Tag Archives: Blog Post 2 – Connected Writing

Is There an End in Sight for Soaring Insulin Prices?

The exorbitant price of insulin, a life-saving drug that helps millions of diabetics all around the world live normal lives, has continued to rise as the years have gone on. It has gotten to the point that some diabetics must ration out their insulin or skip doses altogether due to not having enough money to cover the cost. Thankfully, this may be an issue of the past very soon, as two large developments in Washington hint towards a future with more affordable, easier to access insulin.

A recent article from Healio, an online medical journal, reports that the United States House of Representatives has voted to cap insulin prices at $35 a month for Americans who live with diabetes. Social spending bill H.R. 5376, dubbed the Build Back Better bill, was approved by the House by a vote of 220-213. This bill would make it so that Medicare Part D and other healthcare plans can not charge more than $30 a month for a 30 day supply of insulin. Assuming it is approved by the Senate as well as President Biden, this would go into effect starting 2023.

Garnering approval from President Biden should not be an issue however, as an article from Healthline reinforces. Long-time diabetes activist Gail deVore was recently given the opportunity to sit down with Biden and discuss the current nature of the insulin market and what needs to be done to deflate these prices. According to deVore, the meeting went exceptionally well, as they were able to talk and really listen to one another for a full 30 minutes. “He really heard me,” says deVore. “He was so open, so kind, so wanted to make a connection. I honestly believe that his whole heart is in this proposal, and that he can help persuade people on this.” Biden’s comments at a press conference later in the day reaffirmed that he and deVore are on the same page regarding the accessibility of insulin for all Americans, and that he intends to make her dreams a reality during his presidency.

So does this confirm that insulin price hikes are for sure going the way of the Dodo? Well, there are no guarantees yet, but the approval of the House as well as the verbal approval of President Biden sparks good news for the millions of American diabetics being bled dry by the greedy corporations who provide them their insulin. It all comes down to the Senate and their decision regarding the Build Back Better bill to see where the prices of insulin stand in 2023 and beyond. Let us all hope, for the sake of diabetics everywhere, that they make the right decision.

Technology Is Making Us Dumber.

Sure, there are plenty of examples of how technology has made life easier, more convenient, and has proven to be helpful, but has it made us smarter? I would like to argue that technology has, in fact, NOT made us smarter but the opposite.

Technology has made life too easy, too convenient, and too helpful. Yes, it helps us navigate unfamiliar streets, find that perfect cookie recipe, diagnose ourselves (often inaccurately) online, and it got us to the moon, but what effect has it had on us cognitively, physically, and psychologically?

The article “What is Brain Plasticity and Why is it so Important?” from the news organization called The Conversation talks about Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – which is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself. The article describes why neuroplasticity is important to the development of the brain, but the takeaway for the sake of this blog is – your brain is a muscle. Like our physical muscles, the motto “use it or lose it” applies.

For example, since our brain has the ability to rewire, we are losing that self-navigational ability. Raise your hand if you’ve consistently used the GPS to get to the same location.

Due to the over-use of technology, it has caused us to reduce physical activity (leading to obesity and related health issues), to have poorer posture (which can lead to musculoskeletal issues), sleep problems, and eye strain.

Jon Johnson wrote in his article published by the newsletter Medical News Today, “Negative Effects of Technology: What to Know”, that technology can lead to isolation. He wrote “A 2017 study in young adults aged 19–32 years found that people with higher social media use were more than three times as likely to feel socially isolated than those who did not use social media as often.”

“Smart phone depression 2” by Mirøslav Hristøff is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The convenience of technology has made us over-reliant on its use. In some cases, this has turned into an addiction. The use of technology can be addicting. It can be distracting. It can make us less productive. We retain less information. It affects our concentration. It has a negative impact on our social skills. It intrudes upon classroom learning.

Considering these factors, we can conclude that although technology can be useful, it is making us dumber.

https://theconversation.com/what-is-brain-plasticity-and-why-is-it-so-important-55967

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/negative-effects-of-technology

Why You Should Become an Organ Donor.

