Update on my cancer situation …

I last wrote about my cancer situation on November 18 in Booking my biopsy That was the last you heard about my experience with lung cancer. Sorry if I have kept you in the dark, but the fact is that I am also in the dark. I had the biopsy on November 28, but that seemed to only confirm that I, indeed, have cancer. They were able to give me no further details on my condition. Instead, I now have an appointment with an oncologist on December 20.

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The one positive occurrence seems to be that I am booked for two scans, brain and body, to determine the extent of the cancer. So, it seems that they will finally be able to ascertain the extent of my lung cancer. My scans are booked for Monday, December 12.

Now you know everything I do about my cancerous condition. Sadly, not very much and not very positive.

I asked the surgeon who did the biopsy if the fact that I have been living an active, healthy life with a lot of physical exercise worked for me in this situation. She said that my healthy condition would make it possible for them to attack the cancer more aggressively.

That is the extent of what I know as of right now – more than a month after first learning that I was likely carrying a cancerous mass in my left lung.

As they used to say on the radio when I was a kid … stay tuned.



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Quarter of former Olympians suffer from osteoarthritis – Study

One in four retired Olympians reported a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, the form of arthritis that causes changes in the joint and can lead to discomfort, pain and disability, the research found.

Elite retired sportspeople who had experienced a sports-related injury had a higher chance of knee and hip osteoarthritis when compared with the general population.

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The athletes – who had competed at an Olympic level in 57 sports including athletics, rowing and skiing – also had an increased risk of lower back pain overall, and shoulder osteoarthritis after a shoulder injury.

Researchers hope the findings will help develop new approaches in injury prevention for the benefit of athletes now and in retirement.

The study – led by a University of Edinburgh based researcher – is the largest international survey of its kind, and the first to observe the consequences of osteoarthritis and pain in different joints from retired elite athletes across different summer and winter Olympic sports.


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Wireless smart bandage provides new insights on healing chronic wounds

A new type of bandage combines wireless electrical stimulation and biosensors to bring hope to patients with slow-to-heal injuries.

Some wounds just won’t heal. Infections, diseases like diabetes, and suppressed immune systems often stack up to slow healing. Chronic wounds can last months and lead to anxiety and depression. In the worst cases, they are life threatening. Cost of treatment has soared to $25 billion each year.

So far, however, solutions for treating chronic wounds have been few and far between, but researchers at Stanford University now report that they have developed a wireless smart bandage that has shown promise in speeding up tissue repair by monitoring the wound healing process and treating the wound simultaneously. The researchers say in a paper published November 24th in Nature Biotechnology that their device promotes faster closure of wounds, increases new blood flow to injured tissue, and enhances skin recovery by significantly reducing scar formation.

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Be aware of the current brainwashing …

Brainwashing doesn’t seem to fit the purview of a healthy living blog, but I thought that the present situation in media and entertainment merited this insight. I didn’t write the following, but I totally support the ideas and warning in it. You can find the original in The Advance News.com.

Brian Wilson Blog, https://brianwilsonspeaks. blogspot.com/2022/02/the-silent-brainwash. html 

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Brainwashing is best accomplished when you have no idea that it is being done but simply occurs as part of the fabric of your life. While you may “feel” that something is wrong, you are being programmed nonetheless. Think about TV Commercials and shows with these facts in mind. 

Facts: US population 334 million consisting of 57.8% white, 18.7% Latino,12.1% Black and 11.4% Asian or other. 

– Then break that down to about 10% of all existing marriages that are interracial including those of all races, and only 5.6% of the population that identifies as LGBT. “You would expect the same ratios in TV commercials if they represented America”, but here’s what you see instead, taken from a log of TV commercials over a 4 month period, which is quite different. 

– For TV, white men as the majority of Americans have all but disappeared. When they are in commercials they are either old, ugly and sick or they are the partner of a black woman and have no speaking part. In 3 of the commercials, the white men are doing laundry and always paired with a little girl to whom they are delivering the clean clothes. In other words, less than 10% of the population is driving 90% of the narrative. 


