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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

America's Zika Panic ─ Unfounded? │ Methotrexate for Knee Osteoarthritis? Forget it! │ Zika Virus Linked to Uveitis

Sometimes I get a little caught up in E-mail-related occupation here at my computer before bedtime ─ it was possibly around 11:40 p.m. before I went to bed, but I could have easily gone a half-hour earlier had I not become so involved with my Inbox.

There was the one bathroom break overnight, and then the fragmented sleep that follows.  I could have gotten up just after 6:00 a.m., but I knew I would likely pay for that later.  So I held on until around 7:00 a.m.

My youngest step-son Pote's girlfriend had spent the night in bed with him.  I became aware of stirrings in the dark in their area while I was awaiting the boiling of water for my morning's hot beverage.

And then I noticed a small blue car parked in front of the mouth of the driveway ─ a car that I have come to associate with Priyanka.

I fixed my beverage as I best like it, and then came upstairs to my computer.  The car had been waiting some while.

Then I heard more rustling downstairs, and finally the front door opened.  Curious, I peered forth through the blinds in my bedroom and saw Priyanka at the car, putting some of her belongings into it.

Then she got in, and it drove off.

I have yet to be able to discern who is driving ─ could it be a parent?

Whatever the case, I anon heard Pote moving about downstairs, and then at 8:19 a.m. he left the house ─ probably to catch his bus to work.

And I was happily alone at home, for my eldest step-son Tho had gone to work much earlier before I was up.

I rather wanted to get out to do some local grocery shopping, but I became too embroiled with the new post I commenced yesterday at my Lawless Spirit website.  However, it's still going to take me at least another couple of days to complete and publish it ─ in fact, it might not even happen until Saturday, but we shall see.

The day has been marked mostly with clouds, but there are those hot sunny breaks.  I even spent an hour seated in a chair out in the backyard facing towards the cloud-hidden Sun.

I commenced an hour out there at exactly 12:38 p.m.

I was attired in denim cut-offs and a short-sleeved shirt, and my feet were bare.  And although my experience was almost entirely one of cloud, I was always comfortable insofar as temperature was concerned.

I recently bought some raw ginger roots, but I've never had any experience preparing the stuff ─ they were just sitting in a plastic bag inside the fridge door.

I rarely ever cook anything, so if I was going to incorporate these extremely healthy tubers into my diet, it was going to have to be the raw ginger.

So the question was:  Can a person just eat ginger straight?  And if so, then how much of it is it safe to consume at one sitting?

Most websites talking about the plant only suggest teas, and grating of ginger into other foods.

I found a few that did discuss eating the root, but they would be vague about quantity ─ how the blazes do I know what four grams of ginger approximately look like, or even a quarter of an ounce?

Finally, I found a website that told me something I could easily envision:
I started eating fresh ginger raw with meals.  The amount I would consume would be equal to a piece of ginger about the size of my thumb or larger, three to four times per week. 
That helpful information came from herballegacy.comGinger - Personal Experience.

Well, I was going to have a light breakfast/lunch comprised primarily of one slice of wholewheat bread with butter and natural peanut butter.  I normally put the slice of bread into a bowl because I also pour tahini over it ─ the stuff is very runny, since it's mostly sesame oil.

If I remember to do it in time, I will even spread coconut oil on top of the butter.  But too often I forget that step.

I also add a good slice or wedge of aged cheddar cheese.

Then I generally eat sections of the spread-covered bread-slice by 'cutting' off some with a dessert-spoon.  With that bite of what is in the bowl, I will also bite off a few inches of green onion, and even have a small bite of something sweet like a banana or else possibly a grape or two ─ this softens the sharpness of the onion.

That's my usual routine when I have a meal like this.

Wanting to add some ginger, I took a section of root roughly the length of my thumb that was probably twice as thick, and then I just cut that root lengthwise down the center.

One piece went back into the fridge.  The other, I just sliced thin pieces of it and laid them all about over the tahini.

I didn't know what to expect, but I found that I barely even noticed that the ginger was there ─ too many other flavours masked it.

I now see no problem eating that amount of ginger a couple of times a day.

Of course, I will be assessing whether there are any later consequences of any unpleasant nature from what I already ate today.


