Heating could be best way to disinfect N95 masks for reuse

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, N95 face masks have been in short supply. Health care workers, in particular, desperately need these masks to protect themselves from the respiratory droplets of infected patients. But because of the shortage, many have to wear the same mask repeatedly. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Nano, the American Chemical Society publication have tested several methods for disinfecting N95 materials, finding that heating them preserves their filtration efficiency for 50 cycles of disinfection.

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N95 masks contain a layer of “meltblown” polypropylene fibers that form a porous, breathable network. To help capture smaller particles that could slip through the holes, the fibers are electrostatically charged. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended several methods for disinfecting N95 masks, such as heating, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and bleach treatment, but so far they have not been tested extensively, especially for multiple rounds of disinfection. Yi Cui and colleagues wanted to compare five of the methods that could reasonably be used within a hospital setting to see how mask materials hold up to repeated disinfections. Continue reading

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Strenuous exercise safe for people at high risk of knee arthritis

  • Many worry strenuous exercise could hurt their joints
  • 10 years of vigorous activity did not pose risk
  • Strenuous activity for one to two hours weekly reduces risk of knee osteoarthritis by 30%
  • Osteoarthritis affects 32.5 million adults in U.S.

People at high risk for knee osteoarthritis (OA) may be nervous and reluctant to participate in strenuous physical activities such as jogging, cycling, singles tennis and skiing. But a new Northwestern Medicine study that followed high-risk individuals for 10 years showed vigorous exercise did not increase their risk of developing OA and may even protect them from it.

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“Our study findings convey a reassuring message that adults at high risk for knee OA may safely engage in long-term strenuous physical activity at a moderate level to improve their general health and well-being,” said Alison Chang, associate professor of physical therapy and human movement sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

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Good bone health – Mayo Clinic

Protecting your bones is part of a healthy­ aging strategy. Talk to your doctor about assessing your risk of fractures and devise a strategy to lower the risk, especially if you’ve had a fracture after age 50, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. A comprehensive approach includes optimizing nutrition, reviewing exercise, safe moving prac­tices, and fall prevention, and taking prescription medications if appropriate.

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Lifestyle choices for strong bones

A key factor to maintaining the bone density you have is to make healthy choices to support bone health. These steps are important in both preventing osteoporosis and slowing its progression. They include:
■ Exercise — Weight ­bearing physical activity such as walking and moderate aerobic exercises can strengthen bones and reduce risk of fracture. Muscle­ strengthening exercises can help as well. Aim to exercise at least 30 min­ utes most days of the week. Ask your doctor whether any precautions are recommended, especially if you’re at increased risk of fracture.
■ Eat well — Eat a balanced diet and make certain that you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D from the food you eat.
■ Don’t smoke — Smoking speeds up bone loss.
■ Limit alcohol — Should you choose to drink, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger.

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Fermented food ideas … Tufts

With the exception of yogurt and miso soup, I confess to a great deal of ignorance about fermented foods. I thought this write-up from Tufts health & Nutrition Letter was very informative.

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Fermented foods may be the oldest “new” food trend around. The process is as old as civilization itself, and fermented foods are consumed in nearly every culture in the world. While researchers attempt to tease out how the changes caused by fermentation actually impact health, many not-fully-substantiated health claims are being made. Let’s take a look at what we know, and don’t know, about these promising (and tasty) foods.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

My mom passed away several years ago, but I would like to wish all of you mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day!

Each of you has been a manifestation of Wonder Woman to your children from Day One.

Whoever we are, have become or will be, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks!

b193d4e9f75b07355a2a06ea12555098I stumbled across this artwork on the web and have no clue as to the artist. If anyone knows, please let me know and I will publish it.

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Tony

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Calming your mind – Mayo Clinic

The coronavirus attacks us on a number of fronts, respiratory system big time. But, living in the shadow of the virus takes a toll on all of us whether we succumb to the disease or not. It has changed our daily lives in many stressful ways. The following is from Dr. Amit Sood , former internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic. He was director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and was chair of the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.

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Imagine it is spring 2025

Tucked in your blanket, trying to sleep at night, your mind travels back five years.

