Category Archives: Uncategorized

Weekend funnies …

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time believing that we are getting close to October. Have a great weekend!

As a stick shift driver, I had to run this one.
I shot this and had to include it as a story-telling photo. This bike rack is in front of the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. I wondered what business the pint-sized owner had there.

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Rising U.S. stress, depression linked to pandemic-related losses, media consumption

Experiencing multiple stressors triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic – such as unemployment – and COVID-19-related media consumption are directly linked to rising acute stress and depressive symptoms across the U.S., according to a groundbreaking University of California, Irvine study.

Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

The report appears in Science Advances, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“The pandemic is not hitting all communities equally,” said lead author E. Alison Holman, UCI professor of nursing. “People have lost wages, jobs and loved ones with record speed. Individuals living with chronic mental and physical illness are struggling; young people are struggling; poor communities are struggling. Mental health services need to be tailored to those most in need right now.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Obesity Could Increase Vulnerability to COVID-19

I have written about the vulnerability to various maladies from obesity more times than I can remember. Now, it seems, obesity can result in negative implications attached to COVID-19.

Conditions related to obesity, including inflammation and leaky gut, leave the lungs of obese patients more susceptible to COVID-19 and may explain why they are more likely to die from the disease, UTSW scientists say in a new article published online in eLife. They suggest that drugs used to lower inflammation in the lungs could prove beneficial to obese patients with the disease.

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, varies widely in clinical severity: Some patients are asymptomatic while others have devastating forms that have led to more than 905,000 deaths worldwide.

Several pre-existing conditions have been shown to increase the risk of COVID-19 severity, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes – two conditions that often go hand-in-hand, says Philipp Scherer, Ph.D., director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research and a professor of internal medicine and cell biology at UT Southwestern.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Immune system affects mind and body – Study

New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis helps illuminate a surprising mind-body connection.

In mice, the researchers found that immune cells surrounding the brain produce a molecule that is then absorbed by neurons in the brain, where it appears to be necessary for normal behavior.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The findings, published Sept. 14 in Nature Immunology, indicate that elements of the immune system affect both mind and body, and that the immune molecule IL-17 may be a key link between the two.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Seven in 10 Americans willing to get COVID-19 vaccine – Survey

Almost seven in 10 Americans would be interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available, according to a new study. But researchers say there are concerning gaps in interest, particularly among Black Americans, who suffer disproportionately from the virus.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Researchers from The Ohio State University surveyed more than 2,000 Americans in May, asking them about their willingness to be vaccinated and 11 factors that could influence that decision. They found that 1,374 out of 2006 people in the survey, 69%, said they would “definitely” or “probably” get a vaccine. The survey found that 17% were “not sure” and 14% were “probably or “definitely” not willing.

The study, one of the first estimates of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in the U.S., appears online in the journal Vaccine.

Lead researcher Paul Reiter, an associate professor of health behavior and health promotion, said he suspected there would be higher-than-normal interest in this vaccine, considering the nature of the pandemic and the severity of illness many people have experienced.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Blood Vitamin D levels can predict future health risks and death

Free, circulating Vitamin D levels in the blood may be a better predictor of future health risks in aging men, according to a study being presented at e-ECE 2020. These data suggest the free, precursor form of vitamin D found circulating in the bloodstream is a more accurate predictor of future health and disease risk, than the often measured total Vitamin D. Since Vitamin D deficiency is associated with multiple serious health conditions as we get older, this study suggests that further investigation into Vitamin D levels and their link to poor health may be a promising area for further research.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Vitamin D deficiency is common in Europe, especially in elderly people. It has been associated with a higher risk for developing many aging-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis. However, there are several forms, or metabolites, of Vitamin D in the body but it is the total amount of these metabolites that is most often used to assess the Vitamin D status of people. The prohormone, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D is converted to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, which is considered the active form of vitamin D in our body. More than 99% of all Vitamin D metabolites in our blood are bound to proteins, so only a very small fraction is free to be biologically active. Therefore the free, active forms may be a better predictor of current and future health.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Risks and benefits of today’s most popular fad diets – Study

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. I might also add avoid fad diets.

In a review of existing scientific studies on trendy ketogenic and intermittent fasting diets, researchers at National Jewish Health concluded that these diets do seem to help people lose weight in the short-term, and modest evidence suggests they may contribute to cardiovascular health.

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

However, these diets also allow consumption of foods that are known to increase cardiovascular risk and are unlikely to be as effective at preventing heart disease as well-established nutritional guidelines currently recommended by health experts.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ultra-processed food linked with chromosomal changes linked to biological aging

A new study has shed light on the link between the consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPF) and the shortening of telomeres; sections of chromosomes that can be used as a marker of biological age. The work was conducted by Lucia Alonso-Pedrero and colleagues with the supervision of Professor Maira Bes-Rastrollo and Professor Amelia Marti, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The research, being presented at this year’s European and International Conference on Obesity (ECOICO 2020), held online this year (1-4 September), indicates that telomeres were twice as likely to be short in individuals who had a high consumption (more than 3 servings per day) of UPFs. Short telomeres are a marker of biological aging at the cellular level, and the study suggests that diet may be causing the cells to age faster.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How well we sleep may forecast when Alzheimer’s begins

What would you do if you knew how long you had until Alzheimer’s disease set in? Don’t despair. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests one defense against this virulent form of dementia — for which no treatment currently exists — is deep, restorative sleep, and plenty of it.

