Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – The Brain – Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I appreciate that many of you who have been kindly following the blog for a long time will have seen this post before. However, if you are new to Smorgasbord, I hope you will find interesting.

In the series Top to Toe I will be covering the major organs in the body and their health.

Dementia is actually a collective name for progressive degenerative brain diseases, which affect our memory, thought, behaviour and emotions. It is not a normal result of ageing and it does not seem to have any specific social, economic, ethnic or geographical links. It can effect different people in different ways, which makes it difficult sometimes to diagnose and to treat.

Certain dementia, such as vascular dementia, where plaque is blocking the blood vessels in the brain are linked to lifestyle related causes such as heavy alcohol consumption. Most dementia is likely to have an element of environmental, diet or lifestyle involved in its development.

There is no known cure, but there are ways that we can modify our lifestyle to reduce our risks of brain degeneration and to slow down any process that has already begun.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and accounts for around 60% of all cases. The disease is degenerative over a period of years and destroys brain cells and nerve cells causing a disruption to the transmitters, which carry messages in the brain, particularly those that are responsible for our memories.

As the disease progresses, the brain shrinks and gaps develop in the temporal lobe and hippocampus. These areas are responsible for storing and retrieving new information. The damage results in a reduction in a person’s ability to remember events that happened in the short term, to speak, think and to make decisions. All this is both frightening and confusing, as a person will be aware of these lapses in the early stages of the condition.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s

In the beginning, there may be infrequent lapses in memory, forgetting where keys have been left or perhaps failing to switch off electric cookers or other equipment. A person will start to forget the names of everyday objects or people that they are usually very familiar with. They can also suffer from mood swings and panic attacks.

As the disease progresses these symptoms worsen and there is an element of confusion over completing every day tasks such as shopping, cooking and more dangerously driving.
The changes in personality are often attributable to fear and the awareness that something is very wrong. In the earlier stages people tend to try and hide the symptoms. This happens because, much of the time, they will be aware that there is a problem and will not want to accept that this could be as serious a condition as dementia.

In the advanced stages it is not only extremely stressful for the person concerned but also very distressing for their immediate family. We have experience of the problem with a close family friend who was in his 80’s and was looking after his wife who had Alzheimer’s for two years before she went into a home. At that point he was no longer able to cope. She was in danger of hurting herself as she was wandering off in the middle of the night, falling over and hurting herself as well as becoming terrified and disorientated. My own mother in the last two years of her life became increasingly confused but she was nearly 95 when she died. She had family and remained in her own home but for future millions who perhaps have not surviving family it will be a challenge for them and the care services.

What are the risk factors?

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of dementia, but there are several probable links that have been the subject of research in recent years.

There is some evidence of a genetic link to the disease, but that is not proven. Lifestyle most definitely will have played a contributory role as exposure to toxins from smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or work environment will cause damage to the body as a whole and certainly to the brain. There is obviously natural age related degeneration of the entire body and its systems to take into account and any previous head trauma may be part of the problem. There are links to chemical contamination including poisoning from mercury – which can be found in some of the fish that we eat – and also from aluminium, which is most commonly linked to the metal in some of our cooking utensils.

Some recent statistics suggest that at least 10% of those over 65 and 50% of those over 85 years old will be suffering from varying degrees of dementia. We unfortunately have no control over natural ageing, or our genetic background, which means that we should be looking at ways to prevent or minimise the risk of us developing the disease from a much earlier age than our 60’s.

What preventative measures can we take – starting today?

  1. The key factors to reducing your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in particular are very simple and effective.
  2. Your brain is a major organ of the body that requires nutrients to function efficiently and to repair and protect itself. There are specific foods that provide those nutrients and including them in your diet on a very regular basis will be effective.
  3. You need to keep your heart and arterial system clear of oxidised LDL cholesterol and working efficiently to enable vital nutrients and oxygen to reach the brain. However, cholesterol is essential for the body and is involved in many processes including the production of hormones and therefore brain function. Reducing total cholesterol can therefore impact your brain health. Healthy fats are essential in various forms.
  4. You must work the brain as you would any muscle in your body. Stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them and may even create new nerve cells.
  5. We all need people around us and it is even better if we involve ourselves in activity that requires mental and physical co-ordination.
  6. Physical exercise maintains healthy blood flow to all our organs including the brain where it will prolong the health of existing brain cells by preventing any further damage.

The one way to deal with an overwhelming fear is to face it and take control of it. For me that has meant a radical change in lifestyle. At one time I smoked over 40 cigarettes a day and drank more than was good for me. My diet was atrocious and I was morbidly obese. I was certainly in a high-risk category for declining brain health, if I had lived long enough to develop the disease.

That is not to say that you have to totally abstain from everything that gives you pleasure. We only have one life and whilst I am totally anti smoking these days, I do believe that we should balance our lifestyle with our pleasures factored in. You will often find me quoting my 80/20 rule. If you follow a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time and the other 20% indulge yourself a little then you will be on the right track.

Reduce the Risk

  • Good Nutrition and hydration.
  • Low levels of plaque in our arteries so that oxygen can get to the brain
  • Exercise your brain as well as your body
  • Social interaction

If you would like to know more about the foods that provide a balanced diet and health, including for the brain.. here is a link to both the nutrients required and the foods that supply them.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-nutrition-directory/

©sallygeorginacronin Just Food For Health 1999 – 2017

Thank you for dropping in today and please feel free to share the post. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – How the brain develops from conception through life.


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I appreciate that many of you who have been kindly following the blog for a long time will have seen this post before. However, if you are new to Smorgasbord, I hope you will find interesting.

In the series Top to Toe I will be covering the major organs in the body and their health.

How the brain develops.

We are hard wired and from the moment of conception there will be enforced changes to the structure and function of our brains. Whilst the process of development is beyond our control, there is still a powerful external influence on how well that programming is carried out. Before birth the health, nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices of the mother can impact both the rate of brain development and the health of the brain cells. After birth during the formative years up to age 15, environment, nutrition and stimulation of those brain cells is critical and if they do not receive sufficient amounts of all of these there is a chance that irreversible damage will occur.

The development of the brain does not follow a straight upward line it comes in waves with certain parts of the brain achieving full function at different times. There is however a sequence that every brain will follow.

Egg surrounded by Sperm

At conception the sperm and the egg form a single cell combining to form the genetic blueprint. Over 60% of our genes are committed to forming our brain which is after all the control centre for all our other functions. Around three to four weeks into development a thin layer of cells form in the embryo, which then fold and fuse to form a liquid filled tube. This minute start is vital as it is the first stage in the development of the brain and spinal cord. This is followed by the production of nerve cells called neurons.

Embryo 54 days

A miracle occurs as cells in the neural tube accelerate at an amazing rate reaching around 15million neurons an hour. This rate of growth continues for the first six months of a foetus’s development.

At around 14 weeks with millions of cells in place a change occurs as they begin to migrate to specific parts of the neural network and the inbuilt GPS usually sends them to the correct address. Some do however get lost or damaged in transit and die off.

Rarely however, some do reach the wrong destination and form incorrect connections and this coding error can lead to certain disorders such as autism or epilepsy, slower physical and mental development and in some cases more severe mental health issues.

At 20 weeks about half the existing cells are shed and those that remain are organised into compartments within the brain that govern virtually every automatic function in our bodies and also our senses and skills.

