Coronavirus Outbreak: Timeline and Updates on What’s Happening

It started in the most populous city in central China, Wuhan, where 300 people were first reported to be infected with a new coronavirus. Now, it has spread throughout China and several other countries in Asia and has even dipped into Europe, North America, and Australia. What will happen next?

Scroll down if you want to get straight to the current coronavirus timeline (updated daily).

What is the Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are actually a family of viruses. Common types of these viruses mimic the common cold while also causing various respiratory issues. Other forms of coronavirus can be much more severe, and may even lead to death. Here are some of the possible symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • In more extreme cases, leading to pneumonia or bronchitis

Interestingly, most people have been infected at least once in their lives, as reported by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The viruses cause illness in both people and animals, but typically only spread either from person-to-person or animal-to-animal – rarely would an animal coronavirus evolve or mutate to the extent of infecting people. But China may be experiencing one of those rare cases, as Chinese authorities report most patients in the Wuhan City outbreak have been linked to a large seafood and animal market.

Now, here is a rough timeline of everything that has happened concerning the coronavirus. We’ll continue to report on new outbreaks or quarantines, while keeping this piece updates as well.

A Rough Timeline of Current Coronavirus News

  • On December 31st, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) is alerted by Chinese authorities that pneumonia-like sickness cases are circulating in the city of Wuhan – the largest city in Hubei, a province in Central China. People are quarantined and investigations ensue.
  • The CDC pinpoint a large seafood and animal market where the cases may have originated, leading the market to be closed on January 1st, 2020.
  • Comes January 9th, when the WHO reveals that the coronavirus currently circulating is not a known type, which is causing elevated concern. By this time, 59 people have been reportedly affected by the virus, with 7 of them being in serious condition.
  • The first person dies in China on January 11th, while the number of people sickened gets reduced overall.
  • On January 13th, the virus travels outside of China’s borders, hitting Thailand.
  • Two days later, on January 15th, China’s health commission says that the virus hasn’t definitively been transmitted from human-to-human, though it can’t be ruled out.
  • A case of the virus hits Japan on January 16th.
  • A second person dies in Wuhan on January 17th. The CDC announces tighter protocols for screening individuals at 3 airports: San Francisco, New York’s JFK, and Los Angeles.
  • By January 21st, 6 people have died and the sick-count rises to 200+ in China as it spreads throughout the country. By this time, it has made an appearance in China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.
  • Also by January 21st, the first case of coronavirus was discovered in the United States in the state of Washington. The man landed in the states from Wuhan on January 15th. Following the news, the Washington State Department of Health made a decision to monitor 43 people who had close contact with the man. This is in Snohomish County.
  • Around this time, it was reported that the Chinese government quarantined the city of Wuhan and voiced plans to shut down the airport and public transportation. Approximately 17 people have died and another 500+ sickened.
  • The virus is known as 2019-nCoV.
  • Citing how the Chinese government covered up information regarding the SARS outbreak from 2002-2004 (the government hid initial SARS cases for 4 months), Chinese citizens fear the government is currently hiding some information about the coronavirus. According to the New York Times, the first case of the virus was actually reported on December 8th – not December 31st. Wuhan officials “insisted that it was controlled and treatable.” China censors are said to be scrubbing the internet. What’s more, police said that 8 people who posted on social media about the virus were ‘spreading rumors.’ More on that in the link – you should check it out.
  • Health authorities in Texas start to investigate a suspected coronavirus case on January 23rd, according to the local health department.
  • Numerous reports come out on January 24th regarding updates on the virus and how China and other countries are reacting. On or around January 24th, 14 people were tested for the virus in the United Kingdom. By now a reported 26 people in China have died from the virus, though the WHO says that most of those who have died from coronavirus “had underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.”
  • Japan buckles down in preparation for people to travel into the country in celebration of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rat. Airports have more intense screenings, airlines are urged to distribute health declarations, and businesses warn employees of the oncoming visits. Also by this time, the health ministry in Tokyo revealed the 2nd case of the virus in the country.
  • Reports come in about a 2nd coronavirus case in Chicago. The CDC also start investigating another 61 potential cases from 22 states.
  • Also on the 24th, China goes into lock-down by shutting tourist attractions and public transportation systems. Part of the Great Wall of China as well as Disneyland in Shanghai close. Fourteen cities housing a total of 40 million people also go into some form of lock-down. Further, China announces that it will be building a 1,000-bed hospital (in just 10 days) dedicated to those struck with the virus.
  • Australian authorities announce the first case to reach Australia’s second smallest state, Victoria.
  • An infection-count estimate becomes voiced by health experts, suggesting that as many as 9,700 people could be infected, which is ‘far more than the 600-count stated by other officials.’
  • A Chinese doctor named Wang Guangfa fears that the virus spread to him through the eyes. Experts confirm that this is indeed possible if you touch your eyes with contaminated hands.
  • By January 25th, 2 more cases have been confirmed in France. As well, the virus has taken 41 lives and infected more than 900 people worldwide, China restricts travel for 35 million people, and other areas go on lock-down as concerns and mistrust grow among the public.
  • A doctor is reported dead from the virus. As of 1200 GMT on the 25th, the death toll in China reaches 42, with another estimated 1,372 being infected. The Chinese president Xi Jinping warns of ‘grave situation,’ while the U.S. evacuates its citizens from Wuhan.
  • Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam declares a virus emergency, extending school cancellations until February 17 and canceling all official visits to mainland China.
  • Canada reports that a “presumptive” case of the virus has been discovered in Ontario, which would mark the first instance of the virus in Canada. Not long after, a case of coronavirus is indeed confirmed in the country.
  • Now, it’s said that the virus killed 56 people and sickened at least 1,975, most of which have taken place in China.
  • China’s National Health Commission (NHC) announces that the virus is contagious even in its incubation period – referring to the time which passes between first exposure and when symptoms first appear. What’s more, the coronavirus is growing stronger with its ability to spread, leading scientist to keep a close eye on possible mutations.
  • On the 26th, Reuters reports on a group of masked protesters in Hong Kong who set fire to a newly-built building which was to be used for quarantine.

