To Some, It is Too Far in the Past to Remember, and For Others, It Seems Like Yesterday

1973 – Top floor of the BOQ at Cubi Point, Philippines.

Fifty years ago, a ceasefire was implemented in Vietnam this past week. https://history.army.mil/html/reference/army_flag/vn.html This link gives a history of the Vietnam war.

I entered the U. S. Navy in the summer of 1968. I said, “I do.” to the Navy on a Sunday afternoon at NAS Dallas, Texas. The following Wednesday night, I said, “I do.” to my wife. I went to Dallas with my best friend to take the Naval Aviation Aptitude Test.

We both passed that test. I passed the aviation physical test, and he failed it – several times – hypertension. He was also my ‘best man’ at our wedding. I went to Pensacola in June of the following year (Class 2469) and became an Ensign in early October 1969. My best friend got a 4F medical deferment and was exempt from service. In May of 1970, I earned my Naval Flight Officer wings. My first duty assignment was VP-6, NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii.

We arrived in Hawaii in early January 1971. My squadron was returning from a six-month deployment in the Philippines. My first flight in my squadron was as a navigator taking people home for the holidays – post-deployment. I navigated from Hawaii to the mainland, and then the pilots took over the nav duties flying airways using TACAN. My first flight was from NAS Barbers Point to Harrisburg, PA.

P3 Aircraft

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/p-3.html The P3 aircraft’s primary mission is antisubmarine warfare. It can fly for many hours – most of my operational missions were at least 12 hours. The typical mission had three pilots, two flight engineers, one radio operator, one radar operator, one navigator, one tactical coordinator, two acoustic operators, and one ordnanceman. On some flights, an in-flight technician was also part of the crew.

Our squadron left Hawaii in late November 1972 for another six-month deployment in Westpac (western pacific). The mission was to fly the ‘yellow brick road’ (South China Sea), looking for infiltrator trawlers leaving North Vietnam and resupplying troops via the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam. Every vessel over 1,000 gross tons was subject to scrutiny.

South China Sea

https://www.google.com/maps/place/South+China+Sea/@11.1678673,112.0437852,5z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x317e79d4f0390dcf:0xd347a86ae63c44c9!8m2!3d15.488092!4d114.404754 To remain on station for a long time, two of the four turboprop engines would be shut down as it became economically feasible to maximize distance and safety.

Unless we came across a Soviet warship, we flew on two engines and stayed at 200 feet all day. Our objective was to locate and identify, in detail, all vessels transiting the South China Sea. Radar was critical for this mission. Contacts would be called out, and a plan to catch each of them was quickly devised.

Inbound to the contact (merchant ship in most cases), stabilized binoculars would be used to identify the ship’s name – usually on the stern or the bridge. We would fly down the vessel’s path and take pictures while one person called out the upright structure (masts, kingposts, cranes, etc.), and another would identify the course and speed. The location and time were annotated in the logs. The funnel markings and any deck cargo were also noted.

The name and structure sequence of the vessel were researched in publications we carried onboard. If the ship looked authentic, we could reduce the amount of data recorded in the navigation logs. If not, then as much information as possible was documented. Soviet Bloc vessels earned an extra flight over the top of the ship to take pictures. Photos were taken of both sides and the stern of every ship.

Our squadron had twelve aircraft and a dozen flight crews. During this deployment, three aircraft and four flight crews were rotated from Cubi Point, Philippines, to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, and Utapao, Thailand. Each detachment flew for ten days and then rotated to the next base. In one month, we flew out of each location.

Ceasefire

https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/dr/17411.htm#:~:text=Nixon’s%20plan%20worked%20and%20in,America%20honored%20the%20cease%2Dfire. The ceasefire started at 8 a.m. (Saigon time) on the 27th of January 1973. My crew flew a 10.5-hour mission that day in P3A (152162) and a 9.3-hour mission in P3A (152152) the next day. That month we flew over 100 hours. I remember distinctly flying and knowing that the ceasefire had gone into effect. We did not expect anything different, but it never hurts to be vigilant.

Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam

https://www.mrfa.org/us-navy/us-navy-mobile-riverine-force/u-s-naval-bases-support-activities-vietnam/cam-rahn-bay-u-s-naval-base-1965-1971/ Flying out of Cam Ranh Bay meant you were on-station rigging vessels within minutes of taking off. We would arrive at our first contact with just enough daylight to read the ship’s name. After that, we would fly until there was not enough daylight to continue the mission. We planned the end of the flight to be near Cam Ranh Bay for fuel reasons.

If we found an infiltrator trawler transiting south, we made one pass, took a photo with a telescopic polaroid, and departed the area with just that one pass. It was to give the trawler the indication that we were not interested in collecting any further data. We would standoff about 12-15 miles and keep the contact under radar surveillance.

A message was sent back to the squadron and the ‘ready alert’ aircraft would be launched immediately (usually within 30-60 minutes). If we caught the trawler early in the day, we would remain with him until the alert launch got to our location, and we turned it over to the alert bird. We then continued our mission. If this occurred later in the day, we truncated our mission and returned home after ensuring that the alert aircraft had control of the target.

What happened to the trawler? First, it would be tracked by us (Navy P3s) and sometimes a submarine. Then, if it turned into South Vietnam, aircraft would be launched to destroy the trawler.

Utapao, Thailand

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Air_Force_in_Thailand Missions flown out of Utapao, Thailand, were usually relegated to the Indian Ocean. We would get an advanced look at the merchant traffic headed for the South China Sea. Our ‘locate’ and ‘rig’ mission was applied to every radar contact. Some days we were delayed taking off from Utapao because a few dozen B-52 bombers were taking off in front of us.