Scan12a - Sally

At birth we have around 100 billion brain cells and we begin the next stage in our development. Most of the connections between the neurons are barely formed and will need to be strengthened by the time we reach the age of three. A baby has most of the senses working at birth such as sight, smell, hearing and the ability to respond to touch. Immediately with that first breath the brain kicks into overdrive and forms trillions of connections and pathways enabling learning.

As with the early development of the brain, it is vital that the environment, nutrition and stimulation are available to enable the brain to process and learn from experience.
These experiences trigger the electrical activity necessary to enable the brain to develop connections and grow. These connections are called synapses. The connections are formed by each neuron putting out a long tentacle like fibre called an axon. The neuron uses the axon to send messages to other neurons. The messages are sent as electrical signals and picked up by thousands of short, hair like fibres called dendrites (also produced by the neurons). Each neuron is able to connect up with thousands of other neurons.

It is then that ‘practice makes perfect’ comes into play as repeated experiences, sights, smells or movements form well-worn paths within the brain that we remember for a lifetime. By age two our brains have developed trillions of these pathways and although they continue to form throughout our lifetime they have reached their highest density.

Our higher functioning ability is usually operational by age three and we begin to think for ourselves, use language effectively and have developed personality traits.

Scan7a - Sally

After three years old we continue to absorb knowledge and experience like a sponge and the constant practice etches the functions into the brain. If that absorption ceases for some reason and we stop practicing certain functions, we can lose them completely as the brain discards little used pathways in favour of more travelled routes.

This pruning process and strengthening of the connections in the brain is most active in the teen years. The prefrontal cortex is the last to mature and it involves the control of impulses and decision-making. Anyone who has had children going through this phase will have a clear understanding of the ‘challenges’ that arise during this phase! This powerful surge in the brain is accompanied by the added influx of hormones which results in a chemical and electrical ‘perfect storm’.

There is a strong element of voluntary change at this stage of the development of the brain. It is around this age that we start making choices about what we eat, the amount of exercise we take, to take up smoking or drinking alcohol and to stop formal education. All these elements will affect the few years left of brain development we have left and therefore our mental capacity.

sally wedding day 1980The brain continues to defrag the mainframe and the strongest connections survive. By our early 20s our brain development is matured into a powerful and functioning organ with approximately 500 trillion pathways.

At around 30 years old the physical changes will wind down in the brain and this is where even more of a voluntary contribution to growth, experience and maintenance is required to keep the pathways clear of debris such as plaque so that they continue to function efficiently.

Sally for trafford 1

This phase lasts for the next 35 or 40 years. The brain cells are active and we contribute to their health by diet, stimulation and avoiding lifestyle choices that kill them off. Such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not taking exercise, eating a diet rich in components that block our arteries and blood flow to the brain……you get the idea.

After 65 years old there is a natural dying off of cells in certain parts of the brain. This does not mean that you will lose all your mental capacity, but little things will begin to make an impact on your daily functioning. For example brain cells lost from the Hippocampus where we process memories will result in forgetfulness.

Sally Cronin

You are NOT destined to develop full blown dementia and you can make sure that you support your brain function by eating a healthy balanced diet, getting plenty of oxygen and regular exercise, reducing stress and interacting with others and events to stimulate the pathways to remain open. More so than at any other time in the lifespan of your brain, the voluntary choices and changes you make to your way of life will bring huge benefits.

©sallygeorginacronin 1999- 2017

Next time a more detailed look at dementia and how we can take preventative action at any age to minimise the decline in brain function.

Smorgasbord Health – A -Z of Common Conditions- Nothing more common than a cold!


smorgasbord health

In recent years we have had a number of scares as high infectious and contagious diseases that swept through populations. For example the Ebola outbreak in 2014 which actually got very scary for a time.  Whilst there is some debate on how the disease is passed, there is no doubt, that it is the vulnerable with either immature or compromised immune systems that are at the greatest risk.  As with any virus, Ebola is opportunistic and wants a host that provides all that it needs.

This is post is not about Ebola but a very much more common viral diseae that does already impact billions around the world every year. Although it does not have the devastating effect of Ebola, constant and repeated cold infections does weaken the immune system and make you vulnerable to more dangerous pathogens.

The common cold.
This time of year many immune systems are compromised by the short days and variable if non-existent sunshine. Vitamin D has been in short supply since October for many of us, and unless we have taken steps to keep our immune system up to scratch with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit as well as plenty of fluids and moderate exercise… we are at risk of catching a cold and being its host for a week or more.

Colds are spread by contact with another person suffering from one and we need to take some basic hygienic precautions to help prevent contagion but we also need to build up our own defences so that we shake off any unwanted bugs that fly in our direction.

What What exactly is the common cold?

  • A common cold is an illness caused by a virus infection located in the nose but which can also affect the sinuses, ears and the bronchial tubes.
  • There are very few people who do not suffer at least one cold a year and some individuals can suffer 7 to 10 infections.
  • As we mature and we are exposed to more and more viruses our body learns to deal more effectively with them by producing more antibodies.
  • Babies and the elderly are the most vulnerable and likely to develop chest infections. Also at risk are patients on immune suppressing medications or whose lifestyle and diet have suppressed their ability to fight off infections.
  • Remember too, that, in this modern age, viruses are jet setters and can move swiftly from continent to continent on aeroplanes.
  • The symptoms include sneezing and sore throat for the first 24 to 36 hours followed by blocked nose, scratchy throat with possibly headaches, feverishness, chilliness and coughs.
  • A cold is milder than influenza but a light case of influenza will share the same symptoms.

There is an old saying that “if you treat a cold it will last a week and if you let it run its course it will only last 7 days”. A mild dose may only last a couple of days, particularly if you have a strong immune system or you react quickly with lots of vitamin C in foods and drink. For someone who has a compromised immune system, the symptoms could hang around for up to 2 weeks or longer if it develops into a bronchial infection.

The common cold is not just one virus.
There is not just one cold virus there are over 200 and this makes finding the ultimate cure very difficult. Rhino viruses are the most prevalent and cause over half of the colds we catch.

Cold viruses can only thrive in a living cell, which means your nose. If someone sneezes or coughs on you the first response is to wipe your body off with your hands. The hands are now contaminated and you then touch your mouth and nose passing the virus on. The virus is also passed hand to hand or by touching contaminated surfaces such as door handles.

A cold develops between two and three days after infection.
Cold viruses only live in our human nose and that of our relatives the chimps and other higher primates. Other mammals are lucky and when your cat sneezes it might be down to too much catnip!

Travelling on trains, buses and aircraft are great collecting points for cold and influenza germs with aircraft being the biggest Petri dish of them all.

What causes the symptoms of a cold?
It is not actually the virus that causes all the unpleasant symptoms of a cold. The virus attaches itself to a small proportion of the cells in the lining of the nose. It is in fact the body’s response to the invasion that causes all the problems. The immune system is activated and also some of the nervous system reflexes.

A number of white cells from our defence system, including killer cells, are released into the bloodstream. These include histamines, kinins, interleukins and prostaglandins. When activated, these mediators cause a dilation and leakage of blood vessels and mucus gland secretion. They also activate sneezing and cough reflexes to expel infection from the nose and the lungs.

It is these reactions, caused by our own killer cells, that is treated by the “over the counter” medications, not the actual virus itself. By suppressing our bodies own reactions to the virus we can drive it further into the system causing more harmful infections, particularly if we have already got a weakened immune system.

After the killer cells have dealt with the initial infection antibodies are released that help prevent re-infection by the same virus. This is why as we get older we should suffer from fewer cold infections. Unfortunately, with so many cold viruses available to us we may not have produced enough different antibodies to give us total immunity.

