Kung Flu: Will exercise protect you?

yanRegular exercise may reduce the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a major cause of death in patients with the COVID-19 virus, a top exercise researcher reports.

A review by Zhen Yan of the University of Virginia School of Medicine showed that medical research findings “strongly support” the possibility that exercise can prevent or at least reduce the severity of ARDS, which affects between 3% and 17% of all patients with COVID-19. Based on available information, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 20% to 42% of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 will develop ARDS. The range for patients admitted to intensive care is estimated at 67% to 85%.

Research conducted prior to the pandemic suggested that approximately 45% of patients who develop severe ARDS will die.

This involves an antioxidant called EcSOD that is produced by the body.  Research suggests that even a single session of exercise increases production of the antioxidant.

“Our findings suggest aerobic exercise is particularly potent in stimulating EcSOD expression,” Yan wrote in an email to Newsweek. “With that said, weight training helps maintain or even increase muscle mass. More muscle mass will likely lead to more EcSOD production, hence more benefits. “Aerobic exercise can be easily done at home, such as [a] stationary bike, aerobic floor exercise and rowing machines. Of course, canoeing, biking and running outside with strict social distance are good options.”

~ Caballine

 

Kung Flu: Will breathing protect you?

nitric

Maybe. If you do it right.

A leading scientist says: Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Breathing this way can help the body fight viral infections.

The reason is that your nasal cavities produce the molecule nitric oxide, which chemists abbreviate NO, that increases blood flow through the lungs and boosts oxygen levels in the blood. Breathing in through the nose delivers NO directly into the lungs, where it helps fight coronavirus infection by blocking the replication of the coronavirus in the lungs.

The scientist is Louis J. Ignarro, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. He is one of three pharmacologists who won the Nobel Prize in 1998 for discovering how nitric oxide is produced in the body and how it works.

NO protects your blood vessels, which we now know are attacked by the virus.

NO is produced continuously by the 1 trillion cells that form the inner lining, or endothelium, of the 100,000 miles of arteries and veins in our bodies, especially the lungs. Endothelium-derived NO acts to relax the smooth muscle of the arteries to prevent high blood pressure and to promote blood flow to all organs. Another vital role of NO is to prevent blood clots in normal arteries.

It also directly attacks the virus.

Other types of cells in the body, including circulating white blood cells and tissue macrophages, produce nitric oxide for antimicrobial purposes. The NO in these cells reacts with other molecules, also produced by the same cells, to form antimicrobial agents to destroy invading microorganisms including bacteria, parasites and viruses. As you can see, NO is quite an amazing molecule.

The sinuses in the nasal cavity, but not the mouth, continuously produce NO. This NO  is chemically identical to the NO used clinically by inhalation. So by inhaling through the nose, you are delivering NO directly into your lungs, where it increases both airflow and blood flow and keeps microorganisms and virus particles in check.

~ Aischrolatreia

How will life change after the Kung Flu?

futureAttempts to predict the future fail because we extrapolate from the present and can’t factor in the unexpected.

Bu let’s go ahead and extrapolate from the present anyway to see what might happen.

1 in 5 churches facing permanent closure within 18 months due to COVID-19 shutdowns. “The disruptions related to giving, and maybe even as important to all that, is that even for those churches that have reopened, they’re seeing much smaller numbers of people show up. So simply reopening a church doesn’t fix the underlying economic challenges that you might have.”

The economic damage of rioting lingers for a long time. It is a tragic truth of the recent riots that the damage was worst in areas which were already relatively economically impoverished. Even worse, economic research suggests that the areas afflicted will suffer from the damage inflicted by rioters for years to come.

Life will never be the same for people over 60 — even with a COVID-19 vaccine. These are the likely long-term impacts on gatherings, travel, eating, medicine, home life and even public restrooms. “In the past few months, the entire world has had a near-death experience,” said Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, a think tank on aging around the world. “We’ve been forced to stop and think: I could die, or someone I love could die. When those events happen, people think about what matters and what they will do differently.”

