Interaction between God and the Devil

When I was a kid, if I were told that I’d be writing a book about diet and nutrition when I was older, let alone having been doing a health related radio show for over 36 years, I would’ve thought that whoever told me that was out of their mind. Living in Newark, New Jersey, my parents and I consumed anything and everything that had a face or a mother except for dead, rotting, pig bodies, although we did eat bacon (as if all the other decomposing flesh bodies were somehow miraculously clean). Going through high school and college it was no different. In fact, my dietary change did not come until I was in my 30’s.

Just to put things in perspective, after I graduated from Weequahic High School and before going to Seton Hall University, I had a part-time job working for a butcher. I was the delivery guy and occasionally had to go to the slaughterhouse to pick up products for the store. Needless to say, I had no consciousness nor awareness, as change never came then despite the horrors I witnessed on an almost daily basis.

After graduating with a degree in accounting from Seton Hall, I eventually got married and moved to a town called Livingston. Livingston was basically a yuppie community where everyone was judged by the neighborhood they lived in and their income. To say it was a “plastic” community would be an understatement.

Livingston and the shallowness finally got to me. I told my wife I was fed up and wanted to move. She made it clear she had to be near her friends and New York City. I finally got my act together and split for Colorado.

I was living with a lady in Aspen at the end of 1974, when one day she said, ” let’s become vegetarians”. I have no idea what possessed me to say it, but I said, “okay”! At that point I went to the freezer and took out about $100 worth of frozen, dead body parts and gave them to a welfare mother who lived behind us. Well, everything was great for about a week or so, and then the chick split with another guy.

So here I was, a vegetarian for a couple weeks, not really knowing what to do, how to cook, or basically how to prepare anything. For about a month, I was getting by on carrot sticks, celery sticks, and yogurt. Fortunately, when I went vegan in 1990, it was a simple and natural progression. Anyway, as I walked around Aspen town, I noticed a little vegetarian restaurant called, “The Little Kitchen”.

Let me back up just a little bit. It was April of 1975, the snow was melting and the runoff of Ajax Mountain filled the streets full of knee-deep mud. Now, Aspen was great to ski in, but was a bummer to walk in when the snow was melting.

I was ready to call it quits and I needed a warmer place. I’ll elaborate on that in a minute.

But right now, back to “The Little Kitchen”. Knowing that I was going to leave Aspen and basically a new vegetarian, I needed help. So, I cruised into the restaurant and told them my plight and asked them if they would teach me how to cook. I told them in return I would wash dishes and empty their trash. They then asked me what I did for a living and I told them I was an accountant.

The owner said to me, “Let’s make a deal. You do our tax return and we’ll feed you as well”. So for the next couple of weeks I was doing their tax return, washing their dishes, emptying the trash, and learning as much as I could.

But, like I said, the mud was getting to me. So I picked up a travel book written by a guy named Foder. The name of the book was, “Hawaii”. Looking through the book I noticed that in Lahaina, on Maui, there was a little vegetarian restaurant called,” Mr. Natural’s”. I decided right then and there that I would go to Lahaina and work at “Mr. Natural’s.” To make a long story short, that’s exactly what happened.

So, I’m working at “Mr. Natural’s” and learning everything I can about my new dietary lifestyle – it was great. Every afternoon we would close for lunch at about 1 PM and go to the Sheraton Hotel in Ka’anapali and play volleyball, while somebody stayed behind to prepare dinner.

Since I was the new guy, and didn’t really know how to cook, I never thought that I would be asked to stay behind to cook dinner. Well, one afternoon, that’s exactly what happened; it was my turn. That posed a problem for me because I was at the point where I finally knew how to boil water.

I was desperate, clueless and basically up the creek without a paddle. Fortunately, there was a friend of mine sitting in the gazebo at the restaurant and I asked him if he knew how to cook. He said the only thing he knew how to cook was enchiladas. He said that his enchiladas were bean-less and dairy-less. I told him that I had no idea what an enchilada was or what he was talking about, but I needed him to show me because it was my turn to do the evening meal.

Well, the guys came back from playing volleyball and I’m asked what was for dinner. I told them enchiladas; the owner wasn’t thrilled. I told him that mine were bean-less and dairy-less. When he tried the enchilada he said it was incredible. Being the humble guy that I was, I smiled and said, “You expected anything less”? It apparently was so good that it was the only item on the menu that we served twice a week. In fact, after about a week, we were selling five dozen every night we had them on the menu and people would walk around Lahaina broadcasting, ‘enchilada’s at “Natural’s” tonight’. I never had to cook anything else.

