Children Produce Weaker Coronavirus Antibodies, Study Finds

Children seem to clear the infection must faster than adults and may be infectious for a shorter period of time.Credit…Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

The research suggests that children clear the infection much faster than adults and may help explain why many don’t become seriously ill.

Children infected with the coronavirus produce weaker antibodies and fewer types of them than adults do, suggesting they clear their infection much faster, according to a new study published Thursday.

Other studies have suggested that an overly strong immune response may be to blame in people who get severely ill or die from Covid-19. A weaker immune response in children may paradoxically indicate that they vanquish the virus before it has had a chance to wreak havoc in the body, and may help explain why children are mostly spared severe symptoms of Covid, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It may also show why they are less likely to spread the virus to others.

“They may be infectious for a shorter time,” said Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University in New York who led the study reported in the journal Nature Immunology.

Having weaker and fewer antibodies does not mean that children would be more at risk of re-infections, other experts said.

“You don’t really need a huge, overly robust immune response to maintain protections over some period of time,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “I don’t know that I would be especially worried that kids have a little bit lower antibody response.”

The study looked at children’s antibody levels at a single point in time, and was too small to provide insights into how the levels may vary with age. But it could pose questions for certain antibody tests that may be missing children who have been infected.

Dr. Farber and her colleagues analyzed antibodies to the coronavirus in four groups of patients: 19 adult convalescent plasma donors who had recovered from Covid without being hospitalized; 13 adults hospitalized with acute respiratory distress syndrome resulting from severe Covid; 16 children hospitalized with multi-system inflammatory syndrome, the rare condition affecting some infected children; and 31 infected children who did not have the syndrome. About half of this last group of children had no symptoms at all.

Individuals in each group had antibodies, consistent with other studies showing that the vast majority of people infected with the coronavirus mount a robust immune response.

“This further emphasizes that this viral infection in itself, and the immune response to this virus, is not that different from what we would expect” from any virus, said Petter Brodin, an immunologist at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

But the range of antibodies differed between children and adults. The children made primarily one type of antibody, called IgG, that recognizes the spike protein on the surface of the virus. Adults, by contrast, made several types of antibodies to the spike and other viral proteins, and these antibodies were more powerful at neutralizing the virus.

Children had “less of a protective response, but they also had less of a breadth of an antibody response,” Dr. Farber said. “It’s because those kids are just not getting infected as severely.”

The study has implications for many antibody tests, which are designed to detect antibodies that are largely absent in children.Credit…David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Neither group of children had antibodies to a viral protein called the nucleocapsid, or N, that is entangled with the genetic material of the virus. Because this protein is found within the virus and not on its surface, the immune system would only see it and make antibodies to it if the virus were widely disseminated in the body, she said.

“You don’t really see any of that in the children, and that suggests that there’s really a reduced infection course if these kids are getting infected,” she explained.

The finding could undermine the results from tests designed to pick up antibodies to the N protein of the virus. Many antibody tests, including those made by Abbott and Roche and offered by Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, are specific to the N antibodies and so may miss children who have successfully cleared the virus. “That’s absolutely an interesting implication of that finding,” Dr. Brodin said.

Lower levels of virus in the body would also explain why children seem generally to transmit the virus less efficiently than adults do. But experts urged some caution in interpreting the results because they represent samples taken from people at a single point in time. Samples from the more severely affected children and adults were collected within 24 to 36 hours of being admitted or intubated for respiratory failure; those from children with mild or no symptoms were banked after medical procedures.

The type of antibodies produced by the body varies over the time course of an infection. This was a limitation of this study because the researchers may have been comparing people at different points in their infection, Dr. Brodin said. “You risk comparing apples and oranges.”

Other experts cautioned that the study was too small to draw conclusions about how the immune response may vary in children of different ages. The children in the study ranged in age from 3 to 18 years, with a median age of 11. But some studies have suggested that teenagers may be just as much at risk from the coronavirus as adults.

“It’s very important to understand what happens in children,” to understand the nature of their illness, but also how they contribute to spread of the virus in the community, said Dr. Maria L. Gennaro, an immunologist at Rutgers University. But “to try and stratify by age, it’s a little bit of a stretch in the analysis,” she said.

The researchers were also not able to explain why children have a more limited antibody response. Having fewer types of antibodies may seem like a bad thing, but “having a ton of antibody isn’t necessarily a marker of a good thing,” said Dr. Bhattacharya. “It usually means that something went wrong early in the response.”

