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May 16, 2007

BehindTheMedspeak: Treadmill desk goes big time


Just in yesterday from the BBC, the news that Dr. James Levine's treadmill desk (above) has made it into the medical literature in a serious way.

I do so love the British term "vertical workstation."

But I digress.

In the latest issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine appears Levine's paper on the benefits of walking while working as opposed to sitting on your butt.

Here's the BBC story.

    Get slim on the office treadmill

    Obesity experts have developed a vertical workstation which helps employees take exercise and shed weight as they work.

    The designers, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, said it could help obese people to lose up to 30kg a year.

    Fifteen obese volunteers burned an average of 191 calories an hour using the treadmill, compared to 72 calories just sitting at their desk.

    The study features in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

    The workstation, which is designed to be used for two to three hours a day, comprises a computer, keyboard and treadmill.

    The steel frame of the device is shaped in the form of the letter "H" and is supported by four locking rubber wheels, so that it can be moved about easily.

    The frame holds a Plexiglass panel on to which two adjustable arms are bolted - one to hold the computer screen and the other for the keyboard and mouse.

    Slats provide storage for personal items such as flower vase, cup holder, pen holder or paper tray.

    The adjustable design enables users to walk and work, stand and work, or, if the treadmill is replaced by a high chair, sit and work. The speed of the treadmill can also be adjusted by the user.

    The 14 men and one women who took part in the trials all had sedentary office jobs, and none took part in any regular exercise.

    While using the workstation, they walked at the equivalent of one mile an hour.

    Their energy expenditure while using the workstation for 35 minutes every hour was compared to that while working at their desk.

    The researchers said: "If sitting computer time were replaced by walking-and-working, energy expenditure could increase by 100 kcal (calories) per hour.

    "Thus, if obese individuals were to replace time spent sitting at the computer with walking computer time by two to three hours a day, and if other components of energy balance were constant, a weight loss of 20-30 kilograms per year could occur."

    Obesity rates are soaring across much of the developed world, and many people blame a hectic lifestyle for failing to make time to exercise.

    An increase in sedentary leisure activities, such as using a computer, has also been blamed.

    More than 12m adults and one million children in England alone will be obese by 2010 if no action is taken, a report by the Department of Health predicted last year.

    John Brewer, director of the Lucozade Sports Science Academy, said: "The growing obesity epidemic is something that requires drastic action.

    "This is clearly this is something that is slightly gimmicky and unusual, but if it is a way of getting people with sedentary lifestyles off of their backsides then that has got to be a good thing."

    Mr Brewer said the workstation could potentially appeal to people who found pounding out miles on a treadmill tedious by allowing them to combine it with a more interesting activity.

    The desks cost £1,000 each.


Here's the abstract of the scientific paper.

    The energy expenditure of using a "walk-and-work" desk for office-workers with obesity

    Objective: For many people, the majority of the working day is spent sitting in front of a computer screen. Approaches for obesity treatment and prevention are being sought to increase work-place physical activity because low levels of physical activity are associated with obesity. Our hypothesis was that a vertical work station that allows an obese individual to work whilst walking, is associated with significant and substantial increases in energy expenditure over seated work.

    Methods: The vertical work station is a work station that allows an office-worker to use a standard personal computer whilst walking on a treadmill at a self- selected velocity. Fifteen, sedentary individuals with obesity (14 women, one man; 43 + 7.5 years, 86 + 9.6 kg; BMI 32 + 2.6 kg/m 2 ) underwent measurements of energy expenditure at rest, seated working in an office chair, standing and whilst walking at a self-selected speed using the vertical work station. Body composition was measured using dual x-ray absorptiometry.

    Results: Mean energy expenditure whilst seated at work in an office chair was 72 + 10 kcal/hour whereas the energy expenditure whilst walking-and-working at a self-selected velocity of 1.1 + 0.4 mph, was 191 + 29 kcal/hour. The mean increase in energy expenditure for walking-and-working over sitting was 119 + 25 kcal/hour.

    Conclusions: If sitting computer-time were replaced by walking-and-working, energy expenditure might increase by 100 kcal/hour. Thus, if obese individuals were to replace sitting computer time with walking computer time, by two-three hours per day and if other components of energy balance were constant, weight loss of 20-30 kg/year could occur.


For more on the subject click here.

I will add that even though Dr. Levine is now selling a completely tricked-out, ready-to-use treadmill workstation, you can do like I did and make your own if you already own a treadmill.

Mine is pictured below.


Looks like a million bucks, what?

It'll cost you about $50 total, give or take $25 and depending on the configuration of your treadmill.

May 16, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Best magazine cover of the year


No contest.

May 16, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

bibme — 'The quickest way to build a bibliography on the web'


See for yourself.

[via Brian Nelson who added, "How simple can it get? It's free, it fills in your blanks and everything. Whoda thunk?"]

And while I have a moment when I'm doing something close to nothing let me give a special shout-out to Brian, my Central Florida correspondent, whose ratio of items suggested:those that appear here shortly thereafter is close to 1.

