Microbiome

Microbiome (mikro . biom) – This medical term has it’s first known use in 1952. It’s the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space.  Joshua Lederberg coined the term arguing the importance of microorganisms inhabiting the human body in health and disease.

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Simply, it’s the bugs that live on or in us.

The bacteria, fungi, and viruses that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living on our body number about 100 trillion (Carl Zimmer) and together with other microbes, collectively are known as our own personal microbiome.

The material in our gut is the personal microbiome of our gut.

The largest number of microbes live in the gastrointestinal tract and are associated with the regulation of digestion, protection from disease-causing organisms, and the development of a strong immune response.

According to an article by Will Hartfield (12/32016), the microbiome is linked to a person’s genetic footprint and hence plays a role in the determination of our unique DNA, predisposition to pathogens, hereditary traits, body type and much more. In fact, up to 90% of all human maladies are linked to the health of the gut and the overall condition of our microbiome.

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Lifestyle can affect our microbiome. Dr. Heather Tick, a researcher, and the multi-book author suggests some healthful guidelines.

Medical procedures, medications, diet, questionable drinking water, chemotherapy are just a few issues that can alter the microbiome in our bodies and bring about serious long term health issues.

When our gut microbiome is balanced – which means that the ratio of good bacteria to bad will be higher keeping everything in check – we’ll find good bacteria (probiotics), bad bacteria, yeast (like Candida Albicans) and other microorganisms.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the healthiest microbiome. So, how do we know if our gut microbiome isn’t healthy?

  • Gas or bloating  * Indigestion * Diarrhea or Constipation * Food Allergies * Frequent Colds/flues * Infections * Sugar Cravings * Fatigue * Mood Swings * Skin Allergies * Depression * Weight Loss/Gain * Brain Fog/Trouble Concentrating * Headaches * Thyroid Issues * Autoimmune Issues

Changing our diet is a good way that we can intervene.

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“Ditch the sugar.” We’ve heard it before.  Well, we’re hearing it again now.  Sugar in all of its forms creates an addictive cycle.  The brain simply signals that another sugar treat is entering the bloodstream and like cocaine, the addictive cycle begins again.

Probiotic-rich foods are great sources of dietary probiotics: these include yogurt, kefir, and kombucha.  Fiber-rich foods such as onions, legumes, and bananas are also recommended since your gut bacteria break down the fiber for their own energy helping to support the colonization of healthy bacteria in the gut.

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Supplements with a probiotic that contains a variety of bacterial strain with a high colonizing unit per capsule such as 50 billion live cultures help to speed healing and improve gut diversity.  This is important if we’ve been prescribed an antibiotic.  Antibiotics destroy bacteria in the nonselectively, meaning they also kill the probiotic we need to keep our gut microbiome healthy.

Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is important because it’s linked to our overall health.

 

RHYTHM, WE GOT RHYTHM

American Nurse, a journal of the American Nurses Association, (June 2020 Vol. 15. 6, p 21) introduces us to the words of Florence Nightingale: “No amount of medical knowledge will lessen the accountability for nurses to do what nurses do; that is, manage the environment to promote positive life processes.”

This includes the 24-hour, 7-day-a-week nature of the work, which affects nurses’ health and well-being, including nutrition, particularly when working night shift according to an article by Sharon Tucker, PhD, APRN-CNS, NC-BC, EBP-C, FNAP, FAAN.

Hospital inpatient nursing positions new hires quickly experience the reality of 12-hour-plus shifts, rotating shifts and overtime.

CIRCADIAN

LIGHT-DARK, SLEEP-WAKE, ACTIVITY-REST, FEED-FAST

Working nights interferes with our body’s natural circadian rhythm (24-hour sleep/wake cycle). Circadian rhythm is a natural process that regulates the sleep/wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. It is linked to our body’s internal clock. Brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other important biological processes are determined by this cycle.