The thought of what happens to your body after you die can be a difficult thing to consider, but now is the time to decide whether to become an organ donor. According to Organdonor.gov, as of 2021, there were 107,000 patients in the U.S. on the national transplant waiting list and every nine minutes another person is added to the list.
The unfortunate situation is there are more people on the list than available organs. The Mayo Clinic estimates that about 20 patients die each day due to the lack of donor organs. By becoming an organ donor, you could save or improve lives. The Mayo Clinic also states one donor could help as many as 75 lives.
It’s time to consider yourself a potential organ, eye, and tissue donor. In most cases, your age, ethnicity, or health do not matter. Having a preexisting condition does not disqualify you from being a donor, medical professionals are able to identify other healthy organs to harvest for donation.
Donating your organs can be a final act of generosity as you can help and save the lives of others. You can register as an organ donor with your state’s donor registry, which you can locate on Organdonor.gov. Another option to register is by indicating yourself as a donor when you obtain or renew your driver’s license. You can also tell your loved ones, or those who are designated to make medical decisions on your behalf, that you have decided to become an organ donor and they need to make the preparations at the time of your death.
Organdonor.gov states you could even become a donor now while you are alive. You could make a kidney, liver lobe, lung, pancreas, intestinal, skin, bone, bone marrow, and blood donations as a living donator.
The topic of what happens to your body after you die should not be one you avoid. Make the decision now and save a life or many lives. It is a mindful and noble thing to do.

Can money make us happy?

In terms of psychology, happiness is defined in two ways. It is a collective word relating to different theories of well-being, which can include having a positive outlook on life and yourself, having valued and rewarding experiences, and functioning positively psychologically. Or it can be viewed as an emotion in most theories. Recent studies have shown that most people view themselves as happy individuals. However, the level of happiness can vary from person to person. Today I want to look at the old age question can money make us happy? As It is evident that it is impossible to thrive in this world without money

So what is the truth? I’m sure at this point, someone important in your life has uttered the words “money can’t buy you happiness,” and there has been a tremendous amount of research that supports this. However, it is confirmed that an increase in the money you earn might not make you any happier than you were before. However, some researchers prove that it’s not about how much money you earn but what you spend the money on that can make us happy

The ways that we might gain happiness from money include by using it to invest in experiences rather than in materialistic things; research has shown that we tend to have a hedonic adaptation to material things. But a vacation or holiday will make you happier because you tend to remember the experience. Just that act of remembering alone can result in happiness. Another way we can achieve satisfaction from money is instead of going out and buying something fancy for ourselves, we use that money on someone else or donate to the less fortunate.

Having breaks in between purchases can also help us feel happier. For example, buying more items that cost less instead of buying just one item can help us prevent our adaptation to things. In conclusion, it is safe to say that how we spend our money is more critical concerning our happiness compared to how much money we earn.

https://think.ing.com/downloads/pdf/article/if-money-doesnt-make-you-happy-you-arent-spending-it-right

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319287771_Happiness

Infertility

Because many couples do not talk about their struggles with infertility, it can seem like a niche diagnosis. However, infertility affects one in eight couples, and I am among one of them. The clinical definition of infertility is the inability to obtain successful pregnancy through 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. It has been popularly believed throughout history that women are the root cause of all infertility. Yet, through the modernization of medicine, it is now understood that infertility is caused by males and females at the same rate. Infertility is a unique diagnosis to live with. Unlike other medical conditions, there are age limitations to pursuing treatment, treatment for the condition is optional, and it is not widely covered by health insurance. Also, many patients experience distress, feelings of loss of control, and ostracized through social stigma. Men, in particular, feel the stigma of infertility. Their masculinity is threatened, and infertility becomes blended with impotence.

Infertility does not simply impact the couple’s physical ability to have a child. It also affects them psychologically, physically, emotionally, and financially. The most common infertility treatments are medications to control the ovulatory cycle or assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilization (IVF). According to fertility clinic CNY Fertility, pursuing treatment can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $100,000+ to potentially achieve a successful pregnancy.

You’ve Heard it Before, You’ll Hear it again – Exercise is Beneficial

My Peloton Bike

I’ve never really been one to consistently exercise. I grew up playing sports, I swam for ten years, I played multiple sports in high school, and have always been able to pick up a sport quickly. But I never considered sports to be exercise. We did weight training in swimming, my uncle owned a gym, so I’ve always worked out and been active. It wasn’t till a year ago that I really turned my exercise routine around. I decided to bite the bullet, spend too much money, and buy a Peloton Exercise Bike. 

My parents bought a Peloton Exercise Bike in 2018 and they have loved it ever since. While living at home, I would occasionally use it, but never got super into it. During the pandemic, many gyms were closed and I didn’t feel like working out. In November 2020, I wanted to make a change, I wanted to lose weight and get healthier. That’s what lead me to spend a lot to get a Peloton. If the gym is in my apartment, I’d have to use it! I’ve had the Peloton for almost a year and have done over 5,000 minutes on it. It is the most consistent I have ever worked out. I am losing weight, I am feeling better mentally and physically, and if I don’t work out, I notice a true difference in myself that day. 

