Carvings November 15, 2022

In the news

One more reason

                The influenza vaccines that have been developed over the last half-century are far from perfect, but to quote an old saw: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Some vaccines have low efficiency, perhaps about 25 percent, but some are much better – and this year’s vaccine might be one of those. As I have noted numerous times over the past several decades, the flu vaccine might not keep you from getting that disease but the evidence has been consistent that it will keep you out of the hospital, and from dying. Remember that influenza weakens the immune system, which is why nearly all influenza-related deaths are not due to the virus itself but to secondary bacterial invaders, many of which are now resistant to almost all antibiotics.

            A recent report from Canada offers even more evidence that getting the flu vaccine is a prudent move. A  nine-year study involving more than four million adults showed that the vaccine reduced the incidence of all forms of stroke by about 25 percent. Previous research indicated that there is a similar reduction in heart attacks in vaccinees. Conversely, there is a significantly greater risk of heart attack and stroke following natural influenza virus infection.

            Flu season is well under way. Don’t spoil your holiday season by putting off such a minor procedure that is free for almost everyone and that has a very low incidence of side effects. And for heaven’s sake, stop reading all that negative crap on the Internet!


            Pretty much everyone knows that cancer chemotherapy has some really nasty side effects: nausea, vomiting, feeling lousy, among others. A couple of recent studies encourage maintaining an exercise schedule during chemotherapy, at least as much of a workout that can be tolerated. An ideal regimen includes 30 minutes of cardio exercises such as the stationary bike or treadmill three days a week and 20 to 30 minutes of weight training two times a week. For persons who have not been exercising much, a physical therapist can provide the best guidance to maximize benefits and avoid injury.

            Objective measurements of participants in the Netherlands revealed improvement in muscle strength and oxygen uptake. These patients not only felt better but they lived longer by as much as 25 percent compared to controls (persons who did no exercise during the study period).

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