Chrononutrition – the balance between biology and diet suggests that feeding and fasting can synchronize our biological and solar clocks. The rhythm cycles involve 4 ideas: light-dark, sleeping-waking, activity-rest, feeding-fasting. (Stronger By Science Chrononutrition: Why Meal Timing and Nutrition, Calorie Distribution & Feeding Windows Really Do Matter Nov. 18, 2019).

Serious health problems can occur when the circadian rhythm and chrononutrition are disrupted. It’s called chronodisruption.

Working as a night shift nurse, surviving on coffee and a partially eaten doughnut at 2 am surely alters and probably misaligns a nurse’s circadian rhythm and throws them into chronodisruption. Night-shift work may alter eating patterns (which impact your body’s regulator responses to metabolism) and food choices. Several studies have shown a relationship between altered circadian rhythms, eating patterns, and obesity.

These studies have important implications not only for night-shift and rotating-shift nurses but everyone of us wishing to maintain our health and wellbeing.

The “Nursing, night shift, and nutrition” article and the scientific field of Chronobiology outline a strategy that maximizes nutrition benefits throughout the day. When and how we eat has the potential to synchronize our circadian rhythm. Therefore, we need to align our internal cycles.

Eating at our biological night is a bad idea and the larger the calorie intake the more detrimental it is during the biological night.

Our tissues are more sensitive to insulin in the morning than at night with a decrease in sensitivity to insulin across the day. Eating a good breakfast can help promote good energy levels throughout the day.

During sleep the body is in a fasting state that promotes the release of stored glucose for central nervous system function. Eating during this time disrupts the system.

Research shows that if you consume most of your daily calories within 4 hours of going to sleep you will have more body fat than than people who don’t eat within that 4 hour span. Avoiding large carbohydrate loads in the evening is a good idea.

Night-shift nurses may find their circadian rhythm centered by choosing light snacks – such as fruits, vegetables, protein (nuts, yogurt, tune), and salads – that will increase energy. Also, eating the main meal before going to work will provide more fuel for their shift.

Caffeine is a double-edge sword. Systemic reviews demonstrate moderate consumption can improve alertness, vigilance and psychomotor performance; however, caffeine can interrupt sleep when night-shift workers want to rest. Avoiding caffeine 4 to 6 hours before planned sleep is a good idea because caffeine can reduce sleep efficiency, sleep duration, and slow-wave and REM sleep.

High-fat and high-sugar substances will ultimately make fatigue and energy swings more challenging. So, if you’re tempted to grab that last minute snack at the convenience store on your way to night-shift work – think twice, plan ahead and bring a packed meal from home.

Stronger By Science – Chrononutrition and Nursing, night shift, and nutrition offer a perspective for keeping our rhythm synchronized.

WORK TOGETHER:

  • Establish norms and healthy food guidelines – Shift work doesn’t always allow for family meals but at least plan for weekly, nutritious meals earlier in the day
  • Arrange to have healthy foods available both to prepare for the meal and to take to work for the night-shift “time-clock”
  • Prepare meals ahead of time so that you’re not tempted to grab a quick last-minute, fat-filled, calorie-laden snack to go along with your 4th cup of caffeinated coffee

FOLLOW THE LIGHT:

  • People in the US spend about 87% of their time in enclosed buildings when you factor in work schedules and indoor environments – this can cause chromodisruption. We need to get out into the sunlight, at least 20 minutes a day. Of course, do this cautiously keeping in mind the powerful rays of the sun an its potential to burn your skin with ultraviolet rays – always use sunscreen.
  • However, “the light” does not mean the light from using electronic devices that can inhibit your ability to sleep and rest. That includes the light from cell phones, laptops, computers, or any other play items whether for children or adults that emits electronic light. Sending your child or toddler to bed with an electronic, light-emitting toy may disrupt their sleep.
  • If you are a night-shift worker try to get 20 minutes of daytime sun

STAY ACTIVE:

  • Regular physical activity is associated with increased mental and physical health
  • Conditioning exercises reduce your risk of heart attack and helps to manage your ideal weight
  • Physical activity helps to prevent chronic disease and maintain stronger muscles

Keeping your rhythm, keeping your sway, keeping your to-and-fro is the key whether you work night shift or you punch the clock from 9-5.

