Imagination Can Take Pointy-Talky Cards to New Level

Unbelievable time in Bangkok, especially with my pointy-talky cards.

A pointy-talky card is a way to communicate. They have been used for many years. It is basic communication between two people who do not share the same language. A pictograph can have both the language of the person using it and another line in the other person’s language. It is like the ‘useful phrase’ booklets that allow a tourist to attempt to tell a local (in their language) something of importance.

When I was flying out of Vietnam in the early ’70s, pilots who were flying into high-risk areas would carry a pointy-talky in the form of a large handkerchief. It would have a dozen or more phrases in English that the pilot could point to and show the person across from him. Below the English statement was the same sentence in other languages (Vietnamese, Cambodian, Burmese, Chinese, etc.).

A simple phrase might be something like – I am an American, help me! A handkerchief could easily be folded and stuffed away. It weighed almost nothing. When needed, it could be extracted and used immediately.

During our deployments, we were allowed to go on R&R to various places. I spent time in Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, and other sites back then. My fortune was to fly into Taipei, Taiwan, first. The hotel I stayed at had a bunch of pointy-talky cards on the check-in desk. I grabbed one and looked at it as I was waiting in the check-in line.

The first line on the card had the hotel’s name and address and some Chinese inscribed below it that told the taxi driver to deliver the person showing this line on the card to the hotel. Thus, we could get a taxi and a driver who did not speak English and be assured of returning to the same hotel.

Phrases like, take me to the cloisonne factory, I want to eat seafood, I want to buy jade jewelry, etc. There were lots of useful phrases about where to go and what to do. It made me feel nearly bulletproof in a foreign land. We did not speak the local language, but we could communicate.

I did not need a pointy-talky card in Hong Kong. Most of the people understood our English and could guide or direct us to where we wanted to go. However, in Bangkok, it was a different animal.

There were tons of places to go, and most of the local taxi drivers did not speak English.
I asked the hotel (Chao Phraya Hotel) if they had any pointy-talky cards. The clerk had no idea what I was talking about. He asked his boss and a couple of other workers, and that term was foreign to them. So I looked at the postcards and picked out several to send home. As I was holding them, a thought occurred to me. Why not use them as a pointy-talky?

The hotel had a postcard with a picture of the building and the address. I had my way back home after sightseeing and shopping. I walked out, ready to see Bangkok for the first time and a taxi pulled up. I opened the front door, stepped inside the taxi, and showed the postcards to the driver. He shook his head yes or no, depending on how far away the image on the postcard was from our hotel.

I put away all the non-starters and held on to the postcards with those places I knew I could get to relatively easily. Off we went. I got dropped at a large park area. I had sights on seeing the reclining Buddha, the Palace, and many other picturesque sites. And I did.

I took a cab a couple of times when the location I was at was too distant from the next destination. It was an easy jaunt home with the hotel’s postcard. I am sure that pointy-talky cards are used in many places today. If you are overseas and cannot find a local driver who speaks your language, use your imagination if you must see those must-see places!

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 

Taking Low-Dose Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attack or Stroke???

Does a daily low-dose aspirin help you as you get older?

Doctors have advised their patients to take low-dose aspirin daily to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. I saw a headline this morning as I was searching for current health topics. One headline suggested that daily low-dose aspirin might not be best to prevent heart attacks.

I started looking for other sources to confirm what I read and could not find any. So I went back to the original article – https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/aspirin-guidelines-heart-heart-attack/2021/10/12/id/1040155/ and found no active links.

The U. S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft guidance about bleeding risks in adults over 60 years of age who have not had a heart attack or stroke. I went to the U. S. Preventive Services Task Force website https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/search_results?searchterm=low-dose%20aspirin%20prevent%20heart%20attack looking for more information.

I found nothing current that suggested stopping the aspirin regimen from preventing heart attack and stroke. However, there was a reference to a 2016 publication recommending aspirin for heart attack and stroke prevention.

It puzzled me. An organization issues draft guidance that cannot be found in writing with a casual search. Having a person stop taking aspirin daily is a big deal. I found several articles about stopping taking low-dose aspirin if you have been on it for a long time.

The draft guidance suggests that older adults should not take low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. However, the draft guidance opined that low-dose aspirin is a small benefit for adults in their 40s who have no bleeding risks.

The original low-dose aspirin protocol was suggested for those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other conditions that increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for those who have had a heart attack or stroke.

There appears to be a conflict of opinions between the 2016 recommendation and current thinking. The article stated that the draft guidance was posted online for review before the deadline of November 8, 2021. It would have been nice to have a hotlink to that online draft. The U. S. Preventive Services Task Force has a mandate to analyze and research medical advice and issue guidance as needed, even if it countermands previous recommendations.