What precautions can we take to prevent catching the cold virus?
There are two main ways to protect yourself from catching a cold virus. One is to minimise the risk of infection through contact and the other is to build up your immune system to enable you to deal with viruses if they do attach themselves to you.

It is almost impossible to avoid contact with people. Some of those people are going to have a cold or influenza and short of doing a ‘Howard Hughes’ and retreating into a sealed room with decontaminants you will have to make do with the main simple but effective precautions.

  • Wash your hands frequently to avoid passing the virus into your nose.
  • Use a natural anti-viral hand barrier cream. (I use Grapefruit Seed Extract)

There are some interesting areas of contamination – apart from door handles – for those of us who shop, trolley handles have usually passed through many hands…apparently in public toilets the least contaminated surface is the toilet seat but the most concentrated bacterial and viral load is on the tap handles and loo roll holder!

Also, you should exercise regularly in the fresh air and avoid over-heated, unventilated living spaces. If your nasal passages dry out they are more likely to become infected and this applies to those of us who live in air-conditioned and centrally heated environments most of the year.

oranges

Boosting the immune system
The second way to protect yourself is to boost your immune system and both Vitamin C and Zinc have been found to help boost the immune system and help with the symptoms for centuries. If you are not able to get out into the winter sunshine at least three times a week with some skin exposure then I do suggest you are eating the few foods that contain vitamin D.. or that you consider taking a supplement during the winter months.

You will find full details of these three vital nutrients in the directory below that gives a breakdown of all the essential nutrients. In the food pharmacy section you find onions and garlic, two very useful ‘over the kitchen counter’ remedies for colds.

pumpkin seeds

A handful of pumpkin seeds as a snack each day will help you boost your Zinc intake.

From a dietary perspective, your diet needs to include all the necessary nutrients for our general health. If you are consciously working on boosting your immune system then certainly you need a high proportion of fresh vegetables and fruit in your diet which contain high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients essential for the immune system.

lemons

Drink the juice of a lemon in hot water every morning when you get up and leave 10 minutes before eating your breakfast – a quick shot of Vitamin C before you start the day and also great for getting the body up and running.

Stress plays a large part in the health of our immune system. If you work or live in a stressful environment then you need to find some way of relaxing on a regular basis. Whilst exercise is very good for this, lying on the sofa listening to your favourite music is also very effective.

What do we do when we have been infected?

Cold symptoms are miserable and I realise that to function in this modern world of ours we are sometimes forced into the situation of taking something to suppress those symptoms.

If you work or have a young family, you cannot suddenly take to your bed for three days until the symptoms subside. However, if possible it is better for you and your cold to work with your body and not against it.

It is important, especially within your own family to limit the amount of contagion and the easiest way to do this is to all wash your hands very frequently. Do not share towels, toothbrushes or flannels and do not share drinks from the same cup or glass. When you use a tissue, use once and then discard safely into a plastic bag that you can dispose of later.

Fluids are very important especially as your appetite is likely to be suppressed. High content vitamin C drinks such as hot lemon with ginger, green tea with a slice of lemon and fresh squeezed juice drinks are the best. Other teas that you may find palatable are mint and elderflower or cinnamon with some lemon and a spoonful of honey. These tend to help sore and itchy throats and warm the chest.

A bowl of hot vegetable soup with carrots, spinach, onions and garlic will help warm you and as you will see from the post on onions and garlic they may help you fight off the infection faster.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/the-medicine-womans-larder-beware-vampires-onions-and-garlic/

onions

For centuries eucalyptus and menthol have been used to alleviate the symptoms of congestion and you can buy the essential oils in any health food shop. You can put a few drops of eucalyptus onto a hankie and inhale the aroma or dilute in massage oil and rub on your forehead, chest and upper back. Over the centuries the herb  Echinacea has been used to both boost the immune system and also alleviate the symptoms of a cold.

There have been rumours for many years that a cure for the common cold is imminent but in the meantime we may have to resort to some old fashioned remedies to ease the symptoms and help our body do the job it is designed to do, which is protect us.  The cynic in me does wonder at times if a cure for the common cold is ever on the cards since worldwide we spend billions each year on medications that are supposed to ease the symptoms!

You will find more information on Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D in this directory along with the foods that supply our body with them.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/nutrient-directory-a-brief-overview-of-the-nutrients-we-need-and-the-foods-that-supply-them/

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Round up – Eagles, Irish Fairies, Opera and thrills and spills.


round-up

Welcome to this week’s round-up of posts you might have missed. It has been a fairly busy week as I prepare for the new series of interviews beginning in March and I am thrilled with the response. Twenty five talented authors, poets, musicians and other creative people have come forward to take part in either Book Reading at the Bookstore or The Creative Artist Interview.

Whilst there are some set questions there are also three personalised questions that I am including in each interview so as you can imagine I am taking my time with that. I hope to have them all out by Monday… It looks like I may go to two posts a week to make sure that nobody is hanging around for weeks waiting for their interview to go live. That being the case if you have not already volunteered.. here is the link which includes the format for the interviews.

Here are all the new promotional opportunities, with something for everyone, all on one page.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-free-author-and-blogger-promotion-2017/

On the subject of promotions.

On the 21st I am off on a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate our three birthdays that are all in February. I will be taking a break from writing posts for the blog but the blog will be handed over to some fabulous and talented members of the blogging community who will be filling in for me in my absence.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/a-little-blog-sitting-requested-february-21st-28th-part-time-position/

I have no worries about leaving the blog for the week to fend for itself but I thought it was another promotional opportunity for you all. As well as the guest post.. I will make sure to top and tail with an intro, feature books, blog, art etc as well as links. Definitely good for the blog and perhaps a little boost for you. Especially as I will not be doing the usual book promotions that week.

If you would like to apply for the job of part-time blog sitter please come back to me by Thursday so that I can get it scheduled in time.

As always I am hugely grateful for your wonderful support, comments, shares and motivation. ♥♥

Enough of the mushy stuff.. and on with the posts from the week…..

Classical music with William Price King

William and his music

So pleased that so many of you are enjoying the last in the classical music series and the story of American soprano Leontyne Price. This week a look at her performances in the 1950s and the bigotry that she endured in her early career.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/classical-music-with-william-price-king-leontyne-price-part-two-star-on-the-rise-2/

Weekly Image and Haiku

I am so lucky to have some wonderful co-hosts on occasion for the blog and one post this week seemed to touch the hearts of many of you. Wayne Barnes of Tofino Photographs has been a blogging friend for the last three years and he sent me some recent photographs of the eagles Romeo and Juliette.. he very kindly agreed to let me use one of the images for this week’s Haiku.. You can see the full sized version in the post.

together-for-lifehttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/weekly-image-and-haiku-together-for-life/

Short Story – After the Festival 

Another collaboration with illustrator Donata Zawdska with After the Festival. I was very privileged to be able to use the artwork for my short story..a new one from my upcoming Tales from the Irish Garden later in the year.. I hope you enjoy.

after-the-festival-1https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/smorgasbord-short-story-tales-from-the-irish-garden-after-the-festival-illustrated-by-donata-zawadzka/

The new interview series if you missed them last week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/new-series-sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-book-reading-and-interview/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/new-series-smorgasbord-creative-artist-interview-musicians-bloggers-artists-photographers/

Book Promotions

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-wind-follower-by-carole-mcdonnell/

copertina_inglese_the_annwyns_secret

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-annwyns-secret-by-claudine-giovannoni/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-frank-immersed-a-frank-rozzani-detective-novel-frank-rozzani-detective-novels-book-5-by-don-massenzio/

41zdy7g5rpl-_uy250_

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-golden-age-of-charli-rsvp-by-jena-c-henry/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-sleeping-serpent-by-luna-saint-claire/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

41jwrqyo45l-_uy250_the-heart-stone-chronicles getpart

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-teri-polen-colleen-chesebro-and-sally-cronin/

51qgvzagl1l 51-yoxohzql-_uy250_ 51jo3ypdlbl-_uy250_

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-amy-m-reade-olga-nunez-miret-and-gigi-sedlemayer/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Another 25 bloggers promoted this week.