Healthy in Body and Mind

Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5.5 million Americans, most of them age 65 or older, may have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s (NIH fact sheet 6/17/2020), (www.nih.gov).

Combining more healthy lifestyle behaviors was associated with substantially lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease in a study that included data from nearly 3,000 research participants. Those who adhered to four or all of the five specified healthy behaviors were found to have a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

The behaviors were:

  • physical activity
  • not smoking
  • light-to-moderate alcohol consumption
  • a high-quality diet
  • cognitive activities

Funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, this research was published in the June 17, 2020 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Richard J. Hodes the NIA Director states, “This observational study provides more evidence on how a combination of modifiable behaviors may mitigate Alzheimer’s disease risk.” (www.nia.nih.gov)

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults and currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank it third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as the cause of death for older people.

Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairments related to Alzheimer’s disease. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In MCI, people have more memory problems than normal for their age, but their symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives.

Doctors may diagnose Alzheimer’s by:

  • Asking questions about the persons overall health and medications
  • Noticing changes in personality or behavior
  • Administering tests of memory, problem solving, attention and counting
  • Carrying out standard medical tests: blood and urine to rule out causes for changes
  • Performing brain scans – PT, CT, MRI

The NIA Director, Dr. Richard J. Hodes also states that the NIA observational study of 3,000 research participants provides more evidence on how a combination of modifiable behaviors may mitigate Alzheimer’s disease risk.”

The researchers scored each participant based on the five healthy lifestyle factors:

  • At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity – Physical activity is an important part of healthy aging
  • Not smoking – Established research has confirmed that even in people 60 and older who have been smoking for decades, quitting will improve health
  • Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption – Limiting use of alcohol may help cognitive health
  • A high-quality, Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet, which combines the Mediterranean diet with Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet – The MIND diet focuses on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention
  • Engagement in late-life cognitive activities – Being intellectually engaged by keeping the mind active may benefit the brain
  • The SPRINT MIND trial, also suggests that intensive blood pressure control may slow age-related brain damage

The NIA is also funding more than 230 additional studies focusing on Alzheimer’s and dementia related issues. These include cognitive training, sleep evaluations and combination therapies.

Research by the National Institute on Aging suggests that a host of factors beyond genetics may play a role in the development and course of Alzheimer’s disease. There is a great deal of interest in the relationship between cognitive decline and vascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, as well as metabolic conditions such as diabetes as obesity.

The message seems to be: in addition to keeping regular medical appointments, stay physically active, socially engaged and eat a heart healthy diet on a regular basis – maybe we’ll all live to be a healthy 100 years old.

Epigenetic Aging

Accurately estimating biological age has tremendous value according to Adam Alonzi’s recent article entitled “Gauge Your Age: Epigenetics and the Future of Medicine.”

Smoking, drinking, stress, chronic infection, and major depression can all measurably accelerate the aging process as gauged by the epigenetic clock (Gao,2016; Gassen, 2017; Horvath, 2015; Rosen, 2018; Han; 2018).

Fear of transmitting, or acquiring, the virus that causes COVID-19 even if you or the other person is asymptomatic has been a strong driver of widespread compliance with face masks and physical distancing. However, we really don’t know how often an asymptomatic person infects a secondary individual.

According to an article by Laura A. Stokowski RN, MS, the number of asymptomatic people isn’t trivial. Recent data published in Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that 40%-50% of people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic but have viral loads similar to those of presymptomatic individuals. Until we know how much transmission occurs from asymptomatic people, that risk hasn’t been eliminated, and that source must be considered infectious.

The question is: Can the effects of the virus that causes COVID-19 spreading around the world be causing a DNA methylation modification?

