By: Daniel Pearce, D.O., FCOI, AAHIVMS
Alcohol consumption went up and smoking went down a little; alcohol contains calories and nicotine suppresses appetite. There was also increased snacking when people are at home. Smoking and alcohol are sometimes used as a relief to boredom. It is best to keep fatty, salty snacks in the store and stock the house with fruits and vegetables. I started making my own whole wheat crackers with sesame seeds, garlic, vanilla, hot turmeric. I can make them taste better, but this way I don’t eat so much. I also limit the quantity I eat each time I get up to get some. This is called portion control. The lower the portion, the fewer calories I eat.
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION BILL PASSED BY HOUSE
So that means the Senate must pass it to become law.
The bill does more than just remove the controlled substance designation, it saves wasted money and generates some tax money:
• Standards for cannabis businesses
• 8% tax on product
• Decrease illegal cannabis
• Some cannabis convictions would be expunged
• Encourage sentencing reviews
• Small Business Administration loans and services to help dispensaries
• Prevent youth from using the product
BLOOD CHEMICALS CONFIRM BRAIN INFLAMMATION FROM COVID
There are chemicals we can measure in the blood which tell us if there is inflammation in the body and brain. Some of these are elevated in those who show loss of brain power when they have Covid and may persist months after the acute illness. Those who have this loss of brain power during the acute phase of Covid seem to be at higher risk of the loss persisting for months. For example, I know I am not at my best brain function when I am ill with a cold or flu. I still am still careful to avoid Covid, covering my nose at church or the store. It is not required to wear a mask in these settings, but it is still recommended.
CONE SNAIL VENOM FOR PAIN AND RELAX MUSCLES?
Scientists in Scotland are working with the chemical that cone snails use to paralyze their prey. It can cause pain and local weakness in humans who come into contact with it. The scientists are experimenting with a molecule to mimic the poison and it has potential to block pain receptors and relax muscles. Of course, more research is planned to find pain relievers besides narcotics. They also may come up with an antidote to the venom.
PAIN AND NARCOTICS
Over and over again there are studies and large analyses that show that opioids are not as good as ibuprofen (and its sister drugs) for chronic pain. This is hard for me to accept as a physician who sees many who tell me the opposite. The scientist in me can’t deny the data and I still see some pain specialists giving long-term opioids. I hope these contradictions get worked out and a good path is found to manage chronic pain.
NAPPING AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Those who take more and longer naps might be showing that they are coming down with Alzheimer’s disease. And if they already have it, then more and longer naps may mean that it is progressing faster than others.
I’m a big fan of a 10-20 minute mid-day power nap and that is a different thing altogether.
-PRAZOLE MEDS LINKED TO ALZHEIMER’S
(e.g. omeprazole, pantoprazole) These miraculous acid reducers are one of the most prescribed medications in the world. Many suffer from GERD (reflux), esophagitis, gastritis, ulcers and are helped by this family of medications.
A Korean database study showed that use of these medications in the past was a marker for Alzheimer’s disease in a few of the people compared to those who have never taken these meds. They have great databases to gather such information.
These medications are also associated with serious hospital pneumonias since the acid in the stomach is not killing bacteria well.
Here is a benefit: Having acid splashing up in the esophagus for years is a risk for esophageal cancer. So not taking the acid reducers is also a risk.
What should we do? So far, guidelines by experts in the field, have not asked us to restrict the medication more. I do suggest that, after you have improved, consult with your provider to try coming down to the lowest dose and try to taper off or go on the other class of acid reducers: –tidine, e.g. ranitidine and famotidine. Diet modification may help.
EXERCISE PREVENTS HEART ATTACKS MORE IN ANXIOUS AND DEPRESSED PEOPLE
We know that regular exercise prevents strokes and heart attacks and helps depression and anxiety. A new study compared the reduction in these cardiovascular events in people with and without anxiety or depression and found an even lower event rate in those with anxiety and depression who exercised regularly. Wow, two for 1 benefit (mental and vascular). Many, many people have anxiety or depression and now here is great news to get back exercising. The problem is that we are lazy and don’t want to plan ahead to exercise.
Keep those questions coming and be safe!
Daniel Pearce, D.O., FACOI, AAHIVMS
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and HIV, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine and Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine HIV, Hepatitis B,C, Transgender, Suboxone Specialist, Borrego Health (Riverside, San Bernardino, San Jacinto) Member, Coachella Valley Clinical Research Initiative