When I came here to Blogger today, intending to start my post, I checked my AdSense account ─ I always hope to at least see 1¢ accumulated there for that day whenever I may check it.  Anytime that there is more than that, it's always something of a welcome surprise.

Such was the case today ─ somehow, my balance today benefited from an accumulation of 44¢.

It's hardly anything like a second income, but it is still encouraging.

I want now to post a photo that I had to scan within the photo album where it was glued.  The description that follows the photo is from the Google album where I have the image filed:

A photo from an album belonging to my younger brother Mark.

I would estimate the picture to have been taken in 1974 or 1975, and probably when Mark's girlfriend ─ Catherine Jeanette Gunther ─  paid a visit to her family home in Saskatchewan.

Would Mark also have gone?  It stands to reason that he may have, unless employment obligations prevented him.

I believe that the seated woman may be Jeanette's mother Marjorie.  The standing lad was her young brother Grant who is listed as having died at the age of 16 in 1979, but I have always thought that it happened before that.

I notice what appears to be a little girl crouched down behind Grant.  Jeanette had two beautiful young ─ and blonde ─ daughters, so possibly it is one of them.

There is much alarm in the States concerning an imminently-threatened outbreak or spread of the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus.

But let's look at a cool-headed report on the Zika-bearing mosquito:


If you've been listening to the reports from the CDC, even hearing the name can be enough to make you want to run inside and hide.

Obama's billion-plus Zika-prevention bill (with some extras that got slipped in by Congress) will be up again when the Senate resumes a short session this week. And Big Pharma's experimental Zika vaccine is now heading into human trials.

Pregnant women across the country are in panic mode -- and the summer has only just started.

But recently, some top experts have come forward and said "not so fast."

Apparently there are at least four authorities in the field of mosquitoes and infectious diseases who didn't get the CDC's memo.

You know, the one that said to drop everything and start ringing the Zika alarm bells.

Dr. David Freedman from the University of Alabama is among those who are not concerned about a widespread Zika outbreak occurring in the U.S.

The professor, who is also a part of the World Health Organization Emergency Committee on Zika, said that what's needed for an epidemic is a combination of a "dense population" of both mosquitoes and people, along with poor sewage and garbage facilities.

In other words, Third World conditions.

The chances of a "widespread mosquito outbreak" in the United States is "not high," Dr. Freedman said.

And he's not the only one.

There's also Dr. Chris Barker, who specializes in mosquito diseases at the University Of California School Of Veterinary Medicine.

He believes that the risk of Zika getting established in the continental U.S. is "near zero."

Another is Dr. Laura Harrington, who happens to be chair of entomology at Cornell. She points out that the CDC is saying Zika mosquitoes (called Aedes) are in areas of the U.S. where "there's no way you're going to find them."

That, she said, is causing "hysteria" in locations where there are more important issues to fund and worry about, such as Lyme disease.

Then there's Dr. Amesh Adalja, with the University of Pittsburgh, who notes that the areas we should be focused on are the Gulf states, such as Florida and Texas -- not the entire U.S.

Despite that, it looks like most every state is on red alert. New Jersey, for example, has started up a 24/7 Zika hotline!

But there's a very good reason -- and a lot of money at stake -- in keeping the Zika panic snowballing.

A little over a month ago I told you how passage of that Zika bill -- the one that will be up again when the Senate returns midweek -- would gut some hard-won pesticide regulations.

It's so sneaky, in fact, that it's being called the "Pesticide Trojan Horse Act."

And when it hitches a ride along with the billion or so to "fight" the virus, it would do away with a special permit the EPA requires before pesticides can be sprayed on or near lakes and streams.

That alone could put millions of babies at risk for things like autism and cancer.

And then there's the Zika vaccine, something that's being fast-tracked into trials and then straight to the FDA at a speed we've never seen before. That billion-dollar shot will have women lined up around the block.

The bottom line, according to the experts I mentioned, appears to be that if you don't live in places like Florida or Texas, the chances of your city or town having a Zika crisis are pretty slim.

So forcing the entire U.S. to spend the summer months in a haze of pesticides that will be hitting us from both the ground and air is neither safe nor logical.

And that, not Zika, may be where the biggest danger to moms and babies will be coming from.
I do not understand this predilection for citing references to secondary sources when it is so clear what is the primary source of the reference ─ allow me to link to it, too:

That report that I quoted in full mentioned "Dr. David Freedman from the University of Alabama is among those who are not concerned about a widespread Zika outbreak occurring in the U.S."