Risks of Low-Dose Aspirin

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/is-taking-aspirin-good-for-your-heart. Aspirin is a pain reliever and a blood thinner. Medical researchers believe that aspirin can reduce the risk of blood clots which can be a severe health hazard.

All medications have side effects. Some are extremely serious. Most of my readers have watched television commercials that tout the benefits of prescription medicine, and the announcer will tell the audience that some patients may experience diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeats, hives, nausea, vomiting, and rash.

The more serious side effects might be hallucinations, memory loss, blood clots, compulsive behavior, birth defects, cancer, and various syndromes. One wonders why anyone would take a medication that could cause problems much worse than what the medicine was intended to address.

Low-dose aspirin irritates the stomach lining and can cause gastrointestinal upset, ulcers, and bleeding. As a result, kidney failure, liver disease, and other health issues can occur, especially if you take other prescription medications.

Stopping Low-Dose Aspirin Safely

https://www.capecodhealth.org/medical-services/heart-vascular-care/dont-quit-your-aspirin-therapy-abruptly/. and https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.028321. A Swedish study (2005-2009) of over 600,000 users of low-dose aspirin were evaluated. All were over 40 years of age. The medical history of each was reviewed to ensure that all had safely passed the post-medical time to be considered normal and healthy again – cancer recovery, cardiovascular events, major surgery, etc.

The study examined the three years after being cleared from their prior medical issues, nearly 63,000 cardiovascular events occurred. Those patients who had stopped taking low-dose aspirin had a thirty-seven percent higher risk than those still taking the low-dose aspirin.

Conclusion

Is there a safe way to stop taking low-dose aspirin when you have been taking it for years? I wish I could offer medical advice. I cannot. I am a researcher and provide educational information based on my research. I reviewed several articles about how to stop taking low-dose aspirin safely and could find nothing that I felt comfortable publishing the data or the links.

Your doctor knows more about your health history and other medications you may be taking than anyone else. Talk to your physician if you think that your age and health might warrant eliminating your daily aspirin protocol.

From an educational perspective, turmeric, ginger, cayenne peppers, vitamin E, garlic, cassia cinnamon, Ginkgo biloba, grape seed extract, and other natural foods thin your blood. If you are already on a blood thinner, your doctor might recommend that you abstain from the foods listed above and stop taking fish oil (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) and foods rich in vitamin K (leafy green vegetables, fish, liver, eggs, etc.)

When in doubt, talk to your doctor, not Dr. Google!

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Nebulous FDA Guidance on Salt Has No Start Time

Table salt has more additives than you imagine.

How much salt is too much? Salt can affect health by raising blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart failure and heart attack. Stroke, osteoporosis, fluid retention, kidney problems, and more are also connected with salt levels.

Salt, sodium chloride, is found in every cell in your body. It is needed for good health. Nerve and muscle function require sodium. Blood pressure and blood flow volume are dependent on sodium. How much is too little?

The FDA issued draft guidance to reduce salt by 12% but did not identify a start date. Instead, they are collecting data from member companies. How much is too much?

Salt Levels

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-dangers-of-sodium-restriction. Current recommendations https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21233236/ suggest that 1,500 mg of salt/day is the absolute minimum. Other standards tell us the lower limit should be 2,300 mg/day. Too little salt may increase insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart issues. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21036373/.

Too little or too much salt can cause heart problems. Blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16490476/ and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21731062/ discuss heart health when salt levels are too low. We know that excessively high salt levels in the body can lead to heart attack and stroke. Seriously deficient salt levels in the body can lead to heart failure. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21731062/

Most of the problems with salt center around eating out (not at home). More people eat fast food than ever before. Salt is much easier to control when you cook at home. If your doctor has placed you on a low-sodium diet to address blood pressure issues, you must become an expert on the salt levels of all the foods you eat – especially those that come in packages.

Draft Guidance

https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/fda-salty-foods/2021/10/13/id/1040292/. The FDA wants to cut back salt in the American diet by twelve percent – from 3,400 to 3,000 mg/day. The current lower limit of 2,300 mg/day is not addressed in this new guidance document. https://www.axios.com/fda-new-guidance-lower-sodium-salt-consumption-e5a04902-2085-431b-9a12-352e4914f444.html

These current goals are voluntary and are planned to be incorporated within the next three years. One hundred sixty-three foods are targets of reduced salt levels. The FDA is directing that the change be incremental over the next few years and will monitor industry progress in achieving them.

Conclusion

The FDA has changed salt levels in the past. This is a continuing follow-up to prevent unnecessary disease. Currently, the recommendations are voluntary. Why are they not mandatory immediately? If we want to reduce disease, start today!

Salt is a double-edged sword of sorts. We need salt, but too much or too little is harmful. I cook most of my meals at home. I use Himalayan salt (pink salt) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pink-himalayan-salt and have for years. Table salt has many additives that may or may not be healthy. Iodine is one element added to salt that helps. Fluoride does not. Iron helps a few people.

