Archive | December 2022

QUOTE FOR FRIDAY:

“New Years Day is also the most hazardous day of the year for pedestrians. Not only are drivers potentially impaired, but those on foot can also ignore traffic lights or crosswalks. If you are walking, make sure to stay on pedestrian paths and observe traffic laws; only cross at crosswalks and try to remain in well-lit areas. If you are driving, take extra care to consider those on foot.  First of all, make sure to check your local regulations regarding personal use of fireworks. If it is illegal or if you are unfamiliar with how they work, leave them to professionals! If you still decide to use legal fireworks, make sure to keep children and pets away from the area – even sparklers, which are often used by kids, burn at temperatures of about 2000 degrees and can be incredibly dangerous. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose at the ready.  Between fireworks, noisemakers and general revelry, pets can experience high anxiety on New Years Eve. Scared pets can bit or run and potentially get hurt, cause accidents or become lost. The best way to keep pets safe is to keep them indoors and comfortable; consider playing relaxing music to drown out any startling outside noises. ”

American Safety Council (https://blog.americansafetycouncil.com/new-years-eve-safety-tips/)

Safety tips New Years Eve and New Years day this weekend!

Preparing For The Holidays During COVID-19

For many people, the holiday season will look different this year. Often, the last few months of the year are busy with parties and visiting family and friends. But due to COVID-19, things like traveling and gathering in large groups may not be possible.

Many people have lost loved ones and will be missing someone’s presence during the festivities, and even more have lost their jobs and are dealing with financial stress. Others, like healthcare workers, may be working overtime and unable to take as much time off around the holidays as they usually can. It can be hard to cope with these kinds of changes, especially if certain holidays are the only time you see some of your loved ones.

If you live with a mental health condition, you may have an especially difficult time with the uncertainty and the change of plans this year. Many people with mental health conditions find consistency important in their recovery, especially during times of high stress – like both the pandemic and the holiday season. A sudden shift in tradition may have you feeling an extreme loss of control on top of disappointment.

Plan a Sober Ride

Drinking during New Years is not uncommon. But if you do choose to enjoy a cocktail or two, keep yourself and those around you safe by planning for a sober ride. Ask a sober friend or family member to take you home. Take an Uber,  planned ride or even an old fashioned cab if that is your preferred method. You can even take a bus or train depending on where you live and where the party is from. Even in your sober ride, act appropriately so your driver can pay attention to the road. Remember, your driver may be sober, but there’s likely another driver near that is not.

Don’t Drink and Drive:

This first New Year’s safety tip is obvious for a reason. Drinking and driving is not only dangerous to yourself but also everyone else in the vicinity of your vehicle. It should come as no surprise that January 1st has the highest percentage of deaths related to alcohol, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety data. Between 2007 and 2011, 42 percent of all traffic deaths during the holiday were directly caused by alcohol. Keep others from driving while intoxicated by suggesting they use other methods, like an Uber.

Eat Dinner:

This may seem like an odd New Year’s safety tip, but a full stomach is a great way to avoid alcohol poisoning.

Try to consume foods high in protein such as cheese, meat and nuts. These types of food will slow down the absorption of alcohol in the digestive system. This will give the alcohol more time to metabolize in the body resulting in a lower risk of alcohol poisoning. Our liver metabolizes about one alcoholic drink per hour. A good rule of thumb is a 12 oz. beer = 4-5 oz. of wine = 1.5 oz. of hard liquor. By sipping a drink rather than chugging it, your body will have more time to metabolize the alcohol which will result in less of a hangover. Consider ordering an appetizer if you’re out at a restaurant or snack on nuts while drinking at a bar.

Pet Safety:

Nothing frightens pet’s more than sudden loud noises. Extra attention must be given so your pets won’t run away in a panic. Scared, running pets can be hit by cars, cause accidents, and become lost…not to mention, frequently bite people if scarred or threatened.

Wait to Post on Social Media:

Yes, it’s tempting to document your holiday celebrations online with friends and family, but recommended is waiting until you’ve returned home to share. You never know who’s looking at your account and what their intentions may be.

These are five fairly simple New Year’s safety tips that can simply save your life. Don’t let the dangers of New Year’s ruin your celebration. Be prepared, have a good time, and have a happy New Year’s!

Acknowledge What You’ve Lost.