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Healthy Bones for Life – Rush

There are many misconceptions about osteoporosis. This might be the biggest: It’s a disease of aging, the inevitable result of losing bone mass over the years.

“Osteoporosis risk actually begins at birth,” says Sanford Baim, MD, a rheumatologist at Rush University Medical Center. “It’s a lifelong issue, and you have to think about all of the factors that go into your risk of fractures, from genetics to lifestyle to medical conditions.”

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While you can’t change your family history, you can — and should — take the following steps to protect your bones at every stage of life.

1. Keep tabs on your bone density

Women 65 and older and men 70 and older should get regular bone density tests, or DXA scans. You may need to start earlier if you have an increased risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.

Factors that increase your risk include the following:

If you do have a chronic health issue, make sure you are managing it properly. “If you don’t control the disease, you increase your risk of complications, including those that can weaken bones,” Baim says.

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Shingles associated with increased risk for stroke, heart attack

  • Study of more than 200,000 people demonstrated that herpes zoster (shingles) is associated with an almost 30% higher long-term risk of a major cardiovascular event
  • Elevated risk may persist for 12 years or more after developing shingles
  • Risk may be greater among those with potentially immunocompromising conditions or who are taking immunosuppressing treatments

A new study by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, demonstrated that shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is associated with an almost 30% higher long-term risk of a major cardiovascular event such a stroke or heart attack. Their results are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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“Our findings suggest there are long-term implications of shingles and highlight the importance of public health efforts for prevention,” said lead author Sharon Curhan, MD, ScM, a physician and epidemiologist in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Given the growing number of Americans at risk for this painful and often disabling disease and the availability of an effective vaccine, shingles vaccination could provide a valuable opportunity to reduce the burden of shingles and reduce the risk of subsequent cardiovascular complications.”

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Frivolous Friday …

Hopefully, these little items will add a note of warmth to you. We are freezing here in Chicago.


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Should YOU Worry About Osteoporosis? – Tufts

In estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, a bone disease that occurs when the body loses calcium from bone faster than it builds new bone, leading to low bone density. This condition increases the risk of a broken bone. Such fractures happen in about half of women and up to one quarter of men over age 50 who have osteoporosis.

Know Your Risk. Osteoporosis literally means porous bone. “Under a microscope, healthy bone looks like a honeycomb, says Andrea J. Singer, MD, chief medical officer of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. “With osteoporosis, the spaces in the honeycomb become larger.” The bones become weak and more likely to break.

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Risk for osteoporosis increases with age (especially after age 65). While this disease can affect men and women of all races, “women are more at risk than men because they tend to have smaller, thinner bones to begin with,” says Singer. “White women and women of Asian descent are at higher risk, and risk for all women increases when levels of estrogen decrease after menopause.” Other risk factors include a family history of osteoporosis or hip fracture, smoking, alcohol intake, inactivity, vitamin D deficiency, and certain medical conditions (including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis) and medications (such as glucocorticoids).

A bone mineral density test is used to determine if you are at risk for or have osteoporosis. This test uses X-rays to determine the mineral density of your bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the following groups get a bone density test:

  • women age 65 or older;
  • men age 70 or older;
  • postmenopausal women under age 65 with risk factors; and
  • men age 50 to 69 with risk factors.

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Risk of seizures is higher after COVID-19 than after influenza

People who have a COVID-19 infection are more likely to develop seizures or epilepsy within the next six months than people who have an influenza infection, according to a study published in the November 16, 2022, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The increased risk was more noticeable in children than adults. It was also more noticeable in people who did not need hospitalization for COVID-19 infections.

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“While the overall risk of developing seizures or epilepsy was low—less than 1% of all people with COVID-19, given the large number of people who have been infected with COVID-19, this could result in increases in the number of people with seizures and epilepsy,” said study author Arjune Sen, MD, PhD, of the University of Oxford in England. “In addition, the increased risk of seizures and epilepsy in children gives us another reason to try to prevent COVID-19 infections in kids.”