EWG Report: Your Tap Water is Contaminated with Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

Here’s something you may not know: tens of millions of people in the United States have been drinking toxic tap water contaminated with unregulated fluoridated chemicals – chemicals which have been linked to cancer, liver and kidney toxicity, hormone disruption, and more.

In early 2018, the Environmental Working Group released a report revealing that up to 16 million Americans could be exposed to water contaminated with perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – a class of toxic chemicals that includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The report showed that there is known PFAS pollution from ’94 sites in 22 states, including industrial plants and dumps, military air bases, civilian airports and fire training sites’ – including the tap water pollution for 16 million people across 33 states and Puerto Rico.

 

Interestingly, that report was just the start of it. Soon, that 16 million figured got bumped up to 110 million! That’s right, 110 million people could be exposed via more than 1,500 drinking water systems throughout the United States.

Now, a new extensive report from the EWG goes into depth on the true nature of this widespread water contamination.

Current data suggests that PFAS are present in tap water in 44 locations spanning 31 states and Washington D.C. These stats are miles ahead of previous findings, showing that any reporting of PFAS contamination has been drastically underestimated, both by the Environmental Working Group’s previous reports and even reports generated by official government bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Actually, the EWG’s research surpasses that of the EPA, finding more widespread contamination that even exceeds ‘safe’ levels set by the EPA. In 2016, the EPA released a non-enforceable ‘lifetime health advisory’ in drinking water of 70 parts per trillion (PPT), indicating that levels below 70 PPT were safe. However, by both EWG and other independent study standards, ‘safe’ levels for PFAS in drinking water should be more like 1 PPT – markedly lower than 70 PPT.

This soft, non-enforced rule has caused some states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Vermont, and New Jersey to set their own standards. This is what states have to do when the EPA, knowing about this contamination issue since 2001, takes little action on addressing it.

Why You Should Avoid These Chemicals Whenever Possible

Unlike other chemicals PFAS never actually break down once released into the environment, leading them to be dubbed ‘forever chemicals.’ As mentioned earlier, exposure to these chemicals may cause a host of health issues, including (but not limited to):

  • Cancer
  • Immune system suppression
  • Thyroid issues and other hormone disruptions
  • Infant developmental issues
  • Liver damage

What Products Contain PFAS?

Many products are made with these compounds. They are most known for being used in the product of non-stick cookware (yikes), but are also used to make stain-resistant sofas and carpets, waterproof clothing and mattresses, and could even be in food packaging. What’s more, due to their ability to help reduce friction, other industries including aerospace, automotive, building and construction, and electronics use these chemicals.

