INFECTIOUS DISEASES

April 10, 2020


My wife and I are well into our “senior years”; consequently, we are now “stay-at-home” parents and grandparents until COVID-19 is a thing of the past.  That is, if that’s possible.  We only go out to the grocery store and the pharmacy.  We order from a delivery service if we want to experience something other than a home-cooked meal.  I think most people are doing likewise because it is the most prudent thing to do.  Let’s take a look at the twenty-seven (27) most devastating infectious diseases. 

A VERY BRIEF WORD ABOUT PANDEMIS HISTORY VS DEATHRATE:

Overall, the death rate from infectious diseases dropped from about eight hundred (800) deaths per one hundred thousand (100,000) people in 1900 to forty-six (46) deaths per one hundred thousand (100,000) people in 2014, the study found. The death rate declined almost continuously from 1900 to 1950, except for a spike in deaths in 1918 due to an outbreak of influenza known as the “Spanish flu pandemic.”

The rate has been relatively level since 1950, but there have been some ups and downs. For example, from 1980 to 1995 — around the time of the HIV/AIDS epidemic — the overall death rate from infectious diseases increased from forty-two (42) deaths per one hundred thousand (100,000) people to sixty-three (63) deaths per 100,000 people, the researchers found. [27 Devastating Infectious Diseases.

Many are looking to historic pandemics to find answers about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that has much of the world ground to a halt under quarantine and social distancing mandates. But “public health” wasn’t even a concept before one European crisis forced authorities to act: The bubonic plague or Black Death.

Let’s take a look at several diseases that have plagued the world over the past one hundred years or more.

DISEASES AND PANDEMICS:

The new coronavirusIn COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”. There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. Using available preliminary data, the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately 2 weeks and is 3-6 weeks for patients with severe or critical disease.  This is definitely a pandemic with 1,429,516 cases reported, 85,711 deaths and infections in two hundred and twelve (212) countries.  These numbers are as of 9 April 2020 and 1400 hours.

SmallpoxBefore smallpox was eradicated, it was a serious infectious disease caused by the variola virus. It was contagious—meaning, it spread from one person to another. People who had smallpox had a fever and a distinctive, progressive skin rash.  Most people with smallpox recovered, but about 3 out of every 10 people with the disease died. Many smallpox survivors have permanent scars over large areas of their body, especially their faces. Some are left blind. Thanks to the success of vaccination, smallpox was eradicated, and no cases of naturally occurring smallpox have happened since 1977. The last natural outbreak of smallpox in the United States occurred in 1949.

  • Plague– Plague is a zoonotic disease affecting rodents and transmitted by fleas from rodents to other animals and to humans. Direct person-to-person transmission does not occur except in the case of pneumonic plague, when respiratory droplets may transfer the infection from the patient to others in close contact.
  •  Bubonic plague is the form that usually results from the bite of infected fleas. Lymphadenitis develops in the drainage lymph nodes, with the regional lymph nodes most commonly affected. Swelling, pain and suppuration of the lymph nodes produces the characteristic plague buboes.
  • Septicaemic plague may develop from bubonic plague or occur in the absence of lymphadenitis. Dissemination of the infection in the bloodstream results in meningitis, endotoxic shock and disseminated intravascular coagulation.
  • Pneumonic plague may result from secondary infection of the lungs following dissemination of plague bacilli from other body sites. It produces severe pneumonia. Direct infection of others may result from transfer of infection by respiratory droplets, causing primary pulmonary plague in the recipients.  Without prompt and effective treatment, fifty to sixty percent (50–60%)

 of cases of bubonic plague are fatal, while untreated septicaemic and pneumonic plague are invariably fatal.

Malaria– Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die. In 2018 an estimated two hundred and twenty-two (228) million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and four hundred and five thousand (405,000) people died, mostly children in the African Region. About two thousand (2,000) cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from countries where malaria transmission occurs, many from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Influenza Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach “flu” viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.

For most people, influenza resolves on its own. But sometimes, influenza and its complications can be deadly. People at higher risk of developing flu complications include:

  • Young children under age five (5), and especially those under twelve (12) months
  • Adults older than age sixty-five (65)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes
  • People who are very obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of forty (40) or higher

Tuberculosis– Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.  In a person who has a healthy immune system, the body usually fights the infection by walling off (encapsulating) the bacteria into tiny capsules called tubercles.

HIV/AIDS– HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV can only infect human beings (H), weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection (I), and, as a virus, can only reproduce itself by taking over a cell in the body of its host (V). HIV is a lot like other viruses, like those that cause the flu or the common cold, except that normally, your immune system can clear most viruses out of your body. With HIV, our bodies can’t get rid of it. Once you have HIV, you have it for life. The good news? With proper treatment, called antiretroviral therapy (ART, sometimes referred to as high active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART), you can keep the level of HIV in your body low, so it is considered undetectable.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is acquired (A) – it’s not something you inherit from your parents. A person acquires AIDS after birth. AIDS involves the body’s immune system (I), which includes all the organs and cells that work to fight off infection or disease. A person with HIV is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system has reached a certain level of deficiency, or isn’t working the way it should. Lastly, AIDS is a syndrome (S), or a complex illness with a wide range of complications, symptoms, and signs of disease.

