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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. 

Greg

Reference


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/

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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).

Greg

Reference

(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

Abstract

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”


References

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
https://youtu.be/MUDcX3NCcmY

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The Nature of Authority

The Nature of Authority


Greg E. Williams, MD


Let us consider “Authority”. 

In our current times, we hear a lot about the role of authority, the endorsement by a group for leadership, the assumption of self-proclamation of power, and the effect of such a role has on others in their sphere of influence.  Authoritative roles allow for the organization and smooth process of decision making and directives for specific groups, ideally for the needs and benefit of those who are included in the sphere of influence of the specific setting. 

The attribution or assignment of authority by others are usually provided to a person having a quality of leadership who represents individuals within a select group.  Such a leader would be determined as a person believed to identify with the values of each individual and have an ample understanding of the common goals of the group.

Authority is then more about the quality and character of an individual that qualifies them for an authoritative role. Authority is therefore earned from others by assignment and through agreed conformity of the group.   The power granted to a person of authority is directly related to the level of cohesion and endorsement of individuals that are confident in their chosen individual to effectively lead.  

 

As we compare an Army General and an enlisted Private to a Platoon, we can understand how the broad experience of the General has earned our respect for him to lead.  The soldiers that look to him for direction know he has been proven by many challenges and the soldiers develop a high level of confidence in his ability to lead.  The Private would not earn the same level of confidence as others in the platoon. The Private lacks experience, knowledge, and challenges that have not earned the confidence of his peers. 

                     

So what is authority?  

According to an internet dictionary, 

“authority is the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience”.

As we embrace this definition let us consider how it applies to what I stated earlier. As authority provides for the organization, process, and directives, this implies that the authoritative role directly impacts both the benefit and even the loss of benefit for specific groups in the sphere of influence. 

 

The Breakdown of Authority

The breakdown of authority occurs when the cohesion of individuals of the shared group to each other or to the leader becomes disrupted.  Central to the disconnection between all individuals is the erosion of shared agreement of common values or the loss of confidence in achieving shared goals. In other words, the quality of trust is broken.  When the bridge of trust is broken, the cohesion of alliance with others in the group becomes disrupted.  When challenges are met and prove the quality of leadership, the authoritative role of the leader will remain intact and the group will experience more cohesion and operate more as a team. 

 

Group Coercion

Where freedom exists for individuality that may be a threat to the trust between members or between an individual and the group leader, steps are often taken to protect the group integrity.  This is often in a form of an agreed group contract or an understood consequence, maybe even personal risk for abandonment that serves as an additional guarantee to insure obligation or commitment to the group. These measures maintain cohesion not by the trust of respecting the needs of individuals but by agreed trust and commitment to honor the values and protecting the values shared by the members of the group.  It assures the honor of all group members as more important than the identity of self. Fear of harm or risk of loss is often a very persuasive motivation, but only where the risk of group disloyalty remains present or directly vulnerable to threat. Once the threat is diminished, the need for cohesion in such cases diminishes as well. 

Group Identity

Cohesion is important not only for group direction but also for identity. Individuals that are members of a group assume the identity of membership when the cohesion is strong.  The endeavor to be identified with a group becomes a sense of pride when trust promotes a sense of belonging. True cohesion and belonging occur when this group identity adds a dimension of personal acceptance of one’s individual characteristics and personality styles, adding more value to the group. This is evident when a sports team is united by wearing a matching uniform and have familiarity with each other, providing recognition of the particular talents of each player. As players feel comfortable and feel they belong to the group, given names often get replaced by nicknames, often related to individual qualities or characteristics unique to each other.

 

Attributed Authority

As mentioned earlier, true authority is then more about the quality and character of an individual that qualifies them for an authoritative role.  If after a physical exam my doctor finds a suspicious mass in my lungs, I will likely be referred to an oncologist, who specializes in cancer treatment. It is because I know my doctor is familiar with cancer treatment and because I would believe he has an expert judgment on such serious matters, I willingly attribute trust to his treatment efforts.  I consider him an authority on the matter which will grant me the best chances of survival. In the arena of unknown and changing state in my treatment process, I know he will be stable support to help me get through a difficult time. 

 

Authority is attributed to those who are esteemed as experts in a particular area. It is attributed to one who is regarded as having mastery of a particular matter. When there are crimes occurring in my neighborhood or chaos erupting, a policeman may be called to the scene. The officer is ascribed as having authority through his role to restore peace. He is believed to have the necessary training and established skills necessary to bring an unstable situation back into control. 