Jeff Bezos Wants to Turn Shopping Malls into Amazon Warehouses. Many of the department stores previously occupied by Sears and JCPenney, both of which have filed for bankruptcy and closed dozens of stores, have left retail spaces across the country empty. Now, Amazon is attempting to purchase empty retail spaces to create multiple warehouse spaces in cities across the country allowing the e-commerce giant to decrease its delivery times on shipments.

Urban Dwellers Pick Up The Pace On Looking For Homes In Suburbs And Beyond. In crowded housing markets hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, city dwellers are looking at where they want to live through a new lens. During the second quarter of 2020, 51% of realtor.com’s views from urban residents of the nation’s 100 largest metros went to suburban properties in their metros, a record high since the real estate listings website began tracking metro level search data in 2017.

Op-Ed: Thank COVID for These Improvements in Care Delivery. We have seen dramatic shifts in the use of telemedicine in just the past few months. At Kaiser Permanente, healthcare visits delivered remotely have increased from about one in five visits before the pandemic to more than four in five today. The speed with which this shift took place — days and weeks rather than months and years — stands as a collective accomplishment in the rapid evolution of care. And these changes are here to stay.

Is Working From Home The Future Of Work? Nearly half the U.S. workforce might now be remote workers. Cali Williams Yost, a flexwork expert and founder of the Flex + Strategy Group in Madison, N.J. says that as a result of COVID-19: “Work is forever changed” because “flexible work was made for times like these.”

Working from home saved commuters nearly $91 billion. Fewer trips to gas stations and repair shops add another $183 million in daily savings.

Once Marginalized, Homeschooling Hits the Mainstream. Parents with children in government schools are heading for the exits, in search of options that better suit their needs now and in the future. It’s part of an education revolution poised to leave government schools just one option among many, as once-marginalized approaches such as microschools, teaching pods, and homeschooling become perfectly mainstream.

The Guardian view on video conferencing: the future of meetings? Huge numbers have attended online work meetings and social gatherings for the first time, with video conferencing apps downloaded a record 62m times over 10 days in March. Zoom, like Google, has become a verb. Tech enthusiasts promote the idea of the home office and virtual hangout as the new normal.

Will this be one of those sea changes like the move from farm to city? Well, as you know, we can’t predict the future.

~ Palmary

All eyes on Little Tony Fauci

A man wearing an NBC Suit (Nuclear - Biological - Chemical)I was going to write about the possibiliity that the Kung Flu can infect you through your eyes, and then Little Tony comes along, and I have to change what I will say.

It has been suggested for several months that virus-containing droplets coughed up by your Uncle Kevin could get in your system through your eyes.

“I don’t think we can answer that question with 100% confidence at this time,” says H. Nida Sen, MD, director of the Uveitis Clinic at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD, and a clinical investigator who is studying the effects of COVID-19 on the eye. But, she says, “I think it is biologically plausible.”

Notice that she’s careful in what she says. It’s the kind of information that you might act on if you’re unusally worried. In fact, I bought some onion-peeling glasses that have foam around the eyes to keep fumes out. Ok, I can be paranoid. I haven’t, you know, actually worn them anywhere. You can also buy safety glasses with the foam; I have some of these, not for the foam, but because they’re safety glasses, and I do a lot of things more dangerous than the Kung Flu, like play with chain saws.

In an email, the agency says it “does not have specific recommendations for the public regarding eye protection. However, in healthcare settings, CDC does recommend eye protection for healthcare workers to prevent transmission via droplets.”

Sen agrees. “For the general public, I don’t think we have enough data to suggest that they should be covering the eyes in some form,” she says.

When she goes to the grocery store, she doesn’t wear eye protection. “I am only wearing goggles when I’m seeing ophthalmology patients up close, basically because I’m 4 or 5 inches away from them.”

Now Tony, a quite visible public health official, had no business saying: “You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,” he continued. “Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces. So if you have goggles or an eye shield you should use it.”