Cholera– Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 or O139. An estimated that close to three million (2.9 million) cases and ninety-five thousand (95,000) deaths occur each year around the world. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe. Approximately one in ten percent (10%) infected persons will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

Rabies Rabies is a zoonotic disease (a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans), caused by the rabies virus, of the Lyssavirus genus, within the family Rhabdoviridae. Domestic dogs are the most common reservoir of the virus, with more than ninety-nine percent (99%) of human deaths caused by dog-mediated rabies.

The virus is transmitted in the saliva of rabid animals and generally enters the body via infiltration of virus-laden saliva from a rabid animal into a wound (e.g. scratches), or by direct exposure of mucosal surfaces to saliva from an infected animal (e.g. bites). The virus cannot infiltrate intact skin. Once the virus reaches the brain, it further replicates, resulting in presentation of clinical signs from the patient. There are two clinical manifestations of rabies – furious (classical or encephalitic) and paralytic. Furious rabies is the most common form of human rabies, accounting for approximately eighty percent (80%) of cases.

With the exception of Antarctica, rabies is endemic on all continents. Of the tens of thousands of deaths occurring annually due to rabies, ninety-five percent (95%) of cases are reported in Asia and Africa.

Pneumonia– Pneumonia is a common lung infection caused by germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It can be a complication of the flu, but other viruses, bacteria and even fungi can cause pneumonia. Anyone can get pneumonia, but some people are more at risk than others. Pneumonia and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Treatment depends on the cause of your pneumonia, how severe your symptoms are, and your age and overall health. Most healthy people recover from pneumonia in one to three weeks, but it can be life-threatening. The good news is that pneumonia can be prevented—by getting an annual flu shot (as flu often leads to pneumonia), frequently washing your hands, and for people at high risk, getting a vaccine for pneumococcal pneumonia. Learn about causes and symptoms of pneumonia, how pneumonia is treated, ways to prevent pneumonia and more in this section.

Infectious diarrhea– Diarrhea caused by enteric infections is a major factor in morbidity and mortality worldwide. An estimated two to four (2–4) billion episodes of infectious diarrhea occur each year and are especially prevalent in infants. This review highlights the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying diarrhea associated with the three classes of infectious agents, i.e., bacteria, viruses and parasites. Several bacterial pathogens have been chosen as model organisms, including Vibrio cholerae as a classical example of secretory diarrhea, Clostridium difficile and Shigella species as agents of inflammatory diarrhea and selected strains of pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) to discuss the recent advances in alteration of epithelial ion absorption. Many of the recent studies addressing epithelial ion transport and barrier function have been carried out using viruses and parasites. Here, we focus on the rapidly developing field of viral diarrhea including rotavirus, norovirus and astrovirus infections. Finally, we discuss Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica as examples of parasitic diarrhea. Parasites have a greater complexity than the other pathogens and are capable of creating molecules similar to those produced by the host, such as serotonin and PGE2. The underlying mechanisms of infectious diarrhea discussed include alterations in ion transport and tight junctions as well as the virulence factors, which alter these processes either through direct effects or indirectly through inflammation and neurotransmitters.

Ebola– This rare, infectious—and often fatal—disease was discovered in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) near the Ebola River. Scientists believe that bats are the most likely carriers of the Ebola virus. Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and in some cases, bleeding. People can catch the Ebola virus through close contact with the blood, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected animals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease spreads from person to person through direct contact—via broken skin or through the eyes, nose, and mouth—with the blood or body fluids of someone who is sick. People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. Men can still transmit the virus through their semen for several weeks after recovery from illness.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease– Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a prion disease that was first described in 1996 in the United Kingdom. There is now strong scientific evidence that the agent responsible for the outbreak of prion disease in cows, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or ‘mad cow’ disease), is the same agent responsible for the outbreak of vCJD in humans.

Marburg Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Thirty-one people became ill, initially laboratory workers followed by several medical personnel and family members who had cared for them. Seven deaths were reported. The first people infected had been exposed to imported African green monkeys or their tissues while conducting research. One additional case was diagnosed retrospectively.

The reservoir host of Marburg virus is the African fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus. Fruit bats infected with Marburg virus do not to show obvious signs of illness. Primates (including humans) can become infected with Marburg virus, and may develop serious disease with high mortality. Further study is needed to determine if other species may also host the virus.

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)– Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is an illness caused by a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Most MERS patients developed severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died.  Health officials first reported the disease in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. Through retrospective (backward-looking) investigations, they later identified that the first known cases of MERS occurred in Jordan in April 2012. So far, all cases of MERS have been linked through travel to, or residence in, countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula. The largest known outbreak of MERS outside the Arabian Peninsula occurred in the Republic of Korea in 2015. The outbreak was associated with a traveler returning from the Arabian Peninsula.

Dengue Dengue is fast emerging pandemic-prone viral disease in many parts of the world. Dengue flourishes in urban poor areas, suburbs and the countryside but also affects more affluent neighborhoods in tropical and subtropical countries.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection causing a severe flu-like illness and, sometimes causing a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue. The incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last fifty (50) years. Up to fifty to one hundred (50-100) million infections are now estimated to occur annually in over 100 endemic countries, putting almost half of the world’s population at risk.