If you would like to be included in the Blogger Daily then just leave a link to your most recent post in the comments section of the round up today..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-6th-february-2017-welsh-chapels-interviews-celebrating-books-and-angry-bird/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-7th-february-2017-share-buttons-reviews-crime-settings-poetry-and-octopus/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-8th-february-2017-dr-dolittle-the-turin-shroud-sexism-politics-and-emotional-beats/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-9th-february-2017-smoking-dickens-leftovers-water-shortages-and-childrens-illustrations/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-10th-february-2017-multi-culturism-drinking-war-correspondent-snow-cream-and-dog-rescue/

Smorgasbord Health – series Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

seasonal-affective-disorderhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-annwyns-secret-by-claudine-giovannoni/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/smorgasbord-health-seasonal-affective-disorder-part-two-vitamin-d-the-sunshine-vitamin/

Smorgasbord health – A – Z of Common Conditions – Lung Cancer.

smorgasbord healthhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/the-lungs-part-five-smoking-and-lungcancer/

Humour and Afternoon Video

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/time-for-some-laffs-and-some-cat-and-dog-views-on-life/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/time-for-some-laffs-from-around-the-usual-haunts/

That is it for another week on Smorgasbord.. Couldn’t do it without you.. Please remember that it saves me time if you volunteer your news about new book releases, fantastic reviews or share your blog post link.. Help me share your work.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health – Seasonal Affective Disorder – Part Two – Vitamin D the Sunshine Vitamin


seasonal-affective-disorder

First a reminder if you missed the first post in this series of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The typical symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) include depression, lack of energy, increased need for sleep, a craving for sweets and weight gain. Symptoms begin in the fall, peak in the winter and usually resolve in the spring. Some individuals experience great bursts of energy and creativity in the spring or early summer. Susceptible individuals who work in buildings without windows may experience SAD-type symptoms at any time of year. Some people with SAD have mild or occasionally severe periods of mania during the spring or summer. If the symptoms are mild, no treatment may be necessary. If they are problematic, then a mood stabilizer such as Lithium might be considered. There is a smaller group of individuals who suffer from summer depression.

To show the connection to Seasonal Affective Disorder I need to give you an idea of the scope and breadth of the influence of Vitamin D Levels in the body. And as you will see later in the post it has been identified that there is a difference in the incidences of several diseases between population is sunnier areas of the world and those that have extended winter months.

WHAT IS VITAMIN D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluable vitamin that is found in some food sources. We are also designed to make the vitamin in our body after exposure to the ultraviolet rays from the sun. When it is manufactured in the body it takes on a number of different forms, each of which have a different function to perform.

The main function is to maintain the correct balance of calcium and phosphorus in the blood and then to ensure that calcium is absorbed efficiently so that new bone is formed and maintained throughout our lifetime.

This link to calcium resulted in the first major nutritional breakthrough nearly 100 years ago when it was identified that children with rickets, usually from poor and industrial areas suffered from Vitamin D deficiency and were supplemented with fish liver oils resulting in a virtual eradication of the disease.

Calcium plays a crucial role in other functions in the body but one of the most important as far as cancer is concerned is its ability to maintain the acid/alkaline balance within all our operating systems.

There is also a strong link between magnesium and calcium in the role of balancing hormones and are used very successfully in the treatment of PMS and menopausal symptoms.

Oestrogen the female hormone has been identified as the fuel that breast cancer cells prefer and this is why during the menopause when levels are likely to be elevated, we are more likely to develop tumours. This can therefore be linked back to a deficiency in Calcium and by definition a lack of vitamin D which enables the mineral to be absorbed and used by the body.

Vitamin D also works to promote healthy cell growth and actively prevent the formation of abnormal growth which strengthens the link between not only breast cancer and a deficiency but other cancers as well. Incidences of breast, prostate and colon cancer in the cloudier, Northern parts of the United States are two to three times higher than in Sunnier states. A link has been established to a deficiency of Vitamin D with all these types of cancer.

Apart from working with other nutrients to provide a healthy balance, Vitamin D is also associated with a number of other chronic diseases including Osteoporosis (calcium) Diabetes, Heart disease, arthritis (immune system) Multiple sclerosis (autoimmune system) Obesity ( lowers the levels of leptin hormone produced by the fat cells which regulates weight) , PMS and infertility, chronic fatigue and depression.

Many people in countries with long wet and dark winters suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vitamin D which has been activated in the adrenal gland regulates an enzyme called tyrosine hydroxylase which is necessary for the production of neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine and epinephrine. Not only do they regulate how we feel but also are linked to some interesting parallel conditions associated with a lack in Vitamin D namely obesity, PMS and menopausal symptoms such as migraines, and chronic pain associated with arthritis etc.

HOW DO WE GET SUFFICIENT VITAMIN D?

There are actually two types of vitamin D found in nature – D2 is the one activated by sunlight in plants and D3 is found in animal foods. D3 is the one that is most commonly used in supplementation usually in combination with calcium as it is the most biologically usable and effective for humans.

If you have a liver or kidney condition then you should not supplement without your doctor’s advice. When we take in Vitamin D from food or sunlight it firsts goes to the liver and gets converted to one form and then onto the kidney to be converted into another form before being active and usable. If you have a liver or kidney problem you will be unable to convert the vitamin and will need the already activated form on prescription from your doctor.
Vitamin D taken in excess can be toxic and you should not supplement more than 1000 IU to 3000IU per day. The upper limit for safety has been set at 10,000 IU per day and if you are getting adequate sunlight provided vitamin D you should not need to supplement in summer months.

The recommended daily levels are confused as since 1997 when the original levels were set at between 200 and 600 IU An IU represents 5 micrograms. Researchers now believe that we need a minium intake of 1000 IU rising as we age to 3000 IU

Most of what we require on a daily basis is produced in the skin by the action of sunlight and many of us who suffer from depression through the dark winter months are actually missing around 75% of our required daily dose this represents over 2000IU of vitamin D for someone in their 70’s

There is quite a lot of information available regarding the amount of time that you need in the sunshine to produce sufficient Vitamin D and unfortunately it is also very confusing. Some researchers say that you only need 15 minutes per day in the sun and others recommend two to three hours of exposure.

What is crucial is the type of ultraviolet light, the time of day, the latitude and altitude and amount of bare skin exposed.

Ultraviolet light is divided into 3 bands or wavelength ranges which are UV-C, UV-B and UV-A. UV-C is the strongest and it is the band that causes our skin to burn in a very short space of time. This band is absorbed by the ozone level and thankfully never reaches our skin – yet.

UV-A is responsible for our tans as it activates the pigment in our skin. Usually we will not burn in this range unless we are photosensitive (some anti-depressants and St. John’s Wort can cause this) or very high and frequent doses are used. This range is used for tanning beds and there have been incidences of skin cancer resulting from over use. Until very recently this UV-A was not blocked in any sunscreens and of course sunbathers would lie out in extremely strong sunlight believing that they were protected completely from harmful rays. Of course they were not which is believed to be the reason for the increase in the level of skin cancers.