I know that we’ve all heard how good exercise is for you, I’m sure we’ll hear it forever. I don’t want to give you articles from the Mayo Clinic or any big medical place to throw facts at you about the benefits of exercise. I’d rather give you a couple to get you thinking about moving more each day. A 20 minute slow, easy bike can drastically change my mood and my day. 

When I started biking more, the toughest part for me was trying to figure out when to bike. Do I do it before I work? Do I do it after? Which time makes me feel the best? What time would give me the best workout? There were a lot of questions that I had to work through. Being a full-time student and working 40 hours a week, I stress about my time. Leah Mensch writes an opinion article titled When Exercise Isn’t Stress Relief. She discusses the stress that exercise can have on people. Trying to find the time to workout, having anxiety about going to the gym, not knowing what to do, and whatever else may stress you out about exercise. I’ve never been a big fan of going to a public gym. As a bigger woman, I get nervous that people are looking at and judging me, so I would often avoid it. Having a small in-home gym has helped me tremendously. I feel more comfortable working out and don’t have to worry about anyone judging me. It’s just me in a small room, no one else around. Not everyone is able to get exercise equipment in their living space, so if you’re one that struggles with social gym anxiety, here’s an article that might be able to help

I’ve always been really good at starting to exercise, but have never been good at continuing to exercise. I would come up with every excuse possible to not work out. “I’m too tired”, “I have too much school work”, or “I just don’t want to”. Somehow I have been able to stick with consistent exercise this year, it could be that I feel guilty for the money I spent on the Peloton so I need to use it, or it could be because I truly want to. I don’t know how the change happened, but it did. If you also struggle to continue to work out, here’s an article for you. One thing this article talks about it is being kind to yourself and setting realistic expectations. Not every workout with be a PR (Personal Record), and it doesn’t have to be. I’ve struggled with that. Sometimes your body needs a break from the intense workouts you’ve been doing. That is okay, that is good for you. I am also one that when I’ve worked out in the past, I do well with someone yelling at me to encourage me. I’m not a person that gets super motivated by “gentle, nice” encouragement. If you watched the Biggest Loser when it came out, I would respond better to Jillian Michaels and not Bob Harper. I have recently been working to change that mindset to have a Jillian in my mind and a Bob. The nice part saying “that wasn’t your best set, it’s okay, you’ll get it next time”. Then the angry part saying “That was horrible, you’re better than this! What the h*ll are you doing??”. It’s a weird mix, but it is something that has worked well for me. When you start to exercise, be kind to yourself. Understand that you won’t be the best right away, but you can get there. 

I honestly don’t know how I’ve made it this far in my exercise journey. I am a year into owning my Peloton, I’ve done 5,000 minutes and am not stopping anytime soon. I’m not sure I convinced anyone to drop what they’re doing and go exercise, but hopefully, I’ve at least given you something to think about and maybe start a plan to exercise more. From someone that rarely worked out the past four years, I can tell you that it really is great and comes with endless benefits. 

Combining Forces to Become the Ultimate Food Resource

According to Feeding America, in 2019, 5.2 million seniors aged 60 and older faced hunger. That’s 1 in 14 seniors or just over 7% of all seniors. 63% of seniors visiting food banks say they have to choose between food and medical care. I am concerned that the statistics post-pandemic will not show to be trending upward. One of the ways America helps our elderly population with this tragedy is though the service called Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels is a nationwide network of community-based, non-profit programs dedicated to providing seniors in their communities with the support that enables them to remain living in their own homes. For most seniors, staying in their homes where they want to be. The support this agency provides is typically a nutritious meal, a friendly visit and a quick safety check. Some seniors look forward to that meal as it may be the one and only visit they get in a day or even an entire week.

So, it’s easy to understand the importance of the nutritious meals, friendly visit and welfare checks for our senior citizens. What I want to create awareness on is the collaboration that should happen between the local food shelves and the local meal providers for Meals on Wheels. It’s important that agencies work together so that we can maintain existence of these programs and keep these seniors fed in a sustainable way. Passing on the valuable information as a resource to each person receiving the meal delivery service can provide a resource referral that might not have been know to this population.

If struggling seniors were made aware of resources like the ones in this article, we can get the right programs in the hands of those in need. Second Harvest Heartland should provide the food and some hand-out materials for the Meals on Wheels delivery drivers to provide so these seniors have the information at the palm of their hands. I hope we can work together to make this happen and get the numbers of seniors suffering from food insecurity down NOW!