A year later the restaurant closed, and somehow I gravitated to a little health food store in Wailuku. I never told anyone I was an accountant and basically relegated myself to being the truck driver. The guys who were running the health food store had friends in similar businesses and farms on many of the islands. I told them that if they could organize and form one company they could probably lock in the State. That’s when they found out I was an accountant and “Down to Earth” was born. “Down to Earth” became the largest natural food store chain in the islands, and I was their Chief Financial Officer and co-manager of their biggest store for 13 years.

In 1981, I started to do a weekly radio show to try and expose people to a vegetarian diet and get them away from killing innocent creatures. I still do that show today. I pay for my own airtime and have no sponsors to not compromise my honesty. One bit of a hassle was the fact that I was forced to get a Masters Degree in Nutrition to shut up all the MD’s that would call in asking for my credentials.

My doing this radio show enabled me, through endless research, to see the corruption that existed within the big food industries, the big pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industries and the government agencies. This information, unconscionable as it is, enabled me to realize how broken our health system is. This will be covered more in depth in the Introduction and throughout the book and when you finish the book you will see this clearly and it will hopefully inspire you to make changes.

I left Down to Earth in 1989, got nationally certified as a sports injury massage therapist and started traveling the world with a bunch of guys that were making a martial arts movie. After doing that for about four years I finally made it back to Honolulu and got a job as a massage therapist at the Honolulu Club, one of Hawaii’s premier fitness clubs. It was there I met the love of my life who I have been with since 1998. She made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She said,” If you want to be with me you’ve got to stop working on naked women”. So, I went back into accounting and was the Chief Financial Officer of a large construction company for many years.

Going back to my Newark days when I was an infant, I had no idea what a “chicken” or “egg” or “fish” or “pig” or “cow” was. My dietary blueprint was thrust upon me by my parents as theirs was thrust upon them by their parents. It was by the grace of God that I was able to put things in their proper perspective and improve my health and elevate my consciousness.

The road that I started walking down in 1975 has finally led me to the point of writing my book, “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Hopefully, the information contained herein will be enlightening, motivating, and inspiring to encourage you to make different choices. Doing what we do out of conditioning is not always the best course to follow. I am hoping that by the grace of the many friends and personalities I have encountered along my path, you will have a better perspective of what road is the best road for you to travel on, not only for your health but your consciousness as well.

Last but not least: after being vaccinated as a kid I developed asthma, which plagued me all of my life. In 2007 I got exposed to the organic sulfur crystals, which got rid of my asthma in 3 days and has not come back in over 10 years. That, being the tip of the iceberg, has helped people reverse stage 4 cancers, autism, joint pain, blood pressure problems, migraine headaches, erectile dysfunction, gingivitis, and more. Also, because of the detoxification effects by the release of oxygen that permeates and heals all the cells in the body, it removes parasites, radiation, fluoride, free radicals, and all the other crap that is thrust upon us in the environment by Big Business.

For more, please view www.healthtalkhawaii.com and www.asanediet.com.

Namaste!

Reversing acidity is easy peasy

Acidity, or hypoglycemia, is probably one of the most
widespread disorders in America and the civilized nations today.

It is not a disease as such, but rather a symptom that
arises from a wide range of hormonal abnormalities and imbalances reflecting
the irregular function of many glands and organs, and especially a poor diet.

Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed and its
multitude of symptoms are frequently labeled as emotional or psychological in
origin. The symptoms are usually episodic, being related to the time and
content of the previous meal and are usually improved by eating correctly.

Symptoms include nervousness, irritability, emotional
problems, fatigue, depression, craving sweets, inability to concentrate, cold
sweats, shakes, palpitations, tingling of the skin and scalp, dizziness,
trembling, fainting, blurred vision, cold extremities, nausea, midmorning and
mid-to-late afternoon tiredness, anxiety, indecisiveness, crying spells,
allergies, convulsions, and hyperactivity, for openers.

Continue reading “Reversing acidity is easy peasy”

Thanksgiving Guide: Finding Antibiotic-Free Turkeys

Nov. 20, 2020 — As Americans shop for their Thanksgiving turkeys, a public health advocacy group has issued a buying guide that rates brands based on their antibiotic use policies.

Of the 15 brands evaluated, eight got the green light, four a caution light, and three brands a red light, based on information about antibiotic use in the turkeys found on the companies’ websites.

Industry officials took issue with the report’s findings.