The ultraviolet wavelength we need to produce Vitamin D is UV-B and unfortunately despite its benefits also is the burning ray and the primary cause of sunburn.

It also however, produces the beneficial effects of stimulating Vitamin D production, causes special skin cells to produce melanin which protects our skin and also for those of us trying to lose weight also stimulates a hormone MSH (Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone) that helps in weight loss and energy production.

A drawback is that although UV-A is present all through the day the UV-B available is dependent on a number of factors including the angle of the sun rays and cloud cover as well as latitude and altitude. The upshot is that the most beneficial time to take advantage of the UV-B rays is in the peak burning zones of 10.00 a.m. to 2.00p.m.

The sensible approach is to build up you tan slowly and carefully over a period of time so that the melanin in your skin provides protection from burning. Start by getting five minutes exposure to very bright sunlight if you have very fair skin and then increase this as your tan builds. Walking at other times of the day will also benefit you and try to expose as much skin as is decently acceptable (don’t frighten the tourists) You need to try and reveal around 85% of your skin to be effective.

I don’t advise anyone to sit in scorching sunshine in the middle of the day for hours – If you do make sure you have adequate protection to begin with and then reduce the factor down to 8 over a period of time. Any sun blocks over 8 will not allow the UV-B rays through to produce Vitamin D so when you are ready and you have sufficient protection in your own skin reduce the sunblock to under 8.

FOOD SOURCES

Our ancestors mainly worked outside until the industrial revolution and activities such as farming, fishing and hunting meant that we were exposed to sunlight throughout the day depending on the latitude and altitude of our immediate vicinity. Those not lucky enough to get adequate sunshine would have instinctively sought other sources of Vitamin D from food. In those days it was the intestines, livers, kidneys, skin and fat of the animals they caught as well as seafood, oily fish and insects. It is obvious from this list how many foods have disappeared from our plates in the last 100 years. When was the last time that you ate liver, kidneys, the fat on your steak or the crispy skin on your chicken. We certainly have been told not to eat most of these to preserve our health but ironically it means that we are also missing out on viable sources of Vitamin D.

This has limited the available food sources of the vitamins and some of them are rather inadequate anyway.

eggs

An egg contain approximately 24 with a 100g serving of herring or tinned salmon providing just over 400 IU. Dairy products such as milk contain the vitamin but an 8oz glass only contains 100 IU of the vitamin.

Pork fat contains 2,800 IU per 100gms so start eating the crackling again (do not attempt if trying to lose weight. Herrings contain 680 IU, Oysters contain 640 IU (would need a lot more than a dozen) Sardines 500IU. Mackeral 450 IU and butter 56IU

This compares to 2,000 IU to 5000IU produced from sunlight dependent on the factors we have already covered.

COD LIVER OIL.

Now that most of us are well into the winter months I do recommend that everyone take high quality cod liver oil. Apart from the Vitamin D you will also be supplying your body with an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids essential for a great many of our bodies functions and the subject of another programme. Cod liver oil also contains rich amounts of vitamin A and the whole package will help protect you against age related diseases.

As children we were given spoonfuls of cod liver oil and thanks to that simple breakthrough in the early 1900’s we did not get rickets. Today if you cannot face a tablespoon of the oil, you can obtain high quality cod liver oil capsules. There are lots to choose from so I suggest you shop around to find the best quality you can.

As we get older our skin thins and we are less able to manufacture Vitamin D naturally, which is when supplementation is really quite important.. It is a good idea to take not only cod liver oil but also an additional supplement of calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D. This is important for both men and women to maintain the correct acid/alkaline balance and also to balance hormone levels during midlife when breast and prostate cancer is more of a risk.

Next time the link between Sunshine and Tryptophan.

©sally cronin- Just Food for Health – 2004 – 2016

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – New promotions, Leontyne Price, Myths and awesome talent.


round-up

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. In particular I would like to draw your attention to these two new promotional series.

Although my Cafe and Bookstore is as yet, virtual.. it is still a platform for promotion. Apart from the twice weekly updates for new releases and outstanding reviews…You can now do a virtual book reading. To mix things up a little; I will not only send you a choice of questions to answer including some personalised ones about your work, but we will open the comments section up to questions from the audience.. i.e. those who pop in to read the post.  This does mean that the author in question will have to pop in on the day and perhaps the next once of twice to respond to the questions.  I hope that this little twist will bring a new element to boost the post’s promotional reach.  Here is the post with all the details.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/new-series-sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-book-reading-and-interview/

The second new series is for those who might not have published a book and are therefore not on the shelves of the bookstore. Bloggers, book reviewers, short story writers, artists, musicians, photographers and any other creative talent. The same format as the author book reading.. with personalised questions and the interaction with the audience. This is an opportunity to showcase your work and to meet new followers and possibly customers through the Q & A in the commments.  Here are more details.

creative artistshttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/new-series-smorgasbord-creative-artist-interview-musicians-bloggers-artists-photographers/

Look forward to hearing from you once you have read the posts.. I already have twelve authors lined up for the Book Reading posts and two for the Creative Artists…don’t delay.

As I am an author on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore I get to promote my latest book in the update tomorrow….I hope you will pop in and also take a look at the other two authors who will be sharing the post with me.

William and his music

In the meantime I would like to thank my two amazing contributors to the blog. William Price King and Paul Andruss who are amazing.  We are just coming to the end of the Classical Series in the next few weeks and this is going to be followed by a look at some of the iconic contemporary music artists. William is going to be starting this new series with an idol of mine and I am sure of many of you too.. The Boss.. Bruce Springsteen.

Finn Mac Cool

Paul Andruss has certainly made an impression on followers to the blog with his posts across different worlds… From Ancient Greece and the myths and legends of Ancient Ireland to the worlds behind the modern artists who have left their mark in history such as David Bowie and Mark Bolan.. You will find a wonderful and eclectic look at these worlds on Paul’s website. http://www.paul-andruss.com/about/

Also thanks to all of you who have dropped in this week…liked, commented and shared. It is so appreciated.

On with the show.

Classical Music with William Price King

index

Part one of the American soprano Leontyne Price who not only enjoyed a stunning professional career but paved the way for other African American opera singers to perform in their rightful place on the world stage.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/classical-music-with-william-price-king-leontyne-price-the-early-years/

Guest Writer Paul Andruss

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A stunning piece on the myth of The Birch Maiden with the most beautiful illustrations by Donata Zawadzka.. I hope you will visit both their websites to enjoy more.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/guest-writer-the-birch-maiden-by-paul-andruss-illustrated-by-donata-zawadzka/

Book Promotions

new-on-the-shelves-updateFour new authors will be on the shelves from today and I hope you will enjoy their introduction to the Cafe.. If you are not currently on the shelves with your books then please take a look at the details.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-free-author-and-blogger-promotion-2017/

Click Cover for Amazon

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-passion-struggle-book-one-the-genesis-saga-by-john-fioravanti/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-naked-alliances-a-richard-noggin-novel-the-naked-eye-private-investigator-series-book-1-by-s-k-nicholls/

seeking-control-cover-front-onlyhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-seeking-control-of-the-myths-that-never-should-have-been-guiding-council-book-2-by-mike-wolff/

51hcyukkqjl-_uy250_https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-viking-and-the-courtesan-by-shehanne-moore/

author-update-jpgCafe and Bookstore Update

This week’s look at new releases and recent reviews from the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

