Can you prevent Alzheimers Disease?

There are 5.5 million patients in the United States who have Alzheimer’s Disease.  Current treatments have not shown significant response, though some medications offer some help for those afflicted.  A new medication called Aduhelm was recently approved by the FDA but has been controversial and has had mixed results.

But are there ways you can actually PREVENT Alzheimer’s disease in the first place?  There are some measures that have been found effective.

  1. Aged garlic extract supplement:  Several high-quality studies have demonstrated benefit of taking aged garlic extract supplement.  Studies have shown that this supplement, which is available over-the-counter, can reduce amyloid deposit deposition and improve cognitive abilities.
  1. Taking regular low-dose aspirin has been found to prevent amyloid deposition in the brain and decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  1. Studies have shown that people who pursue intellectual activities such as reading, playing board games, puzzles, learning a second language, or playing musical instruments have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  1.  Increased social interaction reduces Alzheimer’s risk.
  1.  Moderate red wine use is associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
  1. Increased physical activity has been shown to decrease the rate of Alzheimer’s dementia.
  1. Eating nuts! One study found that young adults who ate half a cup of walnuts for 8 weeks had improved reasoning and ability to draw conclusions.

One study in particular is fascinating!  A study by researcher Peter Elwood at the Cochrane Institute of Primary Care studied 2,235 men aged 45-59, and followed them for 30 years.

They found that those patients who did a few things reduced their risk of dementia by 60%!  This included eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a body mass index from 18-25, not smoking, and walking 2 miles a day.

If there was a drug on the market that we knew would reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s by 60%, we would all pay a lot of money to take it!

Always check with your doctor prior to starting a new supplement or medication, and prior to starting a new exercise program.


Which restaurant salads have more calories than a Big Mac?

Many of us choose salads when eating out as a healthy choice.  But is having a salad always a good choice, say, compared to a Big Mac?  

Restaurants do a number of things that increase calorie count, but it is especially frustrating when someone orders a meal that is supposed to be “healthy”, such as a salad, and finds out they have had as many calories or fat that they need in an entire day.  Bigger portion sizes, toppings and meats cooked in oils, and very high calorie salad dressing add to the problem.  For example, the Quesadilla Explosion salad at Chili’s has 1400 calories!  This is largely due to the dressing on this salad.

Let’s compare.  Here are some restaurant salads that have more calories than a Big Mac.  A Big Mac is 540 calories, and 28 grams of fat.  While salads may contain more vitamins and nutrients, some of these calorie counts are pretty astounding:

McDonald’s Sante Fe Grilled Chicken Salad:  600 calories, 11 grams fat

Applebee’s Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken:  800 calories, 57 grams fat

Applebee’s Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad:  1290 calories,  21 grams fat

TGIF On the Go Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad:  1030 calories, 66 grams fat

TGIF Caribbean Passion salad with Ahi Tuna:  1130 calories, 66 grams fat

Ruby Tuesday Chicken Chopped Salad:  806 calories,  31 grams fat

Ruby Tuesday Carolina Chicken Salad:  1102 calories, 83 grams fat

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Steak and Greens Salad 950 calories,  71 grams fat

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Parmesan Chicken Salad:  1080 calories, 48 grams fat

Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad: 1400 calories

Does getting a flu or pneumonia vaccination reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Can getting a flu or pneumonia vaccination prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

A study performed in 2020 shows that receiving a flu vaccination is associated with a 17% reduction in Alzheimer’s Disease.  More frequent flu vaccinations reduce the risk by another 13%.  

The study also found that receiving a pneumonia vaccination reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by up to 40%.

The reason for the reduction is not clear.  One researcher stated that it may simply be that individuals who take care of their own health by getting immunized also take care of themselves better in other ways, such as eating healthier and getting more exercise, which are also known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

The 2020 study is remarkable in that it showed a marked reduction in Alzheimer’s in those individuals who were immunized.  More studies are needed to find out the exact mechanism of how the vaccinations reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Study signals association between flu vaccine, miscarriage | CIDRAP

How accurate are those home DNA ancestry tests? And are the results private?

There are many types of home DNA ancestry tests now available for purchase.  But how accurate are those tests?

