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Monday, July 4, 2016

★ Sunscreen Primer │ Beer for an Alzheimer-Free Brain? │ A Solid Marriage and Longevity

The insufferable fool made an appearance last night ─ and I'm speaking of myself.

Suffice to say, I did not get to bed until around 1:30 a.m.  I sure hope that it wasn't later.

Yet I was awake well before 7:00 a.m. ─ possibly too disgusted with myself to relax sufficiently to find sleep again.

However, I waited until it was almost 7:00 a.m. before rising for the day.

My youngest step-son Pote was up; his older brother Tho had left for work earlier.

And no later than 8:28 a.m., Pote had also gone, rushing off to catch his bus to take him to work.

I devoted myself to completing the new post that I started last Thursday at my Amatsu Okiya website, and managed to get it completed and published: Japanese Geisha Information II.


I had claimed in yesterday's post that I was going to go out late that evening and deposit the cheque my younger brother Mark had given me for his half of the annual property taxes, but I failed to do that.

And now that duty was hanging over my anxious, depressed head today.

There had been some rain for a time during the morning, but otherwise the day was cloudy with occasional serious sunny breaks.

I also wanted to get some shopping done at the Save-On Foods in Whalley ─ it's maybe at least 1¼ miles distant from here.

But all I felt like doing was getting back in bed for awhile ─ I most definitely did not want to be out into the world outside.  My spirits were far too low.

However, such is my makeup that if I did not perform my errands, then I would feel obligated to perform my usual sessions of exercising.  And I had absolutely no reserves nor heart within me for that.

It was 11:57 a.m. when I set off on the hike to make the deposit at Coast Capital Savings over by the King George SkyTrain Station; and from there, I would proceed on to Save-On-Foods.

I am certain that it was the footwear I chose to wear, but my gait was madly unstable ─ to my mind, I felt that it was analogous to the sort of performance I might have put in if I had suffered a small stroke overnight.

I felt distinctly self-conscious.

Believe me, I did not want to be out there.  But I felt without choice, and guilt propelled me onward.

At least I completed both errands, and had my groceries struggled home by 1:20 p.m.

I'm in no mood to blog.

I would love to get back into bed.  Or alternatively, to vegetate in front of the T.V. while engaging in some focused drinking, starting with the nine or so ounces I have left of a mickey of white rum.

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I bought my last sunscreen product some years ago.  I'll never buy another ─ I know too much about their dangers:

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope you'll have some time today to reflect on all the freedoms we enjoy -- and maybe even hit the beach or fire up the grill with some friends.

And if you're like a lot of people, a day spent outside this time of year will have you grabbing for the sunscreen.

But which kind should you choose? Stores are overflowing with different brands, SPF numbers, and claims galore -- and it can get confusing fast.

Luckily, the Environmental Working Group has been busy screening sunscreens and weeding out the good from the bad (and even the dangerous).

It might surprise you to learn that it's the FDA's job to oversee sunscreens -- and the claims they make about offering protection from a burn.

Unfortunately, they've dropped the ball big time. Shocking, right?

Stores are flooded with sunscreens that don't work very well, lie about how well they protect you, and contain dangerous chemicals. Some brands even have ingredients that can actually promote skin cancer.

For example, the EWG found that a whopping 70 percent of the "non-mineral" sunscreens (mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which the group typically gives high marks to) use oxybenzone, which can produce abnormal hormonal changes, especially in children.

Then there's retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that a study by government scientists found can actually form free radicals. That can speed up the growth of skin cancers -- the very thing that sunscreen is supposed to prevent!

Despite the risks from this ingredient, it can still be found in around 16 percent of sunscreen products.

Sunscreens [sic] sprays are another example of a potentially serious health hazard. They can be inhaled, either deliberately or by accident, and may not cover the skin evenly. In fact, these sprays can be so dangerous that the FDA said it was thinking of banning them -- one of these years!

On top of all that, ridiculously high SPF numbers are often misleading.

The problem is that higher doesn't mean better -- an SPF in the range of 30 to 50 is what you want. And remember, the SPF only protects you against UVB rays that cause sunburn, not UVA rays that cause deep skin damage. In order to get UVA protection, you need a sunscreen labeled "broad spectrum."

