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Thinking Outside the Box : the Corona Virus


As I watched the news this morning leading researchers covered the spread and recent findings from the Coronavirus.  They mentioned how this virus causes a mild to moderate flu-like symptoms for those who are middle-aged and younger.  However, for the elderly or immune-compromised cases, there was a more often worse prognosis with the Coronavirus, as the progression of infection would result in consolidation bilaterally in the lower lobe of the lungs.  

COVID-19 pneumonia in Korea primarily manifested as pure to mixed ground-glass opacities with a patchy to confluent or nodular shape in the bilateral peripheral posterior lungs. A considerable proportion of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia had normal chest radiographs.1

The peripheral and posterior lung fields were involved in 78% and 67% of the lesions, respectively. The lesions were typically ill-defined and were composed of mixed ground-glass opacities and consolidation or pure ground-glass opacities. Patchy to confluent lesions were primarily distributed in the lower lobes2


This seemingly consistent manifestation made me recall from my earlier studies, how after having an infection with the bacteria of tuberculosis, any reactivation of tuberculosis seems to reoccur with nodules developing in the upper lobes of the lungs.  This reactivation of tuberculosis seems to occur in the upper regions because there’s a 20% higher oxygen level in the upper lobes compared to the more vascular lower regions. Tuberculosis favors oxygen to evolve.

Coronavirus Consolidation


Reactivation of Tuberculosis


It is noteworthy that the elderly and disabled patients tend to be most at risk of death from this infection with the Coronavirus.  Outside of a depressed immune response to infection, there may be another relationship when considering the available air space with age.  

Most of the people with severe illness are older or have preexisting conditions, according to the WHO. Overall, cases in children have been rare, researchers report February 5 in JAMA.3

As we get older, our lung capacity and airway exchange tend to decrease.  This would, in theory, make for a more viable source of selection and prevalence for the elderly as well.  Further, younger patients having a more optimal expansion of the lungs could restrict the environment for infection.   Without a compromise of the airway, or preexisting pulmonary problems a healthy and capable expansion of the lungs may help in resistance from the Coronavirus


Given that the lower oxygen capacity from age-related lung conditions, this may allow the Coronavirus to more effectively take foot and embed itself in lower lung areas that have around 20% less oxygen levels.   I decided to explore this possibility through a cross-study to find what conditions could potentially deactivate the outer membrane of the Coronavirus. One study I found reported that the metal, Copper does seem effective in compromising the outer membrane of this virus.  

Inactivation of coronavirus on copper and copper alloy surfaces results in fragmentation of the viral genome, ensuring that inactivation is irreversible.4


Here, Copper seems to promote an increase of the superoxide reactivity, just like one would see in the host defense of our white cells.   It would seem to follow that an increase in airway capacity may provide less footing for the Coronavirus as well as hinder the growth and extension of spread by interfering with the outer membrane. It does seem reasonable that the use of some sort of common oxygen radical or superoxide promoter may prove beneficial in defense against this infection.  In absence of any other element recommended for prevention, Zinc, a metal used in lozenges, teas and medicinal drinks has been shown to limit the spread of infectious particles and limit the length of viral common colds. This is one of the main ingredients of over the counter medicines like Emergen-C and Air-borne. It makes me wonder if the liberal use of such supplements may prove helpful in limited the effects of the Coronavirus as well.  


Airborne OTC Supplements


I hope this may prove useful to my readers.  Stay healthy and please be mindful of thorough hand-washing. 



1,2. Chest Radiographic and CT Findings of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Analysis of Nine Patients Treated in Korea

  1. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/new-coronavirus-outbreak-your-most-pressing-questions-answered
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4659470/


UPDATE: March 22, 2020

Recent research seems to align with the theoretical proposal offered in my recent blog on “Thinking outside the box”. As I have stated, Zinc may be an effective strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Further reports have also indicated that an anti-malaria drug, Chloroquine, could be a possible treatment for the coronavirus pandemic. The mechanism of action for this medicine suggests that Chloroquine acts as a ‘carrier’ for zinc as transport shuttle through the host cell membranes. In other words, the drug acts to increase the efficacy of zinc by making it available to the cell. The increasing presence of intracellular zinc has been shown to disrupt the virus effort in separating blood hemoglobin components from the ‘toxic iron’ (heme) and the proteins (globulin) in the cell, which it requires. The zinc-iron milieu renders the transcription and replication of viral RNA ineffective, eliminating the opportunity for the virus to survive. See the reference provided below

Since Chloroquine has been used for the treatment of Malaria, it has a well-known track record and safety guideline, with a well-known side effect profile. It may be the right candidate to become a front line defense on the war against coronavirus.