At least one other study has suggested that children have a powerful inborn immune system, intended to combat the many new pathogens they encounter, and that this first line of defense may clear the infection early without needing to rely on later antibodies.

Another possibility is that the children have some protection — in the form of immune cells called memory T cells — from previous encounters with common cold coronaviruses.

“Is it all innate? Or could there actually be some pre-existing memory?” Dr. Bhattacharya said. “I think those are both possible.”

Resources:

Aproova Manadvilli

New York Times

The Many Lives of Lentils

From left, a brightly spiced lentil loaf, a smoky lentil stew and a pasta with lentils and fennel. Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

At my house, dinner is not a three-course meal every night. More likely, it’s a main course and a green salad. Sometimes, it is a one-pot main course, though not always. (I find that even when cooking a simple meal, at least two pots and pans are often involved.) And, quite frequently, dinner is meatless.

While I consider myself a carnivore, my first love will always be vegetables. I’m quite happy to have a vegetarian meal several times a week.

In addition to fresh vegetables, whole grains and dried legumes are usually part of the picture. I’m a big fan of every type of bean, whether cannellini or garbanzo, with a cupboard full of them to choose from. Lately, it is lentils that most strike my fancy. Aside from being delicious, they have the advantage of being quick-cooking. It usually takes no more than 30 minutes to simmer a pot, so they are perfect for a relatively fast meal.

For most uses, any kind will work, but even among lentils, there are lots of types to choose from. If the meal is leaning in a Spanish direction, I might go with Pardina lentils, a small brown variety good for stews, soups or salads. For an Italianate dish, I like Castelluccio lentils from Umbria. When I want to veer toward Turkish flavors, I choose split red lentils. What follows are three lentil dinners I highly recommend. They are all vegetarian, and all have the advantage of tasting good, perhaps better, when prepared in advance. Lastly, each of these dishes can benefit from a drizzle of fruity extra-virgin olive oil as a final flourish, to make them that much more luscious.

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Smoky Lentil Stew With Leeks and Potatoes

This rustic stew improves after a day in the fridge. At the very least, try to cook it an hour or two ahead of the meal, so the elements have time to meld. (You can also make it to eat over several days, or to freeze for later.) Any size green or brown lentil will work here, if you can’t get the small Spanish Pardina lentils (or French lentilles du Puy). But the smoky pimentón is vital: Along with extra-virgin olive oil, it provides real depth of flavor.

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Spaghetti With Lentils, Tomato and Fennel

There are many versions of pasta with lentils, a multitude of which are thick and stewlike, more lentil than pasta. This one emphasizes the pasta. The saucy lentil topping is similar to a traditional Bolognese ragù. The addition of fennel — seeds, bulb and chopped green fronds — gives it a surprising brightness and zest. For even more flavor, put your saved-up Parmesan rinds to use in the sauce. (Meat eaters: Add a little chopped anchovy or Italian fennel sausage.)

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Red Lentil Loaf

You may have encountered the kind of vegetarian lentil loaf that masquerades as something else. With its brownish-grey color and a red ketchup glaze, it tries to emulate the homespun comfort of meatloaf. Most recipes call for Worcestershire and barbecue sauce to make it taste beefy. This delicate red lentil loaf is worlds away from that. It’s all about the undisguised flavor of the lentil: sweet and vegetal. The seasoning is a little bit Turkish, with lemon, cumin, cilantro, dill and yogurt. It is delicious served at room temperature or warm. The loaf is easier to cut if cooled, with slices heated through in the oven. Even better is to griddle the slices with a little oil in a nonstick or cast-iron pan until crisp and golden on both sides.

Resource: By David Tanis

J&J Recalls Baby Powder After Trace Asbestos Found in Bottle

Johnson & Johnson on Friday recalled a single batch of its baby powder as a precaution after government testing found trace amounts of asbestos in one bottle bought online.

The regulator found trace levels of chrysotile asbestos in samples taken from a bottle of baby powder purchased from an online retailer, Johnson & Johnson said. The company has, for years, denied that the carcinogen is, or ever was, present in its talc-based products.

This is the first time Johnson & Johnson has ever pulled baby powder from the market over asbestos concerns, a spokesman for the company said, and comes as Johnson & Johnson is battling thousands of lawsuits brought by people who say that baby powder and other talc-based products caused them to develop cancer. Some have mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that is considered the signature disease of asbestos exposure, while others have ovarian cancer, which has also been linked to asbestos.

