In the news

Should we worry about monkeypox?

The answer is “No.” So why discuss it? Monkeypox has popped up in the news again after two persons were diagnosed with the disease in the U.K.  In an era when biological warfare is a potential threat, a virus that is related to smallpox has some people worried.

Monkeypox was first identified in laboratory monkeys, hence the name, though it is found in a variety of other animals especially in Africa. There was an outbreak in the American Midwest in 2003 that originated in a pet shop that sold prairie dogs that acquired the disease from African rodents. Prairie dogs seem to be popular pets in our heartland; they infected 71 persons. No one died and neither did the two unlucky people in England. (Both had recently come from Nigeria.)

Smallpox has a frighteningly high mortality rate, about 50 percent – no wonder that authorities worry about its use in a biological warfare attack. Although the death rate from monkeypox is reportedly only about 10 percent it is probably even lower in a healthy population. Both diseases cause a blistering rash that somewhat resembles chickenpox, a relatively benign disease that most adults have experienced but that has disappeared since the release of the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine.

 

Lifestyle

Ten ways to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: step 4 – vitamins.

          Persons who eat a “normal” diet don’t need to take a vitamin supplement. That is correct but only about 20 percent of us eat a “normal” diet and for women in the childbearing age that number drops to 10 percent.  As we have drifted from eating fresh plant foods to packaged foods that are high in fat and sugar and our fruits and vegetables are rarely fresh, our nutrition is lacking.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have multiple causes but persons with the highest intake of vitamins B3, B12, C, E and folic acid had significantly lower rates of these conditions than those who intake was deficient. It should be noted however that the best results were found when those vitamins came from natural foods.

Vitamin D is not only important for healthy bones and a strong immune system, it helps to maintain connections between brain cells. In a couple of months we’ll be entering the part of the year when those who live in the northern half of the United States won’t get enough sunlight to manufacture sufficient vitamin D. If you live in the far north or Canada you could run around naked all winter and still not get enough sun exposure because of the slant of the sun’s rays.

A quality multivitamin/multimineral is good insurance against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Next time we’ll talk about antioxidants.

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