DEXAMETHASONE for COVID-19
New studies (2,100 patients in the UK) reported in the New England Journal of Medicine have shown that the steroid dexamethasone (6 mg once daily for up to 10 days) given to serious COVID-19 patients on a ventilator almost doubled the survival rate (41% versus 29% for those not given the steroid) among these patients. Those on oxygen (no ventilator) also benefited. Dexamethasone given to those with less severe COVID-19 did not show any benefit.
Update on COVID-19 stats: Globally, 14,980,328 cases, deaths – 616,098, almost 9 million recovered; USA, 3,994,998 cases, deaths – 144,900; Brazil, 2,129,888 cases, deaths – 80,693; India, 1,195,920 cases, deaths – 28,990; Philippines, 72,800 cases, deaths – 1,958; Colombia – 204,200 cases, deaths – 6,989.
New cases in one day: Globally – 204,017; USA – 62,035, (Florida, the highest, 10,347); India – 39,610, next to USA; Brazil – 21,750; Philippines – 1,981.
The Vatican City had 12 cases, all recovered, no deaths. Only Antarctica, southernmost continent on earth, site of South Pole (size: 5,483 million miles, population, seasonal – 1,000 to 5000) has no COVID-19 cases as of today.
Night owls – early bird
A scientific research in Brazil revealed that those who sleep late at night are three times prone to develop symptoms of depression compared to individuals who go to bed early each night, even if the total number of sleeping hours are the same in both groups. Staying up late obviously is not healthy.
Antioxidants in spices
A teaspoon of cinnamon has as much antioxidant as half a cup of blueberries! Cinnamon is, of course, versatile, being used in baking, in coffee, syrups, ice-cream, gums, etc. And the other spices that are antioxidant-rich include oregano, curry powder, red pepper, ginger, thyme and rosemary. They are, indeed, also the spices of life.
Vitamin D, when taken regularly, will strengthen the immune system against colds, reports a study from Harvard. Those with lowest Vitamin D level were found to be about 36% more prone to upper respiratory tract infection. And those with asthma, whose Vitamin D level is low, are 6 times more likely to get sick. Vitamin D aids in the production of cathelicidin, a protein that kills viruses. Vitamin D has also been found to help lower the risk of developing colon cancer, and 2000 IU has been found to be safe. The other is Vitamin C, ascorbic acid as found in citrus fruits.
Exercises that aid sleep
Some people want to exercise before going to bed to help improve their sleep. Two of the best are gentle yoga and tai chi. They induce sleep and a more restful night. Although some people are not bothered by caffeine, for most of us, it is best not to drink coffee before bedtime. Somehow, tea seems to be soothing for most people. Watching the television immediately before going to bed could cause so much excitement and impaired sleep, especially among children.
Eating every 3 hours
Scientifically speaking, the more stable the blood sugar level is in a person’s body, the healthier it is. The conventional practice of eating 2 to 3 times a day works well for most, but eating every 3 hours, which will maintain the blood sugar level in a more even keel is healthier during the day when we are most active, so long as the total amount of calories does not exceed the total 24-hour caloric requirement of the person.
Ginkgo biloba not helpful
For years, everyone thought ginkgo biloba would help improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia. New studies contradict such widespread impression. A study where subjects took Ginkgo biloba for six years did not improve the memory, and neither did it stop the onset of dementia. Ginkgo meds are expensive. Spend your budget for Ginkgo on your children and grandchildren, instead; they will provide you with wonderful memories better than the GB can. The same with Prevagen and almost all supplements on the market today. What they surely improve is the wealth of the manufacturer and vendors of the useless, and potentially harmful supplement and herbals. Caveat emptor! Buyers beware!
Just like our muscles need exercise to maintain good health, our brain also benefits from mental exercise. Science has shown that individuals who habitually and regularly engage in challenging mental endeavors reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching intelligent games on television, etc. are good exercises for the brain. What’s even more interesting is that various studies have shown that those who indulge in multiple hobbies develop the healthiest mind.
Red wine is better
Is white wine as good as red wine when your health is concerned? A glass or two of white wine among persons who enjoy them with meals is healthy. But studies have shown that red wine is better, especially Pinot Noir, which has the highest level of resveratrol (antioxidant polypehnols from the skin of the Pinot Noir grape), which is cardio-protective. White wine is not made from skin of grapes, and confers more limited benefit compared to red wine.
The final deadly clot
When someone develops a sudden heart attack, it usually means that the coronary (heart) artery, which has been narrowed by cholesterol plaques over the years, is totally plugged by a clot with lightning speed. The heart muscles are instantly deprived of blood, which carries oxygen supply, and the muscles go into spasm causing severe, vice-like, chest pains. These individuals, especially when they smoke or eat a lot of saturated fat (red meat, egg yolk, dairy products), have blood consistency that is thicker than normal, which tends to clot more easily. The narrowed artery is a frequent target of these clots, leading to heart attack, or stroke (blockage of artery to the brain). Taking a tablet of aspirin when one develops chest pain is a popular strategy while waiting for transport to the emergency room. Make sure you consult your physician before you start taking aspirin.
Fish oil is no fish tale
The benefits of ingesting fish oil (by eating fish, or taking fish oil capsules as an alternative) have been medically proven beyond doubt. Fish is loaded with nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin D, and protein. And all these ingredients are interactive and play an important in health as a whole, and not as individual, independent, nutrient. Their resultant combined effects are what benefit those who eat fish or take fish oil supplement.
We cannot alter our genes, but we can live a healthy lifestyle. Let’s take full control of our health. The power is in our hands. And within our grasp.
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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Health Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: philipSchua.com and FUN8888.com; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.