Friday, May 29, 2020

Proverbs from Persia (Iran)

Aa a girl I was fascinated by stories about ‘Persia’ (now known as Iran). Cyrus the Great [c. 600 - c. 530 BC] reportedly was the son of a Persian father and a Median mother. Eventually, Cyrus combined Media and Persia into the Medo-Persian Empire, even conquering Babylon. 

Here are a few 'Persian' Proverbs.

Do well the little things now; so shall great things come to you by and by asking to be done
The best memory is that which forgets nothing but injuries—write kindness in marble and write injuries in the dust
Whatever is in the heart will rise up to the tongue
You cannot polish a turd
One pound of learning requires ten pounds of common sense to apply it
All go down to their death bearing in their hands only that which they have given away

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Virome, 3

Viruses can kill the organism they invade; eventually disappear because the body kills the virus, or there are so few new organisms to infect that the virus tends to disappear; or the virus and its host organisms learn to co-exist. They are not all bad! Viruses are able to help spread beneficial bacterial mutations quickly throughout the microbiome and beyond. A 2013 study of the human gut virome tracked the identities, abundance, and mutations of native viruses in one person over 2.5 years. There were 478 relatively abundant viruses, most of which had not been previously identified. A majority of the viruses were bacteriophage, the type that infects bacteria. Eighty percent of the viruses persisted for the entire 2.5 years, but they all mutated: some slowly, some quickly, and some so fast that the virus would be deemed a new species within the 2.5 years. Talk about a miniature micro-star wars . . . More tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Your Virome, 2

When viruses enter your body through eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin, they can enter your cells, reproduce, and release millions of copies of itself. These, then, proceed to take over other cells. Sometimes viral DNA simply embeds itself in your own human DNA, where it can lie dormant or sometimes come back to life when you least want it, as occurs with recurring cold sores, shingles from a long-past chicken pox, and even some cancers, especially if your immune system is weakened. This is what can happen with Kaposi's sarcoma in immunodeficient patients infected with HIV. Sometimes, a viral code can end up in the DNA in your sperm or eggs, which then gets passed on to future generations. Viruses are champions of DNA mutation, able to carry, exchange, and modify the DNA between cells or from one species to another as when they infect bacteria. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Your Virome

During this COVID-19 pandemic, I keep hearing about “Virome.” I cannot find an easy-to-understand explanation, however. Thanks.

The human virome is essentially your fourth genome. It interacts directly and indirectly with your other three: Genome, Epigenome, and Microbiome. Your virome involves the trillions of viruses that are believed to far outnumber both the cells and the microbes within your body. According to authors Enriques and Gullans, there are an estimated 10 billion bacteria in a liter of seawater, there are also 100 billion viruses playing with them. Even more may live inside the soil and dirt that cover your hands. Viruses, and there are at least ten times more of them inside you at any given time than there are bacteria, live in your intestines, mouths, lungs, skin, and blood, continuously shuttling in and out of your body. Sneeze once, uncovered, and 40,000 droplets, each containing up to 200 million individual viruses, can fly across the room at speeds (some day) at 100 miles per hour. Some have estimated at twice that rate, depending on the force of the sneeze. More tomorrow.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Traditionally, Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day), originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, barbequing, and participating  in or watching parades. At least that has been the way it was celebrated. Not this year, at least for those who follow the recommended guidelines for social distancing, masks when outside, and limiting trips to essential travel. I, for one, remember the sacrifices made in many wars. This year, I honor and give thanks for the "front-line workers" that are doing the best they can with the knowledge and treatment modalities that are available regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, to save lives. John Donne. You likely know that name. He wrote that no one is as island but that each is connected, part of the continent (paraphrased).  More than ever before, many are realizing the truth of that statement. Be safe. Be well. Be grateful. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

More Ancient Proverbs

Italian: Everyone thinks he has more than his share of brains.

Everyone gives himself credit for more brains than he has, and less money.
All the brains are not in one head.
Half a brain is enough for him who says little
The world is governed with little brains.
Some many heads, so many brains.

Norwegian: Ask for advice, and then use your brain.

American: We need brain more than belly food.
Brain is worth more than brawn.
Where there are no brains, there is no feeling.
The fewer the brains, the bigger the hat.
You can borrow brains, but you can’t borrow character.