At Cubi Point, Philippines, we could go off base into Olongapo for R&R. There were no off-base trips allowed at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. However, our free time at Utapao was some of the best of my life. If we did not have to fly the following day, most of us would jump on a baht bus, head to Pattaya Beach, and spend $6 a night to stay at the JUSMAG (Joint US Military Assistance Group) lodging – on the beach.

We returned to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, in May of 1973, having spent six months monitoring the ship traffic transiting the South China Sea.

Conclusion

It is interesting how routine things that happened years ago can seem like they were yesterday. It is hard to believe I was flying missions there fifty years ago. P3 aircraft have seen more than 50 years of service and have had many changes. It is no longer in service. NAS Barbers Point is no longer a military base.

I put 31+ years in the military – my first 4+ on active duty, the next 20 or so in the Reserves, and my final 6+ mostly on active duty. My wife and I will celebrate 55 years of marriage later this year. There is an old saying, Join the Navy, and See the World. I only got to 61 countries in the world, compliments of the Navy.

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

 

Vitamin D Improves Health in Those with Normal Body Weight but Not Those Overweight – Why?

Vitamin D does not treat everyone the same. The overweight have problems processing vitamin D as normal weight people.

Last week a study was published online in the JAMA Network Open. The researchers compared the health benefits of vitamin D in two groups – normal weight and those overweight/obese. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/article-abstract/2800491

The 2019 Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL) was the most extensive randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial focused on vitamin D and cardiovascular health. I remember the headlines at the time stating that vitamin D did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. I thought it was strange; however, I did no further investigation then.

A new set of headlines caught my attention today. The original study is included in my current review and assessment. I had dived into the initial research and found several interesting things. First, the vitamin D supplements given to the test patients were 2,000 IUs a day. Initially, I thought this was far too little to produce beneficial results. The study confirmed there was no improvement in cardiovascular health.

Vitamin D3 Pathways

As I look at cardiovascular health, vitamin D is one part of the equation. In addition, we think of vitamin D improving bone or skeletal health – and many articles support that. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257679/ is one of them. Vitamin D can enter the body through sunshine, food, or supplements and is converted in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. It can be stored in the liver, muscles, and fat tissue or sent to the skin, colon, brain, lymph nodes, and pancreas.

The primary path of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 is to the kidneys, where it is converted into 1,25 dl-dihydroxyvitamin D3 to regulate calcium metabolism – depositing calcium in bones, for example. However, calcium is not deposited in the bones without vitamin K2. The study did not include any analysis of vitamin K2. Once calcium enters the bloodstream, it can be deposited in the bones when vitamin K2 is present or in the heart valves and arteries (calcium plaques).

I believe that 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 is too little to be effective in testing the health benefits of vitamin D3 (1,25 dl-hydroxyvitamin D3). However, the study did impress me with the level of vitamin D3 testing – employing multiple biomarkers of vitamin D3 metabolism (total vitamin D3, bioavailable vitamin D3, free 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and vitamin D binding protein). In addition, the study focused on those with a healthy weight (BMI less than 25) and those overweight.

One noteworthy result was that cancer incidence was reduced in the healthy weight group but not in the overweight group. Why? Did weight, or excess fat, impact vitamin D’s ability to deliver the necessary benefits regarding cancer?

Vitamin D3 Levels

https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2021/5/vitamin-d-deficiency Part of the dilemma I see is the use of vitamin D threshold for health. The National Academy of Medicine defines vitamin D insufficiency as below 20 ng/dL. Other medical and health organizations suggest that 30 ng/dL is the minimum level to achieve health benefits from vitamin D. Regardless, the sufficient/insufficient levels of vitamin D3 for effectiveness have been bandied about for quite a while.

The study mentioned at the beginning of this article recorded an average vitamin D3 level of 28 ng/dL for all patients. The study also opined that anything above 30 ng/dL did not appear to protect against bone fractures. The upper limits of vitamin D3 testing were not defined in the study.
I keep my vitamin D3 levels above 80 ng/dL. However, it took years for me to determine the level of vitamin D3 supplementation to achieve 80 ng/dL by months of specific supplementation and then a blood test to confirm the results.

Life Extension Magazine has been following vitamin D3 research for over two decades. https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2010/9/michael-holick-the-pioneer-of-vitamin-d-research and http://drholick.com/askHolick/questions.html recommend 40-60 ng/dL for everyday health and above 60 ng/dL when a disease like cancer is being treated. However, whether you take 2,000 IUs or 8,000 IUs per day, the level of 1,25 dl-hydroxyvitamin D is not known. This is because everyone processes vitamin D differently.

Getting Back to the Study

https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/vitamin-d-absorption/2023/01/24/id/1105672/ Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Is circulating vitamin D stored in adipose (fat) tissue more in obese patients than in average weight? That is one conclusion. Another is that obesity causes vitamin D to be eliminated from the body faster than it can be used. Another theory is that fat tissue suppresses enzymes and receptors responsible for vitamin D. All theories sound plausible.

Regardless, vitamin D does not provide overweight people with the same health benefits as those within normal weight standards. For example, the risk of cancer was notably lower in patients with normal weight than those overweight.

A question about increasing the vitamin D3 supplementation levels in overweight patients was met with skepticism and non-agreement. The study did not recommend overweight people increase their daily dosage of vitamin D3 to improve the health benefits of vitamin D3 in their bodies.