Let us hope that this will be the beginning of the end for this pandemic. Best health to you, my readers. (Please keep washing your hands).



(12 Mar. 2020). Topic: Chloroquine & Zinc Combo Are Being Studied as Possible Treatment @ AskWoody. Retrieved from https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/chloroquine-zinc-treatment-combo/

Youtube Video: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIymfznD7YA

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Senior Moments: A strange Familiarity


We have all experienced it. Jokes are often made about it. It is both humorous and embarrassing when it occurs. It is called “Senior Moments”. It is the focus of concern of us all, especially when we see the typical signs of aging.

In this brief article, I will share the about mechanism which operates behind the scenes 0f our “senior moments” and its role in our daily life. I will also share some typical causes for our “forgetfulness” and the more concerning situations which may require some investigation through clinical evaluations.

What are “Senior Moments”

Senior moments occur when we initiate a routine task but at some point from where we begin, we lose the objective of our effort. We will find ourselves standing at our intended location with the all too common question, “Now what was I about to do? Frustrated, we journey back to where we started when we recall the very reason we why we had first moved.

I remember a comedy routine given by Bill Cosby when he shared how when we get older our memory sinks down to our behind. So after we forget why we got up from our chair, we would remember when we return to the chair and our bottom hits the seat.

Many of us who are in our midlife stage are taking care of a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia. We see the turmoil they go through and We see them occasionally get up and wander as if ‘for no reason’. Then when we experience a similar situation, we tend to wonder if we are going to develop dementia as well.

But having lapses of memory is not by itself a prognostic indicator of developing dementia. Often, it really is just forgetfulness. It may be a concerning issue only if it is a frequent occurrence. More often than not, there are other contributors to our memory lapses at play.

Is it a problem?

The first step in addressing any issue of concern is to first ask, “is this a problem?”. What we need to do is clarify how it impacts our life. What is the normal routine and habit of your loved one’s life? What have they been able to perform in the past three months? How has it changed? The real focus of our question is, “does this new development interfere with their baseline functioning quality of life? If they normally ate and no longer eat, it would be defined as a problem. If they typically took strolls around the yard to check the lawn, then we find them wandering around the lawn that would not be considered a problem.

So, let us look at the episode of forgetfulness under the same lense. When you consider their baseline function, If the forgetful episodes are frequent enough to disrupt their life routine, then forgetfulness for them would be considered a problem.

Common players in Forgetfulness

In his article,  “7 Common Causes of Forgetfulness “, Daniel Pendick provides some common factors that may be the culprit for forgetfulness.

Lack of Sleep

The lack of sleep is one of the less regarded but important cause of forgetfulness.

Medications often impair our memory

Tranquilizers, antidepressants, some blood pressure drugs, and other medications can impair our memory skills.

Thyroid problems

The thyroid is like the idle engine of the whole body. When it is set too low, the mind is sluggish and can not process information effectively. An idle set to high produces anxiety, which can also impair clear thinking.

Substance use

Alcohol or recreational drugs have a dramatic effect on the brain and memory retrieval.

Emotional Tone

Anxiety, Depression and feeling stressed impair memory function.


Brain Imbalance

When other issues have been ruled out, let us consider what may go awry with the running dialogue of the brain. When this gets disrupted, we “lose our train of thought” or even in worst cases, there is a lack of communication between both sides of the brain.  This is what is typically seen when a loved one with dementia seems goal-directed and wanders off, but they are unable to provide any reason for their actions.

