It’s interesting that a few cups of coffee per day may slow down the deadly progression of advanced colon cancer. So says new research. Over 1200 patients were studied who drank four or more cups of coffee on a daily basis. They were found to have 36% higher odds of surviving cancer spread during a 13-year study period. Cancer metastases or spread is quite a problem and a few lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise have been associated with prolonged lifespan for those people dealing with metastatic cancer. The study quoted by Dr. Christopher McIntosh, a student at the Mayo Clinic school of medicine in Phoenix, found that his study patients treated with chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancers who also drank coffee, experienced a longer period of time where both cancer spread and time to death were prolonged. The researchers found that the more coffee consumed the greater the survival benefit. Researchers found that patients who consumed a single cup of coffee per day survived 30 months after their diagnosis, but those who drank two or 3 cups daily survived 32 months. And those who consume four or more cups a day saw their survival shoot up to 39 months. This would indicate that coffee slows cancer progression say the investigators. The interesting thing about this study is that it did not matter whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated, the coffee tended to work regardless. (JAMA Oncology)
What are some other bad habits that affect our brains?
There are many bad habits that affect our brains. One particularly bad habit which is now causing major problems during the COVID19 pandemic is social isolation. Humans need contact to survive and thrive and it’s extremely important for brain function. Because of the pandemic many are socially isolated, and loneliness is a risk factor for poor cognitive performance, depression, and faster decline of brain function. People who have friends, really close friends, are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and brain decline. If you want to meet new people and you try to take up social hobbies it helps. But during the pandemic of COVID19, dancing, tennis, and bridge are examples of activities with which we cannot participate due to the need for social isolation.
Another bad habit is eating a lot of junk food. Neuroscientists have studied certain foods that promote brain health and avoid other foods that cause a decrease of brain function. To improve your brain’s health, limit your intake of cheese, butter, margarine, and fried and fast food to no more than once a week. Red meat is said to promote inflammation. The MIND diet study determined that you should eat fewer than four servings of red meat per week. Sugars and pastries are not good for you either and so those servings should be significantly limited. Of course, we all hear that eating leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and berries rich in antioxidants and beneficial fats protect your brain. This is important.
It is important to know how valuable sleep is for the body’s normal functions. In the old days people thought that when you slept your brain and body were inactive. That is not the case, because of today’s research. All night your body and brain do a lot of work that’s important for your health. There are two main types of sleep that we cycle in and out of when we rest, something called rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep.
When you lay down in bed you begin the night in non-REM sleep and spend most of your resting time there. It starts very light in what’s called the N 1 stage and gradually moves to the deep N 3 stage. When this happens, your brain becomes less responsive to the outside world and it gets harder to wake you up. Your thoughts and most body functions slow down, and you spend about half of the normal night’s sleep in what is called the N 2 phase, when scientists think you file away long-term memories.
How did sleep become to be called REM?
This stage of sleep is named REM because of the way your eyes dart back and forth between your eyelids. You dream most in this stage. Your pulse, body temperature, breathing, and blood pressure rise to daytime levels. Your nervous system, specifically the sympathetic system which helps with automatic responses like fight or flight, becomes very active. And despite all that your body lies very still. An average person goes through all of the stages 3 to 5 times a night. The first REM stage maybe just a few minutes, but it gets longer with each new cycle up to about ½ an hour. The N3 stage on the other hand tends to get shorter with each new cycle, and if you lose REM sleep for whatever reason your body will try to make it up the next night.
There are number of foods that are dangerous to your health and this is a large topic unto itself. Let’s start with the hard stone in the center of a cherry for example. It is full of prussic acid, also known as cyanide, a substance we all know is poisonous. But there’s really no need to be upset, because if you swallow a cherry pit they just pass through your system and out the other end. You must avoid crunching or crushing cherry pits as you nosh on cherries to avoid poisoning yourself.
Appleseed’s also have cyanide in them, so eating a handful as a snack is not smart. Appleseed’s have a protective coating on them that keeps the cyanide from entering your system if you accidentally eat the seeds. It’s good to be cautious because cyanide can cause rapid breathing, seizures, and possibly death.
Another poisonous substance is Elderberry. Elderberry is a syrup or supplement which is often given in health food stores to boost your immune system and treat cold, flu symptoms, or constipation. I’ve even heard of people having Elderberry as a supplement to ward off the COVID19 virus. However, eating unripe berries, bark, or leaves of Elderberry may leave you feeling worse instead of better. They contain cyanide as well as lectin, two chemicals that can cause nausea vomiting and diarrhea.
Article published by Vulture Magazine on August 24, 2020
That was in late June. The major theatrical chains were planning to reopen the following month, in time to lure moviegoers back with the double-whammy releases of Mulan and Tenet, then slated for late-July openings. But those plans were scuttled as COVID-19 continued to spread across the country, and the death toll rose. Since then, Disney has moved Mulan to its streaming platform, Warner Bros. has rescheduled (and re-rescheduled) Tenet’s debut date, and cineplexes in many states have remained closed. AMC finally began the staggered reopening of its locations Thursday, with Regal and Marcus Theaters following suit Friday; all are hoping to have significant screens available for Tenet’s American rollout, which is now scheduled to begin Labor Day weekend.
So I again rang up Dr. Robert Lahita, chairman of medicine at St. Joseph’s Health in New Jersey, professor of medicine at New York Medical College, and adjunct professor of medicine at Rutgers, to discuss whether or not we should be rushing to the box office this week.
Should I Go to a Movie Theater Right Now?
“We’ve seen 30,000 new cases popping up in the southern states and the Sunbelt,” Lahita told us back in June. “It seemed there was a flattened curve, and then all of a sudden, we’re going up again. So these guys are going to open theaters when we have an increase of infections?”
Concern over rising infection rates aside, Lahita believes basic safety measures — including socially distanced reserved seating, frequent cleaning of screening rooms, and temperature checks at the Cineplex door — will go a long way for those attempting a return to the theater. “There’s always an inherent risk, but I was actually surprised at how thorough some of the planning is,” Lahita adds of the broad strategies he’s seen.
The chains’ initial reluctance to require face masks on all guests, however, had Lahita concerned. “You’d have to be nuts” not to wear a mask, he says. “You’re with a group of strangers. Unless you’re sitting 20 or 30 feet from the other person, you run the risk of being infected. There’s no question about it. You know how the air is in a theater: It’s not circulated very well. If you don’t wear a mask, you take your chances.”
Thankfully, AMC and Regal reversed course, announcing that guests would be required to wear masks — though their present policy allows for masks to be removed while eating and drinking concessions.