The recall will undermine defense claims against those suits, and could lead to the company having to pay more or to settle cases, said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor who studies corporate governance. Shares of the company fell 5 percent in early afternoon trading on Friday.

But in announcing the recall, the company also repeated part of its long-running defense against cancer claims, saying that “thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos.” The company said it was recalling the shipment out of an “abundance of caution.”

Though Johnson & Johnson said it has started “a rigorous, thorough investigation into the matter” it also appeared to question the testing process, saying in a statement that it is working with the F.D.A. to “determine the integrity of the tested sample and the validity of the test results.”

The recalled baby powder was produced and shipped last year. The recalled lot, #22318RB, involves 33,000 bottles sold by a retailer, which sold products online but may have shipped powder to stores, the spokesman, Ernie Knewitz, said. The F.D.A. has not responded to questions about the identity of the retailer.

A New York Times investigation last year found that Johnson & Johnson executives were aware for decades of the risks of asbestos contamination in talc but did not warn consumers. Internal memos and reports made public during litigation against the company document executives’ concerns about potential contamination that date back 50 years.

Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson disclosed that it is being investigated by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission over concerns about possible asbestos contamination of its talc-based products.

The company is now entangled in litigation on multiple fronts. On Thursday, it agreed to pay $117 million to settle claims that it deceptively marketed transvaginal pelvic mesh implants. Earlier this month, a jury in Philadelphia ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $8 billion to a Maryland man who accused the company of downplaying the risks associated with the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal. The company has also agreed to settle claims involving its role in the nationwide opioid crisis.

Lee Hambright, an analyst with Bernstein, wrote in a note to clients last week that Johnson & Johnson could face $5 billion in legal liability over the talc litigation. Of the 15,500 talc lawsuits the company has disclosed, Mr. Hambright estimated that 1,000 involved mesothelioma cases.

[Read our investigation into claims about asbestos in baby powder.]

Talc is a natural mineral that is mined from underground deposits, but asbestos can form under the same geological conditions that form talc, and geologists say veins of asbestos can intermingle with talc in underground mines.Johnson & Johnson officials emphasized that the level of asbestos detected was very low, the amount being “two ten-thousands of a percent” of the sample. U.S. health agencies, however, say there is no known safe level of exposure when it comes to asbestos.

While health risks increase with heavier and longer exposure times to asbestos, the overall evidence suggests no level of asbestos exposure is safe, and disease has been found in people with only brief exposures, according to the National Cancer Institute.

[Thousands of people who trusted Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for decades are suing the company after developing cancer. “The Weekly,” our new TV show, investigates their allegations.]

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Correction: Oct. 18, 2019

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson. His name is Ernie Knewitz, not Knewizt.

By Tiffany Hsu and 

Did You Know, Poultry is a Cause? Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.

Dr. Lee Riley of the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections. “We’ve suspected maybe some of these U.T.I. cases may be food-borne,” he said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

For generations, urinary tract infections, one of the world’s most common ailments, have been easily and quickly cured with a simple course of antibiotics. But there is growing evidence that the infections, which afflict millions of Americans a year, mostly women, are increasingly resistant to these medicines, turning a once-routine diagnosis into one that is leading to more hospitalizations, graver illnesses and prolonged discomfort from the excruciating burning sensation that the infection brings.

The New York City Department of Health has become so concerned about drug-resistant U.T.I.s, as they are widely known, that it introduced a new mobile phone app this month that gives doctors and nurses access to a list of strains of urinary tract infections and which drugs they are resistant to. The department’s research found that a third of uncomplicated urinary tract infections caused by E. coli — the most common type now — were resistant to Bactrim, one of the most widely used drugs, and at least one fifth of them were resistant to five other common treatments. “This is crazy. This is shocking,” said Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, who was not involved in the research. 

The drug ampicillin, once a mainstay for treating the infections, has been abandoned as a gold standard because multiple strains of U.T.I.s are resistant to it. Some urinary tract infections now require treatment with heavy-duty intravenous antibiotics. Researchers last year reported in a study that a third of all U.T.I.s in Britain are resistant to “key antibiotics.” Certainly, the day-to-day experience of having a U.T.I. is growing less routine for many women. Carolina Barcelos, 38, a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley, Calif., said she had several U.T.I.s as a teenager, all successfully treated with Bactrim. When she got one in February, her doctor also prescribed Bactrim, but this time it didn’t work.