Severe dengue (previously known as dengue haemorrhagic fever) was first recognized in the 1950s during dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand. Today it affects Asian and Latin American countries and has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children and adults in these regions.

Yellow fever Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by a bite from infected mosquitoes most commonly found in parts of South America and Africa. When transmitted to humans, the yellow fever virus can damage the liver and other internal organs and be potentially fatal.

The World Health Organization estimates there are 200,000 cases of yellow fever worldwide each year, resulting in thirty thousand (30,000) deaths. Yellow fever appears to be on the rise internationally, due to a decreased immunity to infection among local populations, deforestation, climate change, and high-density urbanization.

Hantaviruses Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide.  Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people. Hantaviruses in the Americas are known as “New World” hantaviruses and may cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Other hantaviruses, known as “Old World” hantaviruses, are found mostly in Europe and Asia and may cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).

Each hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host. The most

Anthrax Anthrax is an infectious disease that’s caused by bacteria. It’s very rare in the United States, but it can be very serious.

It usually only affects farm animals like cows and sheep. But it’s possible to become infected if you’re in contact with infected animals or products that come from them. Anthrax has also been found in people who have injected heroin. Others at risk for anthrax include people who work with anthrax in a lab or those exposed to it because of bio-terrorism.   Anthrax isn’t contagious, so you can’t spread it to other people.

MRSA “superbug“– Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a strain of staph bacteria that is resistant to the antibiotics normally used to treat such infections.

In the 1940s, some sixty (60) years after the discovery of the bacterium S. aureus, doctors began treating staph infections with penicillin. But the overuse and misuse of the drug helped the microbes evolve with resistance to penicillin by the 1950s.

Doctors then started using methicillin to counter the growing problem of penicillin-resistant staph infections, and the new drug quickly became the common treatment for S. aureus, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In 1961, British scientists discovered MRSA; the first case of this “superbug” in the United States occurred in 1968. Over time, strains of MRSA developed resistances to other penicillin-related antibiotics.

Pertussis Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In many people, it’s marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop. Before the vaccine was developed, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease. Now whooping cough primarily affects children too young to have completed the full course of vaccinations and teenagers and adults whose immunity has faded. Deaths associated with whooping cough are rare but most commonly occur in infants. That’s why it’s so important for pregnant women — and other people who will have close contact with an infant — to be vaccinated against whooping cough.

Tetanus– Tetanus is a serious illness caused by Clostridium bacteria. The bacteria live in soil, saliva, dust, and manure. The bacteria can enter the body through a deep cut, like those you might get from stepping on a nail, or through a burn.   The infection causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to “locking” of the jaw. This makes it impossible to open your mouth or swallow. Tetanus is a medical emergency. You need to get treatment in a hospital.   A vaccine can prevent tetanus. It is given as a part of routine childhood immunization. Adults should get a tetanus shot, or booster, every 10 years. If you get a bad cut or burn, see your doctor – you may need a booster. Immediate and proper wound care can prevent tetanus infection.

Meningitis Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord.  The swelling from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck.  Most cases of meningitis in the United States are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections are other causes. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks. Others can be life-threatening and require emergency antibiotic treatment.

Syphilis Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact. The disease starts as a painless sore — typically on your genitals, rectum or mouth. Syphilis spreads from person to person via skin or mucous membrane contact with these sores.  After the initial infection, the syphilis bacteria can remain inactive (dormant) in your body for decades before becoming active again. Early syphilis can be cured, sometimes with a single shot (injection) of penicillin. Without treatment, syphilis can severely damage your heart, brain or other organs, and can be life-threatening. Syphilis can also be passed from mothers to unborn children.

SARS Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory illness that first emerged in China in November 2002, and later spread through international travel to twenty-nine (29) countries worldwide causing large outbreaks in Hong Kong; Taiwan; Singapore; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Toronto, Canada. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), from November 2002 to July 31, 2003, there were eight thousand ninety-eight (8,098) cases of SARS; of these, seven hundred and seventy-seven (774) died.

On October 1, 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that there were 164 probable and suspect SARS cases in the United States, of which only eight had laboratory evidence of SARS. There were no deaths due to SARS in the US. Most of the U.S. SARS cases were among travelers returning from other parts of the world with SARS. There were 11 suspect and probable SARS cases investigated by the Minnesota Department of Health; many of these individuals had an alternative diagnosis that could explain their symptoms.

Leprosy– Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. Leprosy is known to occur at all ages ranging from early infancy to very old age. Leprosy is curable and early treatment averts most disabilities.