Here is a quick list of where you might find PFAS:

  • Non-stick cookware
  • Food packaging, such as microwave popcorn bags and fast food wrappers
  • Stain resistant carpets and furniture
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Waterproof mattresses
  • Outdoor gear with a “durable water repellent” coating

How to Reduce Exposure to PFAS

While others may say differently and it’s great to avoid toxins whenever possible, I wouldn’t go as far to live in a bubble or overly stress about this. If you did, you might literally go insane. With that said, here are some steps to take if you want to reduce exposure to PFAS:

  • Most clear and simple in my book – don’t use non-stick cookware. If you choose to continue using non-stick cookware, be careful not to let it heat to above 450ºF
  • Stay away from fast food packaging (a good all-around tip) and microwaved popcorn
  • Avoid stain-resistance carpets or furniture – and don’t use anything yourself that would make it stain resistant!
  • Avoid other stain-resistant products such as treated shoes, luggage, and camping and sporting equipment
  • Avoid personal-care products made with Teflon™ or containing ingredients that include the words “fluoro” or “perfluoro.” You might find this in floss or cosmetics

Is “Non-Toxic” Nail Polish Really Non-Toxic? Maybe Not, Study Shows

Nail polishes have been linked to birth defects, thyroid problems, obesity, cancer, and allergic reactions. That’s why many people specifically shop for polishes labeled “non-toxic.” But as past research shows, even nail polishes marketed as non-toxic may contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. [1]

Study co-author Anna Young, a doctoral student at Harvard University, said: [2]

“It’s sort of like playing a game of chemical Whac-A-Mole, where 1 toxic chemical is removed and you end up chasing down the next potentially harmful chemical substituted in.”

It’s not just the nail polish industry that does this; it’s also commonplace in the pesticide and plastics industry.

Supposedly non-toxic nail polishes appeared on the market in the early 2000’s, when many companies began labeling products “3-free.” The phrase signifies that the product is free of:

  • Dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer used to enhance a polish’s texture and function. It has been linked to reproductive and developmental problems.
  • Toluene, a known nervous system disruptor.
  • Formaldehyde, a carcinogen.

Some nail polish companies took things several steps further by removing even more chemicals, labeling their products “5-free,” “10-free,” and even “13-free.” This, however, does little to educate buyers about which chemicals have been removed and which chemicals have replaced them. That is what Young and her colleagues set out to find.

40 Nail Polishes Tested

For the study, the team purchased and tested the contents of 40 nail polishes from 12 different brands, labeled 3-free all the way up to 13-free.

The study didn’t name the brands, but 2 of the tested brands made up a combined 15% of the nail polish market.

Young said:

“We found that the meaning of these claims isn’t standardized across brands, and there’s no clear information on whether these nail polishes are actually less toxic. Sometimes, when 1 known harmful chemical was removed, the polish instead contained another similar chemical that may be just as toxic.”

Most of the 5-free polishes lacked the same handful of ingredients; however, Young and her team found far less consistency among polishes labeled 10-free and above. The brands varied in how they adhered to the claims on their labels.

None of the samples were found to contain dibutyl phthalate. But polishes with a range of labels tested positive for at least 1 of 2 other plasticizers linked with health problems. One polish was found to contain one of the chemicals its label claimed to exclude.

(Click for larger version.) Figure 1. Product label definitions for investigated nail polish product lines. Note: The blue color represents the ingredients that are removed from the product line, according to the label. Potential plasticizer ingredients are underlined. Nonplasticizer ingredients are not underlined. No. of nail polish brands refers to the number of brands that had a nail polish product line with that particular product label. *These two ingredients were reported to count as one exclusion. **Fragrances can contain plasticizer chemicals.

Just because a nail polish claims to exclude multiple substances, that doesn’t mean it’s safer than one that makes no such claims.

The findings applied to some of the most popular nail polish brands in the industry. Though the samples weren’t representative of the entire nail polish market, Young said the findings are relevant to anyone who likes to add a colorful hue to their nails.

Amusingly, some of the nail polishes the Harvard researchers analyzed excluded ingredients that pose no health risks at all, such as gluten, wheat, fat, and “animal-derived ingredients.” You only have to worry about those if you plan on drinking your nail polish. [1]

(Click for larger version.) Figure 2. Side-by-side comparison of concentrations (?g/g) of TPHP (top) vs DEHP (bottom) for 40 nail polish samples.