Four days later, she returned and got a new prescription, for a drug called nitrofurantoin. It didn’t work either. Her pain worsened, and several days later, there was blood in her urine. Her doctor prescribed a third drug, ciproflaxacin, the last of the three major front-line medicines, and cultured her urine. The culture showed her infection was susceptible to the new drug, but not the other two. “Next time,” Dr. Barcelos said, “I’m going to ask them to do a culture right away. For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me.” Usually, it is people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions who are most vulnerable to drug-resistant infections, but U.T.I.s have a dubious distinction: They are the single biggest risk to healthy people from drug-resistant germs.

Resistance to antibiotics has become one of the world’s most pressing health issues. Overuse of the drugs in humans and livestock has caused germs to develop defenses to survive, rendering a growing number of medicines ineffective in treating a wide range of illnesses — a phenomenon that is playing out worldwide with U.T.I.s.

The World Health Organization, while noting that data on urinary tract infections and drug resistance is “scarce,” said the fact the infections were so common strongly suggested that increasing resistance would lead to more severe illnesses and fatalities. The solution, researchers and clinicians say, includes a continued push for more judicious use of antibiotics worldwide. But more immediately, a partial solution would be the development of quick, cheap diagnostic tools that would allow an instant urine culture so that a doctor could prescribe the right drug for U.T.I.s.

Carolina Barcelos had a urinary tract infection earlier this year. Neither of the first two drugs she took helped. “For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

But whether to wait the several days it usually takes to get lab results before prescribing presents a tough dilemma for doctors and patients, who frequently are desperate for relief. Plus, depending on a person’s insurance, getting a culture can be expensive. Generally doctors still do not order a urine culture before prescribing an antibiotic.

“In the old days, the list of antibiotic options was short but by and large they would all work,” said Dr. James Johnson, an infectious disease professor and leading researcher on urinary tract infections at the University of Minnesota. Some women have U.T.I.s that the body fights off on its own without using antibiotics, while other women may have a different low-level ailment that feels like a U.T.I., but isn’t. The safest course is to see a doctor and make an informed decision that includes a judicious determination of whether antibiotics are warranted. The science does not support the efficacy of some popular remedies like cranberry juice or cranberry pills.

Officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that U.T.I.s acquired by otherwise healthy people were a growing concern and one poorly studied. They are not tracked nationally. In older people, urinary tract infections can be deadly, but tracking in the United States is so weak that there are no reliable estimates on the numbers of deaths related to the infections. The C.D.C. published an estimate of 13,000 per year, but that figure comes from a paper looking at 2002 data and refers only to U.T.I.s acquired in hospitals. Dr. Clifford McDonald, associate director for science in the division of health care quality promotion at the C.D.C., said the government planned to expand its research.

“If we don’t do something soon,” Dr. McDonald said, “it’s going to push all our treatments to more advanced antibiotics that finally put a lot of pressure on the last-line treatments.”

What makes these infections so dangerous, and commonplace, is human anatomy. In women, the urethra — the gateway to the urinary tract — is in proximity to the rectum. This can lead to easy transfer of bacteria in fecal residue that otherwise resides harmlessly in the gut. 

In reproductive years, women are 50 times for likely than men to have a urinary tract infection; later in life, the ratio drops to 2 to 1, as men wind up having surgical procedures on their prostate, or catheters, that more easily expose their urinary tracts to infection.

There are multiple germs that cause U.T.I.s, and their resistance levels to drugs vary both by strain and by where a patient lives. By far the most common cause of U.T.I.s today is E. coli, and, in general, those infections have seen sharp rises in resistance to gold standard treatments over the past decade and a half.

Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician at San Francisco General Hospital, said one of her patients returned to the emergency room after a drug-resistant U.T.I. spread to her kidney. “It makes me wonder what the world looked like for women before antibiotics, and wonder if we’re going to see that now,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

New research shows that one crucial path of transfer of germs that cause U.T.I.s is food, most often poultry. The consumed poultry winds up in a person’s gut and can get transferred through fecal residue to the urethra.

A study published last year by the American Society of Microbiology, funded partly by the C.D.C., found 12 strains of E. coli in poultry that matched widely circulating urinary tract infection strains. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Lee Riley, a professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the University of California, Berkeley, said he was working on a C.D.C.-funded project to determine whether the urinary tract infection needs to be classified and reported as a food-borne illness.