He has his finger on the (admittedly irregular, but still beating) pulse of bookofjoe.

Way to go once again, Brian!

May 16, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

World's Cutest iPod Accessory


It took a while but I found it.

How do you spell "kawaii?"

From the website:

    iPod Case with Mini Speakers

    Leather travel case with built-in mini speakers.

    Let your iPod travel in style with this luxurious case.

    Crafted of high quality leather in pink or black, the case has integrated mini stereo speakers to crank your tunes.

    The set includes mini-cases for iPods and nano that can be used as separate carry cases or attach magnetically to the speaker case.

    Everything closes neatly with a magnetic clasp.

    Requires 3 AAA batteries.

    iPod shown is not included.


Pink or Black.

The Hello Kitty crowd is gonna be so envious....


May 16, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Would you want to witness CPR being performed on a loved one? — Episode 2: The nurse's position


Sometime after Episode 1 appeared on October 24 , 2004, I received an email from Linda Roman, R.N., senior editor of the journal RN.

She asked if she could use a quote from the post for an article that was in preparation on the subject of family presence during CPR.

I said fine and that was that.

I was reminded of that exchange when in today's mail I found a copy of the just-published (May, 2007) issue of RN containing the article by Angela Briguglio, R.N., entitled "Should the Family Stay?"

Not only did she quote me accurately and spell my name correctly, she also was gracious enough to list bookofjoe as a reference with a live link to the 2004 post.


That's a first for bookofjoe, as regards the medical literature.

May 16, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Car Window Screen


Once again we are left to ponder why it is that Detroit/Japan failed to make this standard decades ago.

Past time, don't you think?

From the website:

    Air/Sun Shade

    Fitted screens allow air in but keep bugs and sun out.

    These ingenious screens fit over the window frame of your rear door to provide protection whether the window is up or down.

    Special screen material helps keep out bugs and harsh sunlight while letting in fresh air.

    Won't block your outward visibility and keeps dog's noses and kid's hands safely inside.

    Once the self-adhesive tabs are in place, the screens can be removed and re-installed in seconds.

    Comes in six sizes to ensure a good fit.


May 16, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Brooks Barnes on 'Blogola'


Long story short: "Blogola" is giving things to bloggers in exchange for them saying nice things about you/your website/show/product/etc.

Brooks Barnes's front page story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal explains it all for you, and follows.

    To Create Buzz, TV Networks Try A Little 'Blogola'

    They Lavish Freebies Upon Eager Web Scribes; Yvonne Marie on Stage 5

    TV critics have called "The New Adventures of Old Christine" one of the decade's funniest comedies. But when CBS recently wanted to create buzz for the show, critics weren't the targets of the publicity campaign.

    Neither were newspaper feature writers, whom a publicist for the show's star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, declared weren't "worth her time."

    The so-called "mommy bloggers" were another matter. Warner Bros., the studio that produces the show for CBS, identified 12 blogs about motherhood, a key theme in "Old Christine," and invited the writers to spend the day on the set. The bloggers got free DVDs, watched a rehearsal and made videos with Ms. Louis-Dreyfus and other cast members to post on their sites. "It was totally rad," says Yvonne Marie, the publisher of a Web log called Joy Unexpected.

    Who says you can't buy love? Trying to tap into the burgeoning power of blogs as promotional tools and fed up with the jaded attitudes of professional critics and TV feature writers, studios and networks are flooding bloggers with free stuff in hopes the flattered recipients will reward them with positive coverage. Flowing into the trough is everything from fancy gym bags and toasters to video iPods and free trips. Some networks — in the spotlight this week as they unveil their fall schedules to advertisers — have even borrowed a term from the technology industry to describe the strategy: blogola.

    Until the 1980s, when news outlets started devoting more space to business coverage and reporters began peering more intently behind Hollywood's curtain, many mainstream writers were showered with gifts. The result was usually fawning coverage. Networks would like nothing more than to re-create that system with blogs.

    Networks see their "blog outreach" simply as smart PR strategy. "The goal is to go beyond the filter of the TV critic and mainstream media to create a direct connection with potential viewers," says Chris Ender, senior vice president of communications at CBS, speaking of the "Old Christine" junket. Other network PR experts say blogs are important because they often serve as idea farms for professional reporters.

    Giving away DVDs is a cheap way to curry favor, but some networks are courting bloggers with Hollywood's true currency: access. Fox News Channel says it recently thought about trying to flatter a New York Times writer with an invitation to an industry dinner hosted by President Bush. Instead, Fox says it sent invites to several New York media blogs -- outlets it considered to be of more strategic importance.

    Bloggers often return home with pinwheels in their eyes. "You know what? It's funny," wrote Ms. Marie after her "Old Christine" visit. "And I'm not just saying that because I got to pee on Stage 5 of the Warner Bros. lot where Julia Louis-Dreyfus might also pee between takes!"