The news about antibiotic use in turkey production, overall, is encouraging, says Sydney Riess, a public health campaigns associate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a federation of state groups that advocate against threats to public health and safety. Its report, “Talking Turkey,” was released today.

But, Riess says, “We also know there is a long way to go.”

Under FDA regulations, medically important drugs that fight germs, defined as those needed to treat human disease, cannot be used in turkeys and other feed animals to promote growth but can be used to prevent disease, she says. Some public health experts say the policy should be stricter, allowing the antibiotics to be used only to treat sick animals diagnosed by a licensed vet or, in some cases, to control a verified disease outbreak. Overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance, an emerging global health issue.

What the Report Found

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or U.S. PIRG, evaluated 15 popular turkey brands, studying each brand’s website to find out about its policy on antibiotic use. Using that data, it divided the companies into green, yellow, or red categories, from most ideal to least.

Green-light companies have publicly available information on their websites saying they prohibit the use of all antibiotics or the routine use of medically important antibiotics for all whole turkeys sold.

Of the 15 brands studied, eight were classified in the green category:

  • Fossil Farms
  • Koch’s
  • Murray’s
  • Nature’s Rancher
  • Norbest
  • Organic Prairie
  • Perdue
  • Plainville Farms

According to information on their websites, companies in the yellow category may offer lines of whole turkeys raised without antibiotics, or without routine use of medically important antibiotics. But the policy does not necessarily apply to all of the whole turkeys sold by that brand, based on website information, U.S. PIRG says.

Four companies are in this yellow category:

  • Butterball
  • Foster Farms
  • Jennie-O
  • Northern Pride

Companies in the red category have no or limited information about antibiotic use in whole turkeys on their website; the data there suggests they continue to use medically important antibiotics routinely to prevent disease in health animals, U.S. PIRG says.

Red category companies include:

  • Honeysuckle White
  • Shady Brook Farms
  • Signature Farms

Industry Response

Beth Breeding, a spokesperson for the National Turkey Federation, an industry group, reviewed the report and responded. “National Turkey Federation members are committed to the judicious use of antibiotics in turkey production, and the industry has prioritized decreasing the need for the use of antibiotics used to treat people while maintaining our commitment to animal welfare,” she says.

Breeding says the report ”has numerous omissions and errors.” Among them, several companies mentioned were not contacted, she says.

The report is misleading and wrong, says Daniel Sullivan, a spokesperson for Cargill, which sells Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms turkeys. “The mistake is that they are making these claims based solely on what is or is not published on a product website, not any actual data,” he says. His company does not use antibiotics in its turkeys in a preventive fashion (on healthy animals) and hasn’t since 2016, he says. “Nearly 50 percent of the birds sold under the Honeysuckle White brand and Shady Brook Farms brand are antibiotic-free, meaning they were never used. The Honest Turkey brand [also a Cargill brand] is 100 percent antibiotic free. No mention of that anywhere in the report.”

More on FDA Regulations, Public Health Concerns

The FDA updated its regulations about medically important antibiotic use in food-producing animals in 2017, saying these medicines may be used only in the feed or drinking water of food-producing animals with veterinary oversight and can’t be used to boost growth.

According to the CDC, each year in the U.S., at least 2.8 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and more than 35,000 die.

According to U.S. PIRG, in 2017, turkey production used nearly 18 times more medically important antibiotics than chicken per pound of meat produced.

Expert Perspective

“The report shows that there has been progress among the top fresh turkey producers in reducing overuse [of antibiotics],” says Steven Roach, food safety program director for Food Animal Concerns Trust, a nonprofit advocating for animal welfare, who reviewed the report.

“Perdue [a major producer] no longer allows routine antibiotic use, and some other major producers are marketing some turkey raised in reduced antibiotic use programs,” he says.

“The report provides a helpful tool for consumers who are looking for a turkey and want to reward companies doing the right thing on antibiotics. One challenge for consumers and consumer advocates is the lack of transparency by companies in how they are actually using antibiotics on their farms.”

Consumers can also look for specific phrases on the turkey label, such as “No antibiotics administered,” “Raised without antibiotics,” or “No antibiotics ever,” according to U.S. PIRG.

WebMD Health News

 

Sources

Sydney Riess, public health campaigns associate, U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group: “Talking Turkey: A Consumer Guide to Buying Turkey Raised Without Overusing Antibiotics.”

Steven Roach, food safety program director, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Chicago.

Beth Breeding, spokesperson, National Turkey Federation, Washington, D.C.