Dutch: A handful of patience is worth a bushel of brains

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Nutrigenomics, 3

As the Human Genome Project (HGP) began winding down, scientists started questioning if the interaction between genes and food bioactive compounds could positively or negatively influence an individual's health. In order to assess this interaction between genes and nutrients, the term “Nutrigenomics” was created. Hence, Nutrigenomics corresponds to the use of biochemistry, physiology, nutrition, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics to seek out and explain the existing reciprocal interactions between genes and nutrients at a molecular level. The discovery of these interactions (gene-nutrient) will aid the prescription of customized diets according to each individual's genotype. Thus, it will be possible to mitigate the symptoms of existing diseases or to prevent future illnesses, especially in the area of Nontransmissible Chronic Diseases (NTCDs), which are currently considered an important world public health problem. You can get a jump-start on this new science—if you are not already doing so—by embracing a Longevity Lifestyle.  It matters! (

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Nutrigenomics, 2

Nutrition offers different substances to an organism that can work as energy supplier (carbohydrate and fat), as cell structure sources (proteins), and on metabolism control (vitamins and minerals), thus maintaining its homeostasis or balance. The brain and body work most efficiently when everything is in balance. The nutritional state of an individual is the result of the interaction between various factors, such as genetic background, physical body, and emotional and social state. Food is a key role factor. The nutrients and other bioactive compounds present in food can either be beneficial or initiate disease. Illnesses related to food consumption include celiac disease, phenylketonuria, and Nontransmissible Chronic Diseases, or NTCDs. These include cancer, diabetes, and dislipidemies (e.g., Familial combined hyperlipidemia). An individual’s state of health depends on the interaction between their genes and the food they eat. The goal of Nutrigenomics, along with other omic sciences, is to clarify the interaction between genes and bioactive compounds from food sources. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Nutrigenomics. I find these new labels and even new sciences so interesting. Nutrigenomics is one of them. Recently I completed filming a set of mini podcasts entitled “The Doctor Within.” It should be available on my website by the end of May, if not sooner. It outlines ways in which you can help to support your amazing immune system. You may be aware that the field of Nutrigenomics studies how the food you eat and your environment impact your health. This relatively new science is designed to connect a patient's symptoms and/or/diseases with their genetic profile, food they eat, and their environmental habits. The search for knowledge regarding healthy/adequate food has increased in the last decades among the world population, researchers, nutritionists, and health professionals. Since ancient times, humans have known that environment and food can interfere with an individual's health, and they have used food and plants as medicines. Food itself can be a good medicine or a detrimental disaster. More tomorrow.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Pass It On!

I am enjoying the expressions of appreciation and heart-felt thanks that are being posting on social media. Gratitude strengthens the immune system—the person who gives and thanks and the one who receives it. That’s one thing I hope will continue when we have all pulled through this pandemic together. It reminds me of this anecdote. A little boy came home one day from school and gave a paper to his mother. “My teacher gave this paper to me and told me to only give it to my mother.” His mother’s eyes teared up as she read the letter to her child: "Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers for training him. Please teach him yourself." Many years after his mother had died and this little boy had grown, he was looking through old family things in her desk. When he saw a folded paper in the corner of a drawer, it read, “Your son is addled. We won’t let him come to school anymore.” That little boy was Thomas Edison, the genius of the 20th Century. He had always been so, but his genius came to the world because of one person—his mother—who believed in him enough to teach him how to believe in himself. Years later, when a reporter from the New York Times asked Edison how it felt to fail 999 times as he looked for the filament of a light bulb, he answered, “I did not fail 999 times! I simply found 999 ways that did not work!” Is there someone who needs you to believe in them? It could change the rest of their life!

Friday, May 15, 2020

FOMO Pluses, 2

I communicate with individuals via email and texting and find it interesting—as always—how individual brains are responding to this physical distancing, and even to being willing to take additional protective measures. Do I like wearing masks? No. Didn’t like it when I was a nurse epidemiologist and dealing with communicable diseases in the health system I worked for. Don’t like it now. Am I wearing them if I go out? You bet! I wear them now on my weekly foray for fresh food. I haven’t filled the car tank with gas (petrol) in weeks. Will this guarantee I will stay infection free? No guarantees in life except death and taxes, as my little French grandma used to say . . . but it will likely increase the odds considerably. Yes, it is likely easiest for Introverted brains who try to minimize excess stimulation anyway. More difficult for ambiverts, especially if the lean toward the Extroverted end of the EAI Continuum. Likely most challenging for Extroverts. But in their search for brain stimulation, just look how creative they have become! Entire choirs of individuals, each with their own picture on the computer of TV screen. Talk shows with each host on a split screen. The human brain is amazing! Tell it thank you for helping us get through this—together.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