For the study, researchers looked at a health records network for people with COVID-19 infections. They were matched to people who were diagnosed with influenza during the same time period and who were similar in age, sex and other factors, such as other medical conditions. None of the participants had previously been diagnosed with epilepsy or recurrent seizures. The researchers then looked to see whether people developed epilepsy or seizures in the following six months.

There were 152,754 people in each of the COVID-19 and influenza groups.

People who had COVID-19 were 55% more likely to develop epilepsy or seizures over the next six months than people who had influenza. The rate of new cases of epilepsy or seizures was 0.94% in the people who had COVID-19, compared to 0.60% in those who had influenza.

“People should interpret these results cautiously since the overall risk is low,” Sen said. “We do, however, recommend that health care professionals pay particular attention to individuals who may have more subtle features of seizures, such as focal aware seizures, where people are alert and aware of what is going on, especially in the three months following a less severe COVID-19 infection.”

A limitation of the study was that researchers were unable to identify which specific virus variants people were infected with, which could have influenced results.

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Less than five hours’ sleep a night linked to higher risk of multiple diseases

Getting less than five hours of sleep in mid-to-late life could be linked to an increased risk of developing at least two chronic diseases, finds a new study led by University College London (UCL) researchers.

The research, published in PLOS Medicine, analysed the impact of sleep duration on the health of more than 7,000 men and women at the ages of 50, 60 and 70, from the Whitehall II cohort study.

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Researchers examined the relationship between how long each participant slept for, mortality and whether they had been diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases (multimorbidity) — such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes — over the course of 25 years.

People who reported getting five hours of sleep or less at age 50 were 20% more likely to have been diagnosed with a chronic disease and 40% more likely to be diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases over 25 years, compared to people who slept for up to seven hours.


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What is the best time of day to exercise for heart health?

Morning physical activity is associated with the lowest risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a study in more than 85,000 individuals published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology. The findings were consistent regardless of the total amount of daily activity.

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“It is well established that exercise is good for heart health, and our study indicates that morning activity seems to be most beneficial,” said study author Ms. Gali Albalak of Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands. “The findings were particularly pronounced in women, and applied to both early birds and night owls.”

The study used data from the UK Biobank. It included 86,657 adults aged 42 to 78 years who were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline. The average age was 62 years and 58% were women. Participants wore an activity tracker on their wrist for seven consecutive days. Participants were followed for incident cardiovascular disease, which was defined as the first hospital admission or death related to coronary artery disease or stroke.

During six to eight years of follow up, 2,911 participants developed coronary artery disease and 796 had a stroke. Comparing peak activity times across a 24 hour period, being most active between 8 am and 11 am was linked with the lowest risks of both heart disease and stroke.

In a second analysis, the investigators divided participants into four groups based on the peak time of physical activity: 1) midday; 2) early morning (~8 am); 3) late morning (~10 am); and 4) evening (~7 pm). The categories were selected according to peak times of activity in the study population, rather than being predetermined before the study began. Associations between peak time of activity and incident cardiovascular disease were analysed using midday as the reference group.


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The psychological effects of your morning coffee – BPS

Many of us use coffee to help us to get going in a morning, or to add a little zing to a flagging workday. But recent research reveals psychological effects that go far beyond boosting alertness, and not all of them are good, according to the British Psychological Society (BPS).

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The ‘up’ sides

Caffeine in coffee is a central nervous system stimulant. It increases alertness and improves focus and problem-solving. And if you’re someone who ‘uses’ caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, to help you to feel more alert for an exam, there is some evidence that it will help. A study specifically on university students found that caffeine led to a “striking improvement” on memory tests taken in the early morning, which is typically a ‘low’ point for young adults. A separate group of participants who were asked to do some exercise did not show this benefit — so it seems to be down to a direct effect on memory, rather than via a boost to general arousal, the team reports.