Daniel Sullivan, spokesperson, Cargill, Minneapolis.

CDC: “Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance (AR/AMR).”

FDA: “Antimicrobial Resistance.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Thirdhand Smoke: Harmful residue

We all know the hazards of smoking. The person actually smoking is at risk for
many health problems. Second hand smoke can lead to emphysema and lung cancer.
But have you heard of 3rd hand smoke (THS)??
This is the less visible type which consists of all the particles and chemicals
that land on basically every surface in the smoking area. It can be on the
person’s clothes, in their hair, on the floor, and on the furniture.

There are 11 types of
chemicals that when left on surfaces, are considered carcinogens. They’re is
all bad because these are cancer causing. “Off-gasing” is the terms for when
the chemicals have landed on the surface but then release back into the air as
gas. It seems toxins are released everywhere from cigarettes. These toxins can
then interact with other chemicals in the environment. Toxins then are either
inhaled, ingested (they land on food), or absorbed through the skin. Overtime,
the toxins continue to accumulate and become more and more harmful. Let’s say a
person smokes in their car, obviously these chemicals just keep piling up.

Children are the biggest
victims of THS. Children sit and play on the floor. They put their fingers in
their mouths and touch surfaces.

It is important to be
adamant about not smoking in your home or vehicle to avoid THS. Studies have
shown in a house left unoccupied for 2 months, these chemicals were still
present. Acidic cleaners, especially vinegar, can help with some of the
cleaning.

So what is the best
solution to avoid third hand smoke?? Well, quitting smoking. Nicotine is highly
addictive and studies have shown it is nearly as addictive as heroin.

Smokers enjoy the “kick”
from inhaling nicotine. The head change from nicotine entering the bloodstream,
releases adrenaline and creates a euphoric feeling with dopamine.

Smoking doesn’t just affect
the smoker. The cigarette residue remains on clothing, drapes, furniture, just
to name a few surfaces. Opening the windows or turning on a fan don’t eliminate
the problem. You don’t want to serve a nice dinner on a thirdhand smoke residue
kitchen table. The best solution is to maintain a smoke free lifestyle. Even stepping
outside to smoke is not the right answer. It is polite to share, but not when
it comes to smoking and it’s plethora of harmful side effects.

https://academic.oup.com/mutage/article/28/4/381/2459888

https://academic.oup.com/her/article/28/5/923/617816

https://www.aappublications.org/content/30/11/8.2

everybodysfit

Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.

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About the Author

Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.

–>

What are we supposed to eat?

When I was a kid, if I were told that I’d be writing a book about diet and nutrition when I was older, let alone having been doing a health related radio show for over 36 years, I would’ve thought that whoever told me that was out of their mind. Living in Newark, New Jersey, my parents and I consumed anything and everything that had a face or a mother except for dead, rotting, pig bodies, although we did eat bacon (as if all the other decomposing flesh bodies were somehow miraculously clean). Going through high school and college it was no different. In fact, my dietary change did not come until I was in my 30’s.

Just to put things in perspective, after I graduated from Weequahic High School and before going to Seton Hall University, I had a part-time job working for a butcher. I was the delivery guy and occasionally had to go to the slaughterhouse to pick up products for the store. Needless to say, I had no consciousness nor awareness, as change never came then despite the horrors I witnessed on an almost daily basis.

After graduating with a degree in accounting from Seton Hall, I eventually got married and moved to a town called Livingston. Livingston was basically a yuppie community where everyone was judged by the neighborhood they lived in and their income. To say it was a “plastic” community would be an understatement.

Livingston and the shallowness finally got to me. I told my wife I was fed up and wanted to move. She made it clear she had to be near her friends and New York City. I finally got my act together and split for Colorado.

I was living with a lady in Aspen at the end of 1974, when one day she said, ” let’s become vegetarians”. I have no idea what possessed me to say it, but I said, “okay”! At that point I went to the freezer and took out about $100 worth of frozen, dead body parts and gave them to a welfare mother who lived behind us. Well, everything was great for about a week or so, and then the chick split with another guy.

So here I was, a vegetarian for a couple weeks, not really knowing what to do, how to cook, or basically how to prepare anything. For about a month, I was getting by on carrot sticks, celery sticks, and yogurt. Fortunately, when I went vegan in 1990, it was a simple and natural progression. Anyway, as I walked around Aspen town, I noticed a little vegetarian restaurant called, “The Little Kitchen”.