Then you have calcium aluminosilicate, calcium carbonate, calcium silicate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium oxide, sodium aluminosilicate, sodium ferrocyanide, tricalcium phosphate, and maybe one or two others. So table salt is not simply sodium and chloride.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Pandemic Term Updated with New Name by World Health Organization

One word to describe something is sometimes better than many, especially when it applies to your health.

New words are given to things that need clarity. Last year, breakthrough was defined by the CDC to describe those cases of fully vaccinated people becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/delta-variant.html

COVID Words

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/long-covid-now-has-a-formal-definition-from-the-who-what-to-know#1. Long COVID, long-haul COVID, chronic COVID, past COVID conditions, post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, and maybe another term or two have been used to describe COVID health issues that last more than four weeks after initial infection. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/effectiveness/why-measure-effectiveness/breakthrough-cases.html

Symptoms can include shortness of breath, trouble breathing, difficulty sleeping, muscle and/or joint pain, headaches, trouble concentrating, dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea, and coughing.

Check the following link if you have long COVID and it has affected your ability to work – https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomspiggle/2021/09/13/ada-protections-and-long-haul-covid-what-you-should-know/?sh=251e65724467

Latest Word

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/who-establishes-clinical-definition-of-long-covid. On October 6th, the WHO agreed upon the term post COVID-19 condition as the preferred word for describing COVID-19 symptoms lasting longer than a month. COVID-19 symptoms lasting longer than a month affect pulmonary, cardiovascular, and nervous systems more than any other part of the body.

Women, middle age, and those with several symptoms are most likely to see post COVID-19 conditions. No one knows why the symptoms occur after four weeks.

Lingering Symptoms

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html. Most of the time, COVID-19 patients recover in a couple or so weeks. In my personal case, my recovery was in two weeks; however, I kept getting incrementally better daily for another week or ten days after that. The WHO hopes the new terminology will help in the treatment of existing and future patients. Until everything is grouped under one term, it is difficult to identify safe and effective treatments for all.

Conclusion

The one symptom I hear from the few people I know who have this post COVID-19 condition is fatigue. From my personal experience, fatigue was a factor. My wife and I had a cough, fatigue, and no other symptoms and were on the road to recovery less than a week after initial symptoms appeared.

Any long-term disorder can create cognitive dysfunction and other symptoms that may not clearly be defined as COVID-19. Check with your physician to be certain.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 

Seven Ways to Shape Up and Slow Down Brain Aging

One day you have your life before you and then

Our brains age daily, incrementally, of course. However, inevitable brain aging can be addressed with simple lifestyle changes. Keeping your brain healthy longer is key to an enjoyable retirement.

Brain Aging

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-aging-brain-affects-thinking. What are some common symptoms of an aging brain? It takes a second or two (maybe more) to find the right words to respond to a question. Recalling names is also a common sign. Multitasking becomes more difficult. And paying attention is no longer a strong trait.

The brain shrinks as it ages. Nerve communications slow down because blood flow is less, and oxygen levels are lower with reduced blood flowing in the brain. The body’s ability (immune system) does not fight off inflammatory agents as well in our older years, which also affects brain function.

Blood Pressure & Brain Aging

https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/high-blood-pressure-linked-cognitive-decline High blood pressure (hypertension) is a recognized risk factor to cognitive decline in older adults. Memory and processing speed are two factors that show cognitive decline. Control blood pressure in your middle years (the 40s and 50s), and your later years are at lower risk.

How many people have the equipment to measure their blood pressure? How many people measure it daily? When your blood pressure is in and out of the normal range, do you know what causes it to spike? A blood pressure medicine may work effectively for a while. However, some people require a change in blood pressure medications every several years.

High blood pressure has many causes. Blood pressure medicine addresses one or several potential causes. Aging introduces new factors that can influence blood pressure. Most clinical studies on blood pressure do not account for dementia in later life.

Cholesterol & Brain Aging

https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/can-low-cholesterol-keep-your-brain-healthy and https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/abnormal-cholesterol-metabolism-linked-dementia-risk. People with high levels of cholesterol tend to have high levels of beta-amyloid proteins. We typically think of cholesterol as a heart health issue. Yet, cholesterol levels have been linked to brain health also.

High levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol appear to promote high levels of beta-amyloid. However, the high levels are not an absolute risk but can become a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease when beta-amyloid plaques build up in the brain.

Blood Sugar & Brain Health

https://hms.harvard.edu/news-events/publications-archive/brain/sugar-brain The brain uses sugar (glucose) as the primary energy source, as does every cell in your body. The demand for sugar in the brain is enormous – about half the sugar energy needed for your entire body.