Besides switching to a better sunscreen, here are some of the other ways you can maximize your sun protection while getting the most benefit from those rays:
  • Spend up to 20 minutes a day in the sun without any sunscreen on. Direct sunlight is considered the best way to get vitamin D, which can help both your immunity and your sense of well-being.
  • After you've upped your vitamin D, try to avoid unnecessary sun exposure. Whenever possible, cover up with a hat, long sleeves and long pants or a skirt.
  • If you have to spend more than a couple hours in the sun, re-apply your sunscreen, as its effectiveness wears out during that time.
Check out the EWG's 2016 report on sunscreens and see what brands it recommends here.

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It is always encouraging for me to read something positive about drinking any sort of alcohol.

Happy Independence Day -- a day to celebrate our freedom and everything that makes this country so great.

Let the haters hate all they want; I'm going to kick back and enjoy the three B's: BBQ... baseball... and BEER!

It's not just a great way to relax today.

That last one is absolutely essential to your health -- and the latest research shows how beer can protect your brain from one of the key warning signs of Alzheimer's disease.

If you know anything about dementia, you know about the junk that fills the brain and gums up the works, slowing everything down and eventually robbing you of your memory and personality.

The worst of the "brain junk" are proteins called beta-amyloid plaques.

The more of those plaques you have, the more decline you can expect to suffer.

But according to the new study of 125 older guys, beer can practically rush right through the brain and clear it all out.

Guys who drank beer had lower levels of those nasty beta-amyloid plaques than the teetotalers AND those who drank liquor or wine.

Now granted, this was one study of 125 guys, and it didn't actually track them to see who developed dementia and who didn't. (It couldn't, because it was based on autopsies).

But there's some rock-solid science behind this one.

Beer is the single best source of dietary silicon. While all beers have some, you'll find more of it in the lighter, more bitter brews -- the ones that go down so good on a hot summer day -- rather than the darker stuff like Guinness.

Silicon protects against exposure to aluminum, a metal that can get inside your brain and -- guess what? -- cause beta-amyloid plaques to form.

So it all makes sense, and while certainly I'd like to see a little more research on this before I declare beer to be the miracle cure for dementia, it's not going to stop me from popping the top off a cold one tonight.

Getting healthy has never felt so good!

Along with protecting the brain, the very same silicon you'll find in beer helps build bone.

And of course, a moderate alcohol habit -- whether it's liquor, beer, or wine -- can also help protect the heart, fight chronic disease, add years to your life, and just plain make your evenings more pleasurable.

That's what it's really all about, right?

So there's your excuse. Hit the supermarket, buy a case of beer, and stock the fridge... it's the best "medicine" around!

Cracking one open....
Here is the study ─ but only the abstract is available for free to the general public:  Beer Drinking Associates with Lower Burden of Amyloid Beta Aggregation in the Brain: Helsinki Sudden Death Series (DOI: 10.1111/acer.13102).

Unfortunately, either Sci-Hub.ac is malfunctioning today; or else it does not yet have that study made available.  One can usually access full studies like the above for free at Sci-Hub.

I found another report on that study in which ─ although the author did a fine job of making the report ─ he ended it by declaring that he is not recommending anyone to drink more beer:
sussexdrugdiscovery.wordpress.comBeer versus Alzheimer!


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Can a strong marriage enhance longevity?

I've always believed in the power of enduring love.

If they gave out a big award for patience, I'm pretty sure my wife would win every year.

Hey, at least I'd get a mention in her acceptance speech. She couldn't have done it without me!

I'm sure you're thinking the same about yours.

Yes, our wives put up with a lot from us... and of course we'll do anything in the world for them.

And turns out, that's not all we do for each other.

There's something else going on beneath the surface... something you can't SEE... but you no doubt know is there whenever you look at your beloved.

It's protection on a whole different level -- and the latest research shows how this "power of love" has some very REAL and LASTING benefits, saving and even extending lives and offering protection from one of today's leading killers.

And that protection kicks in just when you need it most: when you're facing the life-or-death stress of a heart attack.

Sorry, single folks, but you've got a tougher road to home -- because the absence of spousal support will increase your time in the hospital and even increase your risk of dropping dead.

Married folks, on the other hand, are 14 percent less likely to die after a heart attack, and they get home from the hospital two full days sooner.

Part of the reason of course is the fact that a good marriage cuts stress and boosts levels of the healthy hormones that help you through tough times.

But I'm not here to sing a happy song about feelings. There's more to it than that.

A much BIGGER part of the reason is that you've got someone in your corner when you need it most -- someone to call the ambulance, even when you insist it was just something you ate... someone to demand attention for you in the ER... and someone to watch over you while you're going through the tests and treatments.

