Sunday, December 24, 2017

Alzheimer's Disease and Physical Fitness

I remember the day my grandfather died. His brain shriveled to the size of an apple, and apple with millions of microscopic holes. His body forgot how to breath, and then he died. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia in elderly people. Three genes have been identified that cause early onset: amyloid precursor (APP), being a protein gene on chromosome 21. The presenililin 1 (PSEN!) gene on chromosome 14 and the presenilin 2 gene (PSEN2) on chromosome 1. More than fifty percent of late-onset and related apoliprprotein E affect risk and age of onset of this disease. 

I am studying NSCA (Studying for the National Strength and Conditioning Association) personal trainer examination. One topic peaked my attention - Biological mechanisms, neurotropic factors of exercise. This topic caught my attention because my paternal grandfather died of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible way to die, and it also has an undeniable genetic component. Simply put – there is a very good chance me, my brother and my father will get it.

There are some things we know offset Alzheimer’s. Do mentally challenging activities, take a class at a community college, learn a new language, and challenge your mind to do new and different things. The worst thing a person with a genetic predisposition can do is become mentally lazy.

This essay is meaty, as you are reading it and thinking about the brain, remember the frontal lobe is the last region of the brain to mature and the first to show the effects of advanced age. When alzheimer’s hits – it hits the frontal lobe first, then all the other regions that control motor functions, heart rate, and breathing. The frontal lobe is responsible for the executive processes involved in working memory and the coordination of complex attention functions as well as the inhibition and control of behavior. The frontal lobe is most affected by neurobiological changes of exercise.

There is also a connecting between those who are not physically fit and developing alzheimer's. One postulate is that physical fitness decreases the decline in cerebral blood flow. (note: depending on the exercise, we are not saying fitness increases cerebral blood flow, it simply decrease the decline of cerebral blood flow). A decline in cerebral blood flow is a normal part of aging. Physical exercise has an angiogenic effect – it increases the formation of new blood vessels. Direct evidence for this came from a study of older adults and retirees who differed in their levels of physical activity. [Rogers, R.L.,J.A. Meyer, and K.F. Mortel. 1990]

The retirees who were more active showed both superior cognitive functioning and increased perfusion of the cerebral cortex. Such an exercise-induced change would help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the neural tissue and thereby support the neural process underlying behavior.
Simply put – you want more blood to flow in your brain.

In addition to causing vascular changes, exercise leads to an increase in the expression of genes that code for neurotropic factors (agents that preserve and nourish brain tissue). An animal study demonstrated that brain-derived neurotrohic factor (BDNF) increased in rats that engaged in voluntary wheel-running to those that were sedentary. Brain-derived neurotropic factor effectively promotes the health of neurons or brain cells and the creation of new synapse or connections between neurons, thus increasing the thickness and integrity of brain tissue. Researchers found increase in BDNF expression in the rat hippocampus, a structure in the brain that is integrally involved in long-term or episodic memory-related processes. In light of such powerful neurobiological influences in animals, it seems likely that similar changes could occur in humans and contribute to the higher cognitive functioning seen in older physically fit participants.

In support of this possibility, researchers reported a positive relationship between aerobic capacity, as measured by VO2 max, and brain tissue density in several regions of the cerebral cortex (grey matter) as well as the white matter tracks, which allow for communication between various brain regions.
Older adults who had greater cardiovascular fitness exhibit denser tissue and reduced age-related decline in critical brain regions such as the prefrontal cortex that underlies executive functioning and reasoning. Importantly, the frontal brain region shows the greatest rate of decline in normal or nondemented aging, and fitness appears to be an effective antedote.

So far, we know exercise improves vascular changes in older adults, it improved BDNF in older adults and slows the aging of the brain. These benefits in combination contribute to a phenomena called Cognitive Reserve. Cognitive Reserve the resistance to age-related decline and pathology associated with forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease (forms of plaques and tangles), particularly in the hippocampa region. This resilience to decline or ability to tolerate neurodegenerative process is based on the passive reserve or the biological integrity of the brain (for example, thickness of brain tissue and preservation of vasculature), as well as active reserve or the strategic activation of neural processes to compensate for networks suffering from age-related decline and pathology. Importantly, it appears that exercise may maintain the youthfulness of the brain and the mind by contributing to passive due to neurotrophic and angiogenic effects.