Capabilities of Social Media

Communication’s global growth and its continuous expansion. Communication can disappoint too.

We all know communication has come far a ways to fulfill its reputation as world wide phenomenon. Going from only being able to talk to one another by walking outside of your home, the racing home so you could beat your sibling to the landline days. You know the pager and star sixty-nine days. Having to memorize your best friend’s phone number or being solely dependent on a phone number written on your hand days. The communication in which we use to socialize or to get our points across shapes our societies’ social structure. How we share our beliefs and values to another is ultimately what makes the term communication.

Advancements have led us to having the capabilities of mass communications options right from the comfort of your own couch. We can now use social medias and platforms to convey messages to loved ones, family members across seas and even professional business related peers. The cons of social media quickly surface. For if there is a platform to express your values and interests amongst others that share the same values, there of course has to people on the platform who necessarily don’t. With this, hostility can be important factor to consider when regulating and painting the site. There are many ongoing, changing policies and regulations to acquire to the need of the site’s many users. Communication has come so far away and has so far along to go.

Cycling is Good for Your Health and Your Planet

Did you know that just simply riding a bike cannot only add years and quality to your life but our planet too? When I was in my twenties I didn’t think or unfortunately care about these things. When it came to my health I was playing in sports and had a metabolism that “wouldn’t quit” so weight loss or high blood pressure was the last thing on my mind. As a matter of fact I use to make “Weight Gainer” shakes to try to put on pounds 😊. In addition, the whole “save the planet” thing was (in my mind) other people’s job. But now that I am older and much wiser, I wholeheartedly believe in protecting our planet and bodies inside and out. So,

How can Biking save our planet?

Well, every time you start up your vehicle and the exhaust releases into the atmosphere you are poisoning our planet. Automobile exhaust in addition to other pollutants is a combination of “carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and Hydrocarbons.”  These lethal gases are all bad for the planet and run havoc on our atmosphere and the ozone layer. Which according to the Department of Environment and Energy is a “concentration of ozone that is found in the stratosphere around 15–30km above the earth’s surface. It covers the entire planet and protects life on earth…” So as these pollutants build up, they are creating unhealthy ozone levels and toxins that pollute the air and erode this protective layer endangering our lives and planet Earth. To read and learn more about Ozone click here

Now you are probably asking yourself what’s in it for me?

Well, other than saving the planet that keeps you alive. Did you know that just simply riding a bike 10 mph (which is not that strenuous) for an hour you burn over 260 calories? Also, this exercise does amazing things for your overall core and cardiovascular system. Most of my adult life I’ve always been a runner I would run up to 6 miles a day and participate in races during the summer. And while running was very healthy for my cardiovascular system and also helped me “save the planet” I noticed as I got older, I begin to have issues with my knees from the running on concrete paths and most likely the lack of quality shoes.  

So, to save on my knees and just simply do something different I went out and bought a bike a couple of years ago and just started riding. In the beginning I wouldn’t go very far or fast because I was just getting use to the change in activities but once I was used to it, I began increasing my miles and speed.  Now I do about 100 miles a week and noticed an improvement in my core, cardio, and leg strength. Also, my knee pane has significantly decreased.

The time is now so get involved!

So, now that you know how you can help save the planet it’s time to do your part and start cycling! Minnesota has several paths, parks, and challenges that not only can get you to where you want to go “without driving” but help you become a better you!  

If you would like to learn more and be more proactive with protecting the earth click here

Can Social Media Threaten Our First Amendment Rights?

Back in March of 2020, a high school student was threatened with jail time if she did not take down a social media post. Not only was she threatened with jail time so were her parents, over a post on Instagram. This post consisted of her in a hospital bed, explaining how she was sick with COVID. As a student, she thought it was her right to be able to use her social media accounts to express her frustrations, or to update everyone on how she was doing.

“The girl’s messages caused panic,” said an attorney for the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department. The panic eventually led to a Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath and a patrol sergeant confronting the teenager about her post and demanding her to take it down.

However, the teenage girl recently just won the lawsuit against the sheriff and the patrol sergeant.

“Demanding a 16-year-old remove protected speech from her Instagram account is a First Amendment violation,” said the judge.

We live in a time where we must protect even our online presence. This teenage girl thought she was bringing awareness on how real this COVID pandemic is and was faced with a harsh reality. The right to free speech should always be protected when it comes to one’s social media presence.