Measles Measles is a very contagious respiratory infection. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms. Measles is rare in the United States thanks to widespread immunization. But millions of cases happen worldwide every year.  Measles (also called rubeola) is caused by a virus , so there’s no specific medical treatment for it. The virus has to run its course. A child who is sick should drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest, and stay home from school or daycare to prevent spreading the infection

Zika Zika virus is similar to dengue feveryellow fever and West Nile virus. Carried by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitos, Zika is largely transmitted through bites, but can also occur through intrauterine infection.  If a woman is bitten by an infected mosquito and becomes infected, Zika can cross into the placenta and affect the fetus. While anyone can contract Zika, pregnant women are the most at risk due to the potential for fetal microcephaly and other neurologic abnormalities. Sexual transmission of this virus can occur. Transmission has been reported from infected men and women to their sexual partners. The virus can be transmitted through anal, oral or vaginal sex.


Information for this post was taken from a blog by HANNAH BLEAU

31 Mar 2020.

Just about every country in the world is in a tough place right now.   The chart below will give you some idea as to where we are relative to the number of deaths by country. This is as of 31 March 2020.

Not a pretty picture at all.

When it comes to the arrival of the coronavirus, not all states are facing the same timeline. Some states, like New York and Louisiana, have quickly become epicenters of the virus in the United States and, as a result, will reach a resource-peak-weeks sooner than states like Kentucky and Missouri, which are not expected to reach their highest demand until the second week of May. The various projections, based on peak hospital resource demand caused by the virus, could explain why some governors are taking more aggressive, imminent actions in their response to the pandemic.  Information is fed into projection models to estimate specific time lines.  Please keep in mind, these projections can certainly change depending upon the number of people in each being tested.  Right now, more test kits are becoming available but we are far from completing all of the tests necessary when an individual feels he or she has symptoms.

We have a neighbor two doors down whose son had symptoms, spent two weeks and four hospital visits before being tested and an additional three weeks before he was determined to have negative results.  It’s better, as a matter of fact, it gets better every week but we are far from testing those needing to find out.  At this time, there are test kits available to medical practitioners that can give results within two or three hours.

PROJECTIONS BY STATE:

Here are the projected peaks for all 50 states, plus D.C., per the IHME model. The model takes into consideration the number of beds needed, as well as ventilators.

New York, for example, is expected to hit its resource peak April 9. The current model, at the time of this publication, estimates a bed shortage of 60,610 and 9,055 ventilators needed. A state like Kentucky, however, is not expected to reach its peak until May 12. It shows the state having a surplus of beds and 288 ventilators needed.

The model you will see below shows April 14 as the peak for the United States as a whole. However, it notes that the projections are contingent on the continuation of “strong social distancing measures and other protective measures.”  In other words, stay inside or at least maintain a six foot (6’) separation between yourself and someone else.  Wash your hands. Shower at least once per day.  Contrary to what you hear, when you feel you have to go out, i.e. grocery store, pharmacy, doctor’s office, etc wear a protective mask. Wash your clothes after wearing and wear only one “outfit” per day then wash. 

President Trump officially extended the “Slow the Spread” coronavirus guidelines to April 30 during a press conference over the weekend.  PLEASE NOTE:  THIS MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TIME.

Here is the resource peak for each state. Resource details can be found here:

CONCLUSION:  Here is the tragedy:   The Total COVID-19 deaths projected to August 4, 2020 in United States of America is 83,967.  Yogie was correct:  “It ain’t over till it’s over.  PLEASE STAY HEALTHY.  Do what you have to do to stay healthy.

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

January 12, 2019


Wearable technology’s evolution is not about the gadget on the wrist or the arm but what is done with the data these devices collect, say most computational biologist. I think before we go on, let’s define wearable technology as:

“Wearable technology (also called wearable gadgets) is a category of technology devices that can be worn by a consumer and often include tracking information related to health and fitness. Other wearable tech gadgets include devices that have small motion sensors to take photos and sync with your mobile devices.”

Several examples of wearable technology may be seen by the following digital photographs.

You can all recognize the “watches” shown above. I have one on right now.  For Christmas this year, my wife gave me a Fitbit Charge 3.  I can monitor: 1.) Number of steps per day, 2.) Pulse rate, 3.) Calories burned during the day, 4.) Time of day, 5.) Number of stairs climbed per day, 6.) Miles walked or run per day, and 7.) Several items I can program in from the app on my digital phone.  It is truly a marvelous device.

Other wearables provide very different information and accomplish data of much greater import.

The device above is manufactured by a company called Lumus.  This company focusses on products that provide new dimensions for the human visual experience. It offers cutting-edge eyewear displays that can be used in various applications including gaming, movie watching, text reading, web browsing, and interaction with the interface of wearable computers. Lumus does not aim to produce self-branded products. Instead, the company wants to work with various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to enable the wider use of its technologies.  This is truly ground-breaking technology being used today on a limited basis.

Wearable technology is aiding individuals of decreasing eyesight to see as most people see.  The methodology is explained with the following digital.

Glucose levels may be monitored by the device shown above. No longer is it necessary to prick your finger to draw a small droplet of blood to determine glucose levels.  The device below can do that on a continuous basis and without a cumbersome test device.

There are many over the world suffering from “A-fib”.  Periodic monitoring becomes a necessity and one of the best methods of accomplishing that is shown by the devices below. A watch monitors pulse rate and sends that information via blue tooth to an app downloaded on your cell phone.