Thinking, memory, learning, and more are dependent on glucose levels. Too little or too much sugar can cause brain health issues. Not enough sugar and the neurotransmitters begin to break down. This is seen with complications of diabetes with low blood glucose levels.

Persistent high levels of blood glucose affect the brain’s functional connectivity to all areas of the brain. Therefore, long-term exposure to consistently elevated levels of blood glucose can restrict blood flow causing cognitive issues and could develop into vascular dementia.
https://www.healthline.com/health/type-3-diabetes. The term, type 3 diabetes, is being used often to describe Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercise & Brain Health

https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/physical-activity-brain-health/index.html. Exercise increases blood flow which provides more oxygen to the brain. Regular physical exercise reduces the risk of cognitive decline.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091743520303030?via%3Dihub. People who exercise have half the risk factor for dementia compared to those who are less active. Most researchers suggest 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495. Many studies support exercise to reduce depression and anxiety.

Diet & Brain Health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626. Good nutrition leads to good health. Nutrient deficiency leads to many health issues. I have been an advocate for nutritional balance since I read about its dramatic effect on Dr. Terry Wahls. I bought her book, The Wahls Protocol, and started my wife on the diet protocol of her book.

My wife had breast cancer and her oncologist highly recommended chemo and radiation therapy. She had just finished six months of chemotherapy, with fatigue being the biggest problem. It was relentless, unwavering, and unassailable. No matter what was done, her unyielding fatigue continued.

Her radiologist told us it would probably worsen during radiation therapy. So on Day 1 of radiation therapy, my wife started the Wahl’s Protocol diet option. It involved eating over 30 nutrients the body needed daily. Why did I suggest to my wife this might help? Because when Dr. Terry Wahls put herself on her own protocol (four pillars – toxin removal, diet, stress management, and exercise), she could get out of her wheelchair and walk using a walker in three months.

Dr. Wahls had come down with multiple sclerosis late in life. No matter what the doctors recommended for her, the disease got worse. She ended up in a wheelchair for four years. Then, adhering to her own advice, she managed to leave the wheelchair behind and started walking using a cane a month after she mastered the walker. Within a year, she was bicycling 18 miles. I felt her spectacular recovery might help my wife.

My wife stopped taking naps forty-eight hours after starting radiation therapy as her fatigue disappeared. A week later, she was volunteering again at our church. On the last day of radiation, we left Houston and drove to Jacksonville, FL (one thousand miles). I rented a U-Haul to bring back my parents’ estate items that we wanted. I drove the U-Haul, and she followed me by herself and drove 500 miles each day – 72 hours after her last radiation treatment. Diet matters a lot!

Body Weight & Brain Health

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200805110127.htm#:~:text=As%20a%20person’s%20weight%20goes,a%20new%20brain%20imaging%20study.&text=FULL%20STORY-,As%20a%20person’s%20weight%20goes%20up%2C%20all%20regions%20of%20the,the%20Journal%20of%20Alzheimer’s%20Disease. I believe we all intuitively know that too much weight is unhealthy. A recent brain imaging study (https://www.j-alz.com/) confirmed that increased weight causes brain blood flow to decrease. I spent a long time reviewing the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease to find the specific study and was unsuccessful.

Analysis of over 35,000 functional neuroimaging scans revealed that low cerebral blood flow predicts Alzheimer’s disease. Reduced blood flow was found in those morbidly obese, obese, overweight, and underweight. Average body weight provides the best level of blood flow for a fully functional brain.

Smoking & Brain Health

https://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/smoking-effects-on-brain. Most people believe smoking is hazardous to your health. Even second-hand smoke creates a risk for those around you. Many studies support an increased risk of stroke, cancer, lung disease, and other health disorders directly to smoking.

Nicotine mimics several neurotransmitters (signaling systems in the brain). It also activates dopamine signals (the pleasure people have from smoking). Over time, nicotine tolerance builds up, and more nicotine is needed to satisfy the need.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3675806/. Cognitive decline begins earlier in people who smoke, and the risk of dementia increases. In addition, age-related brain volume loss (shrinkage) increases with more tobacco usage.

Other Factors

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-are-the-13-factors-that-shape-brain-health. Depression, social isolation, alcohol use, and sleep affect brain health.

Conclusion

Most of the risks associated with cognitive decline are controllable. Brain health improves as well as cardiovascular health – two components of excellent health in retirement. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/STR.0000000000000367

People make changes for several reasons – pain and pleasure are two primary ones. In addition, emotional events can trigger changes – sometimes instantly. It is easier to have a habit of good health than to make changes when you pass your 70th birthday.

A stroke can leave you dependent on others for daily care. Alzheimer’s disease is another condition that takes control of your life away from you. I listed seven factors to improve brain health in this article. Assess yourself and talk to your physician about making changes in your life, especially if you have a health issue and are on prescription medications.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Viruses More Potent Than Vaccines in Stopping Seasonal Influenza?