Do you see him wearing goggles? Of course not. This is the kind of statement likely to create panic and worry. It’s irresponsible. Maybe he has mucosa on the brain.

Maybe Little Tony is too busy basking in the limelight to pay attention to what he’s saying. Next he’ll recommend full hazmat suits because, you know, you can’t be too careful. Maybe he’s stirring up mischief because he despises The Donald. I can say that’s possible if he can say it’s possible to get the Kung Flu through your eyeballs.

~ Seppuku

Chocolate may save you from the Kung Flu

bunnieWe’ve known for some time that dark chocolate is good for you. Yet another study confirms it.

There’s also evidence that cocoa can protect against Mao’s Malaise.

Naturally occurring compounds in cocoa, the primary ingredient in chocolate, have demonstrated promising antiviral activity against a broader range of viruses—such as hepatitis, herpes simplex, HIV, and influenza—in clinical trials.

Anthocyanins, which are a type of phytochemical found in cocoa, may harbor special potential in augmenting antiviral immune responses. Cocoa consumption has been shown to have a positive impact on the immune system’s inflammatory innate response, as well as the systemic and intestinal adaptive responses. Basic science research has also proven that a diet rich in cocoa enhances T-cell function and leads to the formation of systemic and gut antibodies.

Researchers have concluded that “T. cacao is a promising plant containing anthocyanins to tackle viral infections.”

You know this means dark chocolate, not milk chocolate. You need lots of cocoa. I buy dark chocolate bar with the highest percentage of cocoa. I just bought some that have 95 percent. I also sprinkle cocoa powder on oatmeal.

There’s more: Chocolate creates nitric oxide, which is good for your blood vessels, which the Kung Flu attacks. More:

Nitric oxide, a gas that could improve breathing and potentially mitigate severe symptoms of the coronavirus, is among the latest contenders in the race to find a treatment for COVID-19.

Nitric oxide previously has been used to treat other coronaviruses, including SARS. The virus’ ability to replicate was significantly diminished when the gas was administered, according to a 2004 Swedish study.

See? There is a god.

~ Heteroclite

Will garlic save you from the Kung Flu?

garlicThe experts, and probably your family doctor, will say no.  But people have other ideas and are buying up garlic like it is toilet paper.

There’s no silver bullet for Mao’s Malaise, but garlic won’t hurt you — unless, you know, you eat it non-stop — and it may well help.

Several scientists in Vietnam have looked into it. In many countries people don’t have access to American medicine and have to depend on natural substances. Our doctors have the carefully created meds and don’t rely on the naturals.

A team led by Bui Thi Phuong, MD, PhD concludes: “The results suggest that the garlic essential oil is a valuable natural antivirus source, which contributes to preventing the invasion of coronavirus into the human body.”

That’s about the only sentence you’ll understand in their report, but suffice it to say that it has to do with what garlic does to the ACE2 protein, which the Kung Flu also fiddles with. The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2 “receptor,” is a protein that provides the entry point for the coronavirus to hook into and infect a wide range of human cells. “This,” the Vietnamese scientists write of their work, “is the first report on the inhibitory effects of the considered garlic compounds on the ACE2 protein, which is a crucial foundation about SARS-CoV-2 resistance.” And, wouldn’t you know it, ACE2 receptors are in the nose, mouth and lungs.

However, there’s another reason to take garlic: It protects your blood vesssels, and the Kung Flu attacks them. Garlic also strengthens your lungs, which are also under attack.

Garlic produces nitrous oxide, which could directly affect a Kung Flu infection.

Aside from improving lung function, nitric oxide also showed direct antiviral activity as well as druggable targets including nitrosylating cysteine of viral protease to interfering with S-protein-ACE-2 interaction. Inhaled nitric oxide provided to COVID-19 infected patients will likely prove to be lifesaving through both a pulmonary vasodilator effect and a direct antiviral effect.