Four Benefits of Wearable Health Technology are as follows:

  • Real Time Data collection. Wearables can already collect an array of data like activity levels, sleep and heart rate, among others. …
  • Continuous Monitoring. …
  • Predict and alerting. …
  • Empowering patients.

Major advances in sensor and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies are allowing much more accurate measurements and facilitating believable data that can be used to track movements and health conditions on any one given day.  In many cases, the data captured can be downloaded into a computer and transmitted to a medical practitioner for documentation.

Sensor miniaturization is a key driver for space-constrained wearable design.  Motion sensors are now available in tiny packages measuring 2 x 2 millimeters.  As mentioned, specific medical sensors can be used to track 1.) Heart rate variability, 2.) Oxygen levels, 3.) Cardiac health, 4.) Blood pressure, 5.) Hemoglobin, 6.) Glucose levels and 7.) Body temperature.  These medical devices represent a growing market due to their higher accuracy and greater performance.  These facts make them less prone to price pressures that designers commonly face with designing consumer wearables.

One great advantage for these devices now is the ability to hold a charge for a much longer period of time.  My Fitbit has a battery life of seven (7) days.  That’s really unheard of relative to times past.

CONCLUSION:  Wearable designs are building a whole new industry one gadget at a time.  MEMS sensors represent an intrinsic part of this design movement. Wearable designs have come a long way from counting steps in fitness trackers, and they are already applying machine-learning algorithms to classify and analyze data.


There’s a little something for everyone at Magnolia Market at the Silos. Shopping, games, the garden and even a bite to eat. The Market itself is staged and set up with one goal in mind: to inspire you to own the space you’re in. We hope that you’ll come to visit and leave excited about your home. It’s with a grateful heart that I welcome you to magnolia.com. Chip and I run a few businesses here in Waco, Texas, but Magnolia Market holds a special place in my heart. This entire business idea was born completely out of a dream I didn’t know could ever come to life. It’s truly only because a fiercely faithful, brave and bold husband pushed me to pursue my dream that it ever came to be.

In 2003, we bought our “Little Shop on Bosque” and opened the first Magnolia Market. In that store, I developed and sharpened my design style and skills, grew as a business owner, and gained much needed confidence in Magnolia Market and myself.”

Those words were uttered Joanna Gains of Waco, Texas. Magnolia Market at the Silos is a thriving business with very upscale merchandise for the home.  Chip and Joanna are shown in the digital below.

While visiting our son, daughter-in-law and grandson in Dallas this past week, my wife, our third granddaughter (shown below) and I traveled to Waco to take a look at the “Silos”.  The trip from Dallas is a little over an hour and thirty minutes.  Not bad with great interstate roads.

You know you are here by the sign on the gift shop.

I think Chip and Joanna selected a perfect location for their facility.  The vacant silos give a very distinct appearance to the location and can be seen from several blocks away.

A very nice and usable map of the Silo District locates everything within the grounds.  Everything is within walking distance and no motorized vehicles are permitted on the grounds.  They would be absolutely unnecessary anyway.

The entrance way runs just to the left of the silos.  Their size and height relative to people visiting the facility shows how massive they actually are.

When taking a left turn after the silos, you see an open “game” area.  There are bins located to the left of the game area where balls, Frisbees, and other toys are located for the benefit of anyone wishing to spend time while the family is shopping.

If you visit Magnolia at the Silos you are interested in shopping, eating and visiting the newly opened bakery.

There is food and a great variety, BUT it all comes from food trucks located just behind the game area. There is a Magnolia Restaurant but that facility is off-site.  We did not visit the restaurant.

The next three digital photographs show the shopping area.  It is a huge area and the pictures really do not do the size justice.   The merchandise is top quality and not cheap.   No Walmart here.  You get what you pay for and people were lined up at the cash registers.  People were definitely buying.

I thought it was interesting that Chip had his own small space and I do mean small.  You get the picture from below.  The overwhelming number of items available for sale relate to decorating home interiors.

“We can’t wait to welcome you to Silos Baking Co., our on-site bakery filled with Joanna’s personal recipes and hand-picked favorites—like “The Silos Cookie”, “The Prize Pig” bacon and cheddar biscuit, and the “Nuts & Bolts” cupcake. We don’t want you to miss this little corner of the Silos—it’s definitely the sweetest!”

Once again, the words of Chip and Joanna.  The bakery is truly a must-see.  Be prepared to wait in line about twenty to thirty minutes.  The bakery goods are top quality, fresh, made that day and very well displayed.

My wife and our granddaughter indicate shopping was good.  Hopefully you can see the menu from the picture below.

CONCLUSIONS:

I think Magnolia at the Silos is a marvelous success story and a wonderful place to visit.  It’s truly a fun place.  You can spend all day or as much time as you wish.  Parking in their lot is ten dollars with the lot definitely in walking distance of the facility.