How we lose Authority

It is important for us to remind ourselves that authority is something we already have.  The only way you can lose your authority is if you choose to give it away.   In fact, just the belief that you have no authority already denies you the authority you actually possess.  In the Bible story of creation, we see an example of this.  Adam and Eve were given complete authority over all of God’s creatures in the garden.  Their Authority was secured by God’s Authority. It was not taken away by anyone, but it was given away by choice, through deception. They chose to forfeit the power they already possessed for something that was fraudulently framed as better for them. In giving their authority away, they lost the privilege and honor that was theirs from the beginning. As people labor in their Christian walk throughout life, we find ourselves often daily reclaiming the authority that continues to be taken from us by deceit. It is only by recognizing our authority granted to us by God, that we can achieve a life of power and purpose through the restored relationship with God.

How Do We Reclaim our authority?

Let’s consider a simple example in order to bring clarity to this question.

Let’s say you are taking a canoe down the rapids and lose control of your vessel.  Imagine that you are capsized and before long, you are being pulled down under the water by strong currents. You feel pounded by the rough waters slapping your face, making it hard to catch your breath. Just then, you notice between choking gasps, that about ten feet away, a blurry glimpse of a rugged rock is piercing out above the turbulence of waves. You would likely spend all your remaining energy just to swim toward the rock, knowing you might then escape a watery grave.   Why would it be the best decision to swim to this rock? It is because you believe you could survive if you could find a stable, fixed spot; you can minimize the risk of death by holding to an unchanging point, where the surroundings were unstable. 

In any situation where there exists instability, we tend to notice those who appear fixed and resilient in the storms.  We gravitate toward them; we swim to them for stability. This is the way we ascribe authority. When people appear calm and in control; who appear stable and unmoved within the chaos of life, they earn authority that we ascribe to them. We believe that stable people are equipped to deal with our particular areas of concern in a calm and knowledgeable way, which grants them confidence, making them appear to have stability in an otherwise unstable circumstance. 

How do we remain stable in an unstable world?

The sea is a vast space with a rocky tide that rocks a sailboat on a very long journey.  When plotting a destination absent any instrumentation, a skilled captain can navigate by the ever-abiding stars toward his destination.  The reason why the stars offer such a reliable reference is because of the distance, regularity of pattern, and reliable light it provides when a clear view is available.  Despite the strength of changing winds, the variable intensity of rains and the occasional blanket of clouds that may blacken the sky, the reliable and dependable stars will still provide a point of reference which a Captain can depend on for his long journeys.   

You see, the stars are not affected by the weather for very long, nor does the spotted sparkling pattern change by the conditions the captain finds himself.  Even though it may be hidden from time to time, It is considered constant, therefore reliable to guide a vessel across the open sea of diverse and ever-changing currents. The captain can guide his vessel in the right direction for his travel because his eyes are fixed on something beyond the immediate, ever-changing environment. The point is that when we fix our eyes on the changing environment, we begin to succumb to the winds, the waves, and currents of life.  But when we fix our eyes on something that does not change, we take on the same nature of stability despite the environment where we find ourselves. Herein is how we maintain our authority in situations.  If we look upon the tempest and sway with opinions, criticisms, or applause, we lose our sense of stability and appear unreliable where a steady hand or secure support is needed.  However, if our eyes are fixed on the unchanging and stable matters of life, and the nature of our ever-present God,  we take upon our nature the similar characteristics of surety and stability.  Now here is the key to true authority.  If you can embrace the concept that God is always present, always sharing our life experiences and instructing us daily about trusting him, we begin to reflect the same character of stability and confidence.  When others in our sphere of influence are shaken by the temporal storms of life and become lost in their life’s course, they will often seek you out, that is swim to you for support and strength.  In other words, they will attribute authority to you all because your eyes have learned to be fixed on the eternal and not the local storms of changing settings. 


 

Summary Points

  1. Authority provides  organization and smooth process for decisions and plans in specific groups,
  2. Authority ideally serves the needs and is aligned to the benefit of members within in a specific sphere  
  3. Authority is earned by the presentation of knowledge and stability within the environment of chaos
  4. Authority is strengthened by the cohesion of the served members and is stabilized by a shared trust
  5. Authority is maintained internally by the trust through shared needs or externally enforced by trust in rules of consequence for abandonment by members.
  6. Authority is possessed by all people, but it is lost when given away by choice.
  7. Authority can be reclaimed by properly focusing on a stable point of reference, but is denied when the focus remains on an unstable or changing point of reference.
  8. Spiritual rest depends on the daily belief in the unchanging, loving, and instructing character of God
  9. Authority is a natural consequence of life when we learn to embrace faith in an unchanging God

 

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