Say Yes

This article is a timely reminder of something we instinctively know is true: negativity is physically and emotionally bad for you. Proven over and over again: “Positive words and thoughts propel the motivational centers of the brain into action and help us build resilience when we are faced with problems.” Yes is the best!

Take Aways – Daniel Levitin, Successful Aging

This post summarizes the main take away points for me from a talk given by David Levitin, author of Successful Aging, given at the Commonwealth Club on February 5, 2020 (Link). Also sponsored by the Buck Institute on Aging in Novato, CA whose mission is to live better, longer.

  1. A key to successful aging is to identify those things that are important to you (at any age) and then make time for them.
  2. Curiosity is a big predictor of life satisfaction at any age. Curiosity is a personality trait. Your genetics give you a propensity for certain personality traits but you can change these at any age through religion, meditation, athletics, disease, etc. (See the example of Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins)
  3. Dopamine is part of the brains’ reward circuitry that rewards you for exploring your environment, and may fuel curiosity. You begin to lose your dopamine production every decade after 50. [This explains my lack of motivation at times, as Parkinson’s is a dopamine production problem.]
  4. We didn’t evolve to be 80 years old. Natural selection has not caught up with our living longer, so we don’t know what our limits are or what we can become. 
  5. There are a lot of myths about aging that aren’t true. Many of these myths are the stories we tell ourselves. For example, when you’re 20 and you misplace your keys you tell yourself you have too many things on your plate. When you’re 80, you tell yourself that you’re losing your mind.
  6. The most important aging factor is this: moving around, outside.
  7. It’s important not to allow your insulin levels to spike too often. Remember also that eating should be fun. Dr. Levitin eats a spoonful of ice cream every week, but usually not more than one because of the law of diminishing returns.

Covid-19: Dr David Price on Protecting Your Family

This is an informative video that you may not have seen, and that gave me a sense of how to take fight back against the coronavirus. I made this written summary at the request of some of my family and thought it might be helpful to you.

The video is here, and is titled: Covid_19_Protecting_Your_Family_Dr_Dave_Price_3_22_2020

Dr Price is at a 1,200 bed hospital in NYC. They triage at several stages, Dr Price decides who gets ventilators and who comes off them. In a unique position to comment on this situation.

Why make this video?

Physicians are angry at people not taking this seriously but also they also want to empower people to learn about the facts of this disease. Three months into fight against it, his hospital is almost exclusively Covid 19, and they know alot and are learning every day. Don’t be scared – you can protect your family.

What is Covid-19?

Covid-19 is a virus, from common cold family, but new to humans. Looks like fever, cough, sore throat. Affects lungs mostly. 80% of people who get this will just “not feel good” with mild cough, headache. Most people in this group start to feel better after 5 to 7 to 14 days or so.

How to protect your family?

We get this disease through sustained contact with either a) someone who has disease (people with fever, aches), or b) someone who is about to become sick. Almost exclusively transmitted from hands to face (eyes, nose, mouth). May also be transmitted in air but that likely requires 30 minutes sustained contact with sick person. Know this: Covid-19 is in your community right now. Use these four rules to protect yourself:

  • Become a fanatic about your hands – know where your hands are and keep them clean at all times. Use Purell. It is okay to touch things, just Purell it immediately.
  • Work on psychological connections between hands and face. Stop touching your face. Be aware. Start wearing masks (or a bandanna) when you leave the house – it will help you to stop touching your face.
  • You do not need a medical mask. (He only wears a N95 if he is in room with sick patients)
  • Distance yourself when in public – six feet rule is good.

Don’t be scared of outside world. Don’t be scared of people. Use these facts to stay healthy.

Socially you must shrink your social circle. Find your little group and set firm boundaries. No others traipsing in and out. Okay to go to store using four rules above.

What do you do if you get this disease?

Most transmission throughout world is from one family member to another. If you develop fever but are otherwise fine, just isolate yourself. Stay in your room, use separate bathroom if possible. Inside the house the sick person wears the mask outside the bedroom. Wash hands after anything touched. Just minimize the sustained contact. Let them take their own temperature. Seven days in, most people will start to feel better.

If you think you have a cold, take the Covid-19 precautions, then if you feel better in two days, you will know you had a cold.

However – If you have vulnerable person in your home, be ultra cautious. The elderly and those in chemo.

When to go to hospital?

If you feel short of breath go to the hospital. Not just because you have a fever or aches. Not because you think you have Covid-19. Dr Price’s hospital sends most people home to finish course of disease. Of all the people who get COVID-19 about 10% need to go to the hospital because they have shortness of breath. Of that 10% perhaps two or 3% of those need to go on a ventilator. Majority come off ventilator in 7 to 9 days.

Answers to Questions:

  • Kids under 14 are not getting critically ill. Not clear if they are transmitting it.
  • Should I get tested? Depends on availability of tests in your area.
  • Okay to go outside. Don’t get sloppy. Follow the rules.
  • Use caution on things others have delivered to you. Don’t have to wash packages, etc if you follow the rules.
  • How long to wait to contact your hospital or doctor if you get sick? Call, don’t go in, doctors using telemedicine. Only go to hospital if you are having trouble breathing.
  • This disease affects everyone who is older than 15. NOT restricted to older adults or those with co-morbidities. Follow the rules.
  • They are not using ibuprofen in hospital anymore. No Advil. Tylenol only.
  • Social distancing will likely be continued, but don’t give into fear. You know the rules.