 

THE RIGHT SNUFF

May 7, 2018


This past weekend my wife traveled to ‘Hot-Lanta (Atlanta) to attend a baby shower.  Other family members went also but I decided, for several reasons, not to attend.  After a long day of working around the house, (I really did.) I decided to get dinner at a local Italian restaurant called Provino’s.  Absolutely great Italian food.   While seated, I noticed a young couple entering and sitting in an adjoining booth at my two o’clock position.  No doubt about this one, they were on a date and apparently their first date.  He was really nervous and immediately knocked over a full glass of water.  The young lady called a waiter and she quickly removed all of the silverware, glasses, plates, etc. and moped up.  After the commotion, things settled down a bit but he then realized he had a chew of tobacco he had to “lose” before going much further.  Well he did the right thing, he excused himself and I assume took the short trip to the men’s room to dislodge the plug.  Not a great start but at least she did not walk out on him and call UBER.  I started thinking about smokeless tobacco and the health effects related to usage and decided to take a look at what we know.

I was actually startled to learn the following facts from the CDC relative to usage:

  • Adults aged eighteen (18) years and older: more than three (3) in every 100 (3.4%)
  • Men: nearly seven (7) in every 100 (6.7%)
  • Women: fewer than one (1) in every 100 (0.3%)
  • Non-Hispanic African Americans: more than one (1) in every 100 (1.2%)
  • Non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives: more than seven (7) in every 100 (7.1%)
  • Non-Hispanic Asians: fewer than one (1) in every 100 (0.6%)
  • Hispanics: fewer than one (1) in every 100 (0.9%)
  • Non-Hispanic Whites: nearly five (5) in every 100 (4.6%)

The following chart will show the usage.

Smokeless tobacco is definitely a health hazard—a considerable health hazard: *Leukoplakia, oral lesions that appear as white patches on the cheeks, gums or tongue, are commonly found present in smokeless tobacco users. Leukoplakia can be a pre-cancerous lesion which may ultimately produce oral cancer. About seventy-five (75%) percent of daily users of smokeless tobacco will get leukoplakia. (American Cancer Society) Dec 14, 2016.   Researchers estimated that in 2010 alone, smokeless tobacco caused more than 62,000 deaths due to cancers of the mouth, pharynx and esophagus, and more than 200,000 deaths from heart disease. Sep 2, 2015.   You may think that dipping is less hazardous than chewing tobacco but it definitely is NOT.  Overall, people who dip or chew get about the same amount of nicotine as regular smokers. They also get at least thirty (30) chemicals that are known to cause cancer. The most harmful cancer-causing substances in smokeless tobacco are tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs). Nov 13, 2015.    With this being the case, just how long does it take some users to develop health issues when using smokeless tobacco?  Some athletes have developed mouth cancer after only six (6) or seven (7) years of using spit tobacco. It’s hard to cure because it spreads fast. If not caught right away, major surgery is often needed to take out parts of your mouth, jaw, and tongue.

WARNING:

I’m going to show you several pictures that indicate the results of using smokeless tobacco (dipping and chewing).  These are not for the squeamish so if you need to leave this blog, now is the time to do it.

READY TO QUIT NOW?

PINK

January 28, 2018


On Saturday January 27, 2018 the City of Chattanooga held the thirteenth annual Pink Gala.  This remarkable event is held to benefit the MaryEllen Locher Breast Cancer Center at Chattanooga Memorial Hospital.  Pink, honors the legacy of Mary Ellen, and remembers all of those who have lost their battle with cancer, and celebrates those survivors that continue after their illness is cured.   This event provides additional funding to maintain the most comprehensive breast cancer center in the region and in the state of Tennessee.

Breast cancer has affected each of us in some manner.  The American Cancer Society estimates that breast cancer in men in the United States for 2018 estimates are:  approximately 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed.  About 480 men will die from breast cancer.  The lifetime risk for women:   Women in the U.S. have a “1 in 8” (or about 12 percent) lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. This means for every eight (8) women in the U.S., one (1) will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.  HUGE NUMBERS.  The diagnosis of cancer affects not only the individual’s health but every aspect of family life.  As a comprehensive breast cancer center, the MaryEllen Center receives patients and provides state-of-the-art treatment while supporting then with nurse navigators, social workers, genetic counselors, and dieticians.  The Pink event has raised over $3.4 million dollars since its inception in 2006.  All money raised is used locally and directly affects impacted families in the Chattanooga Community.

We are going to take a pictorial visit to the event last night starting with the program.  As you can see, the theme for this year’s event was “A Night in Old Havana”.  I have to believe the day after the 2017 Pink Gala the organizers started working on the 2018 event.  The planning was absolutely flawless with every detail covered.  There were one hundred and thirty-seven (137) tables with ten (10) chairs per table.  Every chair was filled.  Each table had a “captain” responsible for inviting guests.  There were no empty chairs that I could see.

The program for the evening is given below.   As you can see, included was a remarkably great dinner including a delicious Cuban sandwich offered as appetizer.  It was GOOD.

As we entered the Chattanooga Convention Center we heard the Cuban band playing loud and clear.  No mistaken the origin of the music.  Accomplished musicians doing what they do best—warming up the attendees.

You can see from the digital picture below, the auditorium was decorated remarkably well with table cloths and napkins, obviously, PINK.  The size of the auditorium easily accommodated the fourteen hundred (1400) people in attendance.

The two best words any party-goer can hear, “open bar”.  There were no fewer that four bars open for business that night with no charge to the party-goers.

