What do daisies have to do with autism and Alzheimer’s risk?

Daisies have nothing to do with autism and Alzheimer’s risk but in order to simplify complex topics into real world strategies for preventative health care guidance the complexity has to be thoroughly understood. In the last post the medical and chemistry jargon got thicker than a field of daisies and taking a break can help the brain sort through the field to find a bouquet – metaphorically speaking.

In my real world I also found some online courses to help brush up on making sense of medical and chemical jargon for the lay reader or the health professional. I’m taking some online courses available through Coursera.org: Writing for the Sciences, Stanford University and Medical Neuroscience, Duke University, and for later in the summer: Essentials of Global Health, Yale University.

My own health has been helped by the information I gather – the bouquets of daisies can turn into good hair days and the ability to grow skin. It is easy to take health, and skin, for granted until you lose it and then a physician with a prescription pad is not always available with a helpful answer. “We don’t know what causes it or how to help you but this pain killer might leave you addicted and/or cause uncomfortable side effects” – not a helpful answer and may be a more dangerous answer than “Your lab tests are normal, why don’t you go talk to a therapist about your problems (probably psychosomatic/hypochondria).” Thanks, I’ll go for a walk and think about that, maybe I’ll be able to pick some daisies and get some fresh air and sunshine while I’m out.

Taking a break sometimes is just what is needed to allow the brain to sort through a complicated issue – the solution is there but it may need to be selected out of a field of many possible answers. Some exercise and  a little time to not think consciously about it can be what the subconscious needs to put together the pieces so the larger puzzle can be seen. (Don’t Solve Your Problems – Lolly Daskal) Taking a walk was a strategy that Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens liked to use: “If I couldn’t walk fast and far, I should just explode and perish.” – Charles Dickens – (For a More Creative Brain, Take Breaks – Inc.com) (Michael Simmons Quote)

A completed puzzle of a picture of marbles arranged in a rainbow pattern – it was more difficult than it looks.

Taking a walk may not help you solve all your tough puzzles but the exercise is still good for you.

A field of dandelions in front of a mountain (Note: Objects may be closer than they appear).

So what did daisies have to do with yesterday’s post – they represented the pause I took to let all the material that I had read settle into a few take home points about real world strategies that might help protect people with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease or autism – vigorous exercise regularly may help; a diet with a lower than typical balance of calories from carbohydrates versus fats and protein (30% carbohydrate calories); and occasional fasting for a day or afternoon (14) may all help the body to clear out the protein deposits that seem to collect and lead to Alzheimer’s or autism changes in the brain.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes. Thanks.

Thinking about art and clean air

For an Easter treat I went to an art museum and after seeing three floors of great artwork from around the world and across time, I was exhausted.

My long time favorite was right outside near where I parked – Easter was a good day to find a good parking spot. The Thinker, a sculpture by Auguste Rodin, has always had a lot to ponder:

There were many exquisite works of art and beautiful household furnishings, costumes and painfully thought provoking works of modern art or photography. Flash photography was not allowed and standing too close to the images for photography was not allowed as the camera still makes a small flash of light even without the flash. The museum lighting was dim to help protect the works of art and these images have been photo edited to increase the light level.

The most meaningful work of art for the sake of our shared future and children’s future was among the photographs. My shadow and reflections of other artworks are captured on the tranquil looking image – of smog. “Unhealthy Air for Sensitive People,” San Fernando Valley, 1984, by Victor Landweber:

“Unhealthy Air for Sensitive People,” San Fernando Valley, 1984, Chronographic Print, – Victor Landweber, American Born, 1943 “…While appealing, the work documents smog in Los Angeles, a problem arising from the approximately four million people that call the city home.”

Some works of art had an inner glow – stained glass windows with a religious theme from 1890 by John La Farge, American artist (1835-1910), (dia.org, link for more information):

 

The architecture of the building and gift shop featuring original works of art by local and international artists are well worth a visit for their own sake.

It was a beautiful and thought provoking visit to The Detroit Institute of Art – what legacy do we want to leave the future to think about? Clean air? Faith and Hope? Beautiful architecture and flowers? Or smog?

It is a lot to think about.

The Thinker, by August Rodin, at The Detroit Institute of Art. Detroit, Michigan.

Information about smog: (Causes and Effects of Smogconserve-energy-future.com)

Having adequate B vitamins which are important for all aspects of metabolism and energy production in the body may help reduce the harmful health effects of breathing smog-laden air: (Could a Daily Vitamin Curb Smog’s Health Effects? webMD.com)

Disclosure: This information is being provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. While I am a Registered Dietitian it is not intended to provide individualized health  care guidance.. Please seek an individual health care professional  individualized health care guidance.

When and What, two important questions

Regarding the question of school shootings and increasing safety the question of what to control may need to include questions of who and when. It has been said that guns don’t kill people, people kill people and that is true but people can be more lethal to themselves and others when guns are more readily available. Nations such as Australia had a significant reduction in the number of suicide by gun after increasing gun regulations. So the question of who might be answered with more help for those at risk of suicide and the question of when might be answered with sleepless teens.

A very simple change in timing of high school and university class schedules has been recommended as research suggests attendance and grades are improved with a later start to the young adult’s school day and also it may help with reducing impulsiveness and suicide risk. (page 89-93, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel H. Pink, Riverhead Books, New York, 2018) (penguinrandomhouse.com/when-the-scientific-secrets-of-perfect-timing) The book includes a range of tips and research examples about our bodies biological clock and best time to achieve more of our goals.

Sleep deprivation has been associated with oxidative stress in the brain, reduced memory ability and decision making ability. While modifying the schedule of young adult education would have some difficylty for adult caregivers and school personnel the strategy has helped increase grades and reduce dropout rates in the few places it has been tried.

Making guns less accessible has been found to reduce suicide rate in countries where it has been tried but gun access is only part of the issue. Helping reduce the number of young adults and others with suicidal tendencies is also important and modifying schooling for young adults might be a strategy that could help. The nation of Iceland has a large number of guns per capita(average number of an item per average citizen) and yet they have a much lower rate of gun violence then in the U.S.. they also have an education system that is very supportive of extracurricular activities for students. Funding is provided to support groups of sports or other interest groups and all students are encouraged to participate in some extracurricular activity.

Addition, May 18, 2018: The mental and physical benefits of adequate sleep for adolescents is also discussed in the book Nurtureshock.

Nurtureshock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman (https://www.amazon.com/NurtureShock-New-Thinking-About-Children/dp/0446504130)

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.