Viruses can prevent other viruses from entering your body.

Remember less than five years ago when seasonal influenza killed over 60,000 people. Two years ago, just before our current pandemic, over 400,000 were hospitalized due to the flu. What happened in the 2020-21 seasonal influenza season? Only 646 people died. Why?

I wondered about that a lot myself. We were warned about the Twindemic last Fall. Yet, it never arrived. Were some coronavirus cases misdiagnosed as seasonal influenza? No, only 1,500 people tested positive for the flu virus.

I had a virus test recently to determine if I had COVID-19 (yes, I did), and my one test covered 26 different viruses. Today, I heard the term – viral interference. I have never heard it before, but it makes a lot of sense. So, I did a little research and thought there was enough to share with my readers.

Viral Interference

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/778995/#:~:text=Viral%20interference%20is%20a%20phenomenon,infection%20by%20a%20superinfectant%20virus. Viral interference, also known as superinfection resistance, is when a virus currently occupying your body prevents other viruses (or bacteria) from infecting your body at the same time. Scientists speculate that interferons may be responsible.

Interferons are signaling molecules released by a host (your body) in response to invading viruses. For example, one virus has established a home, and it does not want any foreign invaders stopping by to compete for fertile ground. Interferons can signal nearby cells to raise their anti-viral network to keep other viruses at bay.

History of Viral Interference

https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/31/a-viral-mystery-can-one-infection-prevent-another/. Scientists have seen this happen for years. Edward Jenner was an English doctor noted for developing the inoculation process for smallpox in the early 1800s. A person with herpes would not accept the cowpox attenuated virus developed for smallpox. He surmised that two different active viruses could not live in the same host. https://www.clinicalmicrobiologyandinfection.com/article/S1198-743X(14)63294-8/fulltext

Recently, the H1N1 (swine flu) viral epidemic hit Europe in 2009; several countries saw significant increases in upper respiratory infections. The United Kingdom, Portugal, and Spain were overcome immediately with the swine flu. However, Spain was temporarily off-limits to the virus.

There were a few cases of swine flu in France, but not what was expected. Weeks after the swine flu infected other countries, France began to see spikes in upper respiratory infections from swine flu. https://www.clinicalmicrobiologyandinfection.com/article/S1198-743X(14)63294-8/fulltext. France was enveloped in another viral infection when the swine flu started making a round of the various countries in Europe. Once the local French infection subsided, the swine flu had no interference from the local cold virus and moved in and took over host duty.

Probable Pathway

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33103132/. Scientists experimented with both the swine flu virus and rhinovirus (common cold variant). Human tissue was infected with the rhinovirus and allowed to grow under laboratory conditions. Three days later, the swine flu virus was introduced. The host tissue rejected the swine flu and did not let it grow.

The thought was that the rhinovirus activated interferons that set off alarm bells around the rhinovirus territory and prevented any incursion of foreign invaders. The scientists then deactivated the interferon process and repeated the experiment. Without interferon activation, the swine flu was not rejected and grew alongside the rhinovirus.

Many viruses activate interferon signaling in the human body. Would swine flu activate interferons and stop an invading rhinovirus? We will never know. That experiment was not performed. We see separate and distinct cold and flu seasons. It is quite possible that the interferon process keeps colds like colds and flu as flu and will not let them mix. But, again, we do not know fully.

Conclusion

Did the SARS-CoV2 virus activate interferons to keep seasonal influenza out of the picture last winter? My money says this is possible and most likely. I have seen no other worthy reason.

However, I do not believe that wearing face masks stopped the seasonal influenza virus and only chose to let COVID-19 viral particles into the hosts wearing the masks. Yes, I will agree that face masks can contain aerosolized particles. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-72798-7. However, viral particles can easily enter between the strands of typical face masks used daily in America.

I heard a talk from a particle physicist a while back. He equated the standard face mask stopping a viral particle (not aerosolized) akin to a barb-wire fence stopping a mosquito.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 

 

Will the Next Variant be Worse Than Delta?

No one knows what the future holds, especially during a pandemic.

No one realized how aggressive the Delta variant was until it hit home. India had the Delta variant surge from mid-March through mid-June 2021. Accurate statistics for COVID-19 deaths vary, but more than a dozen experts believe COVID-19 deaths alone during the Delta surge probably reached four million. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/07/20/world/covid-variant-vaccine-updates

Around seventy percent of India has had at least one dose of vaccine. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-56345591. Hundreds of thousands died because facilities could not handle the volume of people needing oxygen, beds, and vaccines. Cremations across the country far exceed official figures for deaths due to coronavirus. The pandemic virus was nearly eliminated by using antiviral drugs (Ivermectin).