Not many people consider how the brain is made up of two separate halves, known as hemispheres. The right and left hemispheres communicate with each other through a narrow bridge of nerve fibers, known as the corpus callosum.

In studies where a patient required a surgical disconnection of this bridgework, it is evident that each hemisphere operates separately and individually when on their own. However together they work toward a cooperative effort to have both reason and purpose in our tasks. Some studies report that one of the earliest signs of pending dementia is compromised communication between both hemispheres through degeneration of the bridgework. The balance of dialogue is then disrupted and signals early pathology. There is even a published article on how to determine early signs of dementia from using peanut butter.

The Peanut Butter Study – Imbalanced Communication

In the Article, “Peanut-butter-test-predicts-Alzheimer’s” , peanut butter was used to test the communication between both hemispheres. When the subject could identify the smell of peanut butter from one nostril and not the other, it was considered an indication that there was a problem in the hemisphere communications.


Of those participants, only those with a confirmed diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s had trouble smelling the peanut butter. Additionally, those patients also had a harder time smelling the peanut butter with their left nostril. Generally, the right nostril was able to smell the peanut butter 10 centimeters farther away than the left nostril. The difference in smell between left and right nostril in unique to the disease. Sense of smell is often the first sense to go in cognitive decline, even before memory loss, which is why this could be an effective tool in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota found that seniors who had the worst test scores on a smell test were 2.2 times more likely to show signs of mild cognitive decline. Additionally, if participants were already exhibiting memory problems and obtained low smell test scores, they were more likely to progress to Alzheimer’s.


Sperry elaborates on how the sense of smell (olfaction) is unique to other senses and why it can help uncover the right brain to left brain dialog.

Sperry delivered visual stimuli to a single visual field of the subject. He discovered that, with the exception of olfactory stimuli, the hemispheres of the brain receive sensory stimuli and exercise motor control contralaterally. Thus, when a word or picture of an object was flashed to the right eye, the patient was able to name the object or read the word. However, when a picture of an object was flashed to the left eye, the patient could not name it and in fact would deny seeing the object. Simultaneously, the left hand could point to the object or pick it out of a group of concealed objects . Thus, if a strong smell such as garlic or ammonia were presented to the right nostril, whose olfactory receptors connect directly to the right hemisphere, the patient would grimace with disgust while verbally denying that she smelled anything. However, her left hand could point to the object the right nostril had smelled, as the patient continued to say she smelled nothing .


Each Olfactory path feeds separately in each hemisphere

The Partner Unspoken

Take a look at this video from House, MD. 

Did you notice when Dr. House gave the information on the left visual field to “stand up” and the patient rose to his feet?  When asked “why he stood?”, he hesitated and mentioned that he was going to retrieve a sweater because he was feeling cold. In other words, his right hemisphere told him to stand and his left hemisphere had to find a reason to explain why he was standing, so he created an explanation that would fit the situation.


Now let us consider the degeneration of communication between the brain that happens in dementia.  If their brain is unable to share communication for purposeful movement, doesn’t it make sense why they may be wandering around the house without being able to explain why they are doing it?

This may even explain why your loved one feels frustrated when you ask them why they are wandering around when they cannot even explain the reason to themselves.

I hope you find this writing helpful.

Hear this post in audio format 

“Senior Moments Audio”


Pendick, Daniel. “7 Common Causes of Forgetfulness – Harvard Health Blog.” www.health.harvard.edu, 22 Feb. 2013, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/7-common-causes-of-forgetfulness-201302225923. Accessed 16 Sept. 2019.

“Can’t Smell Peanut Butter? Alzheimer’s May Be the Culprit.” www.alzheimers.net, 20 Jan. 2016, https://www.alzheimers.net/2014-09-19/peanut-butter-test-predicts-alzheimers/. Accessed 16 Sept. 2019.

Serendip. “Of a Divided Mind: Human Responses to the Human Split Brain.” serendipstudio.org, Oct. 1993, https://serendipstudio.org/bb/neuro/neuro02/web2/hhochman.html. Accessed 16 Sept. 2019.

House MD TV, Split Brain

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