Let me back up just a little bit. It was April of 1975, the snow was melting and the runoff of Ajax Mountain filled the streets full of knee-deep mud. Now, Aspen was great to ski in, but was a bummer to walk in when the snow was melting.

I was ready to call it quits and I needed a warmer place. I’ll elaborate on that in a minute.

But right now, back to “The Little Kitchen”. Knowing that I was going to leave Aspen and basically a new vegetarian, I needed help. So, I cruised into the restaurant and told them my plight and asked them if they would teach me how to cook. I told them in return I would wash dishes and empty their trash. They then asked me what I did for a living and I told them I was an accountant.

The owner said to me, “Let’s make a deal. You do our tax return and we’ll feed you as well”. So for the next couple of weeks I was doing their tax return, washing their dishes, emptying the trash, and learning as much as I could.

But, like I said, the mud was getting to me. So I picked up a travel book written by a guy named Foder. The name of the book was, “Hawaii”. Looking through the book I noticed that in Lahaina, on Maui, there was a little vegetarian restaurant called,” Mr. Natural’s”. I decided right then and there that I would go to Lahaina and work at “Mr. Natural’s.” To make a long story short, that’s exactly what happened.

So, I’m working at “Mr. Natural’s” and learning everything I can about my new dietary lifestyle – it was great. Every afternoon we would close for lunch at about 1 PM and go to the Sheraton Hotel in Ka’anapali and play volleyball, while somebody stayed behind to prepare dinner.

Since I was the new guy, and didn’t really know how to cook, I never thought that I would be asked to stay behind to cook dinner. Well, one afternoon, that’s exactly what happened; it was my turn. That posed a problem for me because I was at the point where I finally knew how to boil water.

I was desperate, clueless and basically up the creek without a paddle. Fortunately, there was a friend of mine sitting in the gazebo at the restaurant and I asked him if he knew how to cook. He said the only thing he knew how to cook was enchiladas. He said that his enchiladas were bean-less and dairy-less. I told him that I had no idea what an enchilada was or what he was talking about, but I needed him to show me because it was my turn to do the evening meal.

Well, the guys came back from playing volleyball and I’m asked what was for dinner. I told them enchiladas; the owner wasn’t thrilled. I told him that mine were bean-less and dairy-less. When he tried the enchilada he said it was incredible. Being the humble guy that I was, I smiled and said, “You expected anything less”? It apparently was so good that it was the only item on the menu that we served twice a week. In fact, after about a week, we were selling five dozen every night we had them on the menu and people would walk around Lahaina broadcasting, ‘enchilada’s at “Natural’s” tonight’. I never had to cook anything else.

A year later the restaurant closed, and somehow I gravitated to a little health food store in Wailuku. I never told anyone I was an accountant and basically relegated myself to being the truck driver. The guys who were running the health food store had friends in similar businesses and farms on many of the islands. I told them that if they could organize and form one company they could probably lock in the State. That’s when they found out I was an accountant and “Down to Earth” was born. “Down to Earth” became the largest natural food store chain in the islands, and I was their Chief Financial Officer and co-manager of their biggest store for 13 years.

In 1981, I started to do a weekly radio show to try and expose people to a vegetarian diet and get them away from killing innocent creatures. I still do that show today. I pay for my own airtime and have no sponsors to not compromise my honesty. One bit of a hassle was the fact that I was forced to get a Masters Degree in Nutrition to shut up all the MD’s that would call in asking for my credentials.

My doing this radio show enabled me, through endless research, to see the corruption that existed within the big food industries, the big pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industries and the government agencies. This information, unconscionable as it is, enabled me to realize how broken our health system is. This will be covered more in depth in the Introduction and throughout the book and when you finish the book you will see this clearly and it will hopefully inspire you to make changes.

I left Down to Earth in 1989, got nationally certified as a sports injury massage therapist and started traveling the world with a bunch of guys that were making a martial arts movie. After doing that for about four years I finally made it back to Honolulu and got a job as a massage therapist at the Honolulu Club, one of Hawaii’s premier fitness clubs. It was there I met the love of my life who I have been with since 1998. She made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She said,” If you want to be with me you’ve got to stop working on naked women”. So, I went back into accounting and was the Chief Financial Officer of a large construction company for many years.

Going back to my Newark days when I was an infant, I had no idea what a “chicken” or “egg” or “fish” or “pig” or “cow” was. My dietary blueprint was thrust upon me by my parents as theirs was thrust upon them by their parents. It was by the grace of God that I was able to put things in their proper perspective and improve my health and elevate my consciousness.

