Friendship Shrinks in Age of “Social Media”

You hadn’t spoken until your childhood friend since the summer he moved away in 7th grade.  That is, until you re-connected with him on Facebook.   Maybe you have hundreds of Facebook friends and followers on Twitter.  You hold in your pocket, the ability to check in on everyone in the world that you have ever met during your lifetime.  Yet, according to a Cornell University study of more than 2000 Americans, we are more socially isolated than we were 25 years ago.  The average number of “good” friends, trusted confidants a person has, is down to 2 (from 3 in years past).  Chances are you are reading this post via a social media portal.  Maybe you read my blogging regularly and feel in some way connected to it.  Yet, we’ve never met.  So while we have more interaction with one another thanks to technology, we are not seeing an increase in personal connection.

Wheat Belly – A Breakthrough!

This blog often covers issues related to diet, healthy foods and related trends.  So I am excited to share with the readers here some information I have firsthand knowledge of regarding a very important personal breakthrough.  This blogger has eliminated all wheat products from his diet for 45 days and has dropped almost 30 pounds in the same period of time!Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, has uncovered a very startling fact: modern, genetically modified (GM) wheat produces a gluten protein that crosses the blood-brain barrier.  Know what else crosses the blood-brain barrier?  Cocaine, heroin and other highly addictive substances!  This is why, if you’re like me, you frequently cannot help overeating with a ravenous furor that borders on the uncontrollable.  Since the 1960s, as part of efforts to optimize yields and feed a growing and hungry humanity, all wheat produced globally has been a GM variety.  There was never any testing done to check if the GM grain had any negative side effects.I can tell you that after the first 4 days without wheat – during which time I experienced miserable withdrawal symptoms reminiscent of drug withdrawals – my compulsion to eat constantly has all but subsided.  Now, I still miss breads and pizza etc.  although I can easily resist them whereas before, I was all but powerless to do so.  Happily though, the damaging gluten protein is not inherent in potato, rice, corn and many other grains.  So when I get to longing for a wheat product, I can satisfy myself with some fries and ketchup.  Or I can enjoy a plate of pork fried rice.  Or tacos in crunchy corn shells.  And, I AM LOSING WEIGHT!  So that’s something!  You can visit Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly Blog here. I highly recommend the book too.  It’s called Wheat Belly. It’s available at Amazon.com and your local public library.  Both the blog and the book also contain recipes to replace some of your favorite wheat-based munchies!

Charging Smokers and Obese More for Health Insurance

A report out today underscores the growing practice among employer-sponsored health benefits providers and the for-profit insurance industry of charging higher premiums to smokers and the obese.  While this seems to make sense on its face – that people with unhealthy lifestyles should pay more into the system as they are likely to be needing to take more out of it – this blogger worries that the unregulated, non-standardized practices could open up many Americans to unfair and even abusive relationships with their health insurers and/or their employers.  Read the article here for details and then sound off in the comments on whether you think this idea is disturbing or imaginitive.

Friday Bit O’ Geek

OK.  Follow my logic here.  Allen School Online students, hence, lots of people with some degree of interest/proficiency with computers.  Right?  I think it’s safe to assume that as a readership, Allen School Online students probably appreciate technology.  Maybe a bit of tech-geekery?  ‘Specially on a Friday afternoon?  Well, I am going to share this nerd-tastic look at “the phones of tomorrow” with you.  If you think these amazing (and in some cases beautiful) device prototypes are as cool as I do (OMG! I am such a nerd), let me know in the comments.  If Online students are indeed interested, I can share some of this kind of info with you when I come across it.

Is Your Data Protected?

Online students!  Is all your course materials and other data important to you?  What would become of it if your hard drive crashed?  If your computer was lost, damaged or stolen?  If your home (God forbid) burns down?This blogger’s machine was recently infected by a quick acting virus that so scrambled my directories that the machine was rendered useless.  The Blue Screen of Death came up every time I tried to reboot.  Needless to say, all my years worth of work, records, music, pictures, videos, EVERYTHING was no longer accessible.  Lucky thing for me, I had a data backup strategy already in place.  In fact, I had a triple-redundant data recovery strategy (because, yes, I am a supreme nerd).  But it occurs to me that this is useful info to share.Here’s a link to a Wired.com “how to” on data storage/backup/recovery practices.  Your Windows operating system offers some data backup functionality which is the very least step I suggest taking.  Using an external hard drive to back up is another step (which I also have) so that if your internal disc drive croaks, you have instant access to your data.  Then I also use an offsite data backup service (I use Mozy.com for about $100 a year but there are others like carbonite.com etc.).So when my computer became infected, I simply re-installed my operating system using the original Windows Vista discs that came with this machine.  I was able to recover all my files from three different backup sources and didn’t lose a single thing (except for a couple days worth of re-installation time).  If your training materials are important to you in your career, you should definitely put together your own strategy to backup and protect your data.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

OK, so it’s Monday again.  I thought readers might enjoy a little levity.  Many of you students will go on to work in doctors’ offices all over the country.  A doctor’s office, like any other office, has its share of politics, fun customers, mean customers, gossip, laughter and tears.  Here’s to the laughter!  Check out this great compendium of  “Funny Stories from the Doctor’s Office” for some insight into the kinds of stories you’ll one day be able to recount to newbies entering the field.