51erbryflwl-_uy250_5122bdbz7ql-_uy250_tales-from-the-garden-cover

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-ali-isaac-n-a-granger-and-sally-cronin/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-kevin-morris-jane-dougherty-and-judy-e-martin/

Personal Stuff

A tongue in cheek look at our financial value.. and how we might perhaps encourage the universe to catch up to our expectations!

yacht

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/why-i-am-giving-myself-a-salary-increase-and-perhaps-you-should-too/

Weekly Image and Haiku

dawnhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/weekly-image-and-haiku-from-a-grateful-world/

Special mention for Terri Webster Schrandt who has opened up her photography files for our use.. this was my reblog and the image for this week’s Haiku was courtesy of her generosity.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/how-to-get-hundreds-of-free-photos-for-your-blog/

Blogger Daily – 25 more bloggers showcased in the week day look at some of the outstanding posts of the day.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-30th-january-2017-castle-douglas-wordpress-addiction-change-and-author-interview/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-31st-january-2017-dragons-strong-women-peace-favourite-things-and-a-review/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-1st-february-2017-medieval-horses-fashion-savvy-bloggers-bash-caboodle-and-new-words/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-2nd-february-2017-three-things-crystals-oscar-and-audio-books/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-3rd-february-2017-jacaranda-trees-mental-health-dean-martin-dog-training-and-poetry/

Health

A final look at how we change as we grow and age and some of the voluntary and involunatry emotions we experience.

dsc_1737

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/smorgasbord-health-the-dynamics-of-health-emotional-being/

When was the last time you had a really good laugh?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/smorgasbord-health-why-laughter-really-is-the-best-medicine/

The second in the series of cancers that are most common… Prostate which is followed by lung and then bowel cancers.

smorgasbord healthhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/smorgasbord-health-a-z-of-common-conditions-cancer-prostate/

Humour

purple-clover

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/time-for-some-laffs-life-span-speeding-and-highway-to-hell/

Thank you again for making this a regular stop on your blog tours.. Look forward to seeing you again..Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 3rd February 2017 – Jacaranda Trees, Mental health, Dean Martin, Dog Training and Poetry


Smorgasbord Blogger DailyWelcome to Friday’s Blogger Daily and I thought today I would share some new bloggers to me…and of course some of my usual haunts.. I am sure that if you head over to the blogs you will not just find the featured post interesting… Do help me out and put the link of your most recent post in the comments section.. The Blogger Daily is posted six days a week… so much talent so little time…

jacaranda-pinterestThis post brought memories back to me of Jacaranda Trees when we lived in South Africa. A post from John Mark Kipkoech who lives in Kenya  –  A beautiful spirit we should adopt….about beautiful trees. the environment.. positive activism and a tribute to Wangari Muta Maathai an environmental political activist and Nobel laureate.  Image Pinterest.

Here is a short extract from the post but please do head over and read the post in full.

Everytime I use Professor Wangari Maathai Road, I wonder whether I’ll keep her spirit alive in myself. I usually wonder whether I’ll ever drive sense into people’s brains and make them understand that our environment will sustain us if we sustain it.

Read the rest of the post and enjoy the photos: https://johnmarkkipkoech.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/scarcity/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

This next post is about the challenges of leaving behind past pain and abuse and the daily task of maintaining a healthy mental and physical balance. Wise Woman of A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave writes about mental health, PTSD and other health issues on her blog and in today’s post Lessons From My Dog.….

I just picked up my dog to help her to the couch. Her reaction to me is the same, every day, every time. She turns her back to me, hunches herself up, and puts her head down. Her reaction, it breaks my heart. It’s as if she is expecting me to hit her, hurt her, or punish her. I whisper in her ear as I gently stroke her back. “Remember my sweet girl, nothing will ever hurt you here. Here, there is only love. Only love, Only love.” She lived her first six years of life in a wire cage, absent any human touch, love or kindness. She has been with us now for longer than she was in that cage. Everyday of her life with us has been spent being loved, gently, warmly, and patiently. Held and comforted, kept safe and warm, cuddled and cared for, reassured and reminded. Yet her reactions are so engrained in her brain, that I can’t undo the damage. 

Read the rest of this interesting and thought provoking post: https://wisewoman2016.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/lessons-from-my-dog

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

I grow up watching the films that starred the Rat Pack…I remember my mother saying that Frank Sinatra was wonderful but that if I ever met anyone like Dean Martin I should run a mile!  I don’t think she read the gossip about Mr. Sinatra.. but there is no doubt they had it … in spades… here is a some info on Gary Loggins of Cracked Rear Viewer..Retro Pop Culture.

I’m a film fanatic who grew up on old movies, and have as much fun writing about them as I do watching. I cover the 1930s through the 1970s on Cracked Rear Viewer and Through the Shattered Lens. Favorite genres include horror, sci-fi, comedy, noir, and westerns, but I’ll review anything that interests me.

So if you enjoy the films of that era.. there is plenty to keep you busy.. and here is an example with a look at Dean Martin in Mr. Ricco

ric1It’s an older, more world-weary Dean Martin we see in MR. RICCO, a fairly gritty but ultimately unfulfilling 70’s flick that would’ve made a decent pilot for a TV series (maybe in the NBC MYSTERY MOVIE rotation with Columbo and McCloud), but as a feature was best suited for the bottom half of a double bill. This was Dino’s last starring role, though he did appear in two more movies (THE CANNONBALL RUN and it’s sequel), and this attempt to change his image from footloose swinger to a more *gasp!* sober Martin doesn’t really cut it.

Read the rest of the post: https://crackedrearviewer.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/the-partys-over-dean-martin-in-mr-ricco-mgm-1975/

my-vibrating-vertebrae

As we get closer to the day when we take into our home and heart.. another four legged family member it is a good time to remember that well trained owners are as important as their well trained dogs. They say that there are no bad dogs.. but certainly as you will have read in the first post above, their are dogs who are rescued to carry as much baggage and a human does after perhaps years of ill treatment and neglect. That takes enormous patience and a structure is required to ensure that your dog learns to trust and feel safe and loved.  The Story Reading Ape’s guest Kevin Davisof https://petloverguy.com/. takes us through The Top Ten Dog Training Mistakes.

15590834_1113745215390327_2244299159793769706_oFor all the wonders of owning a dog, they do come complete with quite a few nasty habits. From trying to eat the cat to urinating on the carpet, an untrained dog can be quite a handful indeed.

The good news is that just about any dog can be trained. The only problem is that it’s not something that can be done overnight. It’s something that takes time, effort, and above all, quite a bit of patience.

Should you be considering undertaking the challenge of turning a wild hound into a loving pet, an excellent place to start is learning what not to do. Here are ten mistakes that can make training a dog far more difficult than it needs to be.

Read the top ten dog training mistakes: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/02/03/top-ten-dog-training-mistakes-guest-post-by-blogger-kevin-davies

pam

And last but not least an interview by Roberta Pimentel of author and poet Kevin Morris.. Kevin featured in the Cafe and Bookstore author update today as he has just released a CD of his recording of 13 of his poems. So very pleased that this interview popped up.. You can buy the CD exclusively from Kevin at newauthoronline (at) gmail dot com, (the address is rendered to avoid spammers)

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Here is an extract from the interview…and Roberta is inviting new guests for the blog too.

Today I have the honour to introduce a new special guest and this time my guest it is Kevin Morris which is a huge inspiration. He is working in a field that I think it is a very important field which is climate changes. I will definitely recommend you to read his interview and get inspired. Don’t forget to visit his blog.