While we all age, we don’t all age in the same ways or at the same rate. Epigenetics modifications are largely responsible for this phenomenon, with DNA methylation being the most studied modification.

Adam Alonzi ask the question – Why do some people stay healthy throughout their lives and others don’t?

Methylation doesn’t rearrange DNA but it affects the expression of DNA. There is evidence that methylation traces or tags can pass to future generations – much like tendencies or habits (Epigenetics Simplified).

Epigenetics is what determines a cells specialization. Chemical and environmental modifications occur around our DNA. These modifications influence the expression of our cells. Everything we do and experience affects our cells – whether good or bad.

I look at life from a health care and writers point of view. Epigenetics is a long, well-written story line with many actors and actresses. The writer (our life experiences) adjusts the story line (methylation).

97% – 99% is the overall recovery rate for people diagnosed with COVID-19. An early scientific study shows that people who recover from the COVID-19 virus may carry it in their system for weeks (WebMD Coronavirus Recovery).

Obviously, our life experience both chemical and physical influences the methylation wrapping around our DNA.

“In geriatric medicine, we are always struck by the difference between our patients’ chronological age and how old they appear physiologically.” – Douglas, Kiel, HMS professor of medicine at Beth Israel.

Currently, we have tests for fasting blood sugar, creatinine blood levels, and biomarkers for blood clotting factors. These tests paint a bigger picture and can write a longer or shorter story.

Are we in a life cycle where there’s evidence of aging based on COVID-19 test results? If so is there intervention?

The sands of time flow downward for all of us but with rapid scientific advancements that flow may grind to a smooth finish.

 

 

Roses

Flowers can be a selfless gift of love and appreciation, a thought of kindness and outreach or of sorrow and reparation.

Roses carry their own special quality of thought and class.

Receiving roses whether they be red, white, pink, coral or deep, flaming intense purple all have a story to tell.

Throughout life occasions occur where roses seem to fit.

Roses are the thorny, crowning, blooming, delicate flower in the garden.

Roses may be my favorite – take a moment to find yours.

Big Easy Antithesis

Spending the day enjoying Jackson Square in historic New Orleans, Louisiana offers gaudy and decadent entertainment along with intelligent enrichment.

New Orleans is a city of intense contrasts. Luxury automobiles speed down cobblestone streets while gaunt-looking carriage horses pull tourist-filled wooden street carts down asphalt boulevards. Scantily-clad beauties prance casually across the portico of historic churches while greasy, dirty, poorly-clad, unshaven men loiter on street corners that are briefly visited by smartly-tailored bride grooms walking to their wedding ceremony.

The St. Louis Cathedral, centrally located in Jackson Square with its memorable architecture and historic past, is an anchor for these contrasts. Pedestrians intermingling activities congeal with the trolley car ramblings. Local artists display the electric, neon portraits along the rod iron fence that encases the sedate statues of the past.

Jackson Squares’ stark contrast continues with the indiscriminate shops that frame it. These stores, that are occupied by conversant proprietors, are the true keepers of the historic encounters of the culturally diverse attitudes of N.O. Their presence is often muted by the glaring tunes of the French Creole street bands and spontaneous Cajun lyrics and rhythm of homegrown tunes.

One such shop owner was at her designated position the festive afternoon I and my friend entered the subdued, unpretentious book store located at 624 Pirates Alley. This quaint literary boutique offered a welcome respite from the auditory and visual assault offered by the festive revelry of the weekend entertainers of Jackson Square.

The wizen, literary proprietor rose from her patine-covered chair as we entered the book store. I asked the rhetorical question – “Is this really a William Faulkner book store?” Her eyes twinkled and the corners of her mouth revealed an understanding smile as she slowly inhaled the idea. “Yes. He actually rented these two rooms in the early 1900’s while he wrote the novel Mosquitoes.”

She graciously conducted a tour of the quaint, cozy rooms with an easy, yet grand, sweeping of her arm as she circled the room. The space was compact so we completed the tour without leaving our initial stance.