The road that I started walking down in 1975 has finally led me to the point of writing my book, “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Hopefully, the information contained herein will be enlightening, motivating, and inspiring to encourage you to make different choices. Doing what we do out of conditioning is not always the best course to follow. I am hoping that by the grace of the many friends and personalities I have encountered along my path, you will have a better perspective of what road is the best road for you to travel on, not only for your health but your consciousness as well.

Last but not least: after being vaccinated as a kid I developed asthma, which plagued me all of my life. In 2007 I got exposed to the organic sulfur crystals, which got rid of my asthma in 3 days and has not come back in over 10 years. That, being the tip of the iceberg, has helped people reverse stage 4 cancers, autism, joint pain, blood pressure problems, migraine headaches, erectile dysfunction, gingivitis, and more. Also, because of the detoxification effects by the release of oxygen that permeates and heals all the cells in the body, it removes parasites, radiation, fluoride, free radicals, and all the other crap that is thrust upon us in the environment by Big Business.

For more, please view www.healthtalkhawaii.com and www.asanediet.com.

Namaste!

Poll: Many Will Attend Large Indoor Holiday Events

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Despite skyrocketing coronavirus infection rates, many Americans plan to attend large holiday gatherings, a nationwide survey finds.

Nearly two in five respondents said they will likely gather with more than 10 people, according to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center poll.

And while many plan to take precautions — such as social distancing and asking those with COVID-19 symptoms not to attend holiday gatherings — one-third of respondents said they won’t ask guests to wear masks.

The United States is seeing record numbers of coronavirus infections, and colder weather is leading to more get-togethers indoors, where the virus can more easily spread.

“We’re going to look back at what happened during this holiday season and ask ourselves, ‘Were we part of the solution or were we part of the problem?'” said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at the Wexner Medical Center.

“When you’re gathered together around the table, engaged in conversation, sitting less than six feet apart with your masks down, even in a small group, that’s when the spread of this virus can really happen,” he warned in a university news release.

The safest way to mark the holidays is to cancel in-person plans with family and friends, and connect virtually instead, Gonsenhauser advised.

If you do decide to host a gathering, it’s crucial to create a safety plan and outline it to all your guests, he added.

Measures could include having everyone wear masks at all times; separating seating arrangements by household; and assigning one or two people to serve the food. The same precautions should be used even if your holiday event is held outdoors, Gonsenhauser said.

If you plan to travel or host out-of-town guests, monitor COVID-19 rates and restrictions in both locations.

“If you have someone in your household who’s high risk and you’re in a low-incidence area, you’re going to want to think twice about having a celebration where people are coming from an area where there’s a lot of virus in the community,” Gonsenhauser said.

More information

For more on COVID-19, go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Nov. 12, 2020

Is the Pandemic Harming Kids’ Mental Health?

By Alan Mozes HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 13, 2020 (HealthDay) — Since last April, hospital emergency rooms across the United States have seen a sustained surge in visits related to the mental health of school-aged kids, a new report reveals.

The findings suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on children because of disruptions to their everyday life, anxiety about illness and social isolation. That conclusion comes from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review of data on hospitals in 47 states. Those hospitals account for nearly three-quarters of emergency department visits nationwide.

The study tracked emergency visits involving children under age 18 who sought care for a mental health issue between Jan. 1 and Oct. 17, 2020.

“Our study looked at a composite group of mental health concerns that included conditions that are likely to increase during and after a public health emergency, such as stress, anxiety, acute post-traumatic stress disorder and panic,” said lead author Rebecca Leeb, a health scientist at the CDC in Atlanta who is part of its COVID-19 Response Team.

“We found that from March through October, the proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits increased 24% for children aged 5 to 11, and 31% among teenagers aged 12 to 17 years, compared to 2019,” Leeb said.

Pediatric mental health visits actually dropped off dramatically from mid-March to mid-April, when stay-at-home orders were in effect in much of the country. Since then, however, such visits have steadily increased, according to the report.

But Leeb said interpreting the numbers is not straightforward.

On the one hand, she said even the large jumps seen in the report likely underestimate the total number of pediatric mental health emergencies. “Many mental health care encounters occur outside of emergency departments,” Leeb explained.

But additional research indicates emergency department visits as a whole dropped significantly between January and October. And that, Leeb said, might mean that “the relative proportion of emergency department visits for children’s mental health-related concerns may be inflated.”