If you would like to participate on my special guest please send me an email at email@robertapimentel.com and I will give you all the info you need.

However, let’s start the interview.

Hi Kevin, it is an honour to have you here today and I look forward to read your answers.

1. What or who inspired you to start blogging?
I wished to share my writing with the world, hence I started my
blog/website newauthoronline.com.

Read the whole interview: http://robertapimentel.com/2017/02/03/todays-special-guest-4/

 

Smorgasbord Health – A -Z of Common Conditions – Cancer – Prostate


A-Z

Some of you may have read this during Men’s Health Week last year but I do believe that it is a post worth repeating so that there is an awareness to act sooner rather than later if there is even the slightest change in the way our body behaves.

My father was diagnosed at age 77 with prostate cancer and it was at least stage three. This was twenty-five years ago and the treatment is radiation and lots of it. It gave him time but the last year was very hard on him. The radiation had caused a blood disorder that required him to have a regular blood-transfusions and good naturedly he would present himself at the hospital on the designated Friday.. My father loved his food and the day is significant… they served fish ‘n’ chips.  Eventually he required these transfusions weekly and after a short period of time he passed away aged 80.

Today there have been huge advancements in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer and the prognosis is much improved. But it is dependent on a very important factor and that is early detection.

I explored some very frightening figures after an image was posted on facebook from Just Eat Real Food that claimed that from 1900 the risk of developing cancer had increased dramatically from 1 in 30 to 1 in 2.  Many people thought that this could not be true.  Well it appears that it well might be.

In the UK, Cancer Research UK states that for those born after 1960 there is a 1 in 2 chance of developing a cancer of one type or another… This will be reflected in other countries who have adopted a highly industrialised food chain which includes mass farming methods and chemical and hormonal  ‘enhancements’ at each phase of the production process.

We all have rogue cells that are pre-cancerous but if we have a strong immune system these cells either self-distruct or are contained by our own defences.

However, if those defences are weakened by a nutritionally deficient diet, those actions will not occur and in a sugar rich and oxygen deprived environment, cancer cells will reproduce rapidly.

We are now living longer and as we age so do our cells. As our diet and lifestyle changes in later years, our immune system weakens and the defences are down. It is therefore absolutely possible that 1 in 2 of us will develop some form of cancer in our lifetime. The difference being that cancers that develop in our bodies in our 80s and 90s are likely to grow slowly and outlive us.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/lifetime-risk#heading-Zero

Male reproductive health issues

As women face problems with their uterus, and possible hysterectomies, so men are faced with problems with their prostates. The good news is that in the majority of cases the conditions are benign, and are not going to lead to cancer, but symptoms should always be checked out.

male_internal_side

What is the prostate?

The prostate gland is a very small walnut shaped structure that sits at the base of the bladder and surrounds the ejaculatory ducts at the base of the urethra. Its role is to produce an alkaline fluid that mixes with the semen from the vesicles before it is passed into the penis to be ejaculated. This probably acts as a booster for the sperm keeping them active and therefore more likely to fertilise an egg should the opportunity arise.

In a young man the prostate is about the size of a walnut and it slowly gets larger as a man matures. If it gets too large, however, it can begin to cause problems with the urinary tract resulting in frequent urination and in some cases discomfort. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and is very common in men over 60 years old.

If problems with urination occur especially at night then a doctor should be consulted. Usually a rectal examination or scans will detect the enlarged prostate and appropriate treatment prescribed. If the enlargement of the prostate and the urination problems are relatively mild then it is usually left for a period of time to see if the normal reduction in testosterone will result in a decrease in the size of the prostate.

If the enlargement of the prostate or the symptoms warrant medical intervention it is usual to prescribe either alpha-blockers (can have some nasty side effects) or a testosterone lowering drug. As the testosterone levels decrease the prostate shrinks and the urination problems are solved. However there can be side effects such as loss of sex drive and possible erectile problems.

In extreme cases surgery may be advised if the urination problem does not improve. It can however result in other problems and should be considered carefully beforehand.

Prostate cancer

Women dread the words breast, ovary or uterine cancer and for men it is prostate cancer. As with most cancers if it is found early then the chances of recovery are very good. Unfortunately the early signs of cancer can be confused with BPH which is why it is an excellent idea to consult a doctor the moment you feel there is a change to your urination in any way. This is especially true if you develop a burning sensation or pain during urination or there is blood present in the urine. Sometimes there could also be blood in semen, pain in the back, hips or pelvis and painful ejaculation. There can also be an innocent and harmless cause of some of these symptoms but it is important to clarify the situation immediately with your doctor.

Apart from a physical examination a doctor will also conduct a blood test to determine the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). These may be higher in men with either an enlarged prostate or cancer and it is backed up by an ultrasound to establish any abnormalities in the gland.

Usually a biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis and is commonly done by the doctor under local anaesthetic.

Treatment

These days if the cancer is in the early stages and slow growing it will be monitored regularly to determine if the next stage in the treatment is necessary. Treatments are being refined and reviewed continually and your doctor will have the latest information at hand.

The most common type of surgery is a radical prostatectomy where the whole prostate and some surrounding tissue is removed. This may result in loss of sexual function or urinary problems that may not correct themselves. There is a modified operation that reduces the risk of nerve damage and therefore impotence that some men will be offered if appropriate.

Radiation treatment is used in some cases prior to surgery to kill cancerous cells and shrink the tumour and following surgery to ensure that all harmful cells have been eliminated. There are two kinds of radiation, externally beamed into the prostate and internally where radioactive “seeds” are placed in the prostate itself, into or near the actual tumour. There can be some side effects with this treatment including impotence and incontinence, which will have to be managed in the long term.

Following radiation, patients may be offered hormonal treatment to prevent the cancer from reoccurring or if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This will usually result in menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes as well as a loss of sexual desire.

Now to a different perspective on prostate cancer treatment.

This in no way negates the need to get checked, as a physical examination is key to determining if there is a problem with the prostate. Whilst unpleasant (and trust me we women have equally invasive examinations) a few minutes of embarrassment or discomfort is better than years of treatment and doubt about the outcome.

Today treatments are targeted very specifically in the area affected and as you will read a different approach to beginning treatment is usually followed if the cancer is in the very early stages. A ‘watch carefully and wait and see’ strategy is particularly relevant if the patient is in their late 70s and 80s as certain cancers have a less aggressive growth pattern as we age.

Do read the article so that should you face a diagnosis of prostate cancer you can ask all the right questions to ensure that you explore all the options available. Be aware that different consultants have their own approach to specific cancers and whilst the ‘wait and see’ strategy is widely adopted in the UK it may be very different where you live.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/06/survive-prostate-cancer-without-surgery.aspx?e_cid=20150906Z2_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20150906Z2&et_cid=DM85074&et_rid=1105579098

This series is not intended to be used as a diagnostic tool..It is however a recommendation to find out about areas of the body which are at risk and to ensure that you notice changes that occur.. Nobody else can do that except perhaps someone close to you. This is why it is so important for partners to also keep an eye out for changes in habits that might indicate that there is a problem.

The sooner that prostate cancer is diagnosed the better the outcome. Get Checked.

You will find other posts in the A – Z of Common Conditions in the directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-a-z-of-common-condition/

 

Smorgasbord Health – Why laughter really is the best medicine…


Smorgasbord Health 2017

In the last week I looked at some of our hard-wired changes to our body, brain and emotions. How we feel is critical to our overall well being and there have been a number of studies into the effect of laughter on our health. One of the organs that benefits the most is actually our brain.

