Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Health’

If you lack sleep, you overeat.

November 11, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Health 1 Comment →

Karsten Moran for the NYTimes

Not enough sleep last night? You may overeat today.

That’s the conclusion of investigators after reviewing data on 172 participants in 11 sleep studies. The study designs varied, but tested people after a night of restricted sleep, usually about four hours, and then after a night of normal rest.

The next day, participants were offered a breakfast buffet or scheduled meals later in the day. The scientists tracked calorie intake and energy expenditure.

Read it in the legacy media.

So if I didn’t sleep soundly every night I’d weigh 500 pounds.

Long weekend links: Social media creates angry partisans, how to tell if you’re a jerk, and what earwax is for

October 30, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Health, Language, Psychology, Technology No Comments →

Are You A Jerk? (with attempts at definitions of jerk and asshole)

Illustration from Nautilus by Jackie Ferrentino

The scientifically recognized personality categories closest to “jerk” are the “dark triad” of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathic personality. Narcissists regard themselves as more important than the people around them, which jerks also implicitly or explicitly do. And yet narcissism is not quite jerkitude, since it also involves a desire to be the center of attention, a desire that jerks don’t always have. Machiavellian personalities tend to treat people as tools they can exploit for their own ends, which jerks also do. And yet this too is not quite jerkitude, since Machivellianism involves self-conscious cynicism, while jerks can often be ignorant of their self-serving tendencies. People with psychopathic personalities are selfish and callous, as is the jerk, but they also incline toward impulsive risk-taking, while jerks can be calculating and risk-averse.

Another related concept is the concept of the asshole, as explored recently by the philosopher Aaron James of the University of California, Irvine. On James’s theory, assholes are people who allow themselves to enjoy special advantages over others out of an entrenched sense of entitlement. Although this is closely related to jerkitude, again it’s not quite the same thing. One can be a jerk through arrogant and insulting behavior even if one helps oneself to no special advantages.


I had a pain in my knee so I went to a chiropractor.

May 25, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Health 3 Comments →


I’ve had a pain in my right knee for several weeks. I strained it because I thought I was invincible. Like many people who get injured I figured the pain would go away eventually, but after a couple of months I became concerned. Walking is my main physical exercise—taking long walks jogs the brain so it produces stories, and when I’m writing I pace a lot. The stiff knee was getting in the way of my writing.

A friend recommended that I consult Dr Bodhise, a chiropractor. He assists the Artists Welfare project, and his patients include dancers with Ballet Philippines. If there’s anyone with an intimate knowledge of bodily pain, it’s ballet dancers. Also, I’ve always been curious about chiropractors—they figure in so many New York novels and movies. So I made an appointment.

Dr. Paul Brown Bodhise studied at La Salle University in Philadelphia and the New York Chiropractic College. He is a Vietnam veteran who first visited the Philippines in 1973. He was standing on a street corner in Angeles when a bus whizzed by him and two girls yelled, “Hey, soul brother!” After he left the air force he studied alternative medicine. When he retired he decided to move to Asia, and remembering the soul sisters he came here.

Before the treatment, he asked me to watch a video about the natural healing therapies he practises. He combines chiropractic and naturopathic techniques and herbology. The treatment addresses the immediate pain, and figures out the root causes of the pain. Among the common causes are poor diet, too much salt and/or sugar, stress and adrenal reactions. Adrenaline enabled the fight or flight response of early humans who had to deal with large predators. It increases blood flow, breathing, carbohydrate metabolism. Today the probability of running into a hungry direwolf on Edsa is low, but our adrenaline gets going anyway when we get into a bad traffic jam or read provocative comments on Facebook. So the body reacts in a disproportionately big way, and it wreaks havoc on our systems.


On to the treatment. First, ultrasound therapy for the stiff knee. “I’m not gonna crack your bones,” Dr Bodhise told me. He asked me how I injured myself and explained that even before the incident, my knee was already vulnerable due to wear and tear. He massaged the knee and put pressure on the uncomfortable area. The point, he said, was to encourage the muscles and bones to fix themselves.

Then he applied his neuromuscular reintegration technique, essentially a deep tissue massage and traction, to realign the skeletal frame. This harmonizes the nervous system and the muscular system, he explained, to restore their normal function. He pointed out the areas on my back, elbow, and the base of my neck that were misaligned and could cause future discomfort. The therapy usually takes 30 – 45 minutes.

Afterwards my knee was better and my stride was closer to normal. It was still stiff, but I no longer felt like one leg was shorter than the other. What I like about the treatment is that Dr Bodhise doesn’t just write a prescription for the pain. He looks into the causes, advises you on how to prevent illness, and advocates a holistic approach to good health. For more information, visit

Next week I’ll tell you how my knee feels. In the meantime I’m taking my sister to this chiropractor because she has two PhDs in stress.

Dr. Paul Bodhise’s clinic is on the second floor of Seibu Tower, 6th Avenue corner 24th Street, Bonifacio Global City. Call or text 0908 449 7673 to make an appointment. The consultation fee is Php2000.

Fashion to the rescue: A solution for senior citizens with bladder issues

December 15, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Clothing, Health No Comments →

Introducing On-The-Go, the cargo pants with a secret, created by Dennis Lustico, Mon Pineda, James Reyes and Noel Orosa. Read the feature at InterAksyon.

On-The-Go retails at PHP 800.00 and comes in three colors: navy blue, black, and khaki. There are five waist sizes for men: Extra Small (29 inches), Small (30-31 inches), Medium (32-33 inches), Large (34-35 inches) and Extra Large (36 inches). To order, please contact Alyssa Lustico at 0926-7560494 or (02)8460915, email, or leave a comment.

Now they tell us: Drink only when you’re thirsty

July 02, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Health No Comments →

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Remember when you were a kid and all your coaches and camp counselors and those vaguely hippie-ish guys who took your youth group hiking would tell you to drink, even when you weren’t thirsty? Turns out they were trying to murder you.

The Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine published new guidelines on hydration that essentially boiled down to “Drink only when you’re thirsty.” That sounds like something that doesn’t need to be said, except everyone who has done even amateur sports, or gone hiking or camping, has been advised to keep drinking all the time, even when they’re not thirsty. I remember hiking instructors who told people to drink until their urine was completely clear. This is one of the pieces of advice that the journal specifically warns against.

Too much liquid leads to hyponatremia. The overworked kidneys can’t excrete water fast enough. The sodium levels in the body get too low. Sodium helps cells regulate their fluid intake. Too little sodium in the liquid surrounding cells, and osmosis causes liquid to pass through the cell membrane and pour into the cell. The body’s cells swell, and can even burst.

Done that.

Read Sports Medicine Journal Reveals Our Childhood Coaches Tried To Kill Us.

Drinking too much water can also kill you.

May 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Health No Comments →

weather forecast

The conventional wisdom for surviving extreme heat is to drink plenty of water. Of course we need to stay hydrated whatever the temperature outside, but too much of anything is bad for you. This I learned in dramatic fashion exactly one year ago.

In your fear of dehydration, do not overreact and give yourself water intoxication. If you drink a lot of water (and that includes sports drinks) but you don’t eat, you risk an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are chemicals such as sodium and potassium that power your cells and run the electricity in your brain. The human body is a finely-balanced system: ingest too much of anything and it takes corrective measures.

Read our column at

P.S. Always carry a card with the name and number of a person to call in case of emergency. Your phone should have an “In case of emergency” entry.