112 thoughts on “Vitamins and Mortality

  1. JPZ, I was responding to the Hyman article more than your reasonable approach. I am not against supplements use for good reasons. I’m just for increasing the availability of healthy foods.

    nybgrus, zombies? In general I’m not a horror movie person, due to an unfortunate childhood fear that John Boy Walton would become a zombie and eat my brains (that is what comes of having four older siblings). But, one of my favorite movies is Shaun of the Dead. I recommend it for inspiration.

  2. JPZ says:


    BRAAAIIINNS!!! (but only for science) +10 awesome.

  3. nybgrus says:

    just wrapped up an awesome day of zombie action. Maybe I’ll post a link to some photos if you guys are keen. It was a blast like you wouldn’t believe. And I am a huge zombie movie fan. Like HUGE. Like… well, you get the point. And my GF? Besides being an awesome mechanical engineer who has just succesfully created an accurate model for her porous hydrogen fuel injector for the newest scramjet engine she love zombie action as well. So it was super win-win today.


  4. nybgrus, seeing’s believing, picture would be good. But, I have to say, you gotta watch those mechanical engineers. (In fact I just watched my mine head out for the morning with our son and daughter.) ;)

  5. nybgrus says:


    For obvious reasons I don’t particularly wan’t to share my personal photostream from the event, but I did find this photo of me from the Zombie Walk done by a pro photo group taking shots at the event. There are plenty more there. If I find one of my group or GF I’ll post that up as well.

    It was a realy blast – very fun indeed. And yes, you do have to watch out for those mechanical engineers…..

  6. nybgrus says:

    Well, I couldn’t find anything particularly good, so I created a small Imgur album of the crew of us. The blond is the mechanical engineer.

    Apparently, we also broke the world’s record for Zombie Walk. The previous record was 4,039 and while the final tally isn’t in yet, the organizers stopped counting at over 8,000.

    I think we may have to do this every Halloween now… and improve our makeup techniques and prop ideas!

  7. HeHe, It’s good to see folks having some good grown-up halloween fun, very nice make-up jobs! I’m terrified of the lot of you. Hope you collected a lot of brain matter, I mean money.

  8. nybgrus says:

    Thanks – we had a great time. They are estimated 12,000+ people at the event but the official tally is not yet in. Also most of the money raised was in the form of bars donating part of the after event proceeds to the charity, so that also has yet to be tallied. But we certainly drank enough beer between us to make a sizeable contribution ;-)

    There were also some little kids there that were so cute. I wish I could find the pic again, but there was one of a cute 3ish year old girl dressed up in full gear nibbling on a granola bar with a bib that said “feed me” scrawled in blood. It was good fun all around. :-D

  9. squirrelelite says:


    Thanks for the link about mental health in South Africa.

    My special interest is medical issues in Zambia, because my aunt who got a B.S. in nursing from Ohio State worked for about 30 years there at Mukinge Hospital training nurses.

    Mukinge Hospital has one of the best programs in the country for training nurses and was selected a few years ago for a U.S. funded pilot program on treatment and prevention for HIV/AIDS.

    My aunt was back there a year ago for a big anniversary celebration. I got a report from my cousin that the government is now requiring them to start training men as nurses. There are concerns that this may lead to a lowering of the overall quality standard for their graduates ;)

    I found a couple of interesting links about mental health in Zambia.

    Efforts to improve mental health are hampered by overall poverty and a severe shortage of resources. These are exacerbated by cultural traditions which stigmatize people with mental issues.

    With a population of 10.3 million and annual growth rate of 2.9%, Zambia is one of the most urbanized countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty levels stood at 72.9% in 1998. In terms of unemployment, the most urbanized provinces, Lusaka (the capital city), and the copper-belt are the most affected. The gross domestic product (GDP) is US$3.09 billion dollars while per capita income is US$300. The total budget allocation for health in the year 2002 was 15% while the proportion of the GDP per capita expenditure for health was 5.6%. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rates stand at 20% among the reproductive age group 15-49 years. Political instability and wars in neighbouring states has resulted in an influx of refugees. Environmental factors affecting the country include natural and man-made disasters such as floods and drought, mine accidents, and deforestation. To a large extent in Zambia, people who are mentally ill are stigmatized, feared, scorned at, humiliated and condemned. However, caring for mental ill health in old age is positively perceived. It is traditionally the duty and responsibility of the extended family to look after the aged. Gender based violence (GBV) is another issue. Women, who are totally dependent on their spouses economically, are forced by circumstances to continue living in abusive relationships to the detriment of their mental well-being. In Zambia, the family is considered sacrosanct and the affairs of the family members, private. It is within this context that GBV is regarded as a family affair and therefore a private affair, yet spouse beating has led to depression and in some cases death. In terms of psychiatric services, there are close to 560 beds for psychiatric patients across the country. Common mental disorders found in Zambia are acute psychotic episodes, schizophrenia, affective disorders, alcohol related problems and organic brain syndromes. About 70-80% of people with mental health problems consult traditional health practitioners before they seek help from conventional health practitioners. Over time the number of frontline mental health workers and professional staff has been declining. This is due to the ‘brain drain’, retirement, death and low output from training institutions. For practicing psychiatrists, only one is available for the whole country. Other key mental health workers such as psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists are also in short supply. All in all, the mental health services situation in Zambia could be described as critical, requiring urgent attention.

    The government is beginning to address these issues by reforming legislation which hasn’t been significantly rewritten since the colonial era in 1951. It’s a step in the right direction, but there’s a lot of work ahead of them.

    The Mental Health and Poverty Project (MHaPP) aimed to investigate the policy level interventions that are required to break the cycle of poverty and mental illness. The first phase of the project analysed the current status of mental health policy, legislation and services in four countries: Uganda, South Africa, Ghana and Zambia. These studies highlighted the neglect of mental health in current policies, the meagre resources available, the lack of data on service provision and the widespread stigma against the mentally ill.

    The MHaPP Zambian team, led by Professor Alan Flisher* and the University of Zambia, used this analysis to spearhead a reform of mental health legislation in Zambia. This legislation was inherited from the colonial legacy, and had not undergone any changes since it was enacted in 1951. MHaPP’s efforts represent the first steps that have been taken to transform this “outdated” and “offensive” law, and deal with the insufficient funds, facilities and trained personnel that characterise the mental health system in Zambia.

    The Zambian team felt that it was essential to transform the legislation, in accordance with international human rights standards. In July 2008 MHaPP devised and submitted to the Ministry of Health the ‘MHAPP Position Paper on Mental Health Legislation’ exploring how the legislation should be changed. In July 2009 a Bill was submitted to the Justice Department to be transformed into legal discourse, and was later approved by the sitting Parliament. In the second phase of the project, the key interventions have been to strengthen the implementation of this legislation and train primary health care professionals on mental health issues.

    The second link also notes that Professor Flisher died of leukemia last year.

Comments are closed.