So let’s recap what we learned. Exercise increases brain vascularity which increases oxygen and nutrient exchange in the brain. Exercise increases the expressiom pf agents that preserve and nourish brain tissue – BDNF. Increase brain vascularity, increases oxygen, which increases, nutrient exchange, and increase BDNF exposure. This will not stop Alzheimer’s from killing us, but it delays the onset of Alzheimers by many years. Simply put, if a person combines regular cardiovascular exercise with a diet rich in fatty acids, and lots of cognitive stimulation, they can expect to dely Alsheimers by up to a decade. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Highest HIV rate in Mississippi, making Mississippi still the worst State in the Union

As Governer of the State of Texas from 1994 - 2000, a time when Texas AIDS cases soured to fourth in the nation, George W. Bush never mentioned AIDS in a single public address. He appointed a Public Health Commissioner who opposed condoms because "that's not what god wanted." Christian politics operates like this..."AIDS is bad, but not quite as bad as using a condom." How hypocritical religion hijacks morality. How hateful to punish people until they subscribe to Christian doctrine. That sounds like some emotional slash religious slash shaming blackmail to me. 

The Christian rhetoric, particularly in the South, sounds something like this. "If you are gay - then stop it because you are wrong. If you are gay and don't use a condom - you deserve HIV." A moral person would say, "Your life matters. If you are gay and have sex, use a condom to protect yourself." Immoral people don't care about preserving life, while moral people do. Immoral people do not care to preserve the lives of homosexuals, while moral do. Common sense really.....

Southerners, particularly Christians are living in a horrible situation. HIV rates are the highest in the nation. They get zero support from their "churches" (hypocritical institutions that hijacked morality) and they get no support from their States with legislators pandering to churches. 

If you don't believe me, watch this documentary. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A message to the Mexican President

Apologies to to everyone who doesn't understand Spanish This is my post regarding "The 150 billion dollar Wall" Trump thinks Mexicans should pay for. I proposes some policies the Mexican government should consider changing with the United States. This blog needs a  prelude - yes I am a dreamer and I know not every idea is feasible. Yet, when faced with serious problems, we should be always be thinking of new ways to overcome obstacles, feel our growing pains and let that pain do it's job. 

Ideas are intellectual capital, far more valuable than possessions. If one idea doesn't work, then we quickly pick ourselves up, brush of the dust and start thinking of more ideas. The point is that we must always keep trying. 

First, there are some facts about Mexican/US tourism one should first know. 

25.8 million international tourists visited Mexico, increasing 9.7% from last year.
American passengers by air were confirmed as the main market. A total 6,855,624 visited the country in from January to October 2015, an increase of 16.1% from the same period in 2014. The economic benefit generated to Mexico by international visitors rose to $14.151 billion USD from January to October this year, which represents a growth of 8.2% over the same period in 2014.

In the first six months of 2015, 7,886.19 thousands of tourists entered the country by air, which represents a growth rate of 10%. 1130 thousands of tourists entered by land, which represents a 11.4% growth rate, compared with the same period of time in last year. I have no reason to think this is going to change. Americans love going to Mexico, having spent a few years of my life there, I understand why. Mexican's are afraid that some economic/policy changes will hurt their tourism. 

The Patriot Act

Of all Trump's proposals, one of the most absurd regards anti-terrorism laws outlined in The Patriot Act. The USA Patriot Act/ Anti-terrorist funding operations refers to financing terrorism and money laundering to terrorist organizations. I suppose according to Mr. Trump, a few "bad hombres" smuggling drugs (drugs Americans WANT to consume) now
rises to level of "terrorism". 

Each year, immigrants send money to Mexico averaging $1900 dollars - money needed to reduce poverty among their family members. The two-page memo first obtained by the Washington Post explains that Trump would threaten to cut off the flow of money into Mexico by changing a rule under the Patriot Anti-Terrorism Act. He says he will prevent working Mexicans to send money home to their needy families unless Mexico forks out $5-10 billion dollars to pay for the wall.

This is where Trump lacks common sense. When people are sending money to their loved ones - they will find a way to do it. International Money Orders can be purchased in any grocery store, and mailed directly to Bancomer, Banamex, or Santander Serfin. Money can be put on debit cards and mailed to family members!. Not every financial transfer is done through banks. 

Trump cannot force a sovereign country to pay anything without an act of war, so instead, he becomes the lowest common denominator, punishing the poorest people in order to manipulate the Mexican government. 