Dr. Brad Frazee, an emergency room doctor at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., has been a co-author of research that adds another troubling wrinkle: Increasingly, E. coli is proving resistant not just to individual antibiotics, but also to a broad group of drugs known as beta-lactam antibiotics. These drugs share a way of attacking infection, and when a germ develops resistance to this method of attack, it eliminates several key treatment options all at once.

Recently, a woman carrying such resistance showed up at Dr. Frazee’s hospital, he said. She wound up with pyelonephritis, an infection in the kidney, and had to be treated in the hospital intravenously with a drug called ertapenem that can cost $1,000 a dose. A study found that around 5 percent of U.T.I.s at the hospital carried this resistance. 

Doctors are now confronting cases of resistant urinary tract infections in their practices. Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician in San Francisco, recently received notice that one of her patients, a healthy woman in her mid-30s, was back in the emergency room with another U.T.I. that was resistant to multiple antibiotics.

One of her prior U.T.I.s had failed to respond to two commonly used treatments and had spread to her kidney, requiring hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. This time Dr. Raphael consulted with infectious disease specialists. “It can be quite dangerous in this age where there is more and more resistance,” she said, noting that without effective treatment the infection can get into the blood. “It can be fatal.”

Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/health/urinary-infections-drug-resistant.amp.html

Commonly prescribed drugs are tied to nearly 50% higher dementia risk in older adults

(CNN) – Scientists have long found a possible link between anticholinergic drugs and an increased risk of dementia.

A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday suggests that the link is strongest for certain classes of anticholinergic drugs — particularly antidepressants such as paroxetine or amitriptyline, bladder antimuscarinics such as oxybutynin or tolterodine, antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine or olanzapine and antiepileptic drugs such as oxcarbazepine or carbamazepine.

Researchers wrote in the study that “there was nearly a 50% increased odds of dementia” associated with a total anticholinergic exposure of more than 1,095 daily doses within a 10-year period, which is equivalent to an older adult taking a strong anticholinergic medication daily for at least three years, compared with no exposure.

“The study is important because it strengthens a growing body of evidence showing that strong anticholinergic drugs have long term associations with dementia risk,” said Carol Coupland, professor of medical statistics in primary care at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and first author of the study.

“It also highlights which types of anticholinergic drugs have the strongest associations. This is important information for physicians to know when considering whether to prescribe these drugs,” she said, adding “this is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn about whether these anticholinergic drugs cause dementia.”

She said that people taking these medications are advised not to stop them without consulting with their doctor first, as that could be harmful. The study involved analyzing data on 284,343 adults in the United Kingdom, aged 55 and older, between 2004 and 2016. The data came from QResearch, a large database of anonymized health records.

The researchers identified each adult’s anticholinergic exposure based on details of their prescriptions. The researchers found the most frequently prescribed anticholinergic drugs were antidepressants, drugs to treat vertigo, motion sickness or vomiting and bladder antimuscarinic drugs, such as to treat overactive bladder. The researchers also took a close look at who was diagnosed with dementia and found that 58,769 of the patients had a dementia diagnosis.

The researchers found no significant increases in dementia risk associated with antihistamines, skeletal muscle relaxants, gastrointestinal antispasmodics, antiarrhythmics, or antimuscarinic bronchodilators, according to the data, but associations were found among other classes of anticholinergic drugs. The researchers found that the odds of dementia increased from 1.06 among those with the lowest anticholinergic exposure to 1.49 among those with the highest exposure, compared with having no prescriptions for anticholinergic drugs.

The study had some limitations, including that some patients may not have taken their prescribed medication as directed, so anticholinergic exposure levels could have been misclassified. The researchers found only an association between anticholinergic drugs and dementia risk, not a causal relationship.

“However, if this association is causal, the population-attributable fractions indicate that around 10% of dementia diagnoses are attributable to anticholinergic drug exposure, which would equate, for example, to around 20,000 of the 209,600 new cases of dementia per year in the United Kingdom,” the researchers wrote in the study.Since the study shows only an association, more research is needed to “clarify whether anticholinergic medications truly represent a reversible risk factor” for dementia, wrote experts Noll Campbell, Richard Holden and Dr. Malaz Boustani in an editorial that published alongside the new study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Additionally, deprescribing trials can evaluate potential harms of stopping anticholinergic medications, such as worsening symptoms of depression, incontinence, or pain, as well as the potential unintended increase in acute health care utilization,” Campbell, Holden and Boustani wrote in the editorial.”With little evidence of causation, the next steps for research on anticholinergic medications in older adults must improve knowledge of the effect of deprescribing interventions on cognitive outcomes and important safety outcomes such as symptom control, quality of life, and health care utilization,” they wrote. “We propose deprescribing research as a high priority.”