Conclusion

I have been following the debates about vitamin D3 for years. It is one of the reasons I planned regular increases in my vitamin D3 supplementation over time with follow-up blood tests to determine how much vitamin D3 is needed to achieve specific levels of vitamin D3 in my body. Yet, the researchers and scientists mentioned in this, and many other research articles, do not address a body level of vitamin D3 to maintain and testing to achieve it. Life Extension is an organization I regularly use for reference.

Articles in Life Extension continually refer to circulating blood levels rather than 2,000 IUs or 8,000 IUs. When you do not know the internal levels of vitamin D3, how can you make general statements about the efficacy of higher dosages of vitamin D3? My wife’s oncologist regularly tested her vitamin D3 levels and wanted her to maintain levels between 80-100 ng/dL to assist with the chemotherapy treatments.

Vitamin D3 testing is relatively inexpensive and available. Before publishing this article, my quick pricing check found that four different laboratories priced vitamin D3 tests between $39 and $99, with most of the tests under $58. I always add vitamin D3 tests to my annual physical, and my insurance pays for it. If it did not, I would pay that cost myself.

Supplementation is the most realistic way to gain adequate levels of vitamin D3. However, sun exposure time, latitude, age, time of year, clothing, and other factors restrict the amount of vitamin D processing that can occur naturally inside your body when relying only on the sun as your source of vitamin D.

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

 

 

An Effective Drug-Free Option to Reduce Dementia is Available to Everyone

Our gut microbiome is like an alien spacecraft.

Dementia is a syndrome, an umbrella category, rather than a disease because it has no defining cause, distinguishing symptoms, and treatments. The term dementia encompasses many forms of cognitive decline. A syndrome is a better word to define a disease, like dementia, because scientists have not discovered the underlying cause(s) associated with conditions encompassing cognitive decline in older adults. Instead, it has been assumed that it is a natural result of aging.

Yet, some people with similar living conditions and backgrounds have contracted some form of dementia, and others live their later years without any brain health issues. If dementia were a normal process of aging, then everyone would be expected to develop some form of age-related disease, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and others.

Symptoms of Dementia

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352013. The most common physical symptoms associated with dementia are memory loss, difficulty finding words to express a thought, visual and special difficulties (getting lost easily), difficulty with reason and logic, confusion, coordination difficulties, and more. Additionally, many experience psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, personality changes, paranoia, inappropriate behavior, agitation, and a few more.

Dementia also has social and economic impacts on the people living with the syndrome, their families, and society. It is the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases.

Causes of Dementia

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9170-dementia. Ask your doctor what causes any disease, and you may get a relevant answer. Most treat symptoms and are not aware of the actual cause of a disease. When it comes to dementia, the causes listed are identified in the brain – not what caused the brain damage.

Sometimes, we know that a lack of oxygen to brain cells can create brain-health problems. Sometimes, it can be reversed. Diagnosis can be difficult. For example, a vitamin B12 deficiency mimics Alzheimer’s disease. So, most of the causation associated with dementia focuses on the beta-amyloid plaque, tau tangles, and other related neurological issues – brain cell death.

Current Treatments for Dementia

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/treatment/#:~:text=Donepezil%20(also%20known%20as%20Aricept,treat%20more%20severe%20Alzheimer’s%20disease. Doctors treat symptoms and the most common prescription drugs given to those with dementia are donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl). These drugs are cholinesterase inhibitors that concentrate on the connectivity between nerve cells. As nerve cells die, brain function declines.

Some doctors focus on risk factors. Age and family history may be a risk of dementia but cannot be addressed. Risk factors that can be adopted are diet, exercise, alcohol use, depression, diabetes, smoking, toxins, nutritional deficiencies, and sleep. Cardiovascular risk factors are also contributing factors.

The Effective Drug-Free Option

https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.18140. Social isolation is a risk factor for developing dementia. Some scientists tell us that our brains must remain active to control thoughts, memories, emotions, touch, motor skills, and more. Therefore, interpersonal relationships are critical for brain health.

Researchers will not tell you that lack of social interaction is a causal factor of dementia. Still, evidence continues to suggest that isolation increases the risk of dementia strongly. One in four elderly adults is socially isolated.

Addressing Social Isolation

https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/isolation-social-dementia/2023/01/13/id/1104335/. A 2011 study of 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries showed remarkable results. The participants completed a two-hour, in-person interview assessing their mental function and overall health and well-being.

Almost a quarter of this group showed no signs of dementia. Almost a decade later, over one-fifth of this group developed dementia, with a significant portion of those being socially isolated adults.

The study found that socially isolated older adults live alone, have smaller groups of friends, and are limited to activities involving other people. Another study discovered that technology could help the elderly by providing an opportunity to increase their interactions with others electronically via email and phone which lowered the risk of social isolation.

It was noted that participants of this Medicare group study who regularly used technology in their daily lives had almost a third less risk of social isolation from others. The results were published in the American Geriatrics Society journal.

Conclusion

Social isolation is a problem that can be addressed without huge costs. Having the technology does not mean a person will actively use it. There are still habits learned in social isolation that must be undone. Social isolation is one of many risk factors that cost little to incorporate into a lifestyle that reduces the risk of dementia.

Nutritional balance, caloric restriction, stress management, weight management, expectation management, sleep, physical activity, reduction in alcohol and smoking, regular health and wellness examinations, and contact with friends and family can reduce the occurrence and development of many diseases.