Faulkner’s literary collection was audaciously displayed in the middle of the rooms yet they seemed to consume the entire shop by their understated prominence. The sparse book store quickly appeared scanty in trying to contain Faulkner’s substantive collection of literature.

After reviewing the assortment of Faulkner publications, I chose the book entitled – Mosquitoes, an in-depth description of people in isolation relating to each other in an unpretentious manner. The book was not bedazzled with jewels or inscribed with quaint tourist logos but it was a treasure for me. It filled up my senses of sight and sound much like eating a warm, toasty beignet from Cafe’ Du Monde Original French Market Coffee Stand fills up the sense of taste and touch – they are both delicious.

What Have I Learned

I seem to have my thoughts in two worlds: healthcare and writing.

In reviewing my paperwork I uncovered an outline compiled for a presentation. It’s relevant to both composition and our current battle with COVID-19.

  • I’m naive, But I Can Learn
  • Writing About it is The Easy Part
  • Block Out The ‘White Noise’
  • Organize
  • Advertise
  • Every Day – Write Something
  • Learn From People Who Are Successful
  • Accept Objective Feedback With an Open Mind

We may be NAIVE about not only the coronavirus properties but it virility. It could mutate into more invasive entities that we find uncontrollable or our invasive attacks may prove ineffective in overcoming not only this virus but other equally mortal viruses.

WRITING about COVID-19 from multiple sources concerning what causes coronavirus, how it’s spreads, where it came from, what’s the most effective treatment option, where should we go for credible health information, when will we be able to receive a vaccine, if ever, and finally will society be able to return back to life without COVID-19 in our lives is a daunting task.

With available information concerning COVID-19 it may be relatively easy to compile sentences about the coronavirus but bringing that data into coherent, scientific form is another story. It takes research and diligent background digging to bring that report to the public.

WHITE NOISE – It’s important to block out all the frivolous news and information that bombards our consciousness every day about this sharply important medical issue vying for the worlds attention and focus only on credible sources.

Everyone and every news source is talking to us about aspects of COVID-19. Telling us that surely we will die if we go outside of our homes, talk to anyone, shake hands with our neighbor, speak with family members or touch our mail.

Commercial retailers urge us to anxiously stockpile supplies before others grab limited quantities of toilet paper and hand sanitizer – estimated amounts seem to always dwindle.

WE ARE HEMORRHAGING!

LET’S GET ORGANIZED. We are forced into setting up our command post in every hospital, clinic and quick care through out the world. This is where we fight the battle – where we set up our ‘story board’ to find out our facts and design our ‘game plan.’ It’s an area that’s jealous of our time and pulls us back if we try to leave whether it’s in search of food, hydration or need of rest from sheer exhaustion.

We invest our lives whether we want to or not foregoing leisure time, family activities or even religious commitments. But here we are and here is where we organize and learn about our foe.

ADVERTISING and OBSERVING is what COVID-19 demands. So, we focus our attention on this killer virus and observe its mode of action and advertise to our colleagues, family and friends how it operates. The way you defeat your enemy is to know your enemy. We’re forced to know and observe this enemy closer than we ever imagined.

Since we’re here we will observe and advertise to anyone and everyone what we know so that everyone in the world will know what everyone else knows. That’s the only way a vaccine or a cure will be discovered.

Scientific journals, credible news articles, reliable medical resources and known governmental services will all aid in our quest for substantial, factual principals. Protocols and procedures will be developed from this information and everyone will share as tried-and-true medical formats are provided to all.

EVERY DAY COVID-19 is part of our lives. It occupies every aspect of our being.

LEARNING from people who are successful in treating COVID-19 is the key. Scientist, chemist, biologists, engineers, virologist, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and astute observers are all joining forces in making a difference in finding answers about COVID-19. We already know much about this virus yet we have much to learn. That’s why we look to the people who are successful at battling the virus for answers.