It has been well known that anticholinergic agents and confusion or memory issues are linked, but the new study investigated this association over a long period of time, said Dr. Douglas Scharre, director of the division of cognitive neurology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, who was not involved in the study.

He encouraged any patients who might have questions about this association to talk to their physicians. “I spend a lot of my time in the memory disorder clinic seeing geriatric patients and taking people off medications, mostly ones that have anticholinergic properties, and many times there can be another drug out there that has less anticholinergic impact or is non-anticholinergic that may work,” Scharre said.

“Some of the medications that they list in the study may be quite critical and important and are well worth the person taking for their seizures or their psychosis, and so it’s a risk-benefit discussion,” he added. “So have a conversation with your doctor.”

What I’m Reading Now?

I’m journeying on a new path to learn how to meditate. I need to bring calm, stillness, and peacefulness to my mind. I’ve heard and read about the many amazing benefits on practicing meditation, and I’m at the right stage in my life where I need it the most. With a full time career, three children, husband, and a dog; it’s a time much needed. I chose The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe to kick start my journey because it came highly recommended by Bill Gates. No, I don’t know him personally, although I wish! I follow his blog, gatesnotes. If you don’t, you should. He’s brilliant, Google him. Bill is the reason why I researched Andy in the first place. Andy is 47 with many years of training in monasteries in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Australia, Russia, and Scotland. He’s even an ordained Buddhist monk.

Andy’s approach to meditation is clear and easy to understand. He teaches amazing techniques, and they’re easy to apply to your everyday busy lifestyle. Andy also believes all you need is 10 minutes a day. Obviously, if you have the ability and time to meditate longer, by all means meditate. When you think of 10 minutes, it’s actually not that long; however, it’s hard for the average person to sit still with a clear mind. More importantly, the practice of meditation is about much more than simply sitting down for a set period of time each day. Andy says, “it’s about training in awareness and understanding how and why you think and feel the way you do, and getting a healthy sense of perspective in the process.” His book also looks deeper in the differences between understanding mindfulness and headspace. He even have an app called, Headspace available on IOS. I haven’t downloaded it yet, but I intend to. Let’s take a look at mindfulness, Andy explains it as the temptation to judge whatever emotion that comes up, and therefore neither opposing or getting carried away with a feeling. And headspace is the result of applying this approach. Headspace delivers a sense of ease with whatever emotion is present.

How many times you’ve been in a situation where someone pissed you off? It angers you, and you feel like you just want to explode. Then you move through your day retelling that scenario over and over to everyone you possibly can share it with. Instead of moving forward productively with your day, you dwell and relive that situation over and over again transferring that negative energy to your friends, love ones, and even into your workplace. This behavior is toxic and becomes debilitating to your mind, body and soul. Who wants to go through life this way? Surely not me! Knowing how to let go and release these toxic thoughts and energy is my goal.

Andy’s book offers four steps to help you achieve meditation. His Take10 summary is recommended to follow each and every time before you meditate.

  1. Getting Ready
  2. Checking-in
  3. Focusing the mind
  4. Finishing-off

The book explains in detail what you need to do in each step to get your mind and body ready. I’m almost midway finish reading the book. I feel more confident than ever. This book has already taught me about the layers of my thoughts, dealing with my emotions, and how to tackle each one as they come to mind. I’ve re-read many chapters and made side notes. It’s definitely a page turner. If you’re interested in learning how to meditate, this book may help you. I would love to hear about your journey or any suggestions on meditation.

Healthy Start to Your Day

Quick oats!

What do you start your day off with? For me it’s sometimes a green smoothie, an almond butter toast with flaxseeds and chia seed toppings. Today, it’s my oatmeal. Midway through devouring my breakfast, I just had to snap a picture and blog about it. This was so simple to make. It didn’t require any frying. I literally just added hot water and waited 10 minutes. Then I topped it with cinnamon, ground up flaxseeds, blueberries, blackberries and half of a banana. This is what a healthy breakfast should look like. People often say, “oatmeal is boring!” I could see that, but then you should jazz it up. Be creative! Add cocoa nibs, which are cocoa bean pieces with nothing added to them. This would be for those chocolate lovers. Shredded coconuts and raisins are delicious too, or even some nuts. I added bananas for some sweetness because I don’t use sugars.