It’s not clear how much exposure it takes to affect a person’s health, but nail salon employees, in particular, should be concerned about the potential health risks of their job. [2]

Young said:

“This is especially important for the over 400,000 nail salon workers in the U.S. who could be exposed on a daily basis, for many years, to chemicals that have been linked to health effects on fertility, the reproductive system, fetal development, thyroid function, and possibly even obesity or cancer.”

Young and her fellow authors said that nail polish makers should focus more on excluding entire classes of ingredients – including phthalates and organophosphates – rather than individual compounds. [1]

They wrote:

“Then, certified labels could be useful tools for educating nail polish users, nail salon owners, and nail salon workers about toxic chemicals and how to make best purchasing decisions.”

The study was published in 2018 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology – so hopefully things have changed since then. Either way, be reminded that product labels and claims aren’t always so truthful or accurate.

Sources:

[1] Health

[2] Time

A Broccoli Anti-Aging Enzyme may Hold the Fountain of Youth

If you’re looking to turn back the hands of time, look no further than broccoli. Love it or hate it, this common cruciferous veggie contains a natural compound called nicotinamide mononucleotide, which has been shown to have a potent anti-aging effect on mice that “could be translated to humans.” [1]

A team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis write in Cell Metabolism that nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) made the cells of lab mice act younger than they were when it was added to the rodents’ drinking water. NMN is an enzyme that plays a key role in energy metabolism, and it’s found in broccoli.

NMN boosted the mice’s metabolism. They gained less age-related weight, improved their eyesight, and improved their blood sugar levels. The mice even avoided some of the genetic changes associated with aging.

The study didn’t track how long the furry little critters survived, but at least they lived their lives healthily. One can only assume they outlived mice that weren’t given NMN.

If your knee-jerk reaction to broccoli is to dry-heave, fear not: NMN is also found in other vegetables, including cucumbers, cabbage, and edamame.

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide Could Benefit Humans Too

What’s more, the benefits associated with the enzyme likely apply to humans, according to Dr. Shin-Ichiro Imai, professor of developmental biology and medicine at Washington University and senior author of the paper.

In fact, Imai is so encouraged by the results that he’s launching an early study on people, using NMN supplements in pill form.

He explained:

“If you do the math, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible entirely but probably very difficult to get the whole amount [you need] simply from natural foods.

It’s clear that in humans and in rodents, we lose energy with age. We are losing the enzyme NMN. But if we can bypass that process by adding NMN, we can make energy again. These results provide a very important foundation for the human studies.” [2]

Related: Could Broccoli Protect Against Radiation Sickness?

Other Reasons to Make Friends with Broccoli

If you’re not overly concerned about drinking from (or nibbling on) the fountain of youth, there are plenty of other reasons to chow down on broccoli. For example, broccoli’s ability to lower blood sugar makes it a great food option for people who have diabetes.

Broccoli has also been shown to cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and promote heart health by preventing inflammation and atherosclerosis in the arteries. Additionally, research has found that broccoli has the ability to help to prevent cancer, including leukemia.

It’s worth throwing a handful of broccoli (and therefore nicotinamide mononucleotide) on your salad, or, if that idea turns you off, pulverize some into a hearty soup!

Additional Sources:

[1] New York Daily News

[2] Time

ScienceDaily

Acetaminophen may Increase Stroke Risk in People with Diabetes

Many people reach for a couple of acetaminophen tablets (acetaminophen is the main active ingredient in Tylenol) for a headache and other minor aches and pains. It’s easy to think that you’re safe taking a drug that is so readily available in pharmacies and supermarkets, but for people with diabetes, taking acetaminophen may increase the risk of having a stroke.

According to a recent study, approximately 5% of people who took acetaminophen suffered strokes, compared to 4% who didn’t take acetaminophen but had strokes. However, people in the study who had diabetes suffered even more strokes.

Study author Philippe Gerard, a researcher at Gérontopôle, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Toulouse, said:

“My personal message to the people in my everyday practice is that any drug they take may have some form of harmful side effect unknown to them, even those they can buy over the counter.”

Researchers conducted the study to explore the link between acetaminophen and cardiac events in older people living in nursing homes in France. In the end, no connection was uncovered.

Overall, the researchers found that acetaminophen is a safe pain reliever for older adults, but people with diabetes should be more wary of taking the medicines containing the drug.