ACCEPTING objective feedback from others can be challenging especially when you believe that your idea is the long-awaited answer to end suffering. We all tend to ‘own’ our ideas because we put them together – especially in this critical climate.

Remembering that it’s not personal in such a personal time is hard to do. But, it’s important that we do so that we can remain non-judgmental in giving and receiving information. The exchange of ideas and the flow of knowledge just may be the weapon that pierces the heart of COVID-19.

I have learned that healthcare and writing have much in common and by applying the principles of a good writer to the strengths of healthcare providers we will one day say – “COVID-19 IS HEMORRHAGING!

WORDS

Communication can be verbal or non-verbal – broadcast or silent. The backbone of our information exchange is words.

We use words to impart love, hate, fear, intensity, and an untold variety of human emotions.

During this time of intensity maybe we should make an effort to use our words to receive information in a calm manner and disseminate knowledge with intelligent instruction.

The Human Condition

Families and communities are built and sustained by people working together toward a common goal. During this current COVID-19 epidemic it is vitally important we all take a moment to remember that our children and youth are watching us the adults of our community.

Children listen to not only the words that we use but the tone and texture of our words. Even young babies can tell if a word is spoken in love or hate, fear or anger.

A publication Artful Thinkers – 9 Social Graces and Business Etiquette Tips for Building Relationships by Peter Drucker reminds us that ” The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

As small children we should be taught to listen, make eye contact, give someone our full attention, be on time, remember a person’s name, ignore rumors, avoid aggressive relationships, remember to say ‘thank-you’, attempt to understand different cultures, live up to our personal goals and most importantly acknowledge, love and respect ourselves and others.

The human brain stores more information than the Library of Congress and processes it faster than a computer. The better you treat your brain, the harder it will work for you, (WEBMD.COM UPFRONT)

The Guardian (July 23 2015) report studies that show children who live with fear…, can show wide-reaching effects. These range from psychological and emotional harm, and physical responses to educational and social impacts and relationship difficulties. Adverse childhood health experiences may affect attitudes and behaviors toward health and health care systems.

Young children are watching and listening as to how adults and parents handle this COVID-19 crisis. Children have an innate understand and healthy fear that this deadly virus threatens their lives and their family. They see grandparents and in some cases their parents admitted to the local hospital and never return. Everyone in the house uses the term ‘virus’ when talking about ‘how daddy died’ so ‘Little Johnny’ is well aware of how terrible COVID-19 is. “The virus took his daddy away – the virus killed daddy.”

CHILD

As adults dealing with this raging surge of COVID-19 remember the Social Gracesfor Building Relationships when we comfort our young children.

  • Remember eye contact is important when discussing sad news even with a young child.
  • Answer the child’s questions honestly
  • Speak the truth to your child but always temper it according to their age level – remember a child’s age should always be considered
  • Talk to the child, they know you’re tired and scared
  • Encourage the child to talk about how they feel
  • Allow the child to express their emotions
  • Let the child know that you will always try to keep them safe

As a trusted guide we are mentoring our children through this COVID-19 crisis. Our children are borrowing our knowledge to help them survive – watching our character, competence and dedication. The Human Condition is a strong, generational saga. As we tutor our children we will guard them and do our best to keep them safe.

 

 

Twin Study and COVID-19

Scott Kelly floated around space in the International Space Station for a year and was obviously different from Mark Kelly, his identical twin – he was taller. (Science Oct 28, 2017)

The brothers pioneered a NASA Twins Study which compared Mark’s grounded lifestyle with Scott’s spaceflight journey.  The scientists discovered an increase in Scott’s methylation rate – a process that turns gene activity on and off.

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“There are over 50,000 genes in the human genome, and when floating in zero gravity, the body is trying to manage that situation in new ways,” Chris Mason, one of the principal investigators of the Twin Study and a geneticist at Weill Cornell Medicine, told PBS NewsHour. “Both DNA and RNA were found to express genes in order to compensate for a lifestyle in space.”