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

 

Can Gut Bacteria Increase Our Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease?

Tremors in the hands are one symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) develops when nerve cells in the substantia nigra part of the brain deteriorate over time resulting in our brain’s ability to produce dopamine.

Symptoms of PD

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055. Most people recognize tremors or shaking of the hand or fingers as a symptom of PD. Other symptoms are slow movement, muscle stiffness, impaired posture and balance, speech and writing changes, and loss of automatic movements such as smiling or swinging your arms as you walk.
Most people develop PD after the age of 50. A small percentage may see symptoms a decade earlier. Parkinson’s patients may have a slightly shorter lifespan than those without the disease. Most will live another ten to twenty years after it is diagnosed.

Causes of PD

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/parkinsons-disease/. What causes nerve cells in the brain to break down and die has puzzled many researchers. As dopamine levels decrease, body movement is impaired, and symptoms of PD begin to appear. What causes these nerve cells to break down and die?

Some scientists believe that genes are part of the cause of PD. Specific genes have been identified, but the family genetic progression is not normal. Therefore, the genetic cause might increase the risk rather than be a direct cause for the development of this disease.

However, environmental exposure appears to increase the risk of PD. Possibly the combination of genes and toxins might be enough to start the disease progression. Other risk factors that are believed to contribute to the development of PD are age and gender. Men are more likely to develop PD than women. Young adults rarely develop PD.

Complications with PD

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323399. As Parkinson’s disease develops, other health problems arise as a result. Cognitive problems are common, and most medicines do not improve these complications. Depression and emotional issues, such as fear, anxiety, and loss of motivation, are also common. Some medications work well with these types of problems.

Swallowing may become a significant problem as the disease progresses, resulting in increased drooling. Chewing and eating are also late-stage health issues. Sleep issues include waking during the night and sleeping during the day. Medications appear to address sleep issues adequately. Bladder problems and constipation are common complications. Several other health concerns include blood pressure changes, fatigue, pain, and loss of the sense of smell.

Gut Microbiome and PD

https://www.nature.com/articles/540172d. Our gut is our second brain. There are many interrelationships between our thinking brain and our digestive system. A study investigated the link between our gut and PD.

Gut bacteria in PD patients vary significantly from those in neurologically healthy people. Stool samples, family history, and other data were collected and analyzed on nearly 500 PD patients, and almost half that number was without any brain health issues.

PD patients showed sizable differences between the gut microbiomes of the two groups. Bifidobacterium dentium concentrations were higher in PD patients. This bacterium is known to cause infections and brain abscesses. Roseburia intestinalis bacteria were often lower in PD patients – a significant shift from healthy digestive systems. In PD patients, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Klebsiella quasipneumonia bacteria were also elevated. This group of bacteria is known for increased infections and inflammation.

Something caused the increase of unhealthy bacteria and a decrease in healthy gut microbes. Did the disease adjust the concentrations of bacteria, or were the concentrations the cause of the disease? Currently, no one is certain. However, it appears that there is a correlation between the gut microbiome and the development of PD.

Conclusion

https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/parkinsons-bacteria-gut/2023/01/19/id/1105071/. Death and impairment brought on by Parkinson’s disease are increasing faster than any other neurological disorder. The number of cases has doubled in less than 25 years.

As with most neurological disorders, no one knows how to prevent the contraction and development of diseases such as Parkinson’s. However, many speculate that exercise and a healthy diet can reduce the risk of this age-related disease.

Those who drink coffee, tea, and cola appear less likely to contract PD. But is caffeine a magic bullet? Or, maybe one or more of the phytonutrients in green tea, such as epigallocatechin gallate, act to inhibit the development of PD?

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

 

Can High-Intensity Exercise Delay Dementia and Related Diseases in Just Minutes a Day?

Sprinting is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

It has been known that regular exercise can reduce the risk of dementia by 30% and Alzheimer’s disease by 45%. Regular exercise increases the heart rate and more oxygen flows through our brains. Most of us do not have a regular exercise regimen.
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/risk-factors-and-prevention/physical-exercise#:~:text=Combining%20the%20results%20of%2011,reduced%20by%2045%20per%20cent.

Lifestyle has a major impact on our health and longevity. A study done in the United Kingdom followed over 2,000 men for 35 years. Five lifestyle choices were examined – regular exercise, not smoking, moderate alcohol intake, healthy body weight, and healthy diet. The risk of developing dementia was reduced the most by exercise.

Additional studies show that aerobic exercise improves thinking, memory, attention, and processing speed compared to non-aerobic exercise. The aerobic activity tracked in these studies averaged 20-30 minutes several times weekly and was maintained for at least a year. Aerobic exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain controlling memory.

No studies prove that exercise, aerobic or non-aerobic, prevents dementia. However, some new studies are promising. Of particular interest to me is the comparison of fasting and exercise and the resulting impact on developing dementia.

BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)

https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/bdnf/. BDNF is a protein in the brain that promotes the survival of nerve cells. Cell-to-cell communications occur at the synapse of two nerve cells. BDNF supports this communication through synaptic plasticity, improving our ability to learn and extract memories.

If BDNF can be used for new neuropathic connections, it is logical to assume that the brain can be protected from age-related diseases such as dementia. Animal models have shown remarkable success in brain capacity preservation and cognitive performance. However, human research has been lagging.

BDNF is increased with exercise. Most of us do not like to exercise or want to invest time and effort into exercising. However, fasting might offer a practical compromise. Fasting is becoming a lifestyle choice for some. Intermittent fasting is relatively easy to achieve daily.