India was ravaged by the Delta variant. Over 80% of pandemic virus cases in the United States are attributed to the Delta variant.

Delta Variant

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1245971/number-delta-variant-worldwide-by-country/. The United Kingdom has nearly 70 million people and also has almost ten percent more cases (562,000) of the Delta variant than the United States (525,000). Germany, Denmark, France, Canada, Turkey, Japan, India, and Sweden round out the top ten countries with the most significant number of cases of Delta variant.

Viruses mutate. It happens randomly. Sometimes the mutant is worse – like Delta compared to Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Other times, it may fizzle and never achieve a variant name – like Delta. No one can accurately predict the next variant outbreak that captures attention as the Delta variant has.

Delta Responsible for Newest Cases

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/coronavirus/4378-new-breakthrough-cases-in-mass-37-more-deaths-in-vaccinated-people/2503185/. Some are asking the question about whether the latest cases of vaccinated people going to hospitals and dying are the result of the vaccine’s fading effectiveness or are the Delta variant is strong enough to overpower that viral mutation.

A perfect storm happens when conditions happen that exacerbate each other compounding the overall effect. For example, early during the pandemic, there were no treatments, testing was sketchy, hospitals were ill-prepared, social distancing was not in place, and the virus swept through many cities worldwide, destroying healthcare infrastructures and killing hundreds of thousands of people.

The Delta variant started in the United States as the Delta surge was waning in India. The United States medical and health gurus believe that vaccines are the best treatment for the pandemic virus. Yet, India controlled the spread of the Delta variant effectively with an antiviral drug. So, yes, the official word is that not enough clinical testing has been done with various antiviral drugs to ensure their safety and efficacy for the American public.

We see considerable increases in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths that are more likely to be caused by vaccine ineffectiveness than by the Delta variant. Both are happening coincidental to each other – the waning of the mRNA’s vaccine effectiveness to stop the infection and the presence of the Delta variant.

Vaccinated people are infecting others. Several articles recently (mostly since mid-September) tell us that the mRNA vaccine that started out months ago at 95% effectiveness in stopping the spread of the pandemic virus is not less than 50% effective and continues to degrade weekly.

A recent article published at the end of September 2021 from Massachusetts reported just under 4,400 new breakthrough cases last week with 37 breakthrough deaths. However, the article downplayed the percentages by comparing the most recently weekly total to the overall totals of new cases since the pandemic began.

The tiny percentage of breakthrough cases is 0.8% of the total pandemic cases. Is that a valid comparison? One week’s total of new cases (breakthrough) to over 18 months of accumulated COVID-19 cases? The numbers are a bit tricky to find. A good source of covid-tracking is https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/massachusetts-covid-cases.html.

Approximately 12,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported during the last week of September, with 4,378 of those cases analyzed as breakthrough – fully vaccinated people. That equates to nearly 40%.
Is forty percent a residual effect of a lingering Delta variant? I think not. The perfect storm of having the persistent viral mutation simultaneously as the vaccine’s loss of effectiveness happened. Vaccinations did not prevent just under half the new infections of COVID-19. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/18/covid-vaccine-effectiveness/

The clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines began in 2020, and emergency use authorization was granted so people could be vaccinated. What bothers me is that those clinical studies are still being followed – part of the original protocols set up to track the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

The mRNA vaccine companies know that the vaccines have degraded over time. Yet not much information has come forth from the official sources. We are being told that the effectiveness of preventing hospitalizations is still at 90%. How do we know?

To be that high, there must be a tremendous number of breakthrough cases to substantiate that level of protection. Thousands of breakthrough cases are occurring weekly.

We heard the term, booster, being bandied about a couple of months back. Was that the plan to address the long-term ineffectiveness of the mRNA vaccines? The timing seems right.

Conclusion

There are lots of new pandemic virus cases happening with fully vaccinated people. Current personal protective measures are not working. Do we cancel Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with families to minimize further infections? Do we suck it up and live with the 99% survival rate from this virus?

Lots of questions need to be addressed over the next several weeks. At the present rate of decline, those vaccinated in early 2021 might have less than ten percent efficacy by 2022.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

Half of Vitamin E is Not Enough for Long Term Health

Coconut and palm oil provide several tocopherols and tocotrienols.

After church last weekend, I talked with several friends about life, family, the pandemic, and health in general. Unfortunately, one of my conversations centered on death, especially that of heart attack and stroke. However, the friend I was chatting with had no fear of death but did not want to die from a stroke.

We did not get into details about why, but I surmised later that if you do not die immediately from a stroke, someone must take care of you. I am confident he does not want to be a burden on others. I believe all of us feel that way.

Stroke and dementia victims take tolls on both the victim and those taking care of them. Is there a way to reduce the risk of a stroke? There are many, but it may be too late for some to make effective changes once you reach retirement age.