DNA methylation modifies a gene, dictating whether or not expression of that gene can happen in the first place which leads to changes in the cell function. “And sometimes gene expression might produce cases where some risk factors and positive responses appear together,” Mason said.

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Epigenetics determines a cell’s specialization through (a) nature: (e.g., skin cell, blood cell, hair cell, liver cells, etc.) as a fetus develops into a baby through gene expression (active) or silencing (dormant); and (b) nurture: environmental stimuli can also cause genes to be turned off or turned on. (Epigenetics for Total Beginners 7/10/2019)

Epigenetics is everywhere. What you eat, where you live, who you interact with, when you sleep, how you exercise, even aging – all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications around the genes that will turn these genes on or off over time.

Coronaviruses are not a new family of viruses and are common in different species of animals including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.  In humans, there are multiple strains that can cause mild respiratory symptoms or even the common cold.  In years prior, other strains have been associated with SARS and MERS. (What is Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 Gabriella Borter)

COVID-19 is spread person-to-person among close contacts via respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze.  Touching infected surfaces and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes, can also not only infect yourself but spread COVID-19.

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Proper hand hygiene and social distancing are critical to helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the prevention of other infectious diseases. (Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN President, American Nurses Association).

As of May 18, 2020, there were over 4.8 million global cases of COVID-19. 1.8 million people have recovered from the disease, where there had been around 316,700 deaths. The United States, Spain, and the United Kingdom have been the three countries hardest hit by the pandemic. (Statistica)

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is the seventh known coronavirus to infect humans; its emergence makes in the third in recent years to cause widespread infectious disease, following the viruses responsible for SARS and MERS.

The basic biology of the COVID-19 virus is well understood, making it possible to decide which current drugs have a chance of success. (Statistica)

We know the basic biology of the virus and we have unraveled our own human basic biology and unfortunately, these two mechanisms have collided. We are weathering the battle albeit at a blistering toll on our health, financial, and social systems.

The 1.8 million people who have recovered from COVID-19 may carry a methylation tag on their DNA.  This group also includes people who are asymptomatic and unaware that they were exposed to COVID-19. This tag, wrapping around the DNA double helix of COVID-19 survivors, could be transmitted to the next generation making them immune to the disease – unknowingly passing immunity to their children and possibly grandchildren.

Methylation’s chemical tags don’t interfere with DNA it influences the expression of DNA signaling an “on” or “off” switch. Think of these tags as “post-it” notes that highlight particular genes with information about whether they should be switched on or off. (Epigenetics – It’s not just genes that make us 7/29/2018)

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So, as our next generation appears on the scene, they may have an inherited immunity to COVID-19 that we do not have.  We are facing this unbelievable, horrid, unseen-virus that attacks worldwide without mercy both young and old alike. It’s a formidable foe.

We’ll survive our time in this uncharted land but we’ll be changed just as Scott Kelly was changed after his time in the unknown of outer space.

 

 

 

Helping Hands

Everyone is sequestered during this time of uncertainty. We as humans are helping each other in many ways to weather the unpredictable future. Using all of the parameters of social distancing and medical awareness we can offer helping hands to our fellow man.

person holding red petaled flower between his finger

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We can carry groceries to someone who can’t grocery shop for themselves.

Using our nimble hands to clean house for a person who has arthritis is a kind gesture.

Helping an elderly person with gardening by carrying a heavy pot is always welcome.

Mailing a letter for someone who is wheelchair bound is appreciated.

Assisting a single mother with childcare has untold advantages for mother and child.

Helping a young married couple settle into their new apartment may set them up for a positive path in life.

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography

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Tutoring a high school student using a two-way computer lesson plan ensues uninterrupted grade-level learning

Sharing a ‘virtual hug’ to health care workers via video chat gives doctors and nurses a well-deserved reward.

person on a bridge near a lake

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We extend our helping hands to make life easier for our fellow man.