Research published last year also expanded the already substantial list of benefits reported for visual processing. The team found that caffeine improved people’s ability to detect moving targets— which could mean reacting more quickly to anything from a pedestrian stepping onto the road to a football hurtling your way during a game of five-a-side.

The ‘down’ side

Beware of drinking coffee before going shopping because this can encourage impulse-buying, according to research published earlier this year. The team found that people who drank just one espresso before going into a shop spent a staggering 50% more money inside than others who’d had a decaf coffee or a drink of water. They were also more likely specifically to go for ‘high hedonic’ items, such as buttery foods or relaxing products, rather than useful things. Why? The caffeine-drinkers reported feeling more excited (due, no doubt, to a misperception of a caffeine-induced faster heart rate as ‘excitement’), and when we are excited, we tend to be more impulsive.


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Higher sense of purpose in life may be linked to lower mortality risk – BUSPH

A new study found that this association persists regardless of race/ethnicity and gender, but women may benefit slightly more than men from the health-protective effects of purpose

Growing research indicates that one’s purpose—i.e., the extent to which someone perceives a sense of direction and goals in their life—may be linked to health-protective benefits such as better physical functioning and lower risks of cardiovascular disease or cognitive decline.

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Now, a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher found that people with higher levels of purpose may have a lower risk of death from any cause, and that this association is applicable across race/ethnicity and gender.

Published in the journal Preventive Medicine, the study results did suggest that this association is slightly stronger among women than it is among men, but there was no significant difference by race/ethnicity.

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Frivolous Friday …

Think of as these as a Thanksgiving day post-prandial treat. Kind of like a dessert with no calories.

Enjoy your weekend!


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Thanksgiving wishes to you and yours on this prelude to the holiday season 2022!



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Finding the solution to obesity

In the 20 years since Barbara Corkey, PhD, was named Editor in Chief of the journal Obesity, obesity among adults has risen significantly. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that one third of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older have obesity. Obesity continues to be a common, serious and costly disease.

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In an editorial in Obesity, Corkey discusses the many different theories explaining why obesity continues to increase despite best efforts at controlling weight gain in this environment, including increased availability and marketing of high-calorie and high-glycemic-index foods and drinks, larger food portions, leisure time physical activities being replaced with sedentary activities such as watching television and use of electronic devices, inadequate sleep, and the use of medications that increase weight.

According to Corkey, all of these purported explanations assume an environmental cause that is detrimental to the organism involved, (humans). “However, if we use the principle of symbiosis and Darwin’s theory of evolution, perhaps we can understand obesity prevalence as an interim stage in the evolution of man reacting to his environment in order to gain long-term survival and ultimate longevity,” says corresponding author Corkey, professor emeritus of medicine and biochemistry at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.

Humans have developed a method to feed the billions of people on the planet, by developing processed foods with preservatives and other chemicals that can make food last longer and can be made cheaply to increase calorie density in small packages. Corkey points out that those who develop obesity store body fat in response to excess calories. “Therefore the cause of obesity has as much to do as the human reaction to overfeeding as it does the production of foods that are being overfed,” she states.

Corkey notes that key developments in the obesity/diabetes field include bariatric surgery as well as multiple agents (drugs) with different mechanisms of action to treat obesity and prevent weight regain. “Novel drug combinations are beginning to close the gap with bariatric surgery and appear to be very powerful new tools to treat obesity as a disease.”

Corkey believes recognition of obesity as a disease and earlier diagnosis of diabetes and other consequences of obesity will support early and more effective treatment and prevention. “Importantly, disease recognition will help to support insurance coverage of effective obesity treatments,” she adds.

Lastly, Corkey examines culinary medicine as an emerging evidence-based field that brings together nutrition and culinary knowledge and skills to assist patients in maintaining health and preventing and treating food-related disease by choosing high-quality, healthy food in conjunction with appropriate medical care. “Culinary medicine has the advantage of being an intervention that can be implemented at the earliest time point in the development of obesity with no negative side effects,” says Corkey.

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