Most importantly, you've got someone to take care of you when you get back home.

You just can't beat that, my friend, and that's why you should take a moment to thank you spouse... for just being there.

Single folks, don't let this stress you out too much.

Whether you're married, single, divorced, widowed, or dating, the bottom line is that while happy and healthy relationships will certainly help you in times of trouble, they're not the most important factor.

That's your diet.

Eat right, give up processed foods, cut the sugars and stick to the straight-and-narrow and you'll be in such tip-top shape that your marital status won't matter a whit.

In sickness and in health....
I have located the study, but it's another for which only the abstract is available for free to the general public:  The impact of marital status on mortality and length of stay in patients admitted with acute coronary syndrome (doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.03.066).

This full study is apparently very short ─ Sci-Hub offers it as a three-page .pdf document, and there are only references on the third page.

This is another report on the study:


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Everything about last night and today caught up to me ─ I was forced to seek my bed for possibly just over an hour before I could finish this post.

I managed a bit of a nap, and found myself feeling considerably better.

So I am going to close today's post now with this entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting my room in a house located on Ninth Street at Third Avenue.

I only worked a day a week ─ Friday ─ thanks to an employment incentive programme in place between New Westminster social services and the charitable organization that was my employer, S.A.N.E. (Self Aid Never Ends).

At the time, their location was on Carnarvon Street, in a building roughly where the New Westminster SkyTrain Station now spills out. 

My role was that of a swamper on S.A.N.E.'s only vehicle, a blue pick-up truck.  

Today, S.A.N.E. is  known as Fraserside Community Services Society.
FRIDAY, July 4, 1975

I slept well, I believe, not really arising till just after 6:30 a.m.

Before going to S.A.N.E. this clouded morning, at Woodward's I am going to buy 2 money orders:  I at $2 for an Orpheum Lottery ticket; and 1 at $10.53 for a 'Flip Flop' Reversible Griddle for Cathy's birthday.

Concerning the clouds, I was wrong; I noticed full sun at 7:15 a.m.

And what a heated day it was!

There was a moving job:  3 small loads for a red-headed guy moving into Port Coquitlam; plus a couple other stops.

Vern aided Bill & I; he seems a nice guy.

Esther stopped so we could have a break in the Commercial Hotel; I blew $1.60, having 3½ beers.

I got a ride home to 3rd Ave. on 9th St, arriving here shortly past 5:30 p.m.

I rested a spell ─ say, from 7:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. ─ and retired at 8:00 p.m.; but sleep has been reluctant; I got up at 11:00 p.m. and did some reading, staying up till about 11:50 p.m.

Since July 1, I've taken finally to wearing T-shirts; my arms got heavy exposure in the back of the truck today.

Thought I saw Evan today afoot on East 6th.
Woodward's department store was up at Sixth Avenue where the Royal City Centre Mall is today.  It was ahead of its time, I think, for it also was a supermarket with some great deals, and it apparently even had what must have been a postal service ─ perhaps it served as a postal depot. 

I had forgotten that the Vancouver Orpheum Theatre used to run an occasional lottery to raise funds.

As for that frying pan, I had no memory of what a "'Flip Flop' Reversible Griddle" could possibly be.  However, some research turned up this old advertisement about it.

I was mail-ordering it for my younger brother Mark's girlfriend, Catherine Jeanette Gunther.  As I recall, her birthday was September 22, so I was giving myself plenty of time for the order to show up.

The S.A.N.E. pick-up truck had removable wooden sides that were used when we were going to have a high load ─ such as in performing a moving job.

I was partnered with someone named "Bill" whom I now can no longer remember a thing about.  I don't remember any "Vern," either.

Esther St. Jean ─ a wonderful woman in her early 40s ─ generally drove the truck.

I had to research the Commercial Hotel, for I could not recall such a place.  According to here, it was located in Port Coquitlam and was demolished in February 1998.

I must have shared on one of the beers I enjoyed there.  But where on Earth can a person buy 3½ beers today for $1.60?

After our long day, Esther seems to have driven me home practically to my very door.

I find it heartening that I would have read when I found myself awake in the night ─ I had a black & white T.V., after all. 

I mention wearing just a tee-shirt in public because that was a big deal for me.  Despite being fit, I had always felt that my arms looked too thin.  I seemed to have developed some social courage. 

I haven't a clue now who "Evan" was that I thought I saw on East Sixth Avenue.

My old journal seems determined to prove just how poor my memory has become.
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