Here is a YouTube video featuring him that was uploaded on May 6, 2016:  

UAB Infectious Disease expert David Freedman, MD

Finally, the following comprehensive article on this topic was published just yesterday:


I wish that I could afford to get the supplements and other therapies to allow me to try and overcome the cartilage damage both of my knees have suffered, but I just cannot.

All I can do is keep using my knees, painful as it can often be.

I would NEVER resort to some mad pharmaceutical as is being reported on here:

Why come up with great new ideas when you can recycle the lousy old ones?

I know that sounds like an absolutely batty philosophy, but that's an old play in Big Pharma's book -- and it's one of they're about to run again.

There's a cancer drug so dangerous even many mainstream docs won't prescribe it -- because it can kill patients faster than the disease ever will.

But if you think that's going to stop the Big Pharma marketing machine, think again -- because now, they might try to repackage it as an arthritis drug!

It's called methotrexate, and a new study claims it can help folks battling knee osteoarthritis, or the "wear and tear" form of the disease.

Over half a year, sure, it worked -- a little.

Folks who took the drug had less pain, lower levels of inflammation, and more function than folks on a placebo (although it should be noted that the placebo group had a decent improvement, too).

They even cut their use of pain pills, and no one dropped dead -- which, on the face of it, sounds like a big win for the methotrexate.

But don't go asking your doc about this drug just yet.

This is one of the riskiest meds on the market, and you don't have to take my word for it. Just try to get through the warning label on the package without wincing.

This thing is practically a novella and includes methotrexate-induced lung disease, organ system toxicity, hepatotoxicity, fibrosis, cirrhosis, bone marrow suppression, aplastic anemia, fetal death, pneumonia, and severe, occasionally fatal, skin reactions.

That's just 23 of the 557 words in the warning... and they want you to take this for a little knee pain?


Even worse than all those risks, docs say it's incredibly easy to overdose on the drug... and there are dire consequences if you do.

A new report out of Australia finds at least 90 patients taking it for rheumatoid arthritis have been hospitalized and that seven have died over the past 10 years because of accidental overdose.

There's a better option for arthritis: just about anything else.

An ice pack... a knee brace... heck, even a cigarette will give you better, safer pain relief and that's no joke: Nicotine can stimulate collagen and help PROTECT joints.

Of course, I don't expect you to start smoking to stop knee pain (but there's certainly no reason to stop if you already smoke).

There are other ways to protect your joints, including a collagen supplement called UC-II that's proven to be even more effective than glucosamine and chondroitin. You can learn more right here.

With what your knees need....
This is that first study lauding methotrexate ─ only the abstract is available to the general public without payment of a fee:  Methotrexate in the treatment of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: randomised placebo-controlled trial (doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204856).

I see that the full article is available at Sci-Hub.ac for free as a seven-page .pdf document, if one cares to make the effort to seek for it.

I wonder why it's making some news today, though?  It was published 'way back on March 27, 2014.

Yet I came across these two other current references to that study:

Orthopedics This Week │ Yet Another Study Finds Methotrexate Moderates Osteoarthritis Pain

I also tracked down the new report from Australia concerning the casualties of patients taking methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis ─ it's actually a study, too:  A decade of Australian methotrexate dosing errors (doi: 10.5694/mja15.01242).

And here's a report on that study:


Okay, so perhaps we've established that the U.S. government is off the beam where the threat of the Zika mosquito is concerned...but now let's take a look at a nice scaremongering piece on the disease itself:

As if Zika isn't scary enough already, now there's a frightening new risk you need to worry about -- and this one isn't limited to babies and pregnant woman.

No, my friend, it could happen to YOU.

The latest research shows how this virus carried by mosquitoes could mess you up good, setting the stage for temporary or even permanent vision loss.

A new report out of Brazil, home of what will forever be known as the Zika Olympics, finds the virus can lead to a condition called uveitis.

You've probably never heard of it, and be glad you haven't. It’s inflammation right inside your eyeball -- and, until now, it's not something folks ever had to worry about much.

But now, just going outside for a summer BBQ and getting bitten by a Zika bug could show you firsthand all the ways this condition could wreck your eyesight.