You remember the fear — fearing doorknobs, grocery bags, light switches, sneezes, handshakes and hugs.

You remember the sadness — the loss of freedom, time with colleagues, birthday parties, sleepovers, visits to the mall.

You remember the anger — anger at human greed, irrationality, willful ignorance.

You remember the grief — sobbing at the loss of fellow beings who breathed their last breath alone in an ICU to the sound of a ventilator.

But it’s not all negative.

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Mick and Keith … and me

Yes, that’s Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from that rock band you might have heard about. But, what could these two rock stars have in common with a guy from the west side of Chicago, an entire ocean and half a continent away?

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Young Keith and Mick before they became Stones.

Flashback to the mid-1950’s. In case you don’t remember those years, we listened to music in those days, too. But, forget current listening habits. That was decades before the internet changed the world of music and everything else. In the mid 1950’s, if you wanted to listen to music you turned on your radio and tuned in your favorite disc jockey. The alternative was to play your own record player and your own record collection. Growing up on the west side of Chicago, this 15 year-old didn’t own a record player and couldn’t afford to buy new records when they came out so, I turned on my radio and tuned in to my favorite DJ’s.

The guys I hung around with in my teens stayed up late at night and dialed  in to Jam with Sam and Rock with Rick on station WGES in Chicago. That was the ‘colored’ radio station, way over at 1390 on the AM dial. And, who were we listening to – Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry. The coolest rock and blues music in the world.

The following is excerpted from Ultimate Classic Rock, UCR: “Jagger, then 18, and Richards, 17, were both going to school. “In a town like Dartford, if anybody’s headed for London or any stop in between, then in Dartford Station, you’re bound to meet,” Richards said in Keith Richards: The Unauthorised Biography. “The thing about Mick and my meeting was that he was carrying two albums with him – Rockin’ at the Hops by Chuck Berry, and The Best of Muddy Waters. I had only heard about Muddy up to that point.

“Jagger was holding records, Richards was carrying his guitar and the two struck up a conversation about rock and blues on the train. On the way, Richards learned that Jagger had ordered the two albums directly from Chicago’s Chess Records, as they were unavailable in England. Excited by their talk, and wanting to hear the LPs, Richards invited Jagger over for tea that afternoon.”

So, it turns out that Mick and Keith were listening to the same music as I was in the 1950’s. Long before the internet, the world shrank for us teens through the magic of music.

Thought you might enjoy this video from 22 November 1981 when the Rolling Stones visited the Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago to see and sit in with Muddy Waters.

Tony

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Weekend funnies …

Another week going down and more states coming back up from lockdown. Something to smile about there.

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Tony

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Best material for homemade face masks may be combination of two fabrics

If, like me, you have had a problem finding a good face mask for the pandemic times, this info  may solve your problem.

Researchers from the American Chemical Society report that a combination of cotton with natural silk or chiffon can effectively filter out aerosol particles — if the fit is good.

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear masks in public. Because N95 and surgical masks are scarce and should be reserved for health care workers, many people are making their own coverings. Now, researchers report in ACS Nano that a combination of cotton with natural silk or chiffon can effectively filter out aerosol particles — if the fit is good. Continue reading

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‘Unprecedented’ levels of COVID-19 pandemic trauma studied

The COVID-19 pandemic could inflict long-lasting emotional trauma on an unprecedented global scale, leaving millions grappling with debilitating psychological disorders, according to a new study commissioned by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University.

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

“There are some valid concerns that this coronavirus pandemic could cause emotional trauma and PTSD at a level we’ve never seen before,” said Megan Holmes, an associate professor of social work and the founding director of the Center on Trauma and Adversity at the university’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Continue reading

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Will social distancing be the new normal? Mayo Clinic

As some states look toward relaxing restrictions and social distancing measures, such as stay-at-home orders, new projections suggest social distancing may need to continue through 2022. Researchers predict that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will return every winter, and that prolonged or intermittent social distancing strategies could limit the strain on health care systems.