The study concluded with:

“Despite old age, polypharmacy, and polymorbidity, acetaminophen was found safe for most, but not all, of our NH study population. Pain management in NHs is a health priority, and acetaminophen remains a good therapeutic choice as a first?line analgesic. More studies are needed on older diabetic patients.”

It should also be noted that it is remarkably easy to overdose on acetaminophen, and the drug is associated with kidney damage and acute liver failure.

Read: Over-the-Counter Painkillers can Increase Risk of 2nd Heart Attack, Death

Gerard said:

“It is always best to check with your healthcare provider before you take any new medication, and make sure you’re taking the dose that’s right for you.”

The study was published March 26 in the online version of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Source:

[1] UPI

Fat-Shaming Doesn’t Work and Can Increase Health Risks

If you think harping on someone about their weight will convince them to drop some pounds, you couldn’t be more wrong. Not only does it not work, but it may also raise their risk for heart disease and other health problems.

As someone who has battled the bulge, it seems ridiculous to me that anyone would even think that shaming an obese person would have any positive effect. And as someone who has counseled people in 12-step recovery, I can tell you that pressuring someone or making fun of someone with a weight problem – which is often a sign of an eating problem – only makes things worse.

If someone is burying their problems in food, harping on it only makes them withdraw even more into food.

To me, it’s obvious. But plenty of people – too many people – think fat-shaming is effective.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia found that overweight women who believe negative messages about their bodies – called “weight-bias internalization” – had higher rates of metabolic syndrome, a combination of health problems that increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Rebecca Puhl, deputy director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity said that the increased risk shows that weight stigma and fat-shaming “go much deeper than the inappropriate remarks or hurt feelings.” [1]

Overweight and obese people are often viewed as lazy, unattractive, incompetent, and lacking willpower. That doesn’t give heavy people a sense of motivation and confidence; it leaves them feeling hopeless and stigmatized. Depressed, really. And we know that depression can make you physically sick.

Published in the journal Obesity, the study suggests that it’s not just the stigmatizing, but also the level of a person’s reaction to fat-shaming, that can cause health woes.

The Research

Researchers asked 159 adults how much they devalued and blamed themselves when they were stigmatized for their weight. The team also looked at how often metabolic syndrome was diagnosed among the participants.

In all, 51 of the participants met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. Those who felt the most devalued and had the highest levels of self-blame were approximately 46% more likely to have metabolic syndrome. Those participants were also found to be 6 times as likely to have high triglycerides. [1], [2]

People with the highest levels of internalizing devaluation and self-blame – in other words, they really took those nasty words and stereotypes to heart – had 3 times the risk of metabolic syndrome, compared with the lowest-level group.

The study lends support to earlier research, said Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C. He said:

“Numerous studies have shown that experiencing weight stigma increases stress hormones, blood pressure, inflammation and ultimately increases the risk of several diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.” [1]

For example, studies have shown that being fat-shamed can cause increased inflammation and stress-hormone levels in the body. People who dislike themselves also have a harder time exercising and eating healthy. [2]

All of that “poking fun” at obese people has also been linked to binge eating, as I mentioned, and premature death.

Rebecca L. Pearl, PhD, said:

“There is a misconception that sometimes a little bit of stigma is necessary to motivate people to lose weight. But time and time again, research shows that this is just not the case.” [2]

So, what does all of this mean? Firstly, that you have to love yourself before you can make positive changes for your health. And secondly, it’s not OK to shame overweight people. And if you’re one of the people being stigmatized for your weight, the problem lies with the person stigmatizing you not you!

Pearl added:

“People with obesity are portrayed in negative ways in the media; there’s bullying at school and on social networks; people even feel judged by family members or in health-care settings.

Rather than blaming and shaming people and being dismissive of their struggle, we need to work collaboratively to set goals to improve health behaviors.” [2]

You Should Still Try to Make Improvements for Your Health

Now, none of this is to say that if you’re overweight or obese, you should stay that way just because you have a positive self-image. Excess weight isn’t healthy. Even if you don’t have health problems now, chances are if you don’t lose weight, you’ll develop them in the future.

If you struggle with your weight and struggle with how you feel about yourself, set small, attainable goals to help you shed the pounds. Give yourself reasons to pat yourself on the back and tangible successes to encourage you along the way.