Holding onto your marbles.

It is very important that as well as feeding the brain nutrients and supplying healthy fats, oxygen and fluids, you provide it with stimulation.

One of the causes of dementia is lack of stimulation. Visual, aural, verbal. For elderly people the world begins to shrink back until they are probably restricted in movement within a small space with perhaps just the television or radio for company. Even with the Television you will find that eventually there will only be one or two channels watched with the news and soap operas and Midsummer murders!

This is why any social interaction is so important as we get older. For most, not all, our natural instinct is to recede to a safe zone but those who do stay in the world and continue to laugh, enjoy new music, movies, plays and group activities, stay mentally and physically healthier.

Laughter is universal – every culture will have its particular funny bone that others would not see the point of, but put most of us in a room with other nationalities and eventually someone will start us off. It might be a stand-up comedian in front of a packed theatre – or it might be round the dinner table after a couple of glasses of good wine.

Children have a natural ability to laugh from a very early age – they are not afraid to express themselves – they do not have years of conditioning about what is appropriate or not. I remember getting a fit of the giggles at my mother’s funeral – imagining her reactions to the proceedings. I only managed to hang onto my decorum by severely grasping my husband’s left thigh in a death grip which to onlookers might have looked equally inappropriate!

There are actually laughter clubs around the world where people gather and start a voluntary laughter cycle rather than a spontaneous one. No humour or jokes involved, just a steady Ha,ha,ha. Hasyayoga is performed in groups with eye contact and you will be surprised how soon the deliberate laughter turns into the infectious kind we are used to in a crowd. The belief is that forced laughter holds the same benefits as the naturally occurring variety.

Health benefits of laughter.

When we laugh we tend to increase our rate of breathing inhaling more oxygen which gets pumped into our bodies filling us with energy and at the same time reducing stress.

As we laugh heartily, nearly all of the 400 muscles in the body will come into play, which is a form of internal aerobics.

If you laugh throughout an hour-long comedy show, or at someone’s jokes, you will use up 500 calories.

The act of laughing causes our blood vessels to dilate reducing blood pressure and stimulates the production of more T-cells in our immune system helping us to fight infections.

Laughing releases endorphins and neuropeptides into the bloodstream which have a number of measurable effects on us. These either act as painkillers or improve your mood.

The types of problems that seem to respond well to laughter therapy are stress, asthma, arthritis, insomnia, depression, frequent infections and recovery from cancer.

Laughing with others strengthens social bonds, attracts people with similar senses of humour, helps relieve tensions in relationships and illustrates a level of trust where you are willing to share something trivial or amusing with another. Laughter is as contagious as a cold or flu and there is actually something very satisfying about reducing someone to tears with laughter.

So it strengthens your immune system, increases your cardiovascular flexibility, makes you think clearly, improves your mood, releases stress, relieves pain, lowers your blood pressure, boosts the entire body and if it is shared with a friend doubles the effects.

There is no doubt that attitude does make a huge difference when you are battling a serious illness and laughter plays a major part in turning infusing the body with a positive energetic and healing environment.

And this is the way to do it…

Smorgasbord Health – A – Z of Common Conditions – Breast Cancer


smorgasbord A - Z

Unfortunately cancer is a common condition and there will be over 14 million new cases this coming year and over 8 million deaths. The good news is however that research and the resulting more focused treatments for the various forms of the disease are more successful in curing the disease.

Because this is such a critical issue for so many I am splitting the posts into four over the next month.. I will be looking at breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancers with not just the statistics but how you can stay informed and proactive about the disease.

Some of you will have read the following last year in the women’s health week.. but I do think that the message of GET CHECKED is worth repeating, especially for those of you who were not following the blog last year.

Breast Cancer

The diagnosis of Breast Cancer strikes fear into the heart of us all. Not that the disease is exclusive and men too can develop this disease. The survival rates for breast cancer are definitely improving and this is down to awareness and early diagnosis. However, whilst in the Western world we are actively encouraged to have regular mammograms, this has recently been questioned. However, we as women know our bodies extremely well and it is that intimacy that should alert us to a change in our breasts very early on.

First a look at the statistics

Breast cancer is the top cancer in women worldwide and is increasing particularly in developing countries where the majority of cases are diagnosed in late stages.

521,900: The estimated number of breast cancer deaths in women worldwide in 2012 which is the last complete reporting date.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women; however, when looking just at developed countries, lung cancer was the most common cause of cancer death in 2012, surpassing breast cancer. This change reflects the tobacco epidemic in these women, which occurred later than in men, according to the report.  Also, the incidence of breast cancer is increasing in the developing world due to increase life expectancy, increase urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.

It is estimated that there were 1.7 million new cases diagnosed in 2012. However, this figure does not include women who develop the disease in countries where there is little health care and zero reporting of the statistics.

The good news is the survival rates have increased with earlier detection, more targeted treatments and better medication.

Breast cancer survival rates vary greatly worldwide, ranging from 80% or over in North America, Sweden and Japan to around 60% in middle-income countries and below 40% in low-income countries (Coleman et al., 2008). The low survival rates in less developed countries can be explained mainly by the lack of early detection programmes, resulting in a high proportion of women presenting with late-stage disease, as well as by the lack of adequate diagnosis and treatment facilities.

Source: http://www.who.int/cancer/detection/breastcancer/en/index1.html

Risk Factors

Most of us in developed countries are living longer due to better diet and medical care. Recent research does support the fact that we all have rogue cells that might at some stage develop into cancer, particularly if we live into our eighties and nineties. If we have a poor diet full of sugars and have worked in a hazardous environment our immune systems may not function efficiently allowing for diseases such as cancer to move from harmless to dangerous.

There are a number of risk factors that have been identified, but apart from a clear genetic link to mutated genes such as BRCA1, BRCA2 and p53, there is only firm but not definitive links to other triggers. These include prolonged exposure to hormones such as oestrogen because of an early start to puberty before the age of 12 years old or a late menopause after 55 years old.

Lifestyle and diet are likely to play a role as a nutritionally poor diet is likely to result in poor immune system function allowing all pathogens to flourish.

There have been studies which indicate that exposure to hormone replacement therapy and birth control might raise the risk factor as will being exposed to chemicals within the work place.

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, recreational drugs and drinking excessive alcohol can be increased risk factors as they will undermine the body’s own defences as well as introducing carcinogens into the body. In the case of smoking over 4,000 chemicals many of which are toxic.

You might also be at risk if you are severely overweight and take little exercise.

More details can be found at the following links.
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-risk-factors
http://www.who.int/cancer/detection/breastcancer/en/

Early Detection

If you notice any changes in your breasts that are not associated with your normal monthly cycle or pregnancy then contact your GP or health provider.

Here is an excellent article on self-examination that you should complete at least once every month.

http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam/bse_steps

In certain countries there are various health checks that are available to screen for specific cancers between certain ages and it is important that every woman take advantage of these.

The Good News.

If breast cancer is detected early and treated there is between an 88% and 93% survival rate. This drops to between 74% for stage two and 49% for stage three.

http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/survival-facts-statistics

If you have not had a breast examination for several years then make it your priority in the next month.

I can recommend that you read Judith Barrow’s personal story about breast cancer.. it is inspiring and also gives hope to us all.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/womens-health-week-revisited-guest-author-judith-barrow-breast-cancer-survivor/

Thanks for stopping by and if you could…. please pass on this important message to others in your network.. not just women but the men who love and support them. Thanks Sally