Good Resource for Job Hunting

The much ballyhooed takeover of AOL by the Huffington Post has yielded a very comprehensive resource for people seeking new employment.  If you’ve recently earned your Medical Billing and Coding certificate from Allen School Online, or if you’re soon to earn yours, you may be apprehensive about the looming job search.  It is true that finding gainful employment these days is more challenging than it has been in quite some time.  You’ll need any advantage you can come by if you’re to succeed.  Luckily, an Allen School certificate is one such advantage.  But it won’t land you the position you want if your resume, interviewing skills and salary negotiation chops are weak.  So take a look at the new Huffington Post/AOL Jobs and Career section for the latest and greatest tips and strategies for landing the dream gig.  Check back frequently because the content there is update rapidly and there’s always something new and useful to be found.

Killer Diet – Healing Diet

Healing Diet and FruitYour mom always told you to eat your vegetables.  But most Americans eat the Western diet heavy on processed foods loaded with chemicals and other adulterating compounds.  Is it any wonder then that Western peoples suffer much higher incidences of cancer, obesity, heart disease and other truly life-threatening maladies?  Compare the average American diet with the average Eastern diet.  You’ll find that other mitigating factors aside (smoking, proximity to industrial pollution etc.) the folks in China and Japan do a whole lot better when it comes to their dietary advantage and its subsequent effect on overall health.Doctor Mark Hyman has a fascinating piece posted over at the Huffington Post wherein he shares how the very dietary practices of Eastern populations act as a veritable medicine regimen.   Chinese for example eat a diet rich in things like Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli) shiitake mushrooms, ginseng and green tea.  Compare that against the ammonia washed Big Mac burger patty served on bleached flour buns, phenyketoneuric-laced diet soft drinks and snack products laced with all manner of unpronounceable chemical additives.  Which of these dietary patterns does common sense dictate will be more of a hedge against illness?Read Dr. Hyman’s fascinating piece in its entirety here and put down that bag of Doritos!  Healthy foods taste great and they help you to live longer too!

From Humble Beginnings

Every recent report on the economy tells the same story with regard to the employment outlook.  For many industries, the outlook remains bleak.  Yet, throughout the devastating recession we still endure, the Medical industry continues to show solid, unwavering growth.  The imminent retirement of the Baby Boomer generation pretty much guarantees that those in the medical field will continue to be in high demand.This is a likely reason why you’ve decided to pursue a career in medical billing and coding at the Allen School Online.  But do you ever allow yourself to dream a little bigger?  The basis of understanding you’ll gain through your training here and subsequent immersion into the offices of doctors, surgeons and hospitals could act as a springboard for an even more intensive career in medicine.  Now, it’s not for everyone to aspire to rise up through the ranks from billing specialist to nurse, to nurse practitioner to eventually a medical doctor.  Nonetheless, it is not outside the realm of possibility.  It is likely that some of our Allen School Online grads will feel compelled to use their training as a springboard into full on medical careers.  I know many of you are probably thinking, “well, that couldn’t be me” and “my grades were never strong enough to get into med school”.  To you I say, consider Naomi’s story.Naomi (that’s her in the pic above) is currently enrolled in med school and studying to become a doctor.  But, she didn’t start out with that as her career plan in high school or even in college.  Yet, at her blog, www.get-into-medicalschool.com she shares her story and tips on how through hard work, perseverance and unshakable belief in yourself, you too could achieve what may seem like an impossible dream.  Even as most of you may not be driven to become doctors, I still recommend checking out her blog and gaining some inspiration from her story and her drive to succeed.  It almost certainly mirrors your own!  And for those of you who may be interested to learn what’s involved in taking this bold step in the future, Naomi’s “how to take the MCAT” page is chock full of great info.

Online Study Habits

Taking an online course doesn’t mean one must study any more or any less.  It just means one must study differently.Note taking is still very much a critical success factor.  The beauty of the online system is that a student can listen to/watch the course material the first time without taking notes; allowing more attention to be paid.  Then, the student can replay the class a second time for purposes of taking notes. Click here to read on how learning works and how to optimize the online learning experience for maximum effect.