Regardless, Leeb said the findings show that many kids’ mental health was sufficiently concerning to prompt ER visits at a time when the public was being discouraged from using emergency departments for anything but the most critical care.

New Hopes for a COVID-19 Vaccine

An Update from Pfizer Inc.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, pharmaceutical companies all around the world have answered the call to action for creating a vaccine for the virus (Sars-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. As of Monday, November 9th, Pfizer Inc. released results from their latest COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. Pfizer Inc. is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and is based out of New York City, Ny. In the third phase of testing, approximately 43,000 volunteers across the United States participated in both rounds of vaccine administration. Following the gold-standard of research, the study was a blind Randomized Control Clinical Trial. This means that people were randomly assigned to one of two groups; either the vaccine group or the placebo group and the participants didn’t know which group they were in making the study blinded. Both groups received two rounds of injections where the vaccine group received the actual vaccine and the placebo group received an injection of saline.

The final results of the study reported that 94 volunteers had contracted COVID-19. For the 94 people that contracted COVID-19, 90% were protected from the virus via vaccine and 10% were not. This indicates that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of approximately 90% after the two doses are received. I should mention that it is looking like this vaccine is most likely going to be a series. This means that people will have to receive multiple rounds to gain immunity. Other vaccines that must be received in series include the ones for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR).

Outlined by the CDC, vaccine testing and approval occurs in 5 stages. These stages are the exploratory stage, the preclinical stage; the regulatory review and approval stage; the manufacturing stage; and the quality control stage. Because Pfizer Inc. has seen such promising results from the clinical stage for the COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer Inc. has current projections predicting that they will be able to manufacture 50 million doses before the end of the year, and 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.

Although there is a lot unknown about the future of the COVID-19 vaccine – such as who will be eligible to receive it, how much it will cost, and whether it will be an annual vaccine or not; there is a lot of hope on the horizon. It is also extremely important to remember that the day the vaccine is officially released to the public is not the day that the pandemic is over. It is simply the first day of the end stage of the pandemic. Until the majority of the general public has been vaccinated, it is crucial that we stay diligent about masking up, staying physically distant, and practicing good hygiene. To learn more from Pfizer Inc. and their vaccine trials, use this link!

5 Important Questions About Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine

By Arthur Allen

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 (Kaiser News) — Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its COVID-19 shot appears to keep nine in 10 people from getting the disease sent its stock price rocketing. Many news reports described the vaccine as if it were our deliverance from the pandemic, even though few details were released.

There was certainly something to crow about: Pfizer’s vaccine consists of genetic material called mRNA encased in tiny particles that shuttle it into our cells. From there, it stimulates the immune system to make antibodies that protect against the virus. A similar strategy is employed in other leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates. If mRNA vaccines can protect against COVID-19 and, presumably, other infectious diseases, it will be a momentous piece of news.

“This is a truly historic first,” said Dr. Michael Watson, the former president of Valera, a subsidiary of Moderna, which is currently running advanced trials of its own mRNA vaccine against COVID-19. “We now have a whole new class of vaccines in our hands.”

But historically, important scientific announcements about vaccines are made through peer-reviewed medical research papers that have undergone extensive scrutiny about study design, results and assumptions, not through company press releases.

So did Pfizer’s stock deserve its double-digit percentage bump? The answers to the following five questions will help us know.

1. How long will the vaccine protect patients?

Pfizer says that, as of last week, 94 people out of about 40,000 in the trial had gotten ill with COVID-19. While it didn’t say exactly how many of the sick had been vaccinated, the 90% efficacy figure suggests it was a very small number. The Pfizer announcement covers people who got two shots between July and October. But it doesn’t indicate how long protection will last or how often people might need boosters.

“It’s a reasonable bet, but still a gamble that protection for two or three months is similar to six months or a year,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration panel that is likely to review the vaccine for approval in December. Normally, vaccines aren’t licensed until they show they can protect for a year or two.

Continued

The company did not release any safety information. To date, no serious side effects have been revealed, and most tend to occur within six weeks of vaccination. But scientists will have to keep an eye out for rare effects such as immune enhancement, a severe illness brought on by a virus’s interaction with immune particles in some vaccinated persons, said Dr. Walt Orenstein, a professor of medicine at Emory University and former director of the immunization program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. Will it protect the most vulnerable?

Pfizer did not disclose what percentage of its trial volunteers are in the groups most likely to be hospitalized or to die of COVID-19 — including people 65 and older and those with diabetes or obesity. This is a key point because many vaccines, particularly for influenza, may fail to protect the elderly though they protect younger people. “How representative are those 94 people of the overall population, especially those most at risk?” asked Orenstein.