Sources:

[1] HealthDay

[2] Health

Exciting: New ‘Seaweed-Based’ Alzheimer’s Drug Shows Extreme Promise

It has been nearly 20 years since a new drug has been developed to combat Alzheimer’s disease. Thankfully, it won’t be another 20 years until such a feat is accomplished, as a new drug called Oligomannate has been approved for the treatment of “mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and improving cognitive function.” Only thing is – the approval takes place in China, and has yet to go through the proper channels to become approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Dementia, used to describe a decline in cognitive function and memory, is said to be one of the costliest conditions we’re facing today. The prevalence of dementia is shocking, with an estimated 50 million people worldwide living with the condition in 2017. Worse, this number will almost double every 20 years.

Unfortunately, there has been little headway in terms of medical advancement in reliably treating and preventing the disease. Of course, we’ve made strides in discovering what might be the root causes and how to combat those root causes, but no real solution has yet to surface from the medical field.

As explained by Dr. Ronald Petersen, it’s hypothesized that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the presence of plaques and tangles in the brain. These plaques, known as amyloid plaques, build up in the brain in much the same way that plaques can build up in our arteries, causing the neural pathways to be slowed and damaged. Further, once these amyloid plaques are misprocessed and present in the brain, it leads to the misprocessing of something known as tau proteins, which leads to tangles in the brain, the death of nerve cells, and ultimately, dementia.

A Glimmer of Hope – Seaweed

In 1997, Geng Meiyu at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other researchers discovered how a sugar found in seaweed could somehow play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. What they didn’t realize was that more than 20 years later the research would expand into something that could be extremely exciting for the world at large.

Interestingly, it has been observed that there’s a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s among those who eat lots of seaweed, leading the researchers to hone in on the possible preventative connection.

Geng Meiyu and researchers published a paper outlining how the molecule found in seaweed reduces the formation of a protein harmful to neurons while also regulating the bacterium colonies in the gut to reduce the risk of brain inflammation. This means that Oligomannate not only relieves individuals of dementia symptoms, but also targets what is said to be the root cause of the disease – the amyloid plaques.

Though we should know by now that gut health influences our body on every level, this research “doubles down” on just how strong the connection between the gut and brain health truly is.

“These results advance our understanding of the mechanisms that play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and imply that the gut microbiome is a valid target for the development of therapies,” neurologist Philip Scheltens, who advises Green Valley and heads the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, said in the statement.

For more than 20 years, pharmaceutical companies have invested hundreds of billions of dollars on Alzheimer’s drugs. South China Morning Post reports that more than 320 drugs were brought to clinical trial, with only 5 being approved for clinical use to relieve dementia symptoms. Unfortunately, none of them rose above the challenge that is Alzheimer’s, leading to the closure of numerous Alzheimer’s-related programs.

Though Oligomannate will be approved “very soon” in China, it will have to go through numerous hurdles to get approval by other government bodies to be used in places like Europe and the U.S.

Alzheimer’s is scary. Though everyone should practice every natural, preventative solution as possible, such as exercising regularly, training your brain with mental exercises, and consuming brain-healthy coconut oil, it’s exciting to see any advancement into treating an ailment we have largely failed at treating.

How Tai Chi Proves to be a Gentle Solution for Improving Heart Health

Heart attacks are often the unfortunate culmination of years of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and it’s necessary to lead a healthier lifestyle to avoid having another one. Some of the dietary and exercise changes and rehabilitation programs that doctors recommend to heart patients can seem more than a little intimidating, especially for inactive people. But a small study suggests that Tai Chi can be a gentle way for people with heart problems to get moving at a less overwhelming pace. [1]

Heart disease kills 600,000 people in the U.S. every year and is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths. It’s the leading cause of death in both men and women. [2]

For many, a heart attack isn’t a once-and-done deal. Of the 735,000 people in the U.S. who suffer a heart attack every year, 2 out of 7 will have already experienced one.

Read: Health Benefits of Tai Chi – a Chinese Art

The study was conducted by Dr. Elena Salmoriago-Blotcher, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Brown University’s Warren Alpert School of Medicine & Public Health, and colleagues. Twenty-nine adults who had recently had a heart attack were randomly assigned to two groups. [1]

One group practiced Tai Chi twice a week for 12 weeks by attending sessions at the hospital. The participants in the other group attended Tai Chi sessions three times a week for 24 weeks. Both groups received DVDs so that they could practice at home.