While the holidays are mainly about thankfulness and celebration, this can also be a really hard time of year, even during normal circumstances. If you’re missing a loved one, think of ways to honor them during your festivities. If you’ve lost a job or had to drop out of school, take the time to recognize the challenges that came with that. Even if you haven’t lost anything concrete, we’ve all lost our sense of normalcy this year – it’s okay to grieve that during this time.

Make The Most Of It.

There’s no denying that things will be different this year, but holidays don’t need to be canceled (or even minimized). There will be some things that you can’t do right now, but there are surely some that you can. You can still carve pumpkins, send sweets to your friends and family for Diwali, make your favorite Thanksgiving meal, light the menorah, decorate gingerbread houses, and break out confetti poppers for New Year’s Eve. For the things you can’t do – brainstorm how to adapt them for COVID times. If you’re disappointed about Halloween parties being cancelled, plan a small outdoor gathering, or come up with virtual games to play over Zoom instead. Feeling lonely because you won’t get to see your extended family? Round up your cousins to video chat while preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

Don’t Romanticize Your Typical Holiday Plans.

Remember that while your holiday season may normally be full of excitement and joy, it can also be a time of high stress. Long days of travel, endless to-do lists, and dinners with that one family member you don’t get along with are all part of the holidays too. Even though you may be giving up some of your favorite things about the holidays this year, you’re probably leaving some stressors behind too. You don’t need to be happy about this – sometimes the chaos is part of the fun! – but be careful not to distort the situation and make it seem worse than it really is.

Practice Gratitude.

Gratitude is a major focus this time of year, and while it may seem harder to find things to appreciate, there is still plenty to be thankful for. Make a conscious effort to regularly identify some things that you’re grateful for. It can be something as broad as your health, or something as specific as your favorite song playing on the radio the last time you got in the car. Change is hard, but it isn’t always bad. There are still ways to celebrate the season with your loved ones, even if you must give up some of your favorite traditions. Find creative ways to adapt. Or start new traditions – they may even add more meaning to your holiday season.

If you’re still finding yourself sad, hopeless, or unable to enjoy the holidays this year, you may be struggling with a mental health condition. Look up a online screen to determine what you’re feeling is a sign of something like depression or anxiety rather than holiday stress.

Part II Tomorrow on Wednesday!

QUOTE FOR THURSDAY:

“Through August 2018, BSE surveillance has identified 26 cases in North America: 6 BSE cases in the United States and 20 in Canada. Of the 6 cases identified in the United States, one was born in Canada; of the 20 cases identified in Canada, one was imported from the United Kingdom.”

Centers for Disease Prevention and Control-CDC ( https://www.cdc.gov/prions/bse/bse-north-america.html)

Part II MAD COW DISEASE=bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BS & in humans called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

        

Brain Results that were exposed to Mad Cow Disease making the brain a  spongy like appearance.  This is how it got the name BSE.

U.S. Drug and Food Administration states, “People can get a version of BSE called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). As of December 4, 2017, 231 people worldwide are known to have become sick with vCJD according to the University of Edinburgh’s National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit. It is thought that they got the disease from eating food made from cows sick with BSE. Most of the people who have become sick with vCJD lived in the United Kingdom at some point in their lives. Only four lived in the U.S., and most likely, these four people became infected when they were living or traveling overseas.

Neither vCJD nor BSE is contagious. This means that it is not like catching a cold. A person (or a cow) cannot catch it from being near a sick person or cow. Also, research studies have shown that people cannot get BSE from drinking milk or eating dairy products, even if the milk came from a sick cow.”

Unfortunately, there are currently no treatments for prion diseases, brain-wasting diseases that are invariably fatal. The most common human prion disease is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), better known as mad cow disease.  This disease is rare in humans.

Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) can resemble those of other dementia-like brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s. But Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease usually progresses much more rapidly.

CJD captured public attention in the 1990s when some people in the United Kingdom developed a form of the disease — variant CJD (vCJD) — after eating meat from diseased cattle. However, “classic” Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease hasn’t been linked to contaminated beef.

Although serious, CJD is rare, and vCJD is the least common form. Worldwide, there is an estimated one case of CJD diagnosed per million people each year, most often in older adults.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is marked by rapid mental deterioration, usually within a few months. Initial signs and symptoms typically include:

  • Personality changes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired thinking
  • Blurred vision or blindness
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sudden, jerky movements

As the disease progresses, mental symptoms worsen. Most people eventually lapse into a coma, first dementia to death. Heart failure, respiratory failure, pneumonia or other infections are generally the cause of death. Death usually occurs within a year.

