Blog posts by Paula Cody, MD, MPH

Problems with Pornography

I feel like there has been a lot of press about pornography lately.  A certain politician is embroiled in a scandal with a porn star. The Florida House of Representatives declared pornography a public health issue (however, guns are not considered a public health issue, despite a recent school shooting in that state…that’s a whole different blog topic).  Time magazine made porn the cover story not too long ago. So what’s the deal with pornography?  Is it harmful or liberating?  Good vs. evil? Both? Neither?

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The Choking Game

There are plenty of “fads” that people try – the “Cold Water Challenge” from a few years ago, the “Cinnamon Challenge”, and who can forget the recent “Tide Pod Callenge” (for all that is good and holy, please do not try this challenge, it’s dumb and dangerous!).  One craze that rears its ugly head every couple of years is the “Choking Game.”  This dangerous game has been around for a long time and occurs throughout the United States (and in many other countries, see this interactive map). There was a death attributed to the “Choking Game” in the Madison area within the past few weeks, bringing it back to the forefront.  Can we stop calling it a game?!?  That makes it sound like something fun, instead of something very, very dangerous.  I digress…

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To the Bone: What’s Fact and What’s Fiction

This week marks the annual National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness).  Wow, this year has gone fast. (Here is last year’s blog). This year’s theme is “Let’s Get Real”, with the hopes of expanding the conversation about people’s (often complicated) relationships with food, exercise, and body image. Like many mental health illnesses, the stigma and stereotypes about eating disorders run deep. What better way to get conversations flowing than by portraying eating disorders in a movie, right? RIGHT! Well ready or not, that’s what keeps happening.

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Health Issues at the Olympics

Aaahhhhh….the Olympics.  The time where one becomes an expert in a sport they only watch once every 4 years (“What were the curlers thinking with that move?!?”, “That ski jump was way more difficult than the other that got a higher score!”).  I have enjoyed watching this Olympics more than prior years.  One reason is that there were many teenagers doing really teenagery things (I’m aware teenagery is not a word, but it should be).  There’s the 17 year old gold medal snowboarder, Red Gerard, who overslept on competition day after a night of binge-watching Netflix (and he couldn’t find his coat, so had to borrow someone else’s).  Another 17 year old gold medal snowboarder, Chloe Kim, tweeted about her dietary habits in between her runs.  It’s good to see all the Olympic fame hasn’t changed them.

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World AIDS Day 2017

The start of December brings about many things, including World AIDS Day.  This year’s theme is about ending the stigma of those living with HIV/AIDS (follow along on Twitter at #LetsEndIt). There is still a lot of misinformation about HIV/AIDS – remember a couple months ago when a Georgia state representative (and former anesthesiologist) recommended quarantining those with HIV to curtail the spread of the virus? Stigma and discrimination are some of the biggest barriers to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support. Specifically, research has shown that stigma and discrimination undermine HIV prevention efforts by making people afraid to seek HIV information, testing, and services to reduce their risk of infection.

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