Most of the 21 men and eight women in the study had also had a previous heart attack or had undergone bypass surgery to clear a blocked artery. All the volunteers were physically inactive and had rejected conventional cardiac rehabilitation, but expressed an interest in Tai Chi. Additionally, all continued to have high cardiovascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, overweight, and smoking. [2]

After 3 months, those in the group that practiced Tai Chi more frequently were more physically active, compared with those in the less-frequent group. This was even more true after six month – those who were asked to attend Tai Chi sessions three times a week were actually practicing it even more, and they were engaging in more physical activity outside of the sessions, such as riding their bikes and climbing up and down the stairs at home – activities they had previously found intimidating.

Salmoriago-Blotcher said:

“People like it, and they came. We retained pretty much everybody for the length of the study. And there is a preliminary indication that the longer program may improve physical activity. We changed behavior.” [1]

The study was intended to determine whether Tai Chi could replace traditional exercise programs associated with cardiac rehabilitation. What researchers actually wanted to find out was whether people who find exercise off-putting would engage in Tai Chi as a way of becoming more physically active.

Due to the small size of the study, Salmoriago-Blotcher and her team couldn’t determine whether the activity changed the volunteers’ fitness levels and other measures of metabolic health.

Read: Meditative Practices Alter Genes

After someone has a heart attack, it’s not uncommon for that person to worry that strenuous exercise could cause another cardiac event. More than 60% of patients turn down conventional cardiac rehabilitation. The findings suggest that Tai Chi could serve as a gentle, less nerve-wracking way for cardiac patients to start getting physical activity, while improving physical fitness and lowering the risk of another heart attack. [1] [2]

“Tai chi is an interesting, promising exercise option. I think based on what we found, it’s a reasonable and safe step to offer tai chi within cardiac rehab. If someone says they are afraid of exercising, we could ask if they are interested in doing tai chi,” Salmoriago-Blotcher said. [1]

And once those patients become more physically active through Tai Chi, doctors can consider switching them to a more intensive traditional cardiac rehab program.

Salmoirago-Blotcher added:

“If proven effective in larger studies, it might be possible to offer it as an exercise option within a rehab center as a bridge to more strenuous exercise, or in a community setting with the educational components of rehab delivered outside of a medical setting.” [2]

The study, which was by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAMA).

Additional Sources:

[1] Time

[2] Medical News Today

Nature Slashes the Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease, and More

Sure, Netflix is full of great shows and movies to watch, but it can never replace nature in providing a natural and euphoric boost in both physical and mental health. Many studies have showcased the powerful benefits nature can offer, proving that spending time outside slashes the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and stress. [1]

Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the U.K. reviewed data on almost 300 million people from 20 countries, including the U.S., and assessed the effect of nature on people in Australia, Europe, and Japan – where Shinrin yoku, also known as forest bathing, is popular – to reach their conclusions.

In the study, “green space” was defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation, as well as urban green spaces like parks and street greenery.

The researchers compared the health of people with little access to green spaces to the health of those with the greatest access to such areas.

A multitude of health benefits was linked to spending time in or near green spaces, though it’s not clear which factors of nature are most responsible for sparking such health benefits.

Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, a Ph.D. student and lead author of the study, said:

“Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood. It reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.

People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol – a marker of stress.”

She suggested that Japan has the “right idea.”

Living near green spaces provides people greater opportunities for physical activity and socializing. Moreover, the researchers said that being outdoors exposes people to a diverse variety of bacteria that boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Andy Jones, a professor at UEA and study co-author, said:

“We often reach for medication when we’re unwell, but exposure to health-promoting environments is increasingly recognized as both preventing and helping treat disease. Our study shows that the size of these benefits can be enough to have a meaningful clinical impact.” [2]

Twohig-Bennett said she hopes the findings will encourage people to make the most of green areas, and nudge policymakers and town planters toward creating, cleaning up, and maintaining parks and other green spaces.

Previous studies show that spending time in nature is good for both physical and mental health. A 2016 study published in Nature Scientific Reports shows that walking in a park or other green space for at least 30 minutes not only increases physical activity but lowers the risk of high blood pressure and depression.

A 2015 study found that city dwellers are more likely to be stressed, depressed, and struggle with mental illness. People living in urban areas had a 20% higher risk of anxiety disorders, a 40% greater risk of mood disorders, and were twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as people who live in rural areas.

Sources:

[1] Daily Mail

[2] LaboratoryEquipment