In people with the rarer vCJD, psychiatric symptoms may be more prominent in the beginning, with dementia — the loss of the ability to think, reason and remember — developing later in the illness. In addition, this variant affects people at a younger age than classic CJD does and appears to have a slightly longer duration — 12 to 14 months.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease & its variants belong to a broad group of human & Sanimal diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The name derives from the spongy holes, visible under a microscope, that affect the brain tissue.

How its transmitted?  The risk of CJD is low. The disease can’t be transmitted through coughing or sneezing, touching, or sexual contact.

1-Heredity: 15 percent of people with CJD have a family history of the disease or test positive for a genetic mutation associated with CJD. This type is referred to as familial CJD.

2-Exposure to contaminated tissue. People who’ve received human growth hormone derived from human pituitary glands or who’ve had grafts of tissue that covers the brain (dura mater) may be at risk of iatrogenic CJD. .

3-The low risk of contracting vCJD from eating contaminated beef.

Regulating potential sources of vCJD

Most countries have taken steps to prevent BSE-infected tissue from entering the food supply, including:

  • Tight restrictions on importation of cattle from countries where BSE is common
  • Restrictions on animal feed
  • Strict procedures for dealing with sick animals
  • Surveillance and testing methods for tracking cattle health
  • Restrictions on which parts of cattle can be processed for food

 

QUOTE FOR WEDNESDAY:

“Since 1996, evidence has been increasing for a causal relationship between the outbreak in Europe of a disease in cattle, called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow disease”), and a disease in humans, called “variant” Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Both disorders are invariably fatal brain diseases with unusually long incubation periods measured in years, and are caused by abnormally folded proteins in the brain called “prions” (pree-ons).  ”

Dept. of Health (https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/bse/index.html)

“On August 29, 2018 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a confirmed atypical, H-type case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a six year old mixed-breed beef cow in Florida. USDA reported that this animal never entered the food supply and at no time presented a risk to human health. ” Last updated 2o21

Centers for Disease Control-CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/prions/bse/case-us.html)

 

Part I MAD COW DISEASE=bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) & in humans called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Mad Cow Disease (Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE)

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a disease that was first found in cattle. It’s related to a disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Both disorders are universally fatal brain diseases caused by a prion. A prion is a protein particle that lacks DNA (nucleic acid). It’s believed to be the cause of various infectious diseases of the nervous system. Eating infected cattle products, including beef, can cause a human to develop mad cow disease.

What is mad cow disease?

Mad cow disease is a progressive, fatal neurological disorder of cattle resulting from infection by a prion. It appears to be caused by contaminated cattle feed that contains the prion agent. Most mad cow disease has happened in cattle in the United Kingdom (U.K.), a few cases were found in cattle in the U.S. between 2003 and 2006. There were 4 more reported up to 2018.  Feed regulations were then tightened.

In addition to the cases of mad cow reported in the U.K. (78% of all cases were reported there) and the U.S., cases have also been reported in other countries, including France, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. Public health control measures have been implemented in many of the countries to prevent potentially infected tissues from entering the human food chain. These preventative measures appear to have been effective. For instance, Canada believes its prevention measures will wipe out the disease from its cattle population by 2017.

What is variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)?

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is a rare, fatal brain disorder. It causes a rapid, progressive dementia (deterioration of mental functions), as well as associated neuromuscular disturbances. The disease, which in some ways resembles mad cow disease, traditionally has affected men and women between the ages of 50 and 75. The variant form, however, affects younger people (the average age of onset is 28) and has observed features that are not typical as compared with CJD. About 230 people with vCJD have been identified since 1996. Most are from the U.K. and other countries in Europe. It is rare in the U.S., with only 4 reported cases since 1996.

What is the current risk of acquiring vCJD from eating beef and beef products produced from cattle in Europe?