After a GREAT dinner, a silent auction was held to raise additional funds for the Center.

I want to give you an idea as to what items were offered for the auction.

  • A painting of the auditorium by noted Chattanooga painter Liz Lindstrom. The value of that painting was set at $3,500. Lindstrom was painting when we arrived so the finished work is not shown below but you can get some idea as to the quality of the piece.

  • QUARK Sculpture—Value, $30,000. (NOTE:  The final bid was approximately $38,000.)
  • Diamond necklace valued at $6,500.00
  • Hammerstein Highland Lodge in Jamaica. Six nights–$15,500.00. This is a gated community with every amenity you can think of.  Great place to escape—but with a price.
  • EPB (Electric Power Board) of Chattanooga Small Business Advertising Package—Valued at $9,000.00
  • Custom Men’s Suit by Bruce Baird—Valued at $1,000.00
  • Whirlpool Stainless Steel Refrigerator—Valued at $2,200.00
  • Porsche Driving Experience—Valued at $500.00.
  • Black Cashmere Cape with Fox Trim—Valued at $3,000.00
  • BMW Baby Racer—Valued at $129.00
  • Wine Cellar with Cooler—Valued at $1,550.00
  • Alabama Football Tickets—Valued at $600.00
  • Destin Condo at Breakers East—Valued at $3,400.00
  • Personal Jet Experience—Valued at $3,700.00

There were eighty items auctioned off that night during the benefit.  All items were sold. Nothing left.

After the auction, a terrific band called dancing to Party on the Moon.  I have no idea as to where this band came from but they were not local.  Eight members banging it out.

All-in-all, great event for a GREAT cause.  Everyone had a marvelous time.  We left at 10:45 which is later than I stay up 364 days each year but that’s ok.  None the worse for the wear.


Jeanne Calment was a typical woman of her time. Born in Arles, France, in 1875, she lived a rather unremarkable life by most accounts — except for one thing. When she died in 1997 at the age of 122, she was on record as the oldest person to have ever lived. “I just kept getting older and couldn’t help it,” she once said.

So, what does the extraordinary life of this ordinary woman have to do with us today? More than you might think. In her day, living to be one hundred was extremely rare. But today in the United States, people one hundred and over represent the second-fastest-growing age group in the country. The fastest? Just think of that.  Many sixty-five-year-olds today will live well into their 90s.

Think of it another way: A ten-year-old child today — maybe your grandchild — has a fifty (50) percent chance of living to age of one hundred and four.  Some demographers have even speculated that the first person ever to live to be one hundred and fifty (150) is alive today.

I’m not suggesting that we should expect to live to one hundred and twenty-two (122), but as individuals and as a society, we need to prepare for a time when it is common to live to one hundred (100). We have to create a new mind-set around aging and solutions for helping us to live better as we live longer — what is called  Disrupt Aging. There are three areas where this is really important: health, wealth and self.

HEALTH:  As we think about living to one hundred (100), we simply cannot continue doing the same things we’ve been doing with regard to health. Our health has more to do with the choices we make each day in how we live our lives than it has to do with an occasional visit to the doctor’s office. We’re beginning to embrace a new vision and a new culture of health that focus more on preventing disease and emphasize well-being throughout our lives.  How many Big Mac’s have you had this week? President Trump is said to drink six to eight Diet Cokes PER DAY.  When was the last time you exercised?  How about reducing your stress level? ( Let me mention right now that I’m singing to the choir. I probably need to look in a mirror before launching this post.)  Back in March of 2017, I had a hip replacement.  My recovery, for my age, is right on target.  I know several friends who have had hip, knee, shoulder and even one ankle replacement.  What ails us, if it’s skeletal, can probably be fixed.  The cardiovascular is much more tricky and requires constant vigilance, but it can be done.

WEALTH:  One of the things people fear most about living longer is that they will outlive their money. Unfortunately, for many this fear is a very real one, especially for many younger people who tend to view saving for retirement as an exercise in futility. My mom and dad did just that as a result, I’m still working.  I enjoy working so it’s not drudgery day after day but I’m certainly old enough to retire. Then again, I just replaced the starter on my truck–$598.00. The range in our kitchen was definitely on it’s last legs and I do mean last legs.  Have you bought one of those lately? Go rob a bank.   My parents ran out of money and had to survive on Social Security and a reverse mortgage.  Not good. I would recommend to anyone—look carefully at the reverse mortgage before you sign on the dotted line.   What if instead of saving for retirement, we think of saving to do the things we’ve always wanted to do? In other words, saving not for the absence of financial hardship but for the means to thrive and be able to afford to live the life you want to live — saving for life.  The golden rule here is—-start early—even if it means a few dollars per month.

SELF:  Finally, we need to challenge outdated attitudes and stereotypes about aging. Research shows that our self-perceptions of aging influence not only how we age, but also our health status as we get older. More positive self-perceptions of aging are associated with living longer with less disability.

We need to get rid of the outdated stereotypes about aging and spark new solutions, so more of us can choose how we want to live as we age. For young people, living to one hundred is not a pipe dream, it’s a real possibility. And it’s up to us to help them realize and prepare for it, because Jeanne Calment’s strategy of just getting older because she “couldn’t help it” isn’t going to cut it.

