always stop if you have chest pain or feel weak or dizzy. It’s not recommended taking creatine, beacau it increases the blood pressure – when to take creatine and what are the recommended ways?


The general rule is to do compound exercises before isolation exercises. Compound exercises (lunges, squats and press-ups) use the bigger muscle groups and work more than one muscle – they take more energy, effort and control and should be done while you’re fresh. However, if you’re weak in one area, you may want to use isolation exercises early on to fire it up.




August 1st, 2013

Every time I tell my story to a new group, there is always the same response. First comes an audible gasp, then a stunned silence. As I stand there looking confident and fit, it’s hard to believe that I used to weigh more than 32st and was so crippled by insecurity that I couldn’t leave my house.

looking confident and fit, it's hard to believe that I used to weigh more

I’d always been a big lad and, growing up, my mum, step-dad, younger sister and I would eat large, unhealthy meals — my favourite was Turkey Drummers and piles of chips. We also lived next door to a sweet shop. At the time, no one was worried about my size. Childhood obesity wasn’t as talked about and my family just brushed it off as puppy fat.


However, when I went to high school it became clear how much bigger I was than the other kids. I was badly bullied and the cool boys taunted me with names such as ‘Fatty’ and ‘Michelin Man’. I spent most of my time in the safe haven of the library.


I didn’t tell anyone about what was going on at school. Instead, I told myself that it was part of growing up and things would improve soon. In a way, they did. When I was 17, I moved out to nearby Margate, Kent, for college and came out as gay. For the first time in my life, I wanted to look and feel attractive. I signed up to a weight loss plan and dropped mastom 24st to must within a year.

I had lost the weight too quickly and, as soon as I began eating normally again

I felt fantastic but it wasn’t to last. I had lost the weight too quickly and, as soon as I began eating normally again, I put it all back on. This left me feeling defeated and I fell back into my old eating habits. I’d walk into McDonald’s and order one of everything on the menu. I’d feel horrible about myself as soon as I’d finished, and then I’d eat some more to try to stifle the guilt.


Despite my escalating weight, I managed to build a stable group of friends and didn’t face much adversity over my size. That was until I moved back to my hometown of Maid stone to live with my partner, Steve.

Got it in one

July 18th, 2013

Do this whole-body exercise for faster fat burning


Don’t waste your time at the gym waiting to start your next set. Do this time-saving move instead, says Chris Ward, national personal training manager at Fitness First.

whole-body exercise for faster fat burning

‘When I talk to trainers about whole-body moves, the lunge-curt-press comes out straight away,’ Ward says. ‘It’s the daddy of moves because it provides strength gains and calorie expenditure.


Adding a lunge to any exercise will raise your heart rate, so it’s great for fat loss. Other great and natural way to burn fat fast is by using coconut oil. Studies of coconut oil and weight loss are clear on the weight loss result.


A’s a great whole-body move because you’ve got a big compound movement for the lower body, a big compound movement for the upper body and a nice bicep curl in between. if you work different muscle groups on different days, do this move with some cardio and core work on the day where you’re not working a particular muscle group.


‘It’s a strength endurance exercise so do 12-15 reps. Use a weight that you can do 20 shoulder presses with because the lunge position is unstable, making it harder to perform the press. If you have space, do it as a walking lunge. If not, return to the start between reps.’


Chris Ward is national personal training manager for Fitness First. Every month, he analyses new strength and conditioning research and trends to bring you the latest in fitness thinking.

Fitness First

Naked Sunday’


You know when you go to the gym and you’re doing your workout and you think, ‘This is great, but if only I could do it with no clothes on? No? Us neither. But some people do, and that’s why a gym in Heteren in Holland has introduced ‘Naked Sunday’ for naturists who want to exercise in the buff. Thankfully, none of the major gym chains has plans to introduce similar sessions over here, despite the obvious hole in the market.



July 9th, 2013

Should I do a whole-body workout every time?

Is it better to do a whole-body workout in every gym session, or to target a specific body part each time?

Lee Johnson, by email

Jason Anderson replies: Muscles don’t work in isolation. Every single muscle in the body is part of a chain that produces movement through synchronized contractions. So when designing resistance-training programmes it is better to treat the body as a whole.