Exercise vs. Fasting

The January 11, 2023, Journal of Physiology’s article, Fasting for 20 hours does not affect exercise-induced increases in circulating BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in humans. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP283582. Preliminary results indicate that fasting does not increase BDNF more than high-intensity exercise alone. What does this mean to most of us?

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/high-intensity-interval-training/, HIIT incorporates high-intensity exercise to increase heart rate for a brief time, followed by a low-intensity activity. It has been called sprint interval training, Tabata, and circuit training.

HIIT decreases body fat, increases strength and endurance, and raises the levels of BDNF. What duration of HIIT is required to obtain higher BDNF levels? Studies indicate that six minutes of HIIT is needed to raise BNDF levels.

BDNF and Alzheimer’s Risk

https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/exercise-high-intensity-brain/2023/01/12/id/1104128/. Research has shown that HIIT improves BDNF levels. Fasting improves neurobiological health in animals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8470960/. Additional clinical studies show substantial benefits of fasting for epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. The biological mechanisms of fasting show promise for Parkinson’s disease, ischemic strokes, autism spectrum disorder, and mood and anxiety disorders. Fasting improves brain health but does not increase BDNF levels compared to HIIT exercise.

BNDF improves and protects our brains. Fasting improves brain health. Could the two work together and provide even better results? The answer is NO.

HIIT exercise works exceptionally well to increase BDNF levels. While fasting (intermittent and prolonged) enhances cognitive function and overall brain health, it does not increase BDNF levels over that of HIIT exercise alone.

Conclusion

Six minutes of HIIT is enough to demonstrate increased BDNF in the brain. Incorporating HIIT with a healthy aging lifestyle should provide another layer of insurance to prevent or reduce the risk of dementia and brain-related diseases associated with aging.

This is the first study I have seen that incorporated HIIT and fasting to determine if one is better or if the combination of the two might show synergistic effects. HIIT exercise improves BDNF levels about four to five times higher than fasting alone.

This is a small study of a dozen men and women using cycling as an HIIT exercise and low-intensity follow-up. The study used ninety minutes of low-intensity cycling followed by six minutes of HIIT, where the heart rate approaches 80% of the maximum heart rate. That is a substantial exercise protocol, especially for an older adult. One advantage older adults have is that their maximum heart rate decreases with age.

The standard age-related maximum heart rate is determined by subtracting your age from 220. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/heartrate.htm#:~:text=You%20can%20estimate%20your%20maximum,beats%20per%20minute%20(bpm).

When I was 50 years old, my age-related heart rate would be 220 minus 50, which is 170. Eighty percent of 170 is 136. This means that my theoretical maximum heart rate at the 80% level would be 136 beats per minute. However, I routinely trained with a heart rate of 155-160 beats per minute in my 50s.

Today, at 76 years old, my maximum theoretical age-related heart rate is calculated to be 220-76, equating to a heart rate of 144. Eighty percent of 144 beats per minute equals 115 beats per minute. For many old guys, 115 beats per minute are not hard to achieve and maintain for at least six minutes.

In summary, HIIT exercise increases BDNF levels four to five times greater than fasting alone.

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

 

Plan Your Post Pandemic Health Today

Expectations affect our happiness. Are you expecting 2023 to be a better year?

As we are running out of days in 2022, the worldwide daily new cases of COVID-19 are fluctuating around 500,000/day and have since just after Labor Day. Even daily serious and critical cases have fallen under 50,000/day since April 2022 and are trending downward. Is this a predictor of nearness to post pandemic enjoyment?

Some days have been slightly higher, and more days have been significantly lower (up to 30% lower). https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ The worldwide daily death rate has declined to under 2,000/day during the last four months of 2022.

Is the post pandemic era about to arrive? What is the definition of a post-COVID-19 pandemic world? I define it as the absence of concern for viral transmission, the anxiety of being isolated or infecting others, the freedom to have close relationships, and probably cause to believe the future is better than ever.

Worldwide, since the beginning of recording pandemic-related deaths, the survivability of the pandemic virus has been 99%. However, most of those deaths were in the first year. If we calculate the latest worldwide daily deaths over the last three months compared to the number of new cases over that same time, the survivability rate is over 99.7%. Is that really a pandemic?

New Post Pandemic World

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/11/our-post-pandemic-world-and-whats-likely-to-hang-round/ There are many speculations about our ‘new post pandemic world.’ Many businesses have closed, and reductions in force are being made routinely as we approach the New Year.

Videoconferencing and working from home have become the norm. Some areas of the country are more open than others.

The United States pandemic statistics closely follow worldwide numbers.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ Since Labor Day of 2022, the daily new cases of COVID-19 have remained under 60,000/day, with several weeks under 40,000/day. In addition, daily deaths have remained historically low for the past six months, averaging under 500/day and several weeks under 400/day, yielding an average survival rate of 99.7% in the United States.

Is a disease with a 99+% survival rate a pandemic? That is the question for health professionals. I am concerned about my health and what I can do that will make it better despite living in a pandemic world.

My definition of health is a state of complete mental, physical, emotional, and social well-being – not just the absence of disease or infirmity. Likewise, my definition of wellness that accompanies health is reaching one’s fullest potential regarding emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual fitness.

How can we maximize our health and wellness to be miles ahead when arriving in the post pandemic promised land? I think the first critical question to answer is, how healthy are you today?