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Dr. Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic COVID-19 expert, predicts that the COVID-19 pandemic will change many aspects of U.S. culture in the future, including the need to always practice social distancing measures. Continue reading

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European countries face a costly 23% increase in fragility fractures by 2030 – Study

A new IOF-led study examining the burden and management of fragility fractures in six European countries reveals an alarming treatment gap, with fracture-related costs projected to increase to €47.4 billion by 2030.

A new study provides an overview and comparison of the burden and management of fragility fractures due to osteoporosis in the five largest countries in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom) as well as Sweden. The publication ‘Fragility fractures in Europe: burden, management and opportunities’ has been authored by an International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) steering committee in cooperation with experts from national societies.

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Osteoporosis is a chronic condition in which bone mass and strength decrease causing an increased risk of fractures. Fragility fractures are a major cause of disability and early death in older adults, with one in three women and one in five men aged fifty and above sustaining a fracture in their remaining lifetime.

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Summary of preliminary data about obesity and severity of COVID-19

It may be that Eat less; move more; live longer which I have been writing about for nearly 10 years here, also has some relevance in the fight against COVID-19 .

In a Nature Reviews Endocrinology “Comment” authors from the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health call for more research about the relationships of obesity, disproportionate fat distribution and impaired metabolic health with the severity of COVID-19.

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The authors raise the point that most of the studies that have reported comorbidities in patients with COVID-19 did not provide data on body weight and height, which are used to estimate adipose tissue mass, by calculating the BMI. In their Comment they also briefly summarize novel research findings, deriving in part from articles which have not yet undergone peer-review, indicating that overweight and, particularly, obesity may associate with a substantial risk of a severe course of COVID-19. Importantly, these studies suggest that this risk is independent of cardiometabolic diseases and other comorbidities.

The authors then discuss possible mechanisms explaining this relationship. Among them respiratory dysfunction in obesity may result in hypoventilation-associated pneumonia and hypoxia-induced cardiac stress. Furthermore, they highlight that not only the calculation of the BMI, but also the measurement of the waist circumference and of glucose and insulin levels, which can be used to determine the presence of prediabetes and insulin resistance, may be important, as these parameters are independent determinants of cardiometabolic diseases, pneumonia and mortality.

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Weekend funnies …

Is it another week already? Time goes fast it seems even when you are staying at home and not necessarily having fun. Hopefully, you will enjoy these as much as I did. Remember, even a global pandemic doesn’t last forever.

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Tony

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What You Need to Know for May – National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Although we are currently preoccupied with the Covid-19 global pandemic, I thought it would be worthwhile to remind you about the dangers of skin cancer.

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Makes sense. We should be coming into some sunny days right now. (Unless you live in Chicago as I do where we still have March temps).

In order to get through the coming sunny days herewith a list of links of all the items I have filed on skin cancer and sunburn since the blog began in 2010. This includes my own bout with skin cancer in 2012.

Looking at your face in the mirror, things that change in size, shape or color can be skin cancer.

Remember the words my dermatologist told me, “There’s no such thing as a healthy tan.”

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Myths and facts about sunburn and sunscreen

Vitamin D and Your Body – Harvard

How to protect yourself from sunburn and skin cancer

Do I have skin cancer?

What did I learn after being diagnosed with skin cancer?

What happened during my skin cancer surgery?

What about exercise after surgery?

Important facts about skin cancer?

What to do about extreme heat

Tony

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Don’t fall short on fiber needs – Tufts

It is recommended that adults consume between 25 and 30 grams of dietary fiber a day. The average American currently gets about half that amount. According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietary fiber is a “nutrient of public health concern,” meaning this low level of intake could actually be detrimental to our health. So, it’s potentially good news that food manufacturers are adding fiber to processed foods. But is that fiber as good for our health as fiber found naturally in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains?

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Health Benefits of Fiber. According to a research review co-authored by Nicola McKeown, PhD, a scientist with Tufts’ Nutritional Epidemiology program and an associate professor at the Friedman School, there is reproducible evidence that dietary fiber found naturally in foods has a role in lowering cholesterol, improving glycemic control, and preventing constipation. And fiber may have more health benefits as well. “Research in this field is continually expanding,” says McKeown. “We’ve only begun to consider things like how the gut microbiota utilize different types of dietary fibers to potentially impact health.” Continue reading

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