Vitamin E

https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-E. Vitamin E is made up of eight different compounds. I read several articles before deciding to use this link. The other articles were higher in the food chain of Google’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but did not mention the eight different components of vitamin E.

The articles read as if one vitamin existed, and it could be found in various sources. Supplemental vitamin E is usually one component and nearly worthless as a synthetic version of the natural one, D-α-tocopherol acetate. DL-α-tocopherol acetate is the synthetic version. Check the label to be sure. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4852230/.

Vitamin E has four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Tocopherols have documented evidence of promoting healthy skin (preventing wrinkles in one of many), stimulating wound healing, reducing inflammation, slowing the aging process (age-related macular degeneration as one), as a treatment for heart disease, improving cognitive decline, and as a treatment for some types of cancers.

Ensure that the supplemental vitamin E you buy has all eight tocopherols and tocotrienols. All eight are not found in a single food. The four tocopherols are alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The four tocotrienols are alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.

Tocotrienols

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2956867/. This link is one of the more informative sources on tocotrienols and health. A 2013 study that caught my attention while researching this article was pancreatic cancer, one of the most aggressive and deadly human cancers. https://academic.oup.com/carcin/article/34/4/858/2463259 and https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2014/8/the-little-known-benefits-of-tocotrienols. A good friend of mine just had pancreatic cancer surgery, and this topic is of particular interest to me.

Laboratory animals with pancreatic cancer were treated with tocotrienols. One group (control) was treated with placebos. A second group was treated with the standard chemotherapy drug for pancreatic cancer, gemcitabine. A third group was treated with tocotrienols, and the last group was treated with both gemcitabine and tocotrienols.

The results were that ten percent of the animals in the control group (no tocotrienols), thirty percent of the gemcitabine group, seventy percent of the tocotrienol group, and 90% of the combined gemcitabine and tocopherol group survived.

Tocotrienols work through many pathways and mechanisms – apoptosis (programmed cell death), slowing tumor growth, inhibiting blood flow, inhibiting metastasis, decreasing cancer gene expression, and increasing genes that suppress cancer growth.

Brain Health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464523/ and https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/health/alternatives/2013/06/02/tackling-stroke-with-palm-vitamin-e-tocotrienols. There are two types of strokes – ischemic (caused by blood clots) and hemorrhagic (caused by bleeding inside the brain). Almost ninety percent of strokes are ischemic. Those surviving a stroke (around 70%) will have severe disability immediately and may continue to experience severe disability a year later.

A mini-stroke (TIA – transient ischemic attack) is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain. Several studies showed that vitamin E (tocotrienols) offered significant protection from post-stroke damage and disability. Tocotrienols (especially alpha-tocotrienol) have arteriogenic (increase artery diameter) properties.

Through arteriogenesis, blood flow is increased and minimizes the damage caused by blood flow blockage. In addition, scientists noted that collateral arteries were formed around the stroke-damaged areas. Further studies revealed that tocotrienols slowed the conversion of arachidonic acid into pro-inflammatory molecules—this reduced inflammation resulting from an ischemic attack.

Tocotrienols also reduced oxidant damage in the brain tissues. In addition, confirming earlier studies, tocotrienols created new arterioles to restore blood flow and oxygen to the areas affected by ischemic attacks.

Conclusion

There are many other studies of tocotrienols and liver disease, heart disease, brain health, bone health, anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, etc. Patients with dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, have lower levels of both tocopherols and tocotrienols.

Alpha tocotrienol offers more neuroprotection than other tocotrienols or tocopherols. One-billion-billionth of a mole (attomole) of alpha tocotrienol can block brain cell death from overstimulation of glutamate. So literally, any amount of alpha tocotrienol in your body can provide miraculous brain cell-saving protection.

I buy vitamin E (mixed tocopherols and mixed tocotrienols) and vitamin K (with both MK4 and MK7). Not all the foods I choose to eat provide adequate levels of all eight components of vitamin E and the two menaquinones found in vitamin K.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 

Natural Compound in Basil Found to Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Natural compound in basil might fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists work daily to find methods to disrupt pathways that create disease. For example, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has several pathways – genetics, inflammation, oxidative stress, protein structural issues, excitotoxicity, and probably a few more less known.

I have written over forty articles on AD and continue to find new information, like today’s article, that provides another arrow in the quiver to address AD.

Latest Study

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-10-natural-compound-basil-alzheimer-disease.html. Fenchol is a terpene and can smell like pine, lemon, or camphor. It is found in basil and other plants. Medicinal properties associated with fenchol are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and analgesic (pain relief).

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2021.735933/full was published last week in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. We have known for decades that there is a close link between the gut and brain. The gut microbiome is called the second brain.