I think oatmeal is one of the healthiest most nutritious meal you can start your day off with. It’s packed with so many vitamins, fiber, and minerals. It’s also cheap, and easy to prepare. If you were to have a cup of basic quick oats everyday, it would cost you $.043. Can’t beat that!

Tell me what you think!

Enjoy & Eat Organic for Life!

Cranberries for Urinary and Prostate Health

Did you know that urinary tract infections or diseases affect both women and men? UTI’s can put men at risk for prostate illness as well. The British Journal of Nutrition recently published a study where research followed 42 men with lower urinary tract disease. They found that the men also had elevated PSA and non-bacterial prostatitis. The researchers assigned the men to take either a supplement with 1,500 mg per day of dried powdered cranberries or a placebo.

The researchers tracked the men for six months while they took either a powdered cranberry supplement of 1,500 mg a day or a placebo, and then evaluated them with the International Prostate Symptom Score. This test evaluates urination, average flow, total volume, and post-void residual volume. The men taking cranberry showed significant improvement. There was no improvement in the control group. It makes common sense that if cranberries help wipe out UTI’s, it’s responsible that they would also help your prostate as well. Also, the men who took the cranberry supplement experienced lower PSA levels. It is likely that one will have to take 1,500 mg of dried cranberry powder in order to have effective results as did the men in this study, a dose that is easily obtainable both in health stores and online.

There are many ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet. It’s not just an American traditional Thanksgiving side dish. Cranberries can be added at any time throughout the year. Dried cranberries especially are delicious in salads and baked goods. Swap out your usual raisins for cranberries. Another way to incorporate cranberries into your daily diet is by adding them to smoothies. Frozen cranberries are available all year round. both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It’s also worth noting that cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin E, two pivotal antioxidant nutrients. And in addition, they are a very good source of the mineral manganese, which is needed for proper function of some forms of the enzyme superoxide dismutase.

How do you incorporate cranberries in your diet? Please share…

Source: “The effectiveness of dried cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms,” Vidlar A, Simanek V, et al, Br J Nutr, 2010; 104(8): 1181-9.

Reasons to Eat More Walnuts

The simple walnut offers a wide list of benefits. For starters, a new study shows that eating whole walnuts or walnut oil can slow prostate cancer growth.  But if you need more reasons than this, maybe the following reasons may persuade you to add these delicious nuts into your diet.

A large study at Harvard found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause in a thirty-year period.

• English walnuts decrease cardiovascular risk by decreasing LDL and total cholesterol.

• Walnuts help control weight.

• They help control insulin in diabetics.

• Eating walnuts increases male fertility.

• Walnuts enhance cognitive function and improve thinking ability.

• Eating walnuts has been shown to suppress breast cancer tumors, perhaps from their omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols.

• They have also been shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer by decreasing angiogenesis.

• Walnuts are a source of highly potent, high-quality antioxidants.

• Ellagic acid, a major polyphenol found in walnuts, has remarkable bone-building activity at the cellular level.

• Eating walnuts and walnut oil can reduce the stress response and lower the resulting blood pressure.

Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of omega-3 fats as well as providing copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. It’s better to buy walnuts raw and organic to avoid those that are irradiated and pasteurized.

—Adapted from “13 Healthy Reasons to Eat More Walnuts” by Margie King, at http://greenmedinfo.com

A New Way to Detect Breast Cancer

Not long before Mihir Shah was to be married in 2007, his soon-to-be mother-in-law got a diagnosis of breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and survived, wearing a wig to the wedding. But while the women in Mr. Shah’s family — in both India and the United States — were able to get breast cancer screening, it made him think of the millions who weren’t as fortunate.

More than 90 percent of women in the developing world don’t have access to early detection of breast cancer. One reason is that mammograms, the gold-standard screening technique, are rarely used because of their high cost and a lack of trained radiologists. India has one radiologist for every 100,000 people; the United States has 12.

Then there are logistical challenges like a lack of electricity and poor roads. Many people are not aware of cancer, and the disease still carries a stigma.

Read on – nyti.ms/2BT0ap3