Current Assessment

https://blog.corehealth.global/how-to-evaluate-the-effectiveness-of-your-health-and-wellness-program Lots of good information in this link. Other things important to me are the annual assessments of my health. I have not missed an annual physical since 1968. For 31 years, I had annual flight physicals in the Navy. After I retired, I continued my annual physicals with my general practitioner. Nowadays, I have regular visits to my dermatologist, cardiologist, and ophthalmologist.

What current medications are we on today? Can the dosage be reduced or eliminated with other treatments? If we do not ask, we will always be on prescription meds. Some medications block a specific pathway for a disease; over time, the dosage must be increased, or another medicine must be prescribed.

I research the human body at the cellular level looking for cause-and-effect relationships. When we can identify a cause, the chances of successfully addressing the solution improve dramatically.
Along with our current meds, we need to assess our current weight, body-fat percentages, stress levels, sleep patterns, current habits that could impact our health (smoking/alcohol/stress), media attention (a significant stressor), anxiety levels, and overall situational awareness of how well we are doing. Unlike many corporate assessment programs, leading and lagging indicators for health are mostly unknown.

Diet & Health

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html  Most of the time, when we think about our health, it usually falls into two categories – diet and exercise. What do you eat, and how often? Is it balanced nutritionally? What supplements do you take and why? Do you track your calories, and how much control do you have over the foods you eat? What are you missing nutritionally? What aspects of your lifestyle need tweaking? There are many questions that we never address.

Sometimes, we blame it on genetics. However, epigenetically speaking, around five percent of genetics might be outside our control. Most of us recognize stress in our lives, but we do not realize how much we hold on to and never release it. Over time, it can become a health problem. What kinds of stress management do you practice?

Getting Healthy Sleep

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1 Sleep is the time for our bodies to recuperate and repair, allowing our internal organs the time to relax. How do you assess your sleep? Are you getting enough hours? Yes, might be the answer, but are those hours considered quality sleep? There are great suggestions in the link above.

Many of us have problems drifting off to sleep and then have difficulty transitioning to being fully awake. Stress can be a contributing cause of poor sleep. Anxiety can also be a cause of low-quality sleep. How is your focus? Are you irritable, fatigued, or have headaches, muscle aches, and stomach aches? How are your relationships? Do you have eating problems? There are many issues that we never consider when evaluating our current health

Conclusion

Alice in Wonderland has a great lesson about planning for our future. When Alice comes to a fork in the road, the advice she gets from the Cheshire Cat is if she does not know where she is going, any road will get her there. The same is true with our health. Do we know where we are and where we want to go?

Maybe today is a good day to figure out the first part – where are you today? Think about what is good and bad and what you need for a better life in the post pandemic world. It will arrive sooner than you think. At least, I hope so. I cannot imagine that we have to have a 99.99% survival rate to be declared post pandemic!

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

 

Brain Fog Can Be Removed When You Reverse Your Brain’s Age

Nats are an excellent source of magnesium.

Most Americans are deficient in magnesium, a mineral critical for brain health. Magnesium is also required for chemical reactions in hundreds of other body functions. Yet, resupplying the brain with the right kind of magnesium may reverse your brain’s age by up to nine years. Yes, there are many ways to reverse brain aging, but some are easier than others.

Brain Age Reversal

https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/cognitive-decline-can-be-reversed-in-mice-what-the-new-study-means. Nearly every disease starts as chronic low-level cellular inflammation. Left unchecked, free radical damage can result in oxidative stress, and disease pathways open easily. Controlling inflammation is possible with antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries, and spinach provide many critical antioxidants. Not all antioxidants are the same. Different molecules require an antioxidant that can match up structurally to donate electrons.

As we age, many of our cells die naturally. However, some cells refuse to go by the wayside. They are called senescent cells and can interfere with your body’s and brain’s health. Resveratrol, fisetin, and quercetin kill or rescue senescent cells. Additionally, the aging brain becomes more susceptible to another type of free radical damage.

Nature Magazine (January 20, 2021 – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-03160-0) discovered that specific types of white blood cells (microglia) in the brain are more vulnerable to inflammation from prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). As a result, a drug is being developed to short-circuit the one pathway that allows inflammation to spread via microglia.

Healthy lifestyle practices – avoiding smoking, nutritional balance, stress management, weight management, exercise, meditation, and more- can also benefit the brain’s ability to function well.

Magnesium

https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2022/12/magnesium-helps-brain-aging. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a form of magnesium that rapidly improves brain health and cognition. Magnesium L-threonate studies with laboratory animals show that magnesium is quickly raised in the brain and cerebral spinal fluid. Synapses are functional connections between two nerve cells. Magnesium is a proven protector of synapses and has been shown to increase the number of synapses when dietary magnesium levels are maintained consistently.

A clinical study using magnesium L-threonate demonstrated that the brain’s age could be reversed by as much as nine years. Pre-trial testing showed the average brain age at 57.8 years for the participants. Brain-age testing yielded an average age of 68.3 years. After the magnesium L-threonate trials, the average brain age was reversed by nine years. Similar testing has been conducted with reversing ADHD and proven successful.

More on Magnesium

https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2016/6/unique-magnesium-compound-reverses-brain-aging#:~:text=In%20a%20new%20human%20study,connections%20and%20youthful%20brain%20plasticity. Scientists believe that magnesium might also be valuable in treating dementia and other brain disorders. Magnesium L-threonate enhances plasticity, the brain’s ability to modify or re-wire neuronal connections. Plasticity is how we develop and learn and how the brain recovers from injury.