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced in our gut. SCFAs create metabolites in our gut. Metabolites are the intermediary or end products of a metabolic process. Sometimes these processes produce energy, assist in growth or reproduction, or provide other maintenance functions for health. Metabolites drive various functions – signaling, stimulation, and inhibition.

The metabolites of SCFAs provide nutrition for our gut microbiome. As such, the health of the gut microbiome is linked to our brain health. Older adults with mild cognitive impairment have fewer SCFAs. A decline in SCFAs does not cause dementia or AD, but the linkage has scientists researching to find the cause-and-effect relationship.

Connection to Alzheimer’s

https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00041.2018. SCFAs activate free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2) receptors on neurons in the brain. When stimulated, brain cells (neurons) are protected against toxic accumulation of the amyloid-beta protein. Accumulations of amyloid-beta proteins are one of many pathways to AD. Neuron loss and death lead to neurological disease. Symptoms of neurological disease are loss of memory, erratic thinking, and other cognitive difficulties.

SCFAs metabolites stimulate FFAR2 that protect neurons from toxicity. When FFAR2 is inhibited in laboratory experiments, an abnormal buildup of amyloid-beta protein appears. There is a direct relationship between the level of FFAR2 and the appearance and accumulation of amyloid-beta proteins.

Nearly 150,000 natural compounds were screened to find those that could mimic the same natural biological effect of SCFAs metabolites in stimulating FFAR2. Our normal gut output of SCFAs is used up providing nutrition to many organs in our body before they reach the brain.

If researchers could find a way to target FFAR2 receptors on neurons specifically, then another tool is available to fight AD.

Fenchol binds to FFARs on neurons and stimulates the signaling processes. Laboratory animal studies showed that fenchol stimulated the FFAR2 receptor enough to reject neurotoxicity that supports the accumulation of amyloid-beta. In the presence of fenchol, amyloid-beta deposits were significantly reduced in the animal’s brain cells.

Upon close examination of the defense mechanism associated with fenchol binding to FFAR2, scientists discovered that fenchol decreased senescent neuronal cells (zombie cells) found in the brains of AD patients. Zombie cells accumulate in diseased and damaged tissues causing stress and death. They also send signals to surrounding healthy cells that can create similar conditions for growth and eventual harm to those healthy cells.

Fenchol stimulated FFAR2 to reject the neurotoxic pathway and addressed a side effect of zombie cells that exacerbate neurotoxicity in the brain. When amyloid-beta proteins were not allowed to aggregate on the neurons, they were swept away by the brain’s normal cleansing processes reducing the overall accumulation of amyloid-beta in the brain.

Conclusion

This is data derived from research and supports future studies to delve deeper into the cause-and-effect issues that support AD development. Adding extra basil to your Caprese salad or spaghetti might be premature. Human trials have not commenced. How humans process fenchol from basil is unknown. Is it bioactive and ready to stimulate FFAR2 receptors immediately? Or must it be isolated and refined a bit more?

Maybe a basil pill will be forthcoming? How fast does fenchol leave the gut and travels to the brain is also unknown. Will it hurt to add more basil to thwart the development of AD? I do not believe so.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 

 

Brain Health and Function Improved with Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Mushrooms offer many health benefits. Some improve our brain’s health.

Brain health is essential to all of us. Dementia is a disease that nearly everyone wants to avoid. However, to be an effective brain supplement, it must pass through the blood-brain barrier. Many supplements cannot.

Brain Function Improvement

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/can-lions-mane-mushroom-improve-brain-function. Lion’s main mushroom is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. It has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce depression. The significant health benefit is its anti-inflammatory properties.

Antidepressant benefits were found in a 2018 study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855563/ published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Behavioral changes were noted in appetite, nervous behavior, and procrastination. Other studies support similar results – https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/3/Supplement_1/nzz052.P14-021-19/5518278?login=true

Alzheimer’s & Lion’s Mane

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987239/ This link is revealing in that it covers many aspects of brain health. Lion’s mane enhances neuron (axons and dendrites) growth. As such, this can potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease

Animal studies show that lion’s mane has positive responses to ischemic stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Clinical data suggests that the lion’s mane is safe.

Neurogenesis is the process by which our brains form connections (thoughts, ideas, memories, and more). These connections wane as we age. Thus, lion’s mane might be a supplement of choice to reduce memory issues with aging.

Conclusion

Toxicology studies have found nothing to suggest health concerns. However, some people are naturally allergic to mushrooms, and any change in diet should be brought to the attention of your physician.

Lion’s mane is an alternative medicine rather than a traditional medicine and is not subject to the Food and Drug Administration guidelines and regulations. Not all supplements are standardized to the same potency and quality levels.

Patients with neurological issues might benefit from the supplementation of Lion’s mane. Always consult with your doctor before making any health decisions when you have existing medical conditions and are taking prescription medicines.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com