FOMO Pluses

It’s very easy to think of FOMO in terms of what you are missing out on in any given moment. If you want to change the way you feel, you must change the way you think. How could you do that with COVID-19? Think of what you “get” when you must give up something. There is always a “gift,” if you look for it. For example: a serious reduction in the $ spent on gas or petrol; able to sleep in a bit longer in the morning (even if you are working remotely); having the family actually eat at least one if not two or three meals together every day; getting to create new recipes with whatever food supplies are on hand; not having to shave every day or put make-up on every day; actually watching some movies together . . . and the list goes on. I miss traveling and speaking. Take that back: I miss the people I meet when I travel (those 15-20 hour plane flights plus layovers are not missed!) and the pleasure of sharing brain-function information with others. On the other hand, I am writing more and figuring out scripts for mini podcasts—and having a great time. If you have been fortunate enough to avoid the virus or have recovered from it try GIMO:  Glad I Missed Out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

FOMO Australia

In an Australian study commissioned by viagogo, 70 percent of those surveyed reported they had experienced FOMO—and far more than once! Interestingly, they were more likely to be members of Gen-Y or female. One of the interesting conclusions from the study was that Facebook is the worst culprit for triggering this ‘missing out’ phenomenon. Nearly 5,000,000 Australians say they experienced FOMO after using Facebook. Yes, I have a Facebook page (Arlene R. Taylor PhD Brain Function Specialist), which I check every couple of months or so. When I mentioned that while I was talking about FOMO, the response was:Well, you got a life.” That was the best laugh I’d had all week. Currently, social media is actually HELPING everyone deal with the pandemic. So, you see, almost anything can be positive or negative depending on the circumstances and your mindset. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

FOMO 2020

It’s been several years now since I heard someone use the term FOMO—the fear of missing out on something. I just heard it again the other day. Yes, in these days of sheltering in place, self-quarantining, FOMO has been raising its head all over again just using different verbiage—and this time there are genuine concerns related to employment, graduation, work, and the risks associated with this latest pandemic. The fear of not having enough toilet paper, or hand sanitizer, or face masks, or gloves . . . and it’s real. The fear of not getting to do all the fun stuff around graduation; the fear of “getting older while we’re waiting to get married!” It’s not funny—we might as well laugh, however, because it is the new reality and laughter helps strengthen the immune system-–exactly what everyone needs right now. What does FOMO have to do with the brain? Everything. Because everything begins in the brain.
On one of my lecture tours “down under,” I heard about a FOMO study that had been done in Australia. I pulled out my notes about that. More tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Ancient Proverbs – Time to Smile!

French: A brain is worth little without a tongue.
   Long on hair, short on brains.
   If your brain is made of butter, do not be a baker

English: Shut the gate before the horse has bolted—not after.
   If the brain sows not corn, it will plant thistles.
   Money spent on the brain is never spent in vain.

Albania:  Mind the goats so that you will drink their milk.

German:  You don’t see the brain on one’s forehead.

Arabic:  Arrogance over the arrogant is modesty.

Corsica:  An idle person is up to no good.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Age-proofing Your Brain, Weight, 8

UCLA researcher Stuart Wolpert found dieting does not work. (I’m tempted to say “Duh,” but I will refrain. Smile.) By their very nature diets are designed to fail. Initially you many lose a few pounds as the brain and body respond temporarily to something new and different. But dieting cannot be maintained over time, especially when it involves food deprivation. Within a space of just two to three years, most eventually gain back everything they lost—often more—and risk damaging brain and body systems in the process. A study published in the journal American Psychologist found that dieting does not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people. The first step in escaping a diet trap is to recognize that you are in one. Stop dieting. If you aren’t dieting, don’t start. Instead, adjust what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat as part of a high-level-healthiness lifestyle—and do that for the rest of your life. It matters. (For more information, refer to Longevity Lifestyle Matters, by Taylor, Horton, and Briggs.)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Age-proofing your Brain, Weight, 4