This includes Mexican Americans, or even myself, an American woman born and reared in Seattle Washington. All American's will not be able to send money to Mexico. It is absolutely wrong to say only certain people can't send money to Mexico while other's can't. It is only fair then, that Trump says no person can ever send money to their families in their home country. Do you really think that would work? It's a fantasy and will never work.  Nor will Trump be able to pass travel restrictions to Mexico, and prevent American's from spending their money on hotels, taxis and restaurants. 

The Truth About Mexican Trade
Trade: In 1993, before NAFTA took effect (which it did in January 1994), Mexico bought $41 billion in goods and services from the U.S. and sold $39 Billion worth to the United States. Total: $80 billion. In the first year of NAFTA, the $80 billion increased to $99 billion, a 25 percent increase.
Ten years after NAFTA started, total trade between the U.S. and Mexico was $145 billion — an increase of 55 percent. In 2003, almost twenty years after NAFTA began, total trade with Mexico was $506 billion — half a trillion dollars — which is 632 percent more than 1994.
My proposal to President Enrique Peña Nieto

Take into consideration that not all my proposals will work. Some will, some won't at all, some just a little. This is only my thoughts on the situation. Unlike Trump, I do have the humility to admit some proposals (particularly number 1. might be scrapped immediately.)

1. Levy a boarder tax against Americans products manufactured in the United States at a rate of 20%, taxes paid only by the companies importing these goods, not Mexican's purchasing them. Essentially, American citizens will have to pay 20% Tarif on all goods they purchase from Mexico - such as Tabasco sauce served at every restaurant and nearly every kind of Tequila. 

According to, 233.91 million Americans (note: American population is 320 million) purchase Mexican products in our grocery stores. Many fruits and vegetables that cannot grow in are climates must be imported. Many of these items, like banana's, pineapples, mango, and papaya grown in Central America pass through Mexico to the United States. American companies can pay a 20% tax, or spend even more money on the fuel it would cost to get these goods from south east Asia. 

2.  Mexico can also implement a tourism visa for all American's which is equal to that imposed by the United States. Mexican's are afraid they will lose American tourism if they start a Visa program. I don't think Mexico should worry about this. True Mexico does profit greatly from tourism, but American's will still want to travel to Mexico, not just for the beaches of Cancun but also for the wonderful Pyramids of the Aztecs, Mayans...not to mention Almec ruins. 

3. Mexico can also Terminate all eligibility for tax return to American citizens visiting Mexico by cruise or air. To be eligible for the tax refund, you must have spent at least 1200 pesos on Mexican goods.

4. All persons purchasing pesos in Mexico with American currency must pay 3 centados for every 1 peso they exchange in Mexico. 

5. Levy a small tax on American business doing business in Mexico, like fast food, Costco and so forth. Again - taxes on these American businesses should be relatively small to keep large American food imports to easily enter Mexico. The problem here, is that these taxes will be passed onto Mexican consumers, which I think the Mexican government should prevent. 

6. As Carlos de Slim said, this is a good opportunity for Mexico to experience necessary growing pains. One of those growing pains means growing out the collective memory of the Mexican Revolution, and reduce Union control over Mexican businesses. This will help Mexican businesses, and help people start their own businesses when they have less bureaucracy to deal with. I am saying this because after two years in Mexico, I know Mexican unions can be highly oppressive, counter productive, and corrupt.

Mexican people are set in their ways. Sometimes, getting really pissed off is a great catalyst for new ideas, growth and creative thinking. We need to get people set in their ways to start thinking more creatively when it comes to industry.  

7. Order all new infrastructure uses Mexican made steel, pipes and concrete. If the infrastructure is Mexican - all products in construction should also be Mexican. This encourages new business and more jobs for the Mexican worker. 
8. As Americans drive the Mexican drug wars, (Americans are the consumers of these drugs, ) American Visa/Tourist visa holders convicted of drug offenses should have to pay an additional $500 dollars for the privilege of entering Mexico.

9. Levy a small tax on Mexican agriculture products sent to the United States. Mexico has great agriculture, and in theory, does not need to rely on American food products. American's however, do rely on Mexico for off season items, especially those that grow only in Mexico.

10. Finally, growing pains also means looking towards to future of Mexico, and I am talking far in the future. Call me a dreamer, say I am living in a fantasy....maybe it's true. I hope Mexico becomes a dreamer, if you can't reach a star, then maybe you can reach the clouds. Trump is a global-warming denier. As such, the United States will not lead the world in green energy, at least in his administration. This is a golden opportunity for Mexico to become the world leader in green energy. As such, I propose Mexico invest in solar panels and wind turbines spanning the Great Wall of Trump. Just imagine it - eventually - it will happen that Mexico will start selling it's green energy to the United States. :-) Oh the irony is that to collect the energy, the American's will have to cut some holes in the wall of Trump. 

I haven't deluded myself into thinking all these policy changes will work, but maybe some will. I am a dreamer, yet my dreams are usually in between the clouds and solid ground. 

Things usually cost three times more than projections, any home builder knows that. Americans will pay nearly 150 billion in this money pit. 

Lets not forget all the animals that migrate these lands, including our own beloved monarch
Monarch Butterfly Migration to
Mexico for hybernation
butterfly that can't exist without being able to fly over that damn wall. Or, lemme guess, the Trumpsters have already made plans for the butterfly....or they just don't give a shit? Who knows with these people. 

Although I do not think Mexico will end up paying for Trumps money pit, if Mexico pays a little bit (which is probably what will happen), there are many ways to recuperate those loses by imposing small tariffs upon Americans. 

Making common good Mexican people pay for something a few "bad hombres" do is extremely immoral. TIt's illogical and just plain weird. It's clear to me, that morality and fairness are not Trumps attributes. 

Based on the number of people visiting Mexico from all over the world (a number increasing over the last few years) And the own economic growth I saw while living in Mexico, think these policies will not harm Mexican tourism in the slightest. Mexico will continue to get tourist dollars. The pyramids, Aztec ruins and all the culture in Mexico will still be a world wide attraction.

American's Spring Break In Mexico
I doubt this is going to change anytime soon

As Mexico knows, there is a negative immigration rate with the United States. More Mexicans willingly go home because the Mexican economy is stronger than the rest of Latin America. Most ethnic-anglo-centric Americans don't know this. But then, those types have no interest in learning about the world around them. The wall will for a period of time keep drugs out of the United States. But also, the wall will prevent smugglers from smuggling all those weapons into Mexico. The red-neck ethno - anglo centric American who knows nothing of the world has no idea that damn near all the guns used to murder thousands of Mexicans every year are manufactured, sold in The United States and smuggled into Mexico.

Mexico does not have a second amendment, they do not have gun stores, and only police/military are allowed weapons. (DUH) Those bad hombres use our second amendment rights to run their cartels. Does Trump seriously think there are not American arm's dealers supplying these cartels? 

All in all, I think Mexican focus should be about building a better, stronger Mexico by getting really pissed off, experience those growing pains, and work to make their country stronger and better. As Trump pissed off everyone in the world, including China (where all his goods are manufactured) this is a great opportunity for Mexico to vamp up it's trade with China and all the other countries Trump are alienating. 

Let yourself feel what you need to feel about this Pendejo Trump, and let those feelings drive the change that needs to be made in Mexico.  Use your own manufactured products, improve quality - if Germany produces great quality products Mexico can do it too. 

With Trump, you have to fight fire with fire. Trump can sense weakness like a dog can sense fear. These economic changes will feel small, to American tourists who can afford to go there in the first place. But as we know, each peso adds up - and the Americans will end up paying for their own damn wall. 

The Mexican president cancelled his meeting with Trump after many of his cabinet members urged him to do so.  Being dumped by the first head of State during the first weak of his presidency isn't a good sign. Trump prides himself on being a business negotiator, but how good can a negotiator be when they can't even get a person to show up for the negotiation? When Trump was dumped by the Mexican President, he didn't have a single word to say except to pretend the decision was "mutual". This is a "negotiation" humiliation. As Trump can't even admit he was the one dumped :-) Let me put it this way, if we threw an apple at Trumps ego, the apple would create it's own elliptical orbit. If we put Trump and Kanye West's ego in the same room - they would implode upon themselves creating a black hole.

Pity the next president who will have to abandon Trumps money pit wall and clean up the inevitable trade wars. Trump doesn't sleep, tweets in the middle of the night, and seems to be mentally ill. Normally I am compassionate towards the mentally ill, but this man has the potential to cause some real damage to the world. His election was white-lash, angry people who don't want to take responsibility for their own livelihood. If you want to man up - do it yourself, don't rely on the government to do it for you. If I tell the Mexicans to rely upon only themselves to solve their own problems, being an American woman I am saying the same exact thing to Americans. Get off your lazy asses, start your own businesses, and stop making excuses for your own failures.

Although many people, including myself, want to be hopeful and want to wish him success, it's hard to get past this blatant stupidity that will only hurt our economy.

- Naomi