Currently this risk appears to be very small, perhaps fewer than 1 case per 10 billion servings–if the risk exists at all. Travelers to Europe who are concerned about reducing any risk of exposure can avoid beef and beef products altogether, or can select beef or beef products, such as solid pieces of muscle meat, as opposed to ground beef and sausages. Solid pieces of beef are less likely to be contaminated with tissues that may hide the mad cow agent. Milk and milk products are not believed to transmit the mad cow agent. You can’t get vCJD or CJD by direct contact with a person who has the disease. Three cases acquired during transfusion of blood from an infected donor have been reported in the U.K. Most human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is not vCJD and is not related to beef consumption but is also likely due to prion proteins

The Risk of getting Mad Cow Disease in the US, based on CDC-Centers for Disease Prevention and Control show the following statistics:

On December 23, 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a presumptive diagnosis of the first known case of BSE in the United States. It was in an adult Holstein cow from Washington State. This diagnosis was confirmed by an international reference laboratory in Weybridge, England, on December 25. Trace-back based on an ear-tag identification number and subsequent genetic testing confirmed that the BSE-infected cow was imported into the United States from Canada in August 2001.

Because the animal was non-ambulatory (a “downer cow”) at slaughter, brain tissue samples were taken by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as part of its targeted surveillance for BSE. However the animal’s condition was attributed to complications from calving. After the animal was examined by a USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) veterinary medical officer both before and after slaughter, the carcass was released for use as food for human consumption. During slaughter, the tissues considered to be at high risk for the transmission of the BSE agent were removed.

On December 24, 2003, FSIS recalled beef from cattle slaughtered in the same plant on the same day as the BSE positive cow.

On June 24, 2005, the USDA announced receipt of final results from The Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, England, confirming BSE in a cow that had conflicting test results in 2004. This cow was from Texas, died at approximately 12 years of age, and represented the first endemic case of BSE by a cow in the United States.

On March 15, 2006, the USDA announced the confirmation of BSE in a cow in Alabama. The case was identified in a non-ambulatory (downer) cow on a farm in Alabama. The animal was euthanized by a local veterinarian and buried on the farm. The age of the cow was estimated by examination of the dentition as 10 years old.

It had no ear tags or distinctive marks; the herd of origin could not be identified despite an intense investigation.

In August 2008, several ARS investigators reported that a rare, genetic abnormality that may persist within the cattle population “is considered to have caused” BSE in this atypical (H-type) BSE animal from Alabama.

On April 24, 2012, the USDA confirmed a BSE case in a dairy cow in California. This cow was tested as part of the USDA targeted BSE surveillance at rendering facilities in the United States. The cow was 10 years and 7 months old and was classified as having the L-type BSE strain.

On July 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the confirmation of the fifth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an 11-year-old cow in Alabama. The cow was found through USDA’s routine surveillance. The cow was found to be positive for an atypical (L-type) strain of BSE. Atypical BSE usually occurs in older cattle and seems to arise spontaneously in cattle populations.

On August 29, 2018 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a confirmed atypical, H-type case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a six year old mixed-breed beef cow in Florida. USDA reported that this animal never entered the food supply and at no time presented a risk to human health.

How does the cow even get Mad Cow Disease?

The parts of a cow that are not eaten by people are cooked, dried, and ground into a powder. The powder is then used for a variety of purposes, including as an ingredient in animal feed. A cow gets BSE by eating feed contaminated with parts that came from another cow that was sick with BSE. The contaminated feed contains the abnormal prion, and a cow becomes infected with the abnormal prion when it eats the feed. If a cow gets BSE, it most likely ate the contaminated feed during its first year of life. Remember, if a cow becomes infected with the abnormal prion when it is one-year-old, it usually will not show signs of BSE until it is five-years-old or older.

Learn more tomorrow in Part II on Mad Cow Disease.

 

 

QUOTE FOR TUESDAY:

“Translated as “sickness of disembarkment,” mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS) is the illusion of movement after movement has stopped. It is caused by exposure and then removal of movement. Many people deal with MdDS after air or sea travel. Typically, MdDS resolves itself within 24 hours. However, for some patients, it can last for months or years.”

Bon Secours (https://www.bonsecours.com/)

What Is Mal de Debarquement Syndrome?

  

woman feeling rocking dizziness from mal de debarquement after cruise ship vacation

Mal de debarquement (MDD) is a rare and poorly understood disorder of the vestibular system that results in a phantom perception of self- motion typically described as rocking, bobbing or swaying. The symptoms tend to be exacerbated when a patient is not moving, for example, when sleeping or standing still.