Both the National Academy of Medicine and the CDC have urged that older people be among the first groups to receive vaccines. It’s possible that vaccines under development by Novavax and Sanofi, which are likely to begin late-phase clinical trials later this year, may be better for the elderly, Offit noted. Those vaccines contain immune-stimulating particles like the ones contained in the Shingrix vaccine, which is highly effective in protecting older people against shingles disease.

3. Can it be rolled out effectively?

The Pfizer vaccine, unlike others in late-stage testing, must be kept supercooled, on dry ice around 100 degrees below zero, from the time it is produced until a few days before it is injected. The mRNA quickly self-destructs at higher temperatures. Pfizer has devised an elaborate system to transport the vaccine by truck and specially designed cases to vaccination sites. Public health workers are being trained to handle the vaccine as we speak, but we don’t know for sure how well it will do if containers are left out in the Arizona sun too long. Mishandling the vaccine along the way from factory to patient would render it ineffective, so people who received it could think they were protected when they were not, Offit said.

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4. Could a premature announcement hurt future vaccines?

There’s presently no way to know whether the Pfizer vaccine will be the best overall or for specific age groups. But if the FDA approves it quickly, that could make it harder for manufacturers of other vaccines to carry out their studies. If people are aware that an effective vaccine exists, they may decline to enter clinical trials, partly out of concern they could get a placebo and remain unprotected. Indeed, it may be unethical to use a placebo in such trials. Many vaccines will be needed in order to meet global demand for protection against COVID-19, so it’s crucial to continue additional studies.

5. Could the Pfizer study expedite future vaccines?

Scientists are vitally interested in whether the small number who received the real vaccine but still got sick produced lower levels of antibodies than the vaccinated individuals who remained well. Blood studies of those people would help scientists learn whether there is a “correlate of protection” for COVID-19 — a level of antibodies that can predict whether someone is protected from the disease. If they had that knowledge, public health officials could determine whether other vaccines under production were effective without necessarily having to test them on tens of thousands of people.

But it’s difficult to build such road maps. Scientists have never established correlates of immunity for pertussis, for example, although vaccines have been used against those bacteria for nearly a century.

Still, this is good news, said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former FDA deputy commissioner. He said: “I hope this makes people realize that we’re not stuck in this situation forever. There’s hope coming, whether it’s this vaccine or another.”

This KHN story first published on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

WebMD News from Kaiser Health News

©2013-2020 Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

The Benefits of Light Therapy

Using Light Therapy to Treat SAD

As we are past daylight savings times, the days are getting shorter every single day. Our time with precious sunlight gets shorter and shorter every day. Not to mention the classic New England weather that we can soon expect; the regular cold air and darkness takes a serious toll on our emotional wellbeing year after year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is very common. Up to 3 million people will experience some degree of SAD each year. It is especially common in more northern regions such as New England. Fortunately, SAD is very treatable. One of the most common recommendations for the treatment of SAD is to get sunlight (or artificial sunlight)!

The reason that sunlight is recommended to treat SAD is because sunlight helps our body activate and use Vitamin D. Research has also shown that there is a link between low levels of Vitamin D in the body and risk of depression. Meaning that the lower levels of Vitamin D you have, the more likely you are to experience SAD or other depressive symptoms. So, if you get enough regular sunlight, your levels of Vitamin D remain high, and symptoms of depression and SAD are decreased. Yes, it’s that simple.

Now if you are anything like me, fair skinned with light hair color and eye color; getting sunlight may seem like a good idea, but only if you load up with SPF 50 first! And if you find yourself living in an area that just doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, or you have a work schedule that prevents you from ever seeing the sun – like working full time night shifts; worry not. Using artificial sunlight through Light Therapy can mimic sitting in the sun and help to treat your SAD. Even better, there are no harmful UVA or UVB rays so there is no need for SPF!

UNH students, faculty and staff have access to free Light Therapy through Health & Wellness. The light therapy appointments last 20 minutes and you can sit in a private room in front of the light box. I have utilized this service countless times to get through the cold and dark winters in Durham, NH. I can definitely say that this helped me ease some of my seasonal depression symptoms. Even if you feel as though you might not need Light Therapy for SAD, there is something that is just so relaxing about sitting in the light in the winter. If you are interested in trying Light Therapy, make an appointment through Health & Wellness here. Email us to let us know what you think at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!