Tangles and plaques of beta-amyloid and tau proteins characterize Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Brain synapses are impaired significantly when tangles and plaques grow and expand. As a result, brain plasticity is inhibited, and cognition begins to decline. However, animal testing with magnesium L-threonate showed little to no loss of synapses, and no cognition deterioration was observed.

Some scientists inferred that magnesium prevented and cleared beta-amyloid plaque accumulations. Eighty percent of enzymes responsible for beta-amyloid aggregation were inhibited. Given that level of performance, magnesium is now considered a good candidate for Alzheimer’s prevention and correction.

Magnesium and Brain Plasticity

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4182554/. Further testing with magnesium L-threonate and patients who have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) showed significant results. PTSD affects the brain in fear conditioning. Certain events can trigger fear memories. This happens despite no injurious stimuli.

Time can tamp down the response. PTSD impedes brain plasticity. Magnesium L-threonate restores brain plasticity. The fear memory appears to fade more quickly in the presence of magnesium L-threonate. Researchers are considering how magnesium could benefit those with anxiety and depression – other disorders associated with fear.

Low Levels of Magnesium Are Dangerous

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23264-hypomagnesemia. Hypomagnesemia is the term used to identify low levels of magnesium. Your body must have a balance of calcium, potassium, and magnesium electrolytes to perform the required daily operations of life. Some of these minerals are stored in our bones, and we rely on these electrolytes circulating in the bloodstream.

Two percent of Americans are classified as having hypomagnesemia. That level nearly doubles when hospitalized. It doubles again when a patient is in the intensive care unit (ICU). Over half of alcoholic Americans have hypomagnesemia. A quarter of diabetics are also afflicted with low magnesium levels.

Tremors, muscle spasms/cramps, abnormal eye movement, and fatigue are common symptoms. The most prevalent cause of hypomagnesemia is diet. However, poor absorption (celiac, inflammatory bowel disease, gastric bypass, and some prescription drugs) can also contribute to this condition. Left untreated, hypomagnesemia can cause seizures, hypertension, stroke, migraine headaches, attention deficit disorder, and can lead to diabetes.

Conclusion

Magnesium L-threonate seems to be a potential panacea for many ailments. It can be purchased easily online or at your local pharmacy. I advocate balanced nutrition from foods rather than pills. However, magnesium L-threonate is synthetic – made from magnesium and threonic acid. Greens, nuts, seeds, dry beans, and whole grains are good natural sources of magnesium which the body needs daily.

Brain plasticity will decrease with age. So possibly, including magnesium L-threonate in your daily supplements might stave off the natural cognitive decline many experiences as they get older.

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

 

 

Can Past Performance Guarantee Future Success?

Almost every endeavor in life requires continual training and execution to be successful in the long term.

We usually hear that past performance cannot guarantee future success when the topic is finance. However, that same advice could be accurate for our health as well. What about those people who know why something happens and act accordingly to improve their current and potential future health?

I have a friend who fell and broke his arm and shoulder recently. He is retired and relatively active. Bone chemistry operates with certain caveats. Calcium needs to get into the bones. Taking a calcium pill or drinking milk does not get calcium to your bones unless other chemicals are present.

The Calcium Conundrum

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002062.htm. Most articles tell us that calcium needs vitamin D3 to get calcium into our bones. The article recommends certain levels of calcium and vitamin D3. I applaud the author of that article for suggesting foods high in calcium rather than a calcium pill.

Magnesium Needed

Most calcium pills are calcium carbonate and this chemical is difficult to absorb, especially without magnesium. https://us.betteryou.com/blogs/health-hub/magnesium-and-calcium-good-for-health. Calcium citrate would be a better choice for calcium in a pill form. It is better to get magnesium and calcium from foods rather than pills.

Vitamin D3

Magnesium helps calcium become absorbed in the stomach. It leaves the stomach and will pass into the bloodstream when your body has vitamin D3 sufficient to make this happen. https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2017/12/convenient-way-to-maintain-bone-health. It can be a two-edged sword if calcium is in the bloodstream, and you do not have enough vitamin K2. Calcium will be deposited into your heart valves and arteries rather than your bones.

Bone Loss Can Be Expected If…

https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2022/3/bone-loss-vitamin-k-high-dose. Keeping calcium in your bones is nearly as difficult as getting it there. Calcium will be leached from your bones to balance the pH of your blood. I found this out after my first bone density test. I was an active runner for decades and lifted weights for many years. I figured I had good strong, healthy bones. I ate a lot of dairy, and the prevailing thought that I heard was my bones would be stronger with exercise and eating right. Yet, my first bone density test indicated that I was osteopenia. Calcium was leaching from my bones, and I could not understand why.

Blood pH

https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2022/3/bone-loss-vitamin-k-high-dose. Our bodies react to the foods we eat. We become more alkaline when we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and our body’s metabolism yield acidic results.

The blood stays in a narrow pH range of 7.35 – 7.45. pH is the measure of acidity and alkalinity, with 7.0 being neutral and 1.0 to 7.0 being acidic – the lower the number, the more acidic. Similarly, the alkaline range is 7.0 to 14.0, with the high number being more alkaline.

When our body’s environment remains in the acidic range (or below 7.35), your body will leach calcium from the bones to maintain the blood’s pH. This results in your bones, over time, being less dense. As a result, over a longer time, osteopenia and, eventually, osteoporosis can develop.