Garlic isn’t good for everyone. It’s hard to find a good recommendation on dosage, so I’ll offer this.

Weight lifters take nitrous oxide supplements, but I’d rather get it from food. In addition to garlic, green tea and dark chocolate produce it. So does pomegranate juice. This also explains the recent run on beet root joice. Is that why mothers serve beets?

~ Adynaton

Good health is blowing in the wind

“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” ~ Bob Dylan

wind

It appears that just being outside in the wind will improve your health.

Alice Fleeracker explains:

There are lots of theories about why spending time in nature might be so good for us. Some researchers, like Qing Li, a physician at Nippon Medical School Hospital and the President of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, believe the answer may literally be blowing in the wind. He and his team have spent years studying the effects of phytoncides, antibacterial and antimicrobial substances that trees and other plants release into the air to help them fight diseases and harmful organisms. When humans breathe in these substances—typically by spending time in nature—their health can improve. Across several studies, phytoncides have been shown to boost immune function, increase anticancer protein production, reduce stress hormones, improve mood, and help people relax.

In the Netherlands, she writes, people have been seeking out windy exercise for more than a hundred years.

Today, the practice is so common that it’s known as “uitwaaien.” It “literally translates to ‘outblowing,’” explains Caitlin Meyer, a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Dutch Linguistics. “It’s basically the activity of spending time in the wind, usually by going for a walk or a bike ride.” Meyer has lived in the Netherlands for more than 20 years and has come to specialize in the language, despite being a non-native speaker. She says uitwaaien is a popular activity where she lives—one believed to have important psychological benefits. “Uitwaaien is something you do to clear your mind and feel refreshed—out with the bad air, in with the good,” she tells me. “It’s seen as a pleasant, easy, and relaxing experience—a way to destress or escape from daily life.”

So enjoy the wind.

“The wind is like the golden breath of the world; when it blows, we feel that the world is alive and so are we!” Mehmet Murat ildan wrote. He also wrote: “There is nothing more beautiful than living a simple life in this complex universe!”

Goya may just save your life

trmp beansGoya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, is being boycotted by The Left because its chairman, Robert Unanue, described Americans as “truly blessed” to have President Trump’s leadership. And he’s not backing down.

I encurage you to buy a Goya product every time you go to the store. They have a lot more than beans.

Biut it’s the beans that may save you. Here’s why:

  • People who consume beans regularly may be less likely to die of a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem.
  • Some studies have shown that beans act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. These effects could reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Beans may help stabilize blood glucose levels or even prevent diabetes. Beans are high in fiber, which can help lower blood glucose.
  • When a person eats beans, the fiber and healthful starches they contain can help create a feeling of fullness and satisfaction, curbing appetite.
  • Research has shown a variety of beans, especially black beans, enhance gut health by improving intestinal barrier function and increasing the number of beneficial bacteria. This may help prevent gut-associated diseases.
  • Healthful gut bacteria also support immune system function and may promote weight loss. Beans feed the healthful gut bacteria colonies.

goyaHere’s another reason to boycott Goya.”

Goya Gives” is a program to support various charities, scholarships, and events, and includes donations of products to food shelters and food banks during times of crisis, such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In March and April 2020, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Goya donated over 300,000 pounds of food, or about 270,000 meals, to food banks and other organizations in the United States, and also donated more than 20,000 protective masks.

Try this: Next time there’s a food drive at your church or in your community, buy Goya.

~ Yarra Banker

Is it safe to go out yet?

go ouit

  • Is it safe to go to the grocery store? And, how often is okay?
  • How safe is it to fly on a commercial airline? Get a haircut? Go out to dinner?
  • Should I avoid a friend whose daughter works where someone tested positive?

We now have to factor a new set of often unknown or not fully known risks into our everyday decisions. Here are some guidelines from Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor at Harvard Health Publishing.