It could cause a cataract if you don't already have one, or make it worse if you do.

It could trigger ocular hypertension, or when the blood pressure in your eyeball jumps -- doubling your risk of glaucoma.

It can even lead to blindness.

And all this could be yours because of a simple skeeter bite!

So far, thank God, there haven't been any Zika bugs caught flying around here in the United States.

But with an army of disease-carrying skeeters heading up here from Central America right now, that could change at any time -- and once they arrive, you'll have to worry about more than just your peepers.

Another report earlier this year found that a single bite from a Zika bug could trigger ADEM, an autoimmune disorder that mimics multiple sclerosis and causes headaches, neck pain, fatigue, balance problems, seizures, and more.

It could even leave you in a coma.

While most folks recover in a few months, a battle with ADEM -- even a short one -- can leave behind lingering cognitive problems that can last the rest of your life.

So what can you do about it?

On the surface, not a heckuva lot: Zika mosquitos are coming to the U.S., and the CDC is warning that they could reach the southern states this season.

Even if they don't, they'll likely be biting Americans by next spring.

So you can't STOP the bugs -- but you CAN stop them from biting you if you coat yourself in DEET before you go outside in mosquito season.

Learn more about how and why this chemical will help you... and why "natural" bug sprays fall short... in this free report from the Daily Dose archives.

Busting bugs....
This is the spoken-of research:  Uveitis Associated with Zika Virus Infection (DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1603618).

And here is another report on that research:


Now let's check out an entry from my journal of 41 years ago to close today's post with.

At the time, I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.  The house I was renting in was located on Ninth Street at Third Avenue. 

The evening before, my old friend William Alan Gill and I had been partying at my maternal Aunt Nell's home, off on 64th Avenue in Surrey ─ the rented house was not too far from Newton Junior High School. 

Bill never got us back to New Westminster until...well, I wrote in the journal entry for the previous day that my bedtime was around 8:45 a.m.
SUNDAY, July 6, 1975

What a lousy sleep, and hangover!  I arose at 1:30 p.m.

It is again a sunny day.

For once I am not going to take a weathering walk, but await Bill's arrival so we can launder together.

I waited till late afternoon, exercising and even showering.  He never came till, perhaps, 7:30 p.m.; and I was about to do some reading preliminary to retiring.

We'd been invited over to play baseball by Cathy.

Reluctantly, I went; his mood was so elevated that he was irritating the hell out of me.

Arriving at Nell's, we were fed.  As for the game, Mark & Cathy, Bruce, Bill, and I all went to Blaine instead.  We stayed till the taverns closed, but I drank little.

Before going, I tried to phone Norman, but he was out.

Anyway, we returned, had 2 beers apiece, then Bill & I left to do our laundry.

I retired around 3:00 a.m.
Bill and I often went to a laundromat together to do our laundry, for neither of us had access to facilities where we lived.

Bill must have been visiting my younger brother Mark and Mark's girlfriend, Catherine Jeanette Gunther.  When he finally showed up at my room early in the evening, it was with that invitation to go and play some baseball.  

I'm unsure if I obliged Bill by going along just because he had taken the trouble to drive over to pick me up, or if I went because Jeanette had sent the request ─ I was so darned sweet on that dear young woman.

Maybe both factors swayed me.

I guess the game was to have been over at my Aunt Nell's home ─ she would have fed us heartily!

But thankfully, there was no game ─ everyone wanted to drink beer.  And since it was impossible to buy alcohol on a Sunday around here back then, it was to the border town of Blaine (Washington) that we drove.  

"We" included my cousin Bruce, one of Nell's sons.

I had tried to phone my old friend Norman Richard Dearing before we left on that venture ─ Bill and I had encountered him the day before while we were driving around.  He had been upcountry for quite some time, and I didn't know that he was back until seeing him.

We were all in traffic at the time, so he said to come over the next day ─ that is, the day of the Blaine trip.  I probably tried to phone him to explain what was up, for he likely would have come as well.

I wish that I had mentioned why I hardly drank in Blaine ─ was I not in the mood, or just too hungover?

We probably smuggled some beer back with us ─ that would have been how Bill and I would have had two at Nell's.

And then it was back to New Westminster to do some late-night laundering!
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