Conclusion

We can control the foods we eat. For example, our bodies remain alkaline when we eat more fruits and vegetables than carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The simple answer remains with magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2. They are not the only required chemicals (nutrients) to get calcium to your bones. Phosphorous, zinc, potassium, iron, boron, and copper also impact bone health. https://www.dentistryrinconlorenzo.com/oral-health-and-nutrition/2018/1/4/the-why-how-to-alkalize-your-body/

I use pH paper to test my body’s pH by touching the paper strip to my tongue, and the saliva will wet the paper and turn a different color. I can tell the pH of my body immediately. It is an inexpensive way to check your body’s environment. Choosing more fruits and vegetables than proteins, fats, and carbohydrates will help you maintain a more alkaline body.

If you have been living in a more alkaline environment, the risks of many diseases are reduced. Hence, past performance can guarantee future success. And, the reverse can be said also. Past performance, poor though it may be, can guarantee some increased risk of bone density issues in the future if nothing is changed.

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

Fabricated Alzheimer’s Research Throws Current Treatments into Question

Several reviews of published data do not agree.

Science magazine conducted a half-year study that may have been flawed. A new study looks for links between heart health and Alzheimer’s

The original 2006 study in Nature Magazine, https://www.nature.com/articles/nature04533, opined that the beta-amyloid protein subtype, Aβ*56, damages memory independently of plaques and neuronal loss.

The 2006 Study Flaws

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1072994  Sylvain Lesné was the leading neuroscientist for the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Based on his findings, researchers have concentrated their explorations on finding cures that address the amyloid hypothesis as being the cause of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

In the early ’90s, the amyloid hypothesis proposed that AD was caused by amyloid-beta peptides deposited as plaque. There were many theories regarding the cause(s) of AD, but the amyloid hypothesis was the most influential. It also offered a reasonable explanation for the formation of neurofibrillary tau tangles because of an imbalance between the production and the brain’s ability to clear the amyloid-beta peptides.

The Subterfuge?

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/alzheimers-theory-undermined-accusations-fabricated-research-rcna39843.  The current Nature Magazine study found that many items in the 2006 Study by Sylvain Lesné may not be accurate or have been manipulated. Over twenty papers by Lesné show more than seventy potentially tampered images were used to support his claim of the cause of AD.

As such, most of the research since 2006 has been focused on the amyloid beta protein forming sticky plaques in the brain. Several scientists have found that their testing did not support Sylvain Lesné’s theory that the Aβ*56, a subtype of the amyloid beta protein, is the primary cause of AD. Similarly, researchers have not been able to reproduce or validate the 2006 study results. One neuroscientist who coauthored the 2006 paper wants her name retracted from the study entirely.

What now?

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature04533 Our memory degrades with time. One current trend of thinking is that the amyloid beta protein can impair memory independent of plaque formation or neuronal degradation. In addition, some studies suggest that oxidative stress brought on by a high-carbohydrate diet (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15082091/ and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32506713/) might be more implicated in the cause of AD than previously suspected.

Conclusion

When you have used the wrong hypothesis to develop testing protocols and medicines, it is depressing to learn that a lot of time, talent, and money has been wasted. However, it may be that the amyloid beta protein is one pathway to AD and that some research has not been worthless.

I have written nearly four dozen articles on AD and presently collating those articles into a book. However, this data, along with some other exciting research I have done over the past month, needs to be presented so it can be captured in my book. One new theory by Dr. Berg looks most promising as a (or the) cause of AD.

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

 

 

The Latest Study from the United Kingdom Can Diagnose Dementia Nearly Ten Years in Advance

Alzheimer’s affects many more people than the person who has the disease.

The United Kingdom Biobank analyzed nearly one-half million records comparing baseline scores with several neurodegenerative syndromes. The results are promising for the earlier detection of several types of dementia. https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/dementia-signs-symptoms/2022/10/21/id/1092904/

Data Analyses

https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/alz.12802 The results of this study appeared recently in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia, a journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. Researchers could detect subtle changes up to ten years before current screening techniques can diagnose dementia.

Diagnosis

https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/alz.053429 Studies such as in this link have been able to distinguish between dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and Normal Cognitive (NC). The study referenced in this article’s title was able to take that a step further.

Biobank recruited just under 3,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69 for testing between 2006 and 2010. Testing assessments were able to differentiate among frontotemporal dementia (FTD – 211 people), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP – 133 people), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB – 40 people), multiple system atrophy (MSA – 73 people), and 2,321 people who developed Alzheimer’s Disease.

Testing

https://www.medpagetoday.com/neurology/alzheimersdisease/101242?xid=nl_mpt_morningbreak2022-10-17&eun=g1972516d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningBreak-TEST_101722&utm_term=NL_Gen_Int_Daily_News_Update_active The testing of nearly one-half million people found vast differences in both cognitive and physical assessments of those not developing dementia (control group) and those who did development dementia (study subjects). Intelligence, reaction time, numeric memory, prospective memory, and pair matching were the categories with the most significant differences between the control group and the study subjects. The scientists were also able to isolate study subjects with a proclivity to suffer falls because of their neurodegenerative disease (PSP).

Conclusion

Successful treatment of disease is always better when it can be diagnosed accurately earlier. When subjects score outside the norms within the testing guidelines established by the screening panel, the hope is that further testing and research and identifying specific disease biomarkers to confirm and improve prompt treatment.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease affecting many beyond those who have it. I have written around four dozen articles on this disease, identifying biological pathways that the disease can progress through the body. I have been compiling these articles, which will be available in book form soon.

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