    TV networks and studios hold black belts in spin -- General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal alone employs more than 100 public-relations people -- but it doesn't appear too hard to nudge many bloggers in one direction or another. Indeed, some blog writers are even happy to let networks play editor.

    "I hope you like it," wrote Ms. Marie in an email to CBS to flag her "Old Christine" posting. "If there's anything you'd like me to add, just tell me and I will." She signed the note, "XOXO."

    She says she was being nice more than anything. "I didn't really expect them to have any changes," she says.

    Mainstream news outlets now have strict rules governing to what extent their palms can be greased. Presents valued at more than $25 are typically banned, and that includes travel. But most blogs, many less than five years old, don't have such rules.

    Warner Bros. recently flew seven bloggers to British Columbia to promote its teen drama "Supernatural." The bloggers got to stay free of charge at Vancouver's Sutton Place Hotel, where rooms start at $162 a night, and spend a day hanging out on the show's Canadian set.

    The studio emphasizes that the budget was minimal. "There were no luxury spa visits or lobster dinners," says Sharan Magnuson, senior vice president of world-wide publicity. (Perks of that level, say PR executives at other studios, are reserved for writers from foreign publications who vote on the Golden Globe awards.)

    "As I slipped into my role as a seasoned television reporter and stepped onto the soundstage to watch the filming of an actual scene," wrote Daniel Malen on The TV Addict, " I'd have to admit that my 'play it cool' veneer probably did a pretty poor job of hiding the excitement radiating from just about every pore of my being."

    Warner Bros. may draw the line at seaweed wraps, but the ABC Television Studio bestowed the holy grail of Hollywood freebies on one blogger last January. To the dismay of the Screen Actors Guild, the studio cast blogger and TV Guide writer Michael Ausiello as an obstetrician — a speaking role — on the comedy "Scrubs." On the Feb. 1 episode, he performed an ultrasound.

    ABC says the casting was made in return for coverage, particularly on Mr. Ausiello's blog. "We got as much promotional value out of it as we could," says Sharon Liggins, a publicist at the studio, which produces "Scrubs" for NBC. TV Guide spokeswoman Julie Farin said ABC shouldn't have expected anything. "There was certainly no promise of that made in advance in exchange for the casting," Ms. Farin said in a statement.

    Either way, the casting worked out for "Scrubs." Since January, Mr. Ausiello has posted more than 20 items about "Scrubs" on Ask Ausiello, his popular blog. In comparison, he mentioned "Desperate Housewives," a show that reaches an audience four times that of "Scrubs," fewer than 10 times.

    CBS Corp.'s Mr. Ender and his counterparts emphasize that blogs haven't eclipsed traditional media outlets in promotional importance. And although most TV critics and writers for print outlets refuse to accept expensive gifts, they still get plenty of perks.

    Indeed, the four major broadcast networks wine and dine the 700-member Television Critics Association every January and July. Critics and TV writers fly to Los Angeles where they gobble mounds of free food, wander the sets of hit shows such as "Grey's Anatomy" and rub elbows with TV stars at cocktail parties. The annual "press tour" tab for each of the four major broadcast networks ranges from $800,000 to $1.5 million.

    But as bloggers rise in stature -- and as newspapers and magazines watch their circulations sink and readers age — networks are starting to question whether the old-line writers deserve such largess. "Press tour remains highly valuable, but with the Internet making journalism so immediate, maybe the format of the event needs to change," says Kevin Brockman, senior vice president of communications for Walt Disney Co.'s television unit.

    Networks may want to speed up the gravy train: Blogs are starting to calcify into more traditional media operations as they grow — establishing ethics rules about accepting gifts in the process. Five-year-old Gawker Media Inc., which operates 13 blogs, early last year instituted a code of conduct. Writers now must identify on their various blogs any gifts in excess of $25.

    Even Ms. Marie of Joy Unexpected says she is re-evaluating how she handles gifts. "I've realized that I'm inundated with free stuff," she says. "I don't want my content to turn into advertising."


I'm trying to remember if I've ever received anything worth over $25 as a result of writing about it here: I think not.

But no matter: I have decided, following the lead of Nick Denton's Gawker Media empire (FunFact: Nick used to return my emails. Oh, well... but I digress) that I will as of now institute a code of conduct here just like his.

From this moment forward, I will identify any gift received valued in excess of 25 cents.

Wait a minute... that's not right, is it?

Well, unfortunately it's appropriate, so I'm gonna let it stand.

May 16, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Laptop Stash Card



Part of our "hide in plain sight" theme that's been gathering momentum these past few months.

Or should it be called a meme?

You tell me[me].

But I digress.

From the website:

    Laptop Stash Card

    Turn your laptop card into a secret compartment.

    Hide money, credit cards, or a key in your laptop's empty PC card slot with the ingenious Stash Card.

    It's the perfect spot for your desk key or password cheat sheet.

    3.4" x 2.1" x 0.1".


$14.95 (pictured contents not included).

May 16, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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