To complete the test, a swab is used to obtain a sample of saliva, then the sample is shipped to the company for testing.  The tests range from $60-$80.

In one study, saliva from a single patient was sent to two different labs.  The labs had conflicting results.  For example, one lab said a patent was 70% British, but the other lab said the patient was only 5% British.

Another study was performed on identical twins.  Their DNA ancestry should be identical, but study results showed that their ancestors came from different countries! This would be genetically impossible.

To date, researchers have found that up to 40% of the testing performed on home DNA ancestry testing is inaccurate.

And what about privacy?  Because the genetic testing companies are not considered “medical providers”,  they do not have to abide by standard privacy policies that must be followed at a doctor’s office or hospital, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  The genetic testing companies can share genetic and personal information on their website, various products, software, cookies and smartphone apps.  The information is data-mined for third parties such as health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, advertising companies, and other interested parties.


How many calories does the average person eat on Super Bowl Sunday?

On Superbowl Sunday, the average American will eat 2,400 calories!

This makes Superbowl Sunday second only to Thanksgiving for the day with the highest calorie consumption.

According to the Snack Food Association, during the Superbowl Americans will consume:

11.2 million pounds of potato chips

8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips

3.8 million pounds of popcorn

3 million pounds of nuts

49.2 million cases of beer

1 billion chicken wings

In addition, on the Superbowl,

48 million Americans will order takeout, and pizza deliveries will increase by 35%!


Why do we need vitamin C, and can it help Covid patients?

Vitamin C helps our immune system, can lower our risk of having a stroke,  prevents eye disease, and even prevents skin wrinkling!   And a new study shows it may even help patients who are sick with Covid.

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is needed for the growth and repair of all body tissues.  It is needed for wound healing and to maintain the health of our bones and teeth.

Vitamin C is important for our immune system and works as an anti-oxidant.  Anti-oxidants are important because they protect against harmful molecules called free radicals, and also protect against chemicals and pollutants which can build up in our bodies and cause cancer, heart disease, and other ailments.

Vitamin C can’t cure the common cold, but it can help prevent complications of colds such as pneumonia.  

Studies have found that patients with higher vitamin C levels in their blood have a 42% lower stroke risk.

Women who have higher vitamin C intakes have a lower likelihood of skin dryness and wrinkling according to a study that was performed on 4,025 women age 40-74.

Vitamin C can improve macular degeneration, a condition that effects the eyes.

A small study of hospitalized Covid patients found that 90% had very low, almost undetectable vitamin C levels.  When they Covid patients were given vitamin C infusions,  they showed improvement.  This is a very early study though and more research is needed.

 If a person is not getting enough vitamin C, they may have brown spots on the skin, and spongy gums that bleed easily.   They may develop open wounds and even lose teeth.   Lack of vitamin C can lead to fatigue and depression, because vitamin C is important for nerve health.  Severe lack of vitamin C leads to a condition called Scurvy, which used to affect sailors who were at sea for months at a time without any fruit.

Can you get too much vitamin C?  The RDA only recommends 75-90 mg a day, but scientists have studied daily doses of 500 mg a day and have found benefit.   There is no risk to taking higher doses of vitamin C other than some patients will have mild stomach irritation or diarrhea.  Vitamin C doesn’t build up in our system as our bodies eliminate the excess through urination.

 When we think of foods that have vitamin C, we usually think of oranges.   But there are many foods that have even more vitamin C than oranges. Here are foods that are very rich in vitamin C, ranked from highest amount of vitamin C:

 Chili peppers


Sweet yellow peppers

Black currant






Brussel sprouts




Vitamin C | Ingredient Encylopedia | Ebanel®

What is proning, and how is it helping Covid patients?

Proning is the process of turning a patient from their back onto their stomach on a hospital bed.

Why is this helping Covid patients?  It has been found that proning improves the expansion of the lungs, which improves breathing and oxygen levels. 

It takes a team of hospital members to place a patient in the prone position safely. The team includes nurses, respiratory therapists, technicians, and anesthesia staff who assist with proning the patient.  The patient’s blood pressure, pulse and oxygen level are monitored during the position change.

Patients are placed in the prone position for 16-18 hours, and then returned to lying on their back for 6-8 hours if their oxygen levels can tolerate it.