Obesity is not just a problem for women. Lugging excess weight around one’s middle is an especially ugly risk factor for a testosterone-estrogen hormone imbalance. Testosterone plays a vital role in how the body balances glucose and insulin and in fat metabolism in both males and females. Aromatase, an enzyme in fat tissue, converts testosterone into estradiol, a type of estrogen. That can result in a decrease in testosterone levels and a corresponding increase in estrogen levels, undesirable for anyone regardless of gender—although perhaps of particular concern to sexually-active males. Snacks or meals loaded with refined and processed carbohydrates from white flour and sugar can trigger the biggest surge in aromatase. The New England Research Institutes (NERI) reported a study of 1,822 men, which concluded that a man’s waist circumference is the single strongest predictor of low testosterone. It’s a two-way street: obesity can cause low testosterone and low testosterone can contribute to obesity.
More tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Age-proofing Your Brain, Weight, 3

Obesity is not just a problem for women. Lugging excess weight around one’s middle is an especially ugly risk factor for a testosterone-estrogen hormone imbalance. Testosterone plays a vital role in how the body balances glucose and insulin and in fat metabolism in both males and females. Aromatase, an enzyme in fat tissue, converts testosterone into estradiol, a type of estrogen. That can result in a decrease in testosterone levels and a corresponding increase in estrogen levels, undesirable for anyone regardless of gender—although perhaps of particular concern to sexually-active males. Snacks or meals loaded with refined and processed carbohydrates from white flour and sugar can trigger the biggest surge in aromatase. The New England Research Institutes (NERI) reported a study of 1,822 men, which concluded that a man’s waist circumference is the single strongest predictor of low testosterone. It’s a two-way street: obesity can cause low testosterone and low testosterone can contribute to obesity.
More tomorrow

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Age-proofing Your Brain, Weight, 2

According to Roland Sturm, RAND Corporation Economist, being obese is like being twenty years older than you really are. It does more damage to your quality of life, causes more chronic medical conditions, and incurs more healthcare expenditures than either smoking or alcohol abuse. According to the World Health Organization, the worldwide epidemic of obesity is reaching critical proportions. An estimated 250 million people in the world are obese, and this number is predicted to reach 300 million by 2025. Interestingly, obesity is usually not about food anyway. It’s often about using food to self-medicate and to alter your neurochemistry to help you feel better. Remember: everything starts in your brain. Being either too heavy or too thin are both bad for your brain and, therefore, for your body as well. More tomorrow.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Age-proofing Your Brain, Weight, 1

What does weight have to do with anything except wardrobe—and whose business is it anyway? Researchers say it’s your business. The bad news: Obesity is now linked with more than 50 diseases—including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer and cancer reoccurrence, and dementia. Obesity may even be worse for females. Women who are obese throughout life are at increased risk for developing dementia, perhaps due to increased secretion of cortisol. As a female I’ve watched that acted out in my own family—I’ve also seen the opposite, so thin as to be malnourished.

The good news: there is a middle ground and most people can attain that—even if some need a little help. The World Health Organization or WHO defines overweight and obesity as an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair one’s health. Overweight means you have a Body Mass Index or BMI greater than or equal to 25. Obesity means a BMI greater than or equal to 30.

More tomorrow.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Age-Proof Your Brain - Sleep, 6

After 20 hours without sleep your brain functions as if it had reached the legal blood alcohol limit in the State of California. (Per California's driving under the influence or DUI laws, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any of the following blood alcohol concentration or BAC percentages: 0.08% or higher―21 years old or older operating a regular passenger vehicle. 0.04% or higherwhen operating a commercial vehicle.) There are good reasons for that. Fatigue is believed to have contributed to both the Exxon Valdez and space shuttle Challenger disasters. Motorist sleepiness accounts for 33 percent of traffic accidents. In some countries, sleep deprivation accounts for an estimated $16 billion in annual medical costs.

David K. Randall points out in Dreamland, that within the first 24 hours of sleep deprivation, the person’s blood pressure begins to rise, then metabolism processes start to go haywire, resulting in an uncontrollable craving for carbohydrates. Soon the body temperature drops and the immune system gets weaker. If this goes on for too long, there is a good chance that the mind will turn against itself, triggering brain phenomenon in which the person experiences visions and hears phantom sounds akin to a bad acid trip. 

(For more information see “Age-Proofing Your Brain” by Taylor and Briggs.)