If you’re considering relaxing restrictions in your work or social life, consider these three important steps:

And then what? Weigh the four Ps to round out your reckoning of risks and benefits:

  • Personal risk tolerance. Is your mantra “better safe than sorry”? Or is it closer to “you only live once”?
  • Personality. If you’re an extrovert, you may be willing to dial down your restrictions (and accept more risk) because the alternative feels like torture. For introverts, limiting social interactions may not seem so bad.
  • Priorities. If you put a high priority on dining out, getting your hair done, or getting a tattoo, it’s a bigger sacrifice to put these off than it is for someone who doesn’t care about these things.
  • Pocketbook. Although the pandemic affects everyone, it does not affect everyone equally: some can weather the economic impact better than others. As a result, keeping one’s business closed or staying home from work are less appealing for some than others.

Finally, listen to the experts and their recommendations, especially when they change in response to new information. Spread out your risk: if you go to the grocery store today, put off your haircut to another day — in this way, the “virus dose” may be lower than if you’re out doing multiple errands among other people over a few hours.

Listen to those you live with. They’re affected by your decisions, too.

~ Heteroclite

Miracles: Finding cures in nature

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

crabThe Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine Runs on Horseshoe Crab Blood

Pharmaceutical companies use the creature’s blue blood to test for contaminants. umans owe a debt to the strange-looking, ancient horseshoe crab. Its blue blood is used in medicine to ensure that anything that gets injected or implanted into the human body is free of potentially life-threatening bacterial contamination. A special compound in the crab’s blood quickly clots in the presence of endotoxins, microbial byproducts that can be harmful, supplying a perfect natural test for purity. In the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, horseshoe crab blood is very important.

New Spider Silk Vaccine May Prevent Cancer

New technique developed by encapsulating a vaccine into a spider silk microparticle may prevent cancer and major infectious diseases. To strengthen the efficacy of vaccines on the immune system – and in particular on T lymphocytes, specialized in the detection of cancer cells – researchers have developed spider silk microcapsules capable of delivering the vaccine directly to the heart of immune cells. This process could also be applied to preventive vaccines to protect against infectious diseases and constitutes an important step towards vaccines that are stable, easy to use, and resistant to the most extreme storage conditions.

snailSea snail venom could lead to better insulin for diabetics

The Conus geographus, a species of venomous sea snail, preys on fish by emitting plumes of venom that stun and paralyze its prey, allowing time for the snail to slime along and eat the fish while it’s still alive. But the venom might be useful to humans, too. Inside the venom, there are hundreds of [different] molecules. One of the molecules looks very similar to [human] insulin, and researchers found that it works far more quickly than human insulin. While human insulin can take up to half an hour to impact blood glucose levels, the venom insulin works almost instantly, causing the fish’s blood sugar to spike and temporarily paralyzing them.

butterflyWe can soon thank butterfly tongues for better cancer treatments and vaccines

Butterflies have devised various highly efficient transport systems that move droplets, only a few microns in diameter, through their proboscices by taking advantage of basic physical forces like capillary action. This gas important applications for human technologies. For example, butterfly-inspired probes may soon deliver toxic anti-cancer agents to the interior of cancerous cells—a revolutionary breakthrough that would allow doctors to destroy wildly replicating cancerous cells but minimize risks to healthy tissues. Or, the evolutionary strategies worked out by butterflies may help surgeons deliver nano-liter quantities of blood to the tiniest of human blood vessels, thus preventing them from becoming oxygen-deprived.

A Tiny Worm Has Been Found Carrying New Antibiotic That Could Help Us Fight Superbugs

As the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs continues to get more dire, scientists may have found a new weapon for tackling some of the worst superbugs we know of: a new antibiotic called darobactin, which is able to take on gram-negative bacteria. Darobactin took some finding though, across two years of research – the antibiotic compound was discovered in Photorhabdus bacteria, lurking inside the gut of tiny parasitic worms known as nematodes. The hope is that darobactin can be developed into something suitable for humans – the first time such a leap would have been made from an animal microbiome 

~ Heteroclite