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December Newsletter 2020

COVID-19 Updates: First, COVID and the elderly. This from the John Hopkins Newsletter of November 22, 2020. It was first posted on Twitter then quickly disappeared (Why? Was it dangerous? To whom?) and here is what the article suggested: Apparently there are accounting errors. While the media claims that there are excess deaths in the elderly due to COVID, the CDC directly contradicts this claim.

Then the American Institute for Economic Research not only reported on the mysterious disappearance of the article from Twitter but went on to post their own graph taken from CDC data of 2020 which "suggests that it could be possible that a large number of deaths could have been mainly due to more serious ailments such as heart disease but were categorized a COVID-19 deaths, a far less lethal disease." I don't know about you, but I still think there is something rotten in the state of Denmark around the whole COVID thing. Just to be clear, I am not a COVID-denier - indeed I can see and am alarmed at the uptick in hospitalizations and deaths. However, there are always those little words "but" and "why" infesting my mind, trying to drive me insane as I try to figure it all out. Hopefully, it will all become clear someday.

As far as the vaccine, I don't know yet. I am waiting to see what happens to those who have it before me. I have already heard about the "immune responses" that many have had with the vax. And as usual, some monkey business with words has already changed what was originally called "adverse reactions" to a more acceptable and less scary term, "immune response". We are currently being reprogrammed to a more suitable outcome so that those 10-15% of us who suffer significantly noticeable side effects will be able to brush off our acute symptoms as a more benign immune response. Oh, really? I am not an anti-vaxer, but I am definitely waiting.

The elderly and a weird symptom of COVID: Instead of thinking that your father-in-law is getting even more wonky in his old age, reframe it to thinking that his disorientation, confusion, inattention or outright mental disturbances may in fact be due to COVID. It's called COVID delirium and is missed in about two-thirds of the cases in the elderly and it could also be the first and only symptom of COVID in those over age 65. Drugs.com, 11/25/2020

Water, Water, Water, Please, Please, Please drink it!: You know how I always nag you about drinking your water? At least ½ of your bodyweight in ounces? Would I convince you to do this if I told you that dehydration can promote dementia? "A study examining the hydration status of 2,506 adults over age 60 found that women (to a greater degree than men) showed worse performance on cognitive tasks related to attention and processing speed." (www.alzdiscovery.org) The elderly are also at greater risk of dehydration because we lose muscle and muscle contributes to about 80% of our water storage. Furthermore, to make everything worse, the elderly brain becomes less sensitive to the thirst sensor with age. We just don't get thirsty like we did when we were kids and that makes it even harder for us. We have to consciously and deliberately measure out and make sure to drink our allotted amount of water every single day even if we don't want to. Some blood tests are reliable indicators of dehydration, so be sure and let me see your latest labs.

Nighty-night and please, PLEASE sleep well: Did you know that 26 million Americans don't sleep well? Do you realize that sleep is so important that, come hell or high water, you really NEED to get that sleep disturbance in hand? "Adults with healthy sleep patterns have a much lower risk - 42% lower! - of heart failure." (Newswise, November 16, 2020). Decent sleep and healthy sleep patterns include being an early riser (check), sleeping 7 to 8 hours in a 24 hour period (check), having no frequent bouts of insomnia (check), no snoring, (check) or feeling sleepy during the day (do naps count?). Sleep hygiene could take up an entire book, but if you have trouble sleeping, let's at least discuss it. There are easy lifestyle patterns you could change plus you could add a supplement or two before bed.

Attention Vegans and Vegetarians: You may be at an increased risk of bone fracture. That includes you pescetarians, too. "Compared with people who ate meat, vegans with lower calcium and protein intakes on average, had a 43% higher risk of fractures anywhere in the body as well as higher risks of site-specific fracture of the hips, legs and vertebrae." (BMC Biomed Central, November 23, 2020) This was a large cohort study with 54,898 people. What you can take from this large study is this: If you aren't going to eat meat (beef, lamb, etc.) then you have to pay attention to your "levels of protein and calcium and also maintain a healthy BMI, neither under nor overweight."

EPA vs. DHA: Both fish oils are excellent (I take both daily) and they each work differently against chronic inflammation in the body. DHA lowers the genetic expression of 4 types of pro-inflammatory proteins while EPA lowers just one. DHA lowers WBC secretion of 3 types of pro-inflammatory proteins where EPA lowers just one. Lastly, DHA reduced levels of an anti-inflammatory protein where EPA did not. But EPA alone improves immune function. To conclude, DHA is thought to be more powerful than just EPA in reducing inflammation, especially in the brain (Atherosclerosis, November, 2020). I carry a good DHA by Nordic Naturals. You could do yourself a favor and add it to your armamentarium of anti-inflammatory brain support.

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