How to Get Ready to Retire?

Get healthy.

This article is in the context of Covid-19 crisis, but its point – that the vast majority of Americans are not healthy – is a call to action for each of us individually. “Only 12 percent of Americans over age 20 are considered metabolically healthy — that is, with optimal measures for waist circumference, blood sugar, blood pressure and lipids, and not taking drugs to control these risk factors.” Even without Covid-19 our healthcare system was about to be overwhelmed.

The single most important thing to do for yourself is to get and stay healthy. Also, probably the single most difficult thing to accomplish.

Perspective

We are smarter, faster, and better than any virus, but only if we work together. My favorite medieval historian, Yuval Noah Harari, gives us historical context in this Time magazine article. As usual, leadership matters.

“In this moment of crisis, the crucial struggle takes place within humanity itself. If this epidemic results in greater disunity and mistrust among humans, it will be the virus’s greatest victory. When humans squabble – viruses double. In contrast, if the epidemic results in closer global cooperation, it will be a victory not only against the coronavirus, but against all future pathogens.”

Our Parents, Ourselves

Last week I took my elderly father to the hospital for a medical test (a test that turned out to be completely unnecessary, but that’s another story).  I waited for 90 minutes in the waiting room, during which time I counted eight other women who looked to be my age, and to whom I either spoke directly or overheard discussing, the eldercare they are presently involved with. Seven of the women were dealing with their mothers, one said she had just buried her mom. Three told me they have no children of their own.

Nothing will help you understand the terrifying immensity of our country’s health care crisis like 90 minutes with a few of the unpaid and under-appreciated army of people caring for their parents. A crisis that is just beginning.

My Experience with YouTube

I really value all I have learned on YouTube over the past few years. I find it to be my “university at home” and am always surprised when people tell me they don’t know anything about it. Beyond the big name entertainment and actual university classes (from institutions like MIT and Yale) I follow probably a dozen subjects on this platform, embodied in the video producers listed below. Check them out if you are interested in any of these topics: 

  1. Food, including what and when to eat, what to avoid, how to shop, how to cook: FlavCity with Bobby Parrish, Serious Eats, NutritionFacts.org, The Dr. Gundry Podcast
  2. Optimizing general health, including sleep, stress, and supplements: Dr. Eric Berg DC, 2 Fit Docs, Bulletproof Radio, Silicon Valley Health Institute (also, the medical professionals I follow are here)
  3. Movement and exercise: Bob & Brad, DailyDosePD, SmartXPD, Mike Chang, Invigorate Physical Therapy 
  4. Stuff to think about: Anand Giridharadas, BookTV, Big Think, Intelligence Squared, Talks at Google
  5. Habits and intention: Matt D’Avella, Break the Twitch, The Daily Stoic, Tim Ferriss 
  6. Funny and interesting to me: WheezyWaiter, the Yarn Therapists, Sunflower Farm Creamery (the goats!), My Self Reliance with Shawn James (off grid living in rural Ontario), Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  7. Great interviews: 92nd Street Y, Kevin Nealon (interviews while hiking in the Hollywood Hills), Rich Roll, The Commonwealth Club
  8. News and explaining the crazy: VOX, Democracy Now!, The Common Good with Robert Reich
  9. Music: NPR Music (Tiny Desk Concert), Playing for Change
  10. Local: Groundwork, Here:Say Storytelling, Traverse Area Community Media, Traverse City Film Fetival, Traverse City International Affairs Forum
  11. Home building and interior design: Apartment Therapy, Levi Kelly, House & Home, Kirsten Dirksen, Grand Designs
  12. And Weather, because, you know, I have six apps and three television sources for this topic, but this guy is really good, and my appetite for this information knows no limits! Direct Weather

Parkinson’s Nutrition 2020 Research Update

Slices of fresh ripe avocado on a dark wooden table

I just received this report from Sarah King (Invigorate PT & Wellness) and Casey Farlow (Theory Health). It is a terrific summary and evaluation of 16 important and recent Parkinson’s nutrition research studies on a variety of diet and supplementation topics relevant to Parkinson’s patients. It includes a link to the actual hard-copy of each study. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the connection between the food we eat and disease.

Consequences

If we really cared about what can only be called an epidemic of obesity – and the resulting health care costs – we would appoint a cabinet level seat to look holistically at the impact of:

    • Easy to acquire, highly refined carbohydrates distributed as “food”
    • Huge government subsidies for the corn industry
    • Junk food marketed to children
    • The use of corn in factory farming to lower the price of red meat
    • Decreasing emphasis on cooking at home
    • Decreasing emphasis on movement
    • Food companies engineering addiction into taste
    • Lack of nutritional training for medical professionals

Data from: https://stateofchildhoodobesity.org/data/