The risks to proning are dislodgement of medical tubes, skin pressure injuries, facial and airway swelling, and problems with blood pressure or pulse.

Studies have found less need for invasive mechanical ventilation of Covid patients who are proned.   Oxygen levels have improved rapidly when a patient is placed in the prone position, and studies have shown better survival rates.

A patient in prone position in the ICU:

Facts about the Covid vaccination–how does it work?

In the history of medicine, it has never taken less than several years to produce a vaccination for any infectious disease.  However, the initial Covid vaccination is already being tested in volunteers and is expected to roll out in December 2020, only one year from the start of the disease.

After Covid was detected in December 2019, the genetic sequence of the virus was rapidly decoded by January 2020, only one month after the infections had started.  The search for a vaccination then began.

So far, a total of $8 billion dollars has been spent on the development of a vaccine, involving 80 companies in 19 countries. 

Vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna both rely on a technology never before used in a commercial vaccine.  The new vaccination utilizes messenger RNA technology.

What is messenger RNA (mRNA)?  Our body has DNA present in every cell.  Our DNA is the “blueprint” for every protein that is created in our body.  Messenger RNA “reads” the blueprint and transcribes new proteins.  This is how our cells typically build, repair, and maintain our body.  After the messenger RNA reads our DNA, a new protein is strung together in our cells using amino acids. 

So how does the vaccine use messenger RNA?  The Covid mRNA vaccine contains the recipe for certain proteins that help the Covid virus infect our cells.  Once the vaccination is injected, the cells use the mRNA as a template to make viral proteins that are similar to the Covid infection.  This triggers our immune system and leads to the production of antibodies against the disease.

Then, when a person gets exposed to Covid, the body now has antibodies that will recognize the proteins from the virus and fight it off, destroying the virus before it can cause illness.

In clinical trials, the mRNA vaccines caused temporary side effects in 80-90% of trial participants, but they were typically mild such as sore arms or feeling poorly for a day or two.  No one in the studies became seriously ill. 

The third major company developing a vaccine is Astra Zeneca.  Astra Zeneca worked with researchers at Oxford to build a vaccine using a type of virus called an adenovirus.  They genetically altered the adenovirus so that it carries a gene for a coronavirus protein, to cause the human body to develop antibodies to Covid. Side effects have included fever, headache, and injection site pain. Recently one study participant had a more severe reaction and the study is on hold.

The vaccines to date have been found to be 90-95% effective in preventing Covid.  So far, almost 90,000 volunteers have received the vaccine.  To produce “herd immunity” and keep our population overall from getting ill, 70% of our population will need to get the vaccine.  Currently 59% of people polled say they plan to be vaccinated.

How many calories does the average person eat on Thanksgiving?

The average American eats 4500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving day.

Here’s the breakdown on some of our favorites:

Bread stuffing, 1 cup – 350 calories

Turkey, 4 slices – 320 calories

Gravy, 1/2 cup – 100 calories

Mashed Potatoes, 1 cup – 237 calories

Green bean casserole, 1 cup – 350 calories

Cranberry Sauce,  1/4 cup – 110 calories

Biscuits, 2 – 340 calories

Sweet potatoes, 1 cup – 285 calories

Pumpkin pie, 1 slide – 320 calories


Can sunlight kill viruses?

Sunlight is a natural disinfectant, and it has been known for years that sunlight can kill germs.   Sunlight is made up of a form of electromagnetic radiation called ultraviolet light (UV light). Interestingly, ultraviolet light has actually been used for years to disinfect objects and to prevent infection.   Ultraviolet light-wave radiation works by damaging the genetic material of germs, to prevent them from replicating.

Now, researchers at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center have exposed viruses in simulated saliva to UV light (at a strength equivalent to a sunny day), and found that 90% of the viruses including Covid virus were inactivated.  This is only one small study but it is promising.

Scientists are now testing to see if ultraviolet light can be used to sterilize surfaces in elevators, public transportation, hospitals, and other indoor spaces in order to limit the spread of Covid.

Are there risks from ultraviolet light?  Direct UV light can cause skin or eye damage, so it should only be used on surfaces, and not directly on our bodies or around our eyes.

UV light being used to disinfect a hospital room:

hospital room

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