UC Berkeley neuroscientists Matthew Walker and Joseph Winer have found a way to estimate, with some degree of accuracy, a time frame for when Alzheimer’s is most likely to strike in a person’s lifetime.

“We have found that the sleep you’re having right now is almost like a crystal ball telling you when and how fast Alzheimer’s pathology will develop in your brain,” said Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience and senior author of the paper published, Sept. 3, in the journal Current Biology.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Pandemic’s effect on mental health swift and harsh on vulnerable families

As cases and hospitalizations from the pandemic begin to decline, collateral damage on the populace appears to be on the rise.

In just a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic swiftly and substantially worsened mental health among U.S. hourly service workers and their children – especially those experiencing multiple hardships, according to new research from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University and Barnard College.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The study leverages real-time, daily survey data collected from Feb. 20, before the pandemic hit the U.S., to April 27, when it was well underway, to examine how the crisis affected parents’ and children’s mental well-being. The 645 survey respondents were parents of young children working in hourly service-industry positions in retail, food service or hotel industries in a large U.S. city.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

COVID-19 can damage heart, even after recovery – AHA

A growing number of studies suggest many COVID-19 survivors experience some type of heart damage, even if they didn’t have underlying heart disease and weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized. This latest twist has health care experts worried about a potential increase in heart failure, according to a report in the American Heart Association News.

“Very early into the pandemic, it was clear that many patients who were hospitalized were showing evidence of cardiac injury,” said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, chief of the division of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. “More recently, there is recognition that even some of those COVID-19 patients not hospitalized are experiencing cardiac injury. This raises concerns that there may be individuals who get through the initial infection, but are left with cardiovascular damage and complications.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Diet and Blood Cholesterol Levels – Tufts

We cannot survive without cholesterol in our bodies. It is an essential part of cell walls, is used to make bile acids (which are critical in fat digestion), and is necessary for the production of vitamin D and a number of hormones according to Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. But too much LDL cholesterol and not enough HDL cholesterol in the blood is associated with increased risk for heart attack and stroke. While the liver can produce all the cholesterol the human body needs, we also consume it in the form of animal-based foods like meat and dairy.

Photo by Ana Madeleine Uribe on Pexels.com

Question #1: What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a lipid (fat), and, like other lipids, it does not mix with water. It therefore needs to be ‘packaged’ before it can move around the body in our (largely water-based) blood. These packages, called lipoproteins, vary in density, hence the now-familiar terms low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) may be a less familiar term, but VLDL cholesterol is emerging as an important health measure.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Weekend funnies …

I hope you are ready to have a wonderful weekend. I have to admit to being in an offbeat mood today. These struck me as a lot of fun.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Compared to Placebo, Vitamin D Has No Benefit for Asthma

Contrary to earlier results, Vitamin D supplements do not prevent severe asthma attacks in at-risk children, according to the first placebo-controlled clinical trial to test this relationship.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

“The reason that’s important is there are colleagues around this country and worldwide who are testing vitamin D levels for kids with asthma and giving them vitamin D,” said study lead author Juan C. Celedón, M.D., Dr.P.H., chief of pediatric pulmonary medicine at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “As a system, it costs a lot of money to run all these tests and give the supplements. We’ve shown no benefit for children with moderately low vitamin D levels.”

For three years, the Vitamin-D-Kids Asthma (VDKA) Study followed nearly 200 children ages 6 to 16 across seven different U.S. hospital systems. All had at least one asthma attack during the year before the study began. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Too Many COVID-19 Patients Get Unneeded Antibiotics

More than half of patients hospitalized with suspected COVID-19 in Michigan during the state’s peak months received antibiotics early in their stay, just in case they had a bacterial infection in addition to the virus, a new study shows. But testing soon showed that 96.5% of them only had the coronavirus, which antibiotics don’t affect

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The 3.5% of patients who arrived at the hospital with both kinds of infection were more likely to die. But the study suggests that faster testing and understanding of infection risk factors could help hospital teams figure out who those patients are – and spare the rest of their COVID-19 patients the risks that come with the overuse of antibiotics. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Could Healthy Gut Microbes Help Preserve Muscle as We Age? – Tufts

As we age, the strength and size of our muscles tend to decrease. This loss of muscle mass and function, called sarcopenia, is associated with decreased independence and reduced quality of life. Staying active (and purposefully incorporating muscle-strengthening exercises) is essential, but emerging data suggest that nourishing our gut microbes could be important as well.

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on Pexels.com

The Gut-Muscle Connection: The trillions of bacteria and other microbes that live in our guts are intimately intertwined with our metabolism. These microscopic inhabitants play roles in digestion, nutrient absorption, and amino acid synthesis, and are also involved in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal lining so invading organisms, unwanted food components, and the wrong microbial products cannot slip through. Studying the role of the gut microbiome in health is challenging, but research suggests that the make-up of our personal inner world of tiny organisms could play a role in our risk for a number of common diseases and conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. “Emerging research in mice and preliminary human studies suggest there may also be a connection between our gut microbiome and our muscles,” says Michael Lustgarten, PhD, a scientist in the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized