Friday, March 27, 2020

Brain & Body Immune Systems, 3

Length of life and level of health and wellness are related to PNI (psychoneuroimmunology) function. Yes at times, unexplained healings do occur. But in general, if you get sick and if you get well, your body heals itself. It has been set up to prevent illness where possible and to heal illnesses where possible. Estimates are that 85 percent of illnesses are within your immune systems’ reach for healing. Albert Schweitzer, MD, put it this way: “Each patient carries his own doctor inside him¾we are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within a chance to go to work.” Studies are showing how you can give the doctor within you a chance to go to work.” I agree. How do you do that? In my brain’s opinion, you do it by creating and living a Longevity Lifestyle—it Matters. That’s the reason I wrote The Longevity Lifestyle Matters Program, with Sharlet M. Briggs, PhD, and Steve Horton, MPH. Embracing a Longevity Lifestyle has certainly made a positive difference in my life!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Brain & Body Immune Systems, 2

The Brain-body immune systems have four main functions:

  1. To recognizes the “self” (this impacts organ transplants as the immune system says—“That’s not me!”)  
  2. Destroys foreign invaders
  3. Destroys internal mutations (tumors)
  4. Keeps things tidy and clean
 The first PNI (Psychoneuroimmunology) convention was held in 1986 in Colorado. According to Margaret E. Kemeny PhD, UCSF, this branch of science was developed to investigate the bidirectional linkages between the brain, the immune system, and the endocrine system and to identify the clinical implications of these linkages. You do have a duty, according to Neil Nedley, MD: “Your singular duty to the immune system (IS) is to develop a lifestyle that will support its constant defense work on your behalf. How you live day by day determines whether your immune system works at peak levels or is inhibited by neglect and even abuse.” More tomorrow

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Brain & Body Immune Systems, 1

I know that one of two main risk factors for becoming infected with this new Coronavirus is the type and amount of exposure What is the other one?

The other main risk factor is the strength of your immune system. The brain and the body both have immune systems—although no one knew the brain had one until late 2015. The brain-body immune systems are very closely connected. One writer commented that “their hands are shoved so deeply into each other’s pockets you can’t tell which is which.” That’s the good news and the bad news because what happens in the brain, in effect, also happens in the body’s immune system and vice versa. There are many parts to these immune systems including: lymph vessels in the three coverings (meninges) of the brain, tonsils and adenoids, the appendix and Peyer’s patches in the abdomen, Thymus gland, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen—and maybe some other parts science hasn’t discovered as yet. The immune system is the most amazing healing system in the world but it’s level of effectiveness is typically tied to lifestyle and the habits of everyday living. There are strategies that strengthen the immune system and bad habits that tear it down. More tomorrow

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

SARS-Cov-2 (prevention, Cont’d)

More prevention strategies

4. Maintain a social distance of six-feet from others. Nod and smile but avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses, and fist bumps or elbow rubs because that involves close contact. This includes avoiding all nonessential travel and crowds of people, as well as even small groups of people (ten or fewer) where you are unable to maintain a six-foot social distance.

5.  Sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow. If tissue is easily available, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw it into the trash immediately.

6.  Disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

7. If you develop symptoms and need to seek medical care, call ahead to the office, urgent care, or Emergency Department first—before going there. Describe your symptoms and follow the instructions you receive.

For the next few blogs I will identify basic health strategies that are key to keeping the immune system healthy.

Monday, March 23, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 (Prevention)

How can you lower your risk for infection? There are recommended prevention strategies, including the following.


1.         Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid contamination from other people’s hands, door handles, table surfaces, and so on. Note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol when you are unable to wash your hands.

2.          Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth, or putting inanimate objects in your mouth such as pens and pencils or sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses.

3.          Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Send a text or email or chat by phone. If someone is sick in your own home, ask them stay in their own room as much as possible, away from other family members. Stay at home if you are sick and take precautions to avoid sharing your germs with other people and pets. If you have pets, wash your hands after touching them, and keep them away from your face to avoid their licking. More tomorrow

Friday, March 20, 2020

SARS-Cov-2 (Three little pigs)

Sensational news “sells.” Unfortunately, many people don’t have a background to help them process relevant news clips in a rational or logical manner. Many also lack a base of solid health information and/or willpower, which can result in a failure to implement good health habits in everyday life. With reports of the Coronavirus Pandemic—which is not a joke!—many people are worrying, becoming fearful, and even panicking. You may already know that anxiety, worry, and fear downshift the brain—that is they trigger the brain to direct its attention and energy to subconscious portions of the brain where stress responses are housed (e.g., Fight-Flight, Conserve-Withdraw, Tend-Befriend). Not only does that increase a risk for making poor choices and "shooting from the hip" without using clear cognitive thinking, but also can suppress the immune system. You do want to follow recommended protocols to help keep you safe. Do you remember nursery rhymes about the little pigs? Well, I think of Proactive, Prudence, and Prevention as three little pigs. Those three “P’s,” Proactive Prudent Prevention, help remind me how to stay safer day after day—without becoming ongoingly fearful, and downshifting. More about prevention strategies coming.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 (5)

Is this a Chinese virus? No. This is not a Chinese virus or even an Asian virus. Yes, it may have been identified in Wuhan, China, but viruses do not target individuals of a specific racial or ethnic background or gender or even religious or political affiliation. However, if a person with an underlying chronic disease (especially one that involves the lungs) becomes infected with the virus, their immune system might have difficulty fighting the illness successfully. It is appropriate to be concerned about this coronavirus and prudent about implementing prevention strategies. It is unhelpful to become panicked. The stress of anxiety, worry, and their parent emotion “fear” can suppress immune system function—exactly what you want to avoid doing. In some cases, fear can lead to stigmatizing others, as well, which can increase their stress levels. Learning what is currently known about this pandemic and implementing appropriate prevention measures can help lower your risk. Travel? It can increase your risk of exposure. Current recommendations are to avoid all nonessential travel. There is also the possibility of quarantine upon one’s return to their home country, depending on the viral exposure pattern. I decided to cancel one of my upcoming trips abroad due to the risk of exposure and possible quarantine. More tomorrow.