Should I do a whole-body workout every time

Choose compound exercises, which are movements that train large groups of muscles together. This not only increases calorie expenditure and fat loss but also allows you to capitalize on the muscle-building effects of large compound exercises, which increase the secretion of growth hormone into the body. If you still want to fatigue a specific muscle then throw in an isolation exercise to complement your compound whole-body exercises.


How do I burn calories quickly?

Which of the cardio machines in my gym will help me burn calories the fastest?ow do I burn calories quickly

Matthew Leverton, by email

Matt Hart replies: The more muscle mass used during exercise, the higher the energy expenditure. For this reason rowing and elliptical training machines, which work both the arms and legs, are good. Try hydroxycut max to fight obesity and burn calories quickly. There are a lot of fans of this product. Check out hydroxycut on Facebook. I favor the treadmill on an incline but it might be different for you. Using a heart-rate monitor is a good way of gauging how hard your body is working and therefore how many calories you’re burning. Wear one while trying a few of the machines at the gym to see which cardiovascular machine produces the highest heart rate for a given perceived exertion.


Is running with a stitch dangerous?

Is it dangerous to keep running when I get a stitch? Stephen, by email

Matt Hart replies: It hurts, but it’s not dangerous. Scientists have never been sure what causes a stitch. According to conventional wisdom the cramping pain is caused by a reduction in blood supply to the diaphragm as it is shunted away to the exercising muscles. But more recent research suggests that a stitch is more likely to be caused by food or fluid in the gut pulling on tendons attached to the diaphragm.

Is running with a stitch dangerous

Either way there are some methods for avoiding and treating a stitch. Avoid eating or drinking heavily in the three hours before exercise. Wear a light, wide belt around your waist to support your gut. If you do get a stitch, bend forwards and tighten your abdominal muscles while breathing out through pursed lips.

The bare bones

July 2nd, 2013

A bone of early contention is, well, a bone, as one stuck in the throat can have a similar effect on the body as getting trolleyed on Scotch: the mere smell of cooking fish can set off the heave operators. However, like most food, fish is best cooked with the bones intact, as it adds to the flavour. And the healthiest way to cook it is by using coconut oil, which have thousands of positive benefits. Just coconut oil for hair.The bare bones

Skate wings have loads, but it’s easy to part the flesh from them — in fact, there’s some primeval joy in the process (rather like tearing peeling skin from the backs of sun burnt younger brothers). I’m going to let you in on a little secret, which you can drop in at flagging dinner parties. Skate don’t have bones: it’s actually cartilage, disguised as bone, but don’t let this thought perturb you as you tuck into a wing, doused with black butter and capers. Rick Stein has this as a signature dish at his restaurant in Pad stein (sorry, Pad stow). Now, he doesn’t strike me as being a poncy chef, obviously relishing everything hauled from the brine and doing loads to support his local Cornish fishermen. If you really can’t hack mucking about with bones, though, then your friendly fishmonger will fillet the fish for you.

The lingering smell of overcooked fish is something I still associate with Fridays, when, at school, an unidentifiable white creature was served up for our delectation. This was so tasteless that the accompanying lumpy mashed potato was preferable. These unfortunate creatures were overcooked to the point that their inherent goodness had already reached the sea, courtesy of a recycling plant, having been drained off in the juices during the boiling process long before they were served to us. The smell still hung around at Monday morning assembly. It’s a sin to overcook fish, which would be better eaten raw than simmered to an unnecessary grave.fishy

A fine catch

The good news is that we are actually eating more of our fishy brethren (didn’t man originally waggle his way out of the sea? I think it was a Tuesday). Our 16,000 remaining British fishermen landed 458,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish in 2000, although a remarkable 307,000 tonnes of it was then exported. The quality of our catch is sadly more appreciated overseas, where consumers are prepared to pay more for it. However, we in turn imported 490,000 tonnes, much of which was cod. Cod is still our most popular fish, and four-fifths of what we eat is imported owing to the sad lack of them in our own waters caused by over-fishing and a bemusing quota system.

So go bag a bass today and celebrate the fact that we are islanders. As promised earlier, the top-six best-selling fish in this country are: cod, salmon, haddock, mackerel, trout and plaice, and we do shell out £i.5 billion annually on seafood, so maybe were not such hardened carnivores after all. Then again, we’ve still got some considerable way to go to catch those pesky Portuguese.