You can see from the chart below—we are living longer. It’s going to happen and with the marvelous medical treatment we have today, one hundred year is not that far-fetched.

 

A SMILE TO REMEMBER

April 7, 2013


No bigger than a minute (as my grandmother Westbrook used to say ); funnier than her quiet demeanor would reveal; a smile that breaks like sunrise in the Pacific Ocean—that described Darlene Shipp.   Darlene and Randy Shipp are neighbors in our “hood”, dear long-time friends, and threads in a closely-woven fabric that basically defines life in our small town of Ridgeside, Tennessee.   Darlene fought a very tough battle with ovarian cancer.   She lost that battle, but not the war.   Darlene died on Fathers’ Day of 2012.  As her attending nurse said; “Darlene just slipped away”.  This was a tragic loss for our small community and we still feel the pain of her departure.   Today, even though continuing to mourn that loss, we celebrated her life with a 5 K “Walk to Remember”.    If you believe a picture is worth a thousand words— take a look.

Darlene ( Randy's Home)

 

Randy contacted the American Cancer Society in August of 2012 to begin the process of organizing the 5K walk.  As you might imagine, sponsors were solicited to help finance the event, but most of the funds were derived from neighbors, friends and companies more than willing to help celebrate.   The director for the American Cancer Society in our region is Lisa Bishop.  Lisa did a magnificent and tireless job, as did Randy, in organizing the 5K.  The JPEG below will show them in a post-walk get-together.

Lisa Bishop and Randy(2)

 

Several of the sponsors are shown below with additional contributors named on signs along the course path.

A Smile to Remember (2)

 

There were 200 plus pre-registrants and 67 individuals who register as “walk-up” participants giving a total of approximately 300 people.   Of course, T-shirts were given out indicating registration with A Smile to Remember as the main pronouncement.     Lisa Bishop (American Cancer Society) indicated this turnout was excellent for a first year event.   You can see the general participation from the JPEG below.

Crowd Scene(2)

 

As you might expect for events such as this, helpers are needed for a variety of tasks to be performed before, during and after the walk.  Those helpers wore teal shirts to indicate their willingness.

Helpers(2)

 

Five of the neighbor-volunteers; i.e. Katy, Lisa, Lynda, Lori and Kerry are shown below.  (Note the smiling faces.)

Ladies in the Hood (2)

 

As you know, some ladies lose their hair during chemotherapy but until it grows back, they may choose to wear a wig.  Salon on 58 participated by  cutting hair of anyone over 16 with at least eight-inch locks to contribute for use in making these much-appreciated wigs.

Salon on 58 (2)

 

Their staff that day provided a great service, and to my surprise, was busy the entire time.

Staff of Salon 58(2)

 

If caught in its early stages, cancer is NOT the death sentence it once was.  That is testified to by the people below who are survivors of cancer.

 

 

Survivors(2)

 

I participated in a very small way hoping to provide “value-added” and consider that participation as an investment in the future.  This investment, hopefully, will find a cure for ovarian cancer so Little Miss Annie Shipp will not suffer as her grandmother did.

Annie Shipp

 

The CDC in Atlanta provides the following facts regarding ovarian cancer:

Who Gets Ovarian Cancer?

All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, but older women are more likely to get the disease than younger women.  About 90% of women who get ovarian cancer are older than 40 years of age, with the greatest number of cases occurring in women aged 60 years or older.

Each year, about 20,000 women in the United States get ovarian cancer.  Among women in the United States, ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer death, after lung and bronchus, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, but it accounts for only about 3% of all cancers in women. When ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer may cause one or more of these signs and symptoms—

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge from your vagina that is not normal for you.
  • Pain in the pelvic or abdominal area (the area below your stomach and between your hip bones).
  • Back pain.
  • Bloating, which is when the area below your stomach swells or feels full.
  • Feeling full quickly while eating.
  • A change in your bathroom habits, such as having to pass urine very badly or very often, constipation, or diarrhea.

Pay attention to your body, and know what is normal for you. If you have vaginal bleeding that is not normal for you, see a doctor right away. Also see a doctor if you have any of the other signs for two weeks or longer and they are not normal for you. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor. The earlier ovarian cancer is found and treated, the more likely treatment will be effective.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

There is no way to know for sure if you will get ovarian cancer. Most women get it without being at high risk. However, several factors may increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer, including if you—

  • Are middle-aged or older.
  • Have close family members (such as your mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother) on either your mother’s or your father’s side, who have had ovarian cancer.
  • Have a genetic mutation (abnormality) called BRCA1 or BRCA2.
  • Have had breast, uterine, or colorectal (colon) cancer.
  • Have an Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish background.
  • Have never given birth or have had trouble getting pregnant.
  • Have endometriosis (a condition where tissue from the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body).

In addition, some studies suggest that women who take estrogen by itself (without progesterone) for 10 or more years may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

If one or more of these factors is true for you, it does not mean you will get ovarian cancer. But you should speak with your doctor about your risk.

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