May will be another online-only month for OASIS and other presentations unless things change rapidly. It will be some time before San Diegans will want to come together in the libraries and other venues where we have met in the past.
There is an upside, however, in that there is no longer any geographic limit to senior learning. The http://www.stoneagedoc.com blog has had visitors from all over the world who are now able to access OASIS’ learning programs. You can feel free to let your friends anywhere in the world to join us.
Thursday, May 21st 10:00 a.m., Body fat: all that jiggles is not the same sponsored by OASIS. To register see their web site at http://www.SanDiegoOasis.org. (Don’t follow this link, but go via Google.) It’s location, location, location. Fat behaves differently depending on its location in the body and it’s not the same for men and women. Body fat has taken on a new significance in the age of COVID-19.
Thursday May 28th, 10:00 a.m. Keto diet insights sponsored by OASIS. To register see their web site at http://www.SanDiegoOasis.org. (Don’t follow this link, but go via Google.) The ketogenic diet (“keto diet”) is centuries old but it has become widely popular, driven by the current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. This presentation explores the difference between the keto and low-carbohydrate diets, their advantages and limitations and how to benefit from their best features.
In the news
But is it really news?
With some exceptions, what our grandparents read in the newspapers or heard on radio newscasts was accepted as truthful. Although the term “fake news” is heard often, it seems that misinformation exploded with the rise of the Internet. How do we protect ourselves from that, especially in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic?
I have long recommended that we should be skeptical of scientific reports that don’t emanate from sites with the suffix .edu or from institutions with a healthy reputation, such as the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic or the National Institutes of Health. To be sure, they can be sources of error but almost never deliberate misinformation.
China’s reputation is bleeding, especially in matters concerning the pandemic. Several medical journal articles from China have been retracted although the reasons are not clear. A report from Medscape.com on April 29th described the China problem, at least part of which is political.
Much of what seems to be misinformation is simply the result of inadequate data or reliance on past but not relevant experience. The vaccine issue is an example. We are rapidly moving toward the release of a vaccine against the new coronavirus but there are two issues that take time to be resolved. The first is safety. It sometimes takes many thousands of vaccinations to reveal that hazards exist, as in the example of a neurological disorder, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which is a one-in-a-million risk of the influenza vaccine. (Full disclosure: the connection between GBS and flu vaccine is still being disputed.)
Second, it’s possible that coronavirus vaccine protection is not long-lasting. Resolution of this issue will not only require recruitment of large numbers of people but it will be necessary to expose vaccinees deliberately or naturally to the same virus. Deliberate exposure requires fairly large numbers of subjects; natural exposure requires time. It’s likely that we will need to be immunized every year, like the influenza vaccine, to have at least some protection.
Aging Annoyance # 13: loss of hearing
This is one of those stealth annoyances that creeps up on us so slowly that we don’t recognize it. Of course, our mothers warned us about it when we turned up the music to the let’s-irritate-the-adults level.
Another factor is denial – no one wants to admit to being “hearing-impaired.”
Hearing loss has many causes and it can begin early in childhood. Much of it is due to exposure to loud noises, a fact that military veterans and competitive shooters can attest to. The damage is subtle – with every noise attack we lose a few cells of the inner ear until the reduction in hearing reaches recognizable levels.
Everyone should receive a screening test for hearing loss at the age of fifty. Repeat screening is recommended every five years, especially for persons with higher risk such as playing in a rock band, exposure to military weapons, etc.
You are probably wondering about ear wax. I’ll address that in the next blog in two weeks.