When you head out to sea on a cruise ship, your brain and body have to get used to the constant motion. It’s called “getting your sea legs,” and it keeps you from crashing into a wall every time the ship bobs up or down.

When you get back on shore, you need time to get your land legs back. That usually happens within a few minutes or hours, but it can take up to 2 days. With mal de debarquement syndrome, though, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re still on the boat. That’s French for “sickness of disembarkment.” You feel like you’re rocking or swaying even though you’re not.

It can happen to anyone, but it’s much more common in women ages 30 to 60. It’s not clear if hormones play a role.

People who get migraines may be more likely to get it, too, but doctors aren’t sure how the two conditions are linked.

What Are the Symptoms?

Mainly, you feel like you’re rocking, swaying, or bobbing when there’s no reason for it. You might feel unsteady and even stagger a bit.

Other symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Feeling very tired
  • Having a hard time focusing
  • Nausea

Your symptoms may go away when you ride in a car or train, but they’ll come back when you stop moving. And they can get worse with:

  • Being in a closed-in space
  • Fast movement
  • Flickering lights
  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Trying to be still, like when you’re going to sleep
  • Intense visual activity, like playing video games

What Causes It?

It happens most often after you’ve been out on the ocean, but riding in planes, trains, and cars can lead to it, too. It’s even been caused by water beds, elevators, walking on docks, and using virtual reality.

While almost any kind of motion can cause it, doctors don’t know what’s really behind it. In most cases, you get it after a longer trip. But there’s no tie between the length of your trip and how bad the symptoms are or how long they last.

In trying to diagnose this condition through ruling out other problems since no one test diagnoses this condition.  It’s a rare condition, so it may take a few visits to figure it out. Your doctor probably will want to rule out other causes for your symptoms with things like:

  • Blood tests
  • A hearing exam
  • Imaging scans of your brain
  • An exam that makes sure your nervous system is working the way it should
  • An exam to test your vestibular system, which keeps you balanced and steady

If you’ve had the symptoms for more than a month and the tests don’t turn up any reason for them, your doctor may tell you that you have mal de debarquement syndrome.

How Is It Treated?

It’s a hard condition to treat — no one thing works every time. It often goes away on its own within a year. That’s more common the younger you are.

A few things your doctor might recommend include:

2-Medicine. There’s no drug made just for mal de debarquement syndrome, but certain medications used to treat things like depression, anxiety, or insomnia may help some people. Drugs used for motion sickness won’t help.
3-Vestibular rehabilitation. Your doctor can show you special exercises to help you with steadiness and balance.

4-Taking care of yourself. Exercise, managing stress, and getting rest may give you some relief.

Can You Prevent It?

There’s no sure way. If you’ve had mal de debarquement syndrome before, it’s probably best to stay away from the type of motion that brought it on. If you can’t do that, check with your doctor to see if a medication might work for you.

 

QUOTE FOR MONDAY:

“This Christmas do 3 ways to actually rest over the holiday.  One don’t indulge! Most people go into all sorts of excess over the holidays. Too much turkey, TV all the time, Netflix binges, football binges, activity after activity, movies every day, etc. Take your pick! It’s certainly available during the holidays!

The reality is that while these things might feel like relief, they don’t really give you rest. The change of scenery might feel nice, and put your brain in a coma for a few days, but it won’t actually relax or reenergize you.

Instead of indulging, purposefully choose a few activities that actually refresh and restore you, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

It’s ok to say “no”.   It is okay to tell yourself, “I don’t have to be at every neighborhood party or holiday gathering.”

As a good friend used to tell me: “Every once and a while, you need to relax enough to get bored.” We often find our most creative moments come when we are bored!

Doesn’t it sound nice to have evenings and weekends that aren’t just go, go, go, all the time? Decide what you’re going to say no to this year. This will allow you to find some space to just “do nothing” for an evening or two.

Lastly, find agreement. 

Make sure you don’t just decide how to rest all by yourself and leave your family members to fend for themselves! True rest isn’t individualistic but takes place in and with community.

So decide as a family what true rest looks like this season. Talk about it, be proactive, honor personality differences, and get on the same page about what’s happening over the holidays. It’s OK if everyone doesn’t do the same thing, just make sure you’re communicating well with those who matter most.”

Five Capitals (https://blog.fivecapitals.net/